Menstrual cup: we solve all your doubts

The menstrual cup is a female intimate hygiene product that is inserted into the vagina during menstruation to retain the menstrual flow. It has exactly the same function as tampons, pads or panty liners, that is, it is used once a month to collect the blood expelled during menstruation. The menstrual cup is used internally like tampons, but, unlike the latter, it does not absorb blood. This remains contained inside the cup until it is extracted from the vagina and the liquid is discarded in the toilet.

This utensil has been gaining more and more followers among the female public due to its multiple advantages. Are you determined to introduce the menstrual cup into your life, but do you have many doubts about its use? In this article we have prepared a complete guide that will help you to answer all your questions about the menstrual cup. Very attentive!

We answer all your questions about the menstrual cup

We are sure that lately you have not stopped hearing about the menstrual cup, however, you probably have no idea how it is used, how much it costs, or what its contraindications are. Therefore, below we are going to tell you in great detail everything you need to know about this product so that you can calmly assess whether the menstrual cup can become your great ally during your menstrual cycle.

What is the menstrual cup made of?

Currently, the menstrual cups that are sold on the market are made of three different types of materials:

  • Surgical silicone: it is a safe and biocompatible material with the woman’s body. Its components can perfectly come into contact with the skin since they do not generate any type of problem or reaction such as allergies or inflammations. Silicone is firm, soft and also maintains body temperature. The main European brands of menstrual cups work with this material.
  • Latex – Latex is a material that is extracted from the bark of the rubber tree. It is ecological, has great resistance and its touch is very soft. In addition, it is extremely elastic and adapts perfectly to the woman’s body. It does not let air through, prevents moisture, is bactericidal and very hygienic. However, it should be noted that, in some people, it can cause allergic reactions that can range from a simple sneeze to anaphylactic shock. Some American brands manufacture the menstrual cup in latex.
  • TPE (thermoplastic elastomers) or Surgical plastic: this is a recyclable material used especially in ultra-sensitive products such as baby bottle nipples or medical catheters. Its composition makes it impossible to contract any type of allergic reaction. Some European brands use this material to manufacture menstrual cups.

How much does the menstrual cup cost?

  • Before knowing the price of a menstrual cup, you must first learn to differentiate between two types of menstrual cups: disposable and non-disposable. The main difference between one and the other is that the first is ‘throw away’ while the second has a much longer life expectancy (approximately ten years if you take good care of it).
  • Disposable menstrual cups are usually marketed in packs of two at an approximate price of seven euros, while non-disposable cups usually have a price ranging from fifteen to thirty euros, depending on their capacity and the quality of the materials they contain. which it is manufactured.

How can I find out what my menstrual cup size is?

The different brands that market menstrual cups usually use their own measurements. However, and in general, there are two sizes common to all of them:

  • Small menstrual cup: this size is intended for all those women who have not given birth vaginally and therefore have a strong pelvic floor. Also, the small size menstrual cups are perfect for girls with a light menstrual flow.
  • Large menstrual cup: this size is the most suitable for women who have given birth through natural childbirth and who, therefore, will have a much weaker pelvic floor. Unlike the small menstrual cup, you should use a large size if your menstrual flow is heavy.

More information about the different menstrual cup sizes here.

How to put the menstrual cup? step by step manual

Many women avoid using the menstrual cup solely for fear of not knowing how to put it on. It really is very simple and with a little practice you will quickly master the technique. Pay close attention to the instructions:

  • Before putting on the menstrual cup you must sterilize it. The most convenient as well as economical method is to put it in a saucepan with boiling water for at least five minutes.
  • Once you have sterilized the menstrual cup, you can proceed to put it on. You will have to fold it and introduce it little by little into the vagina (you can wet its edges a little so that it slips). A good and effective trick to make it much easier for you is to open the labia majora with one hand and gradually push it inwards with the other. You must make sure that it is fully inserted. To do this, you must push until the ball or end that finishes off the cup does not protrude.
  • When you have the cup inserted inside the vagina, get up. If you feel comfortable it means that you have placed, it perfectly. If, on the contrary, it bothers you, you should introduce it a little more. To do this, you must eliminate the vacuum that the cup has created by separating it from the walls of your vagina and pushing it inwards.
  • When the time comes to empty the cup, you must pinch the end of it and move it from left to right and from front to back. If you dare you can even insert your fingers to hold it from above. It is essential that you focus on eliminating the vacuum since once you do, the cup will come out without any problem. Once it is out you will have to pour its contents into the toilet and rinse it with water to be able to use it again.

The most important thing when it comes to putting on and taking off the menstrual cup is that you remain calm and have a lot of patience. At first it is very likely that you will tense up and close your muscles, but little by little you will get the hang of it and it will become much easier for you.

We give you more details about how to correctly place the menstrual cup here.

How long can I wear the menstrual cup?

Experts recommend not having it inside for more than eight or ten hours in a row so as not to keep blood retained for a long time. However, the menstrual cup does not contain harmful chemical components nor does it pose a danger of Toxic Shock Syndrome as it does in the case of tampons.

I can’t take out my menstrual cup, what do I do?

Do not panic. The menstrual cup has not disappeared inside your vagina nor will you have to carry it inside for the rest of your life. The solution to extract it is very simple and focuses mainly on keeping calm:

  • One of the most common reasons that make it difficult to remove the menstrual cup is nerves. If you are not totally relaxed it will be very difficult for you to get the cup out. You must avoid that your muscles are in tension to be able to do it without inconvenience and without causing discomfort.
  • If you are relaxed and you still can’t get the cup out, it could be that it has become dislodged inside you or has risen up more than necessary.
  • The first thing you must do to be able to extract it is to take a deep breath, calm down and place yourself in a position that is comfortable for you. Next, you should try to find the stem with your fingers and gently push the vaginal muscles out so that the menstrual cup goes down.
  • Thanks to these movements, the menstrual cup will gradually settle into place until you can pull it out without any problem.

Tips to take care of your menstrual cup

As we have mentioned before, the menstrual cup can have a useful life of up to ten years as long as you take good care of it. It is worth doing since, in this way, you will not have to be buying pads and tampons every time you get your period and you will save a lot of money.

You can follow some of the following tips to preserve your menstrual cup well:

  • Sterilize it well: it is essential that you sterilize your menstrual cup the first time you are going to put it on. From there, you can do it whenever you want: before each cycle, each time you empty it… It’s your choice!
  • Wash it with soap and water: if you can’t or don’t feel like sterilizing your menstrual cup after each of its uses, you can also choose to wash it with soap and water. If you have some intimate soap on hand, much better!
  • Clean it with a wipe: It is very likely that, at some point during your period, you will have to empty your menstrual cup in a public bathroom. Don’t worry! You can use a disinfectant wipe to clean it before putting it back on.
  • It is recommended that you avoid using very strong or aggressive soaps to wash your menstrual cup as they could damage it and also cause discomfort when you put it on.
  • Don’t worry if your menstrual cup loses color over time, turns a bit yellowish or has stains caused by blood. This is due to use and multiple washings and sterilizations but, despite this, you can continue using it without any problem.

Find more tips to take care of your menstrual cup here.

Can you sleep with the menstrual cup?

The answer is yes. Yes, you can sleep with the menstrual cup on, in fact, there are many reasons why it is recommended to do so: it is very comfortable, it does not move all night, it supports a capacity of up to twelve hours and, in addition, it is more hygienic than any other intimate product (sleeping with it will not cause you any type of infection or health problem).

Of course, remember to empty it as soon as you get up!

I am a virgin; will my hymen break if I use the menstrual cup?

  • This is one of the most frequently asked questions for all those women who have not yet had sex, but want to use the menstrual cup during their period. The truth is that it is not usual for the use of the menstrual cup to break the hymen. When inserted into the vagina, the hymen surrounds the menstrual cup like the neck of a bottle. Therefore, if it is inserted properly, it would not have to damage it.
  • In conclusion, a woman who does not have a broken hymen can use the menstrual cup perfectly. All it takes is to be relaxed and confident. You can even use some lubricant to make inserting the cup into the vagina easier for you.

Can I have sex with the menstrual cup on?

  • Having sex with your period has many benefits. If you know them, you may have considered having relationships during your period more than once, but what about the menstrual cup? Can you leave it on during sex?
  • In order to answer this question, once again you will need to consider the difference between reusable models and non-reusable models. Reusable menstrual cups should NOT be used during sex as they are thick and can hurt you. In addition, doing it with this type of glass will be somewhat uncomfortable and unpleasant. On the contrary, non-reusable menstrual cups CAN be used during sex since they are flexible and adapt perfectly to internal movement.

Can I use the menstrual cup if I have the IUD?

  • The answer is yes. In most cases, the menstrual cup and the intrauterine device (IUD) are perfectly compatible since the use of one does not interfere with the use of the other. While the menstrual cup (just like tampons) is placed at the entrance of the vagina, the IUD is in the uterus.
  • In any case, it is always better to consult a gynecologist beforehand so that he is the one who clears up your doubts regarding your specific case.
  • More information about the compatibility of the IUD with the menstrual cup here.

Can I use the menstrual cup after giving birth?

Have you been a mom recently? Do you want to know if you can use the menstrual cup after childbirth? You can use the menstrual cup again after giving birth, but you must respect the postpartum stage. This is the period of time that the complete recovery of the female reproductive system lasts after childbirth and usually ranges from five to six weeks. During this phase, the woman should not use any internal hygiene method.

More information on the use of the menstrual cup after giving birth here.

Situations in which you should not use the menstrual cup

At this point, there is no doubt about all the advantages of using the menstrual cup during the period, however there are women who prefer not to use it because they do not feel comfortable with it or because it is not entirely practical. These are some of the cases in which its use is not recommended:

  • Women who do not like blood: when introducing and removing the menstrual cup, the most common thing is that we stain our hands. This process can horrify all those women who feel a lot of reservations about blood. If this is your case, it is best that you opt for another less cumbersome method.
  • Discomfort or irritation: there are certain women who are prone to infections, inflammations or small wounds in the vulva or vagina. In these cases, it is better to avoid the use of the menstrual cup as it could be painful and worsen the symptoms. The best thing in this type of situation is to resort to other methods such as a compress.

We tell you other cases in which it is better not to use the menstrual cup here.

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