Using A Menstrual Cup with OrganiCup

Using A Menstrual Cup with Organicup [AD]

This is an advert in collaboration with OrganiCup.

There's no one solution fits all when it comes to choosing sustainable period products. People are shamed enough about their menstruation without feeling like they're destroying the planet too. But if you're able to consider it, switching to a menstrual cup could be the best option for you and the planet. Here's why.

Menstrual cups are made from medical grade silicone, which is hypoallergenic and contains no harmful additives, latex, or rubber that might irritate you or interfere with your vaginal flora. Unlike tampons and pads, menstrual cups are free from toxins, perfumes, and bleaches; drastically reducing the risk of bacterial or yeast infections, rashes, and Toxic Shock Syndrome.

A single cup is reusable for up to 10 years, which eliminates the need for disposable products like tampons and pads, and the waste that comes with them. As a result it saves you money on repeat purchases. Menstrual cups are arguably better for you, your health, and the planet. They eliminate the waste of traditional period products, enable you to have a healthier, safer cycle, and save you money. What's not to love?

I'm not saying making the switch will be entirely easy. There's certainly a learning curve when adjusting to a menstrual cup but I believe it's worth the perseverance. Many people have a positive experience (once those learning curve kinks are ironed out) and benefit from the less wasteful, more healthy, plastic-free option of a menstrual cup so it's worth giving it a go.

How To Use A Menstrual Cup

A few things to consider before investing in a menstrual cup is your age, your flow, whether you’ve given birth vaginally, the strength of your pelvic floor muscles, and the firmness, flexibility, and capacity of the cup. When I asked on Instagram, the OrganiCup was the most popular menstrual cup; it came highly recommended. The cup is made from 100% medical grade silicone with no BPA, latex, or dyes. It comes in three sizes.

The unfamiliarity can be daunting but it's nothing to be scared of, I promise. Give yourself a couple of cycles to figure things out from the cup to the folding technique. You might need to size up or down, adjust the method you use for folding and inserting, or the frequency of changing it. Keeping some spare alternative period products on-hand is worth considering. Having a back-up will come in handy while you're learning to get to grips with your menstrual cup. I recommend these sustainable tampons and liners by & Sisters.

Get 20% off your OrganiCup with the code: SOPHIE20

Using A Menstrual Cup with Organicup [AD] Using A Menstrual Cup with Organicup [AD]

Folding and Inserting the Cup

Using a menstrual cup can take a bit of getting used to and there's a learning curve that might take a couple of cycles to get used it. I'm sharing what I learned to hopefully make the curve less steep or you.

When using a cup for the first time, you may find it uncomfortable. The first couple of tries I found it painful to put in and painful to get out. It got a whole lot easier when I used coconut oil. If you search online, there's a lot of "advice" claiming you don't and shouldn't need lubricant to insert a menstrual cup. If you need it: use it. People need lubricant for all kinds of reasons and since water or oil based lubricant won't damage your cup (please check before deciding which to use!) there's no reason not to use it if it'll make you more comfortable.

Finding the right fold (or folds) for you is important. The two most popular folds for inserting a cup are the C-fold and the Punchdown Fold. Get familiar with these before trying to insert your cup. I prefer the Punchdown as it creates a point making insertion much easier, unlike the C-Fold which is a lot chunkier.

When you're ready, fold (lube, if you need to) and insert the cup, rim up, just like you would a tampon. Once the entire cup (and all or most of the stem) is inside of you, let it pop open. Some people feel the cup pop, others don't. I don't so I learned a couple of tricks to make sure my cup was properly in place.

The cup creates a light vacuum, which secures it in place without leaking. The cup needs to be fully open to work effectively and not leak so if you don't feel the cup pop, check to make sure. Feel around the base of the cup - it should feel round or oval without any dents or folds. If the cup hasn't fully opened, gently grip the base (not the stem) and rotate it back and forth to make it unfold.

I found it tricky to reach in and manoeuvre the cup into place. It was easier for me to insert the cup fully, then push/pull the cup down very gently until I could feel the base more easily and check it had opened. If it hadn't opened fully (which it never seems to do for me), giving the base a squeeze usually popped it open.

The cup should be sitting as low as it comfortably can inside your vagina with the stem fully inside. If the stem sticks out, you can adjust the length by trimming it. I'd recommend leaving it as is until you're absolutely certain you need to trim it down.

The cup can be safely used for up 12-hours. The OrganiCup can hold up to 3 tampons, which means you can forget about your period for most of the day. Many menstrual cup users empty their cup in the morning, re-insert, and then do the same again in the evening (this is what I do). If you have a heavier flow, you may need to empty and reinsert your cup more frequently.

Using A Menstrual Cup with Organicup [AD]

Removing and Emptying The Cup

Removing your menstrual cup is important to get right. You need to break the vacuum created by the cup in order to avoid discomfort or even pain when removing it.

Pushing the cup down with your abdominal muscles and then applying a little bit of pressure by pinching the cup's base should break the suction, making it easier to remove. I'm still figuring out a method of removal that's entirely pain-free for me. Even after breaking the seal, the lip of the cup always causes a little discomfort when it pops out.

When you've removed your cup, empty it into the sink, rinse with cold water to avoid staining, and use a gentle, unscented soap to clean. If the tiny holes on the side of the cup are clogged it can prevent the cup from sealing properly so make sure you've cleaned those out.

Once you've rinsed your cup you can reinsert. Only when you're done with your cycle do you need sterilise it.

Using A Menstrual Cup Away From Home

While transitioning to a menstrual cup I've quickly learned that I wouldn't want to deal with my cup outside of a proper bathroom. You need a clean and comfortable environment. Dealing with a menstrual cup is unavoidably messy so I would be uncomfortable cleaning it (or seeing someone else clean theirs) in a public bathroom sink. Maybe that's just me.

A menstrual cup can be used for up to 12 hours so having to empty it while you're away from home is mostly avoidable, especially if you have a light/medium flow. On occasions where you simply must remove it, look for a bathroom stall with a sink. It may be useful to carry your own soap with you so that you have something appropriate to clean your cup with.

Cleaning and Storing A Menstrual Cup

In-between uses, cleaning in the sink will suffice; using your fingers and water to swill out the contents before reinserting. Rinsing your cup in cold water will prevent staining and using a non-toxic, unscented soap will avoid irritation. At the end of your period, the cup needs to be boiled for 3-5 minutes to sterilise it. You can do this on the stove in a pan. Store your cup in the organic cotton bag your OrganiCup arrives in and keep it somewhere clean and easily accessible for your next cycle.

Want to try a menstrual cup?
Get 20% off the OrganiCup with the code: SOPHIE20

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Using A Menstrual Cup with Organicup [AD] Using A Menstrual Cup with Organicup [AD]