The Low Down on Menstrual Cups

The Low Down on Menstrual Cups

I recently reached out to you on social media for advice on fixing my leaky menstrual cup and thanks to all of your suggestions, my leak has been stopped and I am now a satisfied menstrual cup customer!

The poll I posted showed that right around 50% of you are using a cup and the other 50% have not been successful or… slightly nervous about making the shift and still holding on tight to your pads and tampons.
I get it… I was TERRIFIEDto use for the first time and it sat in my closet for several months as I kept chalking each cycle up as a bad time to start.

Since I found this information so helpful to me, I want to pass it on to you.
I put together the information that we came up with together and hope that it clears up some of the deep dark secrets of menstrual cup use.

How do I know what cup to buy?? 

There are so many options out there! Honestly, I believe it’s a bit of trial and error. The problem is, they are not cheap so you don’t want to keep buying as they aren’t exactly refundable now are they?

Here is a website that provides a questionnaire that will direct you to a cup that is best suited for you depending on if you have had a vaginal delivery and the heaviness of your period etc.

This is where I would suggest as a starting place for what cup to buy.

The benefits to menstrual cup use as I see them:

  1. They cost approximately $30 upfront but cups are meant to last 1 year so they quickly pay for themselves when you think about what it costs to buy a years worth of pads and tampons.
  2. Environmentally friendly.
  3. I personally feel it’s a much more comfortable fit than a tampon and I don’t miss that string hanging down that always seemed to end up soaked with pee.
  4. Much less in and out. The cup holds so much more than a tampon so you don’t need to be sneaking to the bathroom multiple times a day to change a full tampon or pad.

Point #4 was actually something that took me several months to figure out as I just didn’t think I should leave anything in there for so many hours and I thought I would have to empty and clean the cup several times during the day.

Lets be honest, taking a cup out and cleaning it isn’t exactly something you want to do in a public washroom which is why I couldn’t figure out why people were saying that it is so great to travel with.  I would have to take it out, dump the contents in a toilet, wipe it down and then take it out to the communal sink to wash it.. and with fragranced soap!!!!

That is what I couldn’t figure out.BUT the cup really holds so much more than a tampon so once you have a good seal, it can stay in there for up to 12 hours before needing to change. SO I put it in at home and then take it out at home. Personally, my favorite place to take out and wash is in the shower.

“I can’t seem to get it in properly!’

This was my issue and one that is sure to cause leaks. If you read the instructions that come in the package, it will likely give you directions on how to fold the cup in order to place inside. What mine didn’t show, (and someone told me) is that there are many other ways to fold the cup that may help to open fully once inside.  If you simply google ‘menstrual cup fold’ many different YouTube videos will pop up.
Here is the one I watched:

If you are still having difficulty with the cup fully opening then you haven’t yet achieved a good seal.  Picture the vagina like a tube and the menstrual cup needs to sit tight up against the walls of the tube. 
Here are some helpful suggestions that followers shared with me:

  • Squat down and feel for your cervix,  (It will feel like the tip of a nose).  This way you know what direction to direct the cup.
  • Once you have it in place, twist and pull down slightly until you feel suction.
  • Trace around the edges of the cup with your finger to help it open
  • Put it up higher than you think
  • Pinch it to get air out of it and pull down gently until you feel suction

How do I get the thing out??

  1. Push a finger firmly against the edge to break the seal. Very gently, squeeze to let some air in and twist to remove.
  2. Use very gentle downward pushes like you are pushing a baby out while opening/relaxing your pelvic floor muscles.
  3. The suction created from a menstrual cup can be quite high.  Be sure to break the suction by squeezing the cup before you pull it out in order to prevent dislodging of an intrauterine device(IUD) or exacerbate prolapse.
  4. Make sure to wash your menstrual cup with gentle soap with no fragrance because your vagina won’t like the additives. I personally use Dr. Bronner’s brand.

All of your comments have helped me figure out the ins and outs of my menstrual cup and for that, I thank you. Please share this email with your lady friends so we can make that time of the month easier for them too. Please respond to this email with any other tips or tricks that you think would be helpful to include.
If you haven’t already, follow me on instagram @mommyberrieshealth, on YouTube and on Facebook at Mommy Berries Health for more information about your vagina that nobody talks about.

Melissa Dessaulles

Melissa is a pelvic health physiotherapist at Wave Physiotherapy in Kelowna, BC. She is an active mom of 2 young kids. Her own experiences with post partum recovery have made her passionate about helping other moms.

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