The menstrual cup: misconceptions and questions

The menstrual cup: misconceptions and questions

We’ve compiled a master-list of your top questions about menstrual cups. If there is anything you wanted to know, or were too embarrassed to ask, we’ve covered all the topics from the basics (such as menstrual cup insertion) to the more sensitive (such as having sex whilst your menstrual cup is in place).

What is a menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is a sustainable and reusable period product that is usually made from medical-grade silicone and is free from harmful chemicals and BPA (Bisphenol A). They are a flexible and easy-to-use alternative that will last you years. Ours are made from medical-grade silicone and are colourless to avoid using any colour additives. They are just as safe and effective at stopping leaks as tampons or pads, except they are a better choice for your body and the planet!

Will I get blood everywhere when I change it?

Inevitably, the handling of blood is involved whilst dealing with any menstrual product. But, if you’re removing your menstrual cup correctly, and holding it at the base, it shouldn't be any messier than a standard product (except perhaps at the beginning when you are getting used to it).

Menstrual cups look big – are they comfortable?

Yes, they are comfortable! When you buy the correct size cup, you shouldn’t feel any discomfort or pain at all whilst it’s in place. You may even need to set a reminder to change it!

You boil it in a kitchen pot?

You can if you want! There are many ways you can sanitise your menstrual cup, whether you buy a dedicated pot, use a sanitising wipe such as OrganiWipes, or even buy a menstrual cup sanitiser. It is safe and hygienic, so you don’t have to worry.

How will I know when to empty my menstrual cup?

On average, menstrual cups hold more liquid or volume than disposable period products. Menstrual cups usually hold anywhere from 19ml all the way up to 47ml of liquid; this is a lot more compared to a tampon (which, on average, holds only 5ml)! But it will come down to how heavy your bleeding is, what size your menstrual cup is, and how often you change your pad or tampon currently. To test the waters, try checking your menstrual cup when you would change your pad or tampon; this will let you see how full your cup is. If you notice you have a lot of ‘space’ left in your cup, wait a few more hours until your next check. With time and practice, you’ll know when it’s time to empty your cup, just like you learned when it was the right time to change a tampon or pad.

I’m new to using a menstrual cup; should I wear backup protection?

If you are not feeling confident in your placement of the cup, wearing a liner or pad for the first few hours, to see if you’ll leak, isn’t a bad idea! The more practice you get with using your cup, the safer you’ll feel against leaks over time.

Do menstrual cups cause odours?

Over and above the normal smell of your period, no. Your menstrual cup should not cause you to have any additional odours. If you are keeping up with cleaning your menstrual cup regularly, and sanitising after each cycle, your menstrual cup should not have a smell. Over the years, if a slight smell develops try leaving the cup in direct sunlight for 24 hours and that should eliminate any odours. If your cup still has an odour, it might be time to replace it.

How does a menstrual cup stay in place?

There are many things that help the cup stay in place, from the durable and firm silicone it’s made from, to the shape, and position of the cup. Also, the vaginal canal has the ability to stretch and contract to accommodate different sizes and shapes, so, once inserted, the walls of the vagina close around the cup to hold it in place. In addition to this, our pelvic floor muscles help to hold the cup higher in the vagina.

I can’t remove my menstrual cup, is it stuck?

Most likely, no. Be sure not to panic! To remove a cup that appears to be stuck, get down into a squatting position, then bear down (push), and gently try to break the seal of your cup with a gentle pull; it should come right out without any problem.

Can I use a menstrual cup whilst swimming or doing other sports?

Yes! You can use your menstrual cup during any physical activity; it works just like traditional period products. Just remember to check in and reinsert your cup if you feel it might have moved as a result of physical activity.

How long can I leave a menstrual cup in?

This is dependent on the cup you use, but you can leave in our menstrual cup for up to 12 hours at a time! Once it’s been removed, emptied of flow, and rinsed, it’s okay to immediately reinsert it for another 12 hours!

How long does a menstrual cup last?

Because of the durability, and quality of the materials, menstrual cups are designed to last a long time, in fact, you can use the cup for years! On average, most of our users find their cups last for 3 years before they need to be replaced.

Can you sleep with a menstrual cup in?

Yes. Many people sleep with a menstrual cup in place because it is so comfortable! Just make sure you set an alarm if you intend to sleep past 12 hours since your last change.

Can anyone use a menstrual cup?

Yes! As long as you don’t have an issue with inserting the cup then anyone can use it. Prior to using a menstrual cup, you should ask your doctor if it’s okay to do so if you have a history of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), have recently given birth, had surgery, or have got an Intrauterine Device (IUD) fitted.

Can I use the bathroom with a menstrual cup in?

Yes, you can easily pee with your cup in. And it is perfectly okay to poop too, but as this requires a ‘pushing motion’, there is a slight risk that your cup could shift, which will then cause discomfort, so you may have to check and reinsert your cup.

Will a menstrual cup stretch out my vagina?

No, the vaginal canal cannot be stretched out. You will not notice any changes to the width of your vagina due to the use of a menstrual cup.

Can a menstrual cup damage my cervix?

There is usually no need to worry about damage to the cervix or cause for uterine prolapse with the use of menstrual cups. It would take an extreme amount of force and multiple years of improper use to even cause slight damage, you can read a little more about that here.

Can I have sex with my menstrual cup in place?

You can have any kind of sex, except penetrative vaginal sex, with a reusable menstrual cup in place!

My menstrual cup is stained; is it dirty?

No! Staining is normal for period cups and doesn’t mean they’re dirty or damaged. If there is extreme discoloration, however, it might be time to invest in a new cup.

Can I put my menstrual cup in the dishwasher?

Because of harmful chemicals that could mess with your vagina's ecosystem, it is wise to refrain from cleaning your menstrual cup in the dishwasher!

When do you know it’s time to replace your menstrual cup?

When your cup's life is coming to an end you will know. If you notice any kind of splitting, tearing, or holes - you should replace the cup immediately. If a foul odour is coming from the cup, or it becomes severely discoloured, or if the cup feels too thin, it is time to invest in a new menstrual cup. But you should get at least 2 to 3 year’s use out of your cup before you need to replace it.

Can I use a menstrual cup if I have a tilted uterus?

Yes! Many users with a tilted uterus find menstrual cups to be more comfortable than regular period products such as tampons.

Can I use a menstrual cup if I have endometriosis?

Yes! Many users with endometriosis find that using a cup helps avoid the ‘gushing’ feeling with pads or tampons, and because the cups hold more liquid you won’t have to change your period product as often.

How much money do you actually save by using a cup?

You can use our ‘period savings calculator’ on our website to see how much you would save, but on average it’s thousands of pounds if you add up all the period products you would use over the course of a few years.

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