So you’ve probably heard about the menstrual cup or Moon/Diva Cup and wondered what all the revolutionary fuss is about, here’s some facts and tips to help you decide whether or not it’s for you.
What is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is a small silicon cup that you can use to collect your menstrual discharge and dispose of it discreetly. It is in the shape of a cone that fits snugly around the entrance of your vagina with an elongated ‘tail’ to help remove it easily. It has several ribs to keep it in place and small ‘breathing’ holes around the edge.
Why should I use it?
Some women prefer it to the tampon as it works out a lot cheaper at around £20 a year compared to £60+ for the combination of tampons and pads! It’s also a lot more eco friendly as you will be disposing a lot less products that are difficult or dangerous in landfill. It’s been well known that you can safely wear a menstrual cup for a little longer than a tampon because there are no fibres linked to toxic shock syndrome involved, just surgical grade silicon! Read more about toxic shock syndrome on the NHS website here. If you are used to using tampons you’re halfway there already, so it’s worth trying one out!
Where do I start?
You pick the correct size based on the size of your vagina, this mostly depends on whether you have birthed naturally or not recently. So if you haven’t popped one out, go for the small; if you have created life recently, go for the next size up! Mooncup has a simple guide here.
When you see it for the first time you may be a bit taken aback on the size of it, but don’t worry; your body does amazing things! You fold the cup up once or twice and insert it like you would with a tampon. However, unlike a tampon that you put as far up as you can, the menstrual cup sits close to the entrance. This may be a new experience that may take some time and practise, but practise makes perfect! There are some great tips here. It helps to fully insert it and then gently pull down to the entrance whilst contracting to create a secure seal.
How do I take it out?
This again takes some getting used to and finding a way that works best for you. Some people find pushing the cup to one side to release the suction and then pulling it from the tail will remove it without spillage. It can then be emptied into the toilet and rinsed/cleaned before reinserting. You shouldn’t need with change it when you’re out and about unless you have an exceptionally heavy flow, in this case you can just empty it and reinsert it. Carrying hand sanitiser around might help to clean your hands before you exit the cubicle looking like a massacre!
Ultimately, keeping calm and practise is key. Panicking will make your muscles contract and make life more difficult. So if you find yourself in that position, stop and try again later. If you find that you’re leaking whilst using it, make sure you have a secure seal by checking the holes are clear and the rim is not folded. Pantyliners can be used for insurance or a pad for the first few cycles so you can master it!
Not for you? Don’t worry, it’s not for everyone. Check out the last post on a few easy ways of being more sustainable here to cancel out your carbon footprint and keep using tampons guilt free!