The other day I was talking to a friend who is thinking about using menstrual cups. I recommendThe Moon Cup, which is sold by GladRags. They sell several other cups, but I think the Moon Cup is a good place to start. I also recommend pairing the cup with GladRags’ washable panty liners. On heavier days, the cup may leak a little, so I like to use the panty liners as extra protection.
Menstrual cups can be a bit daunting for people who haven’t used them before. However, I quickly found that I preferred my Moon Cup over tampons so much so that I have never used a tampon since!There are definitely a few insider tips that are good to know before you get started with your menstrual cup.
1. Insertion: The way the box tells you to fold it for insertion doesn’t work for everyone. The box says to make a U fold but I found it was too wide for insertion. Here is an image that illustrates the U fold as well as the “Push Down” fold: Click here to see different folds. I recommend the “Push Down” fold because it gives you more of a point. You may also choose to lubricate the point so it inserts more easily.
2. The Stem: Menstrual cups come with stems. They are there to ease with removal. I believe the box says you can trim the stem to the desired length. Personally, I cut the entire stem off. The stem, for me, kind of poked at the vaginal opening. Without it, you do have to reach inside to remove it, but rarely is it difficult to get it out. Sometimes the cup can travel a bit higher inside, but if you push down, it’s becomes accessible to remove. So for my personal comfort, I am happy I completely removed the stem.
3. Emptying: I believe the box says to empty the Moon Cup as often as you would a tampon. I found that I need to empty it once in the morning and once at night. Occasionally I will empty it mid-day if it is a heavy day. Otherwise, I am happy not having to empty it in public restrooms. I like to rinse mine out before I re-insert so that would be difficult in public. Empty it as much as you feel comfortable. From what I have read there is no case of TSS ever happening from a menstrual cup. I believe this is because it does not absorb any of your bodily fluids like tampons do. I feel safe and comfortable leaving it in for longer than with tampons.
4. Cleaning and Storage: At the end of your cycle, you may sanitize your cup several ways. Some people recommend boiling it, but you have to be careful because you can over-boil it and ruin it. Others purchase the cleaning solution on the GladRag’s site. There are more ways, just google “how to clean a menstrual cup” and you’ll find a way that works for you. Personally, I just wash mine with anti-bacterial soap. That is what feels comfortable for me. I store it in the bag it came in. I will let you know that over time the cup will discolor. If this bothers you, you may soak it in hydrogen peroxide or leave it in the sun. Don’t soak too long, just til most of the color comes off. You can do this every so often.
5. Loving Your Cup: I encourage everyone to purchase and try a menstrual cup. It is a wonderful alternative to tampons. Cups are usually made of silicone or rubber, so they cannot harm your body. With the proper care you can use them up to ten years. They don’t produce a bunch of waste to end up in a landfill like tampons do. They don’t contain harmful ingredients like bleach or desiccants. They feel comfortable and often make it so I forget I’m having my period at all! I feel good to be using a product that is safe, environmentally friendly and comfortable.