Well, my first experience with a period cup or a menstrual cup got a little weird, as I could not figure out what to do with it exactly. I had to call a few of my friends who tried to explain how to insert a menstrual cup. However, second to that I thought of how would it fit in? Would it fit in? How?
As the saying goes, “practice makes a man perfect,” here, you must abide by it. Women, only practice can help you get at ease with the process. At least, that is what I have learned in all these years. This is also an eco-friendly way of living.
Unlike those disposable sanitary napkins, which absorb the flow and you throw away a few hours after every use, these cups collect the flow. And after every use, you throw the blood away. Because these cups collect the period cup, you can wash, sanitize, sterilize it, and use it repeatedly.
If you have landed on this article and have prepared your mind that you are shifting to a menstrual up from now on, you must follow a few steps before you dive into the practice part. And to begin with, you need clean hands.
Firstly, which cup size should you choose?
There are some important factors that you have to consider before you pick a menstrual cup. Some factors are more important than others, but thinking about all the factors is necessary.
Well, there are some brands who prefer not to base their cup sizes depending on the age, but on many sites, they mention that this can affect the pelvic floor muscles tightness. Mostly, the smaller size is used for those who are under 30, and the larger size is used for those who are above 30.
Menstrual cup size also depends on whether you have birthed a child or had a full-term pregnancy. This is also about the pelvic floor muscles, and pregnancy can make them weak. People who have not conceived or birthed a child, a smaller cup is recommended for those, and a larger cup for those who have given birth or gone through a full-term pregnancy.
The length of the vaginal canal is known as the cervix height. It keeps changing all through the menstrual cycle, and you have to know the lowest possible position. If your cervix is higher up, then you should consider a larger cup, as you might find it difficult to insert a small cup at that height. You can get to know the height of the cervix through a cervical check.
After pregnancy, and with growing age, the pelvic floor muscles relax. However, with the help of exercises, you can bring back the tightening effect. So, if you stay active, you might not need the larger cup and can go with the small cup.
Not many manufacturers mention the flow in the sizing guide, but this is equally important. If you know that your flow is light, you can go with a smaller cup, but if you change your pad or tampon every two to three hours, then you should go with a larger cup.
A very long cup becomes uncomfortable to keep in and probably is not going to, so it is best to measure your cervix during a cervical check and then get a cup.
Cup sizes mostly refer to the diameter of the cup. Going with that, a small cup has a small diameter as compared to the large cup.
Different menstrual cups have different capacities. Generally, a small menstrual cup holds 25 to 27 ml (about 0.91 oz), while the larger ones hold 330 ml (about 1.01 oz). This is not something important to consider unless you get an extremely heavy flow.
Preparations before using
Before you us the menstrual cup, there are certain things that you should do.
- Well, this is the most obvious one. Get the cup out from the packaging.
- Place the cup in a pot of boiling water and sanitize it for three to five minutes. But keep the lid off.
- Let the water cool off before you take the cup out of the pot. You can just keep it in the pos as the cup has ventilation holes in the base.
- Now, this is the time to calm yourself and relax. If you are tense, get tense as well. This is when inserting a cup becomes difficult. So before inserting the cup, just take a few deep breaths and relax a bit.
How to insert a menstrual cup?
Now, we come to the biggest issue of all, how to insert a menstrual cup. It might seem intimidating, by the look of it. But once you get the hang of it, it is not that difficult. With a little practice, you will know what to do and how to insert a menstrual cup.
Wash your hands with clean water and use a mild soap.
Get into a relaxed position. If you have used a tampon before then, then this is a lot like that. Try to sit on a toilet or be in the swatting position. So, find the position that works for you. You must try to know which one works best for you. If you are not comfortable, then inserting the cup will be difficult.
This is where the important part begins. The actual key is to fold the cup and make it small. As small as it possibly can get. It becomes easy to insert when you fold the cup in a way where it becomes very small. Most menstrual cups are made from high-grade silicone which is soft and super bendy. This is what makes inserting the cup easy for you. Here are some of the folds that you can try if you are worried about how to insert a menstrual cup.
The C fold
How it works: Flatten the cup and then simply fold it in half. Check the rim, it should form a shape like a “U” or “C.” Then gently insert the cup inside your vagina while you hold the fold in place. Use your index finger to flatten it and the middle finger and thumb to fold it. Then carefully slide the index finger out from the centre and hold the cup firmly.
Why people love it: This fold is one of the most effective ones for popping open the cup inside. Once you insert the cup inside the vagina, just let it go. It will pop open and form a perfect seal inside the vagina. If you are using the C-fold technique, you do not have to adjust it after inserting the cup inside the vagina.
The drawbacks: When you are using this technique the rim of the cup makes a larger diameter than any other folds. If you are a first-time user, this might be a little intimidating for you, especially for those who do not have any experience of inserting anything into their vagina.
The punch-down fold
How it works: With one hand, hold the cup at the base. With the help of the index finger of the other hand push down the rim of the cup into the base. Next, with the help of the base hand, push together the sides and create a narrow point of insertion. If you are nimble, you would be able to do the complete process with one hand.
Why people love it: This method forms a tiny insertion point and makes it easy to push into the vagina. This is a popular choice because the fold stays in place as you slowly insert the cup inside. That is why this fold is very popular among beginners.
The drawbacks: Well, not everyone has the same opinion about this technique. According to a few users they have to adjust the cup after inserting it inside the vagina to get it opened completely. After inserting prod, the cup and then tug it gently at the removal ring and ensure that the cup has opened completely, and the seal is also tight.
How it works: With the help of both your hands, fold the cup and cut it in half so that both the sides of the cup touch the rim at the centre. Then get on the corners down to the base of the cup, making sure that the cup forms a triangle-like shape. To make the 7-fold, after bringing the centre of the rims together, instead of bringing the whole thing to the base, form a 7-like structure.
Why people love it: This folding technique creates 7-like shapes and makes an insertion point. But for most of the younger users the 7-fold works best, as this is the smallest fold of all.
The drawbacks: This is a lot like the punch-down technique. Here, you also have to double whether the cup has opened completely inside the vagina. Again, pos the cup and tug the stem gently and ensure that the cup has opened completely making a tight seal.
How can you remove the menstrual cup?
Are you worried about how to insert a menstrual cup? But How to remove the menstrual cup is another challenge. There are a few steps that you have to do to take the menstrual cup out.
Step 1: Before putting your hands inside the vagina, wash your hands with clean water, and with a mild soap.
Step 2: Again, sit in a comfortable position that suits you. You can sit over the toilet or do it in the shower if you are scared that you might spill it. Use one of your hands to part the outer labia, with the help of the middle finger or the index finger, and with the help of your other hand, insert the fingers into the vagina.
You can use your thumb, index and middle finger or your index finger and thumb. Whichever works for you. Then with the help of your fingers locate the stem of the cup. You will feel the ridges just above the stem at the base, and then pinch gently the grooved area to get the suction released.
Step 3: Slowly, wiggle the cup down and get it out through the opening of the vagina, and make sure that the cup stays upright. If you are finding it difficult to get the cup out, try to push the cup out with your pelvic floor muscles.
Step 4: Firstly, empty the cup and then rinse it with some cold water in the first place, just to prevent any stains from setting in. Then wash the cup with a mild, unscented soap and warm water.
If you cannot wash the cup with warm water in between using it, then just empty the cup and rinse it with some toilet paper and get it clean. It is not always necessary to wash the cup with soap. Just ensure that those little holes at the top of the cup stay open and that there are no water bubbles in there. These little holes help in creating the suction seal when you get the cup inside you.
Step 5: Repeat this process as many times as you need, and do not forget to wash your hands before inserting your hands inside the vagina. Make sure that you at least empty the cup and rinse it properly every right hour. You can do it eight hours before as well, but try not to exceed the time.
For beginners, which is the best fold?
If you are a beginner, and trying to figure out how to insert a menstrual cup for the very first time, then it would be best to go with the punch down methos. The main reason is this creates the smallest point of insertion. Make sure that you rinse the cup with clean water. For the best possible results try to angle the cup towards the tailbone.
You can also try the 7-fold. Many of the teens use this fold as it makes the process easy and glides into the vagina with ease. The C-fold is for those who are experienced with insertion and have become comfortable with the whole process.
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