So you finally made the decision to switch from using disposable tampons & sanitary pads to using menstrual cups but you’re still a little hesitant because you’re a virgin or a younger woman. Fear not! I’ve written down some tips to help you feel more comfortable with switching. I can say from personal experience that switching to menstrual cups was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!
Note that you will have to be relatively comfortable with your body and menstrual cycle to go through the following:
- Learn about the anatomy of your reproductive system.
- Measure your cervix during your period as the cervix tends to drop lower during that time. (Insert a clean, long finger into your vaginal canal and feel for a small round ‘nub’ or ‘marble’ shape. If you can fit your finger in till the first knuckle, you have a low or very low cervix. If you can fit your finger in till the second knuckle, you have a medium or low cervix, If you can fit your finger in till your third knuckle or can’t feel your cervix at all, you have a high or extremely high cervix.
- If you are a virgin or your hymen is still intact, you must know that using a menstrual cup might be painful at first or might even damage your hymen. If you have some cultural issues regarding this or want to keep an intact hymen for marriage (however, not having a hymen does not mean you aren’t a virgin as you can tear or stretch your hymen via numerous non-sexual activities. You can only lose your virginity via sexual intercourse), you should use reusable pads instead, but this should not deter you from using menstrual cups as there are many advantages to using one.
- Look up menstrual cup brands, according to your preference and height of cervix.
- If you are a teenager, it is best if you choose a smaller size cup- SochCup which is made in France, as these will be easier to insert and remove.
- Do not buy the smallest cup you can find just because you’re a virgin. If you have a heavier flow look for a slightly higher capacity cup as this will save you from frequent trips to the toilet.
- If your first cup is not your ‘Goldilocks’ cup (the perfect fit for your needs), don’t worry. It takes most women at least 2-3 cups to find the perfect one and some women are lucky enough to find them immediately.
- Find a suitable lubricant as you will need it initially.(Aloe Vera is good enough if you prefer you can look for other brands that are safe was internal use)
- If you have a lighter flow you could purchase a smaller cup or even a higher capacity cup since you won’t need to empty it that often anyway (I have rarely ever seen a woman go full 12 hours without emptying her cup at least once on the heaviest day)
- There are many folds you can use to make the point of insertion tiny such as the 7-fold, the Origami fold, the Punch down fold & the Labial fold.
- Try your cup on a ‘dry run’ if necessary. However, dry runs are usually not successful and can be more painful, as blood acts as a natural lubricant during periods.
- Remember that the menstrual cup can never get ‘lost’ in your vagina. The cervical opening is too narrow to let a menstrual cup pass through.
- Don’t panic if at first, you have to fish around a bit to remove your cup. Trust me, we’ve all been there!
- Remember to trim the length of the stem of your cup according to your preferences.
- Make sure your cup is very clean and remove any specs of leftover blood, etc (You can use water or a gentle soap like a natural probiotic soap or castile soap during your period and boil it after your period for a few minutes to sanitize it. Using an egg whip will save your cup from touching the edges of the pot and getting burnt).
- If you think your menstrual cup smells (This rarely happens, however) you can soak it in hydrogen peroxide mixed with water, lemon juice, or even leave it out in the sun for a few hours).
- Store your cup in a cool, dry location away from heat sources or the sun.
- If you are allergic to Latex, opt for silicone or TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) cups.
- If you have used tampons before, the learning curve may be shorter than with pad users.
- Do not panic! Using a menstrual cup has changed my life. I no longer dread the day my period arrives & can travel in comfort without having to worry about dirty toilets, disposing of sanitary pads & tampons, etc. It helped ease my cramps and shortened my period by a day. I can finally swim without worrying that I’ll leak as I did via tampons, I can trek & tolerate hot, humid environments with ease and go at least half a day without having to empty the cup on my heaviest day and so many other positives!
All in all, this is one decision you will not regret. Yes, it does seem costly at first but remember, with proper care a good menstrual cup can last for up to 10 years (though some women prefer to change it earlier for personal or aesthetic reasons).
Need help in selecting the right cup? Visit our Cup Quiz.
Watch this video to see how to insert a menstrual cup: