Let us discuss a few best practices that you should follow while using menstrual cups to avoid infections and stay safe and hygienic.
1. Sterilize your menstrual cup before each use. It is a good practice to sterilize it before as well as after each period. Avoid using microwaves for sterilization as it can ruin the material of your cup. The best way to sterilize is on the stove or with sterilizing tablets that are commonly used to sterilize baby equipment. It is OK to use the microwave once in a while when you do not have access to the stove.
2. Remove, wash and reinsert your menstrual cup at least every 4-8 hours during your period. This means that you will need to do this at least 3 times a day. You can leave it in for 10-12 hours if you are unable to find a toilet, but don’t make it a habit.
3. Wash your hands before and after handling your cup.
4. During the cycle, clean it with drinking water or mild, non-perfumed soap. Always rinse the menstrual cup well with water after using soaps as any traces left on the cup may cause irritation. Avoid using feminine wash/anti-bacterial soaps as some of their ingredients can cause irritation if used internally. You may use soap strips that come with the cup.
5. Wear the cup right after you have washed it, avoid keeping it on any surfaces as it can catch germs.
6. Do not wear the cup if you have a yeast infection although, it is believed that menstrual cups do not cause/worsen yeast infections, it’s better to not wear anything internal while dealing with an infection. If you have worn your menstrual cup while dealing with the infection, sterilize the cup thoroughly before your next use for safety reasons.
7. If you notice any burning or itching sensation, with or without yellow/green discharge while or after using the cup, seek medical advice.
8. Do not use menstrual cups or any other internal vaginal devices, if you have been previously diagnosed with TSS
9. Do not wear cups immediately after pregnancy as your body is quite sensitive and more prone to infections – it’s generally recommended not to wear anything internal until approved by your medical professional.
10. Do not use menstrual cups while applying vaginal creams as these may impact the material of your cup, also some creams may cause irritation if used internally.