I’ve been using menstrual cups as my main period protection for four years, and they have changed my life much more than folding clothes into tiny squares – not to mention they’re much easier to use than the KonMari folding system! I get questions from my friends about the pros, cons, and the real tea about wearing a menstrual cup, so I’m sharing all my advice and recommendations about how to use menstrual cups, plus why you should consider giving them a try.
Why You Should Switch to Menstrual Cups
There are four main reasons why switching to a menstrual cup may be the right choice for you.
Financial – it’s cheaper to use a reusable period product, rather than buying pads and tampons every month. Do the math on the number of pads, pantiliners, tampons, and other period products you’ve bought in the past year, and compare that to the cost of a menstrual cup, which is around $30.
Environmental – a menstrual cup contributes significantly less plastic waste to landfills than tampon applicators and pads. I probably don’t need to elaborate on why plastic in landfills isn’t great for the environment, and by consequence, our livelihood.
Convenience – if your periods are regular, you can pop in your menstrual cup on the day you expect it to come, versus running to the bathroom every hour to see if it’s arrived. It can also stay in your vagina longer than a tampon and stays fresher than a pad, so you can wear it for much longer, up to 12 hours.
Comfort – tampons can dry out your vagina since they also absorb its naturally lubricating fluids, and pads can be feel uncomfortable and induce paranoia since blood has an odor once its outside of the body.
What If You Have an IUD?
There are many warnings online about using a menstrual cup with an IUD, because the cup’s suction could dislodge an IUD. I’ve had an IUD (will share more about that experience in a later post!) and wore pads for one cycle before I went back to the menstrual cup. I had absolutely no issues and never dislodged my IUD! I think it’s important to be knowledgeable about the length of your IUD strings and the position of your cervix, which your doctor can help you figure out if you’re unable to on your own. I never was able to feel my IUD strings, so they weren’t long enough to reach where my cup sat in my vagina.
The Menstrual Cup Adjustment Period
When I first started wearing a cup, I did a lot of research on the different cup options. To be honest I don’t exactly remember why I chose the Lunette Cup (I think it had great reviews on Amazon), but I’ve been happy with it ever since and haven’t tried any other brand! Most companies offer cups in two different sizes, often labeled as pre and post childbirth, with the post childbirth cup often being larger and wider. Lunette rebranded their cup descriptions to be less about childbirth and more about flow and vaginal size, so up until now I’ve used the Lunette Cup Model 1, but I just got the Model 2 cup and will be trying that next cycle! I’ll probably use Model 2 on some days and Model 1 on others, depending on my flow. The Lunette Cup comes in a variety of colors so it’s easy to have two models and tell the difference.
While I can now put in a menstrual cup while I’m half asleep, finding my ideal insertion technique had the same adjustment period as the first time when I started to wear tampons. I like to use the C fold (far left), and I squat over the toilet or in the shower, and sometimes I put one leg up – very similar to my tampon insertion technique. If you’ve never used tampons before and are interested in menstrual cups, then you should definitely use a Model 1 cup. And just so we’re clear – because I thought this for a bit especially when I was in high school – using a tampon or a menstrual cup will not make you lose your virginity, so don’t let that stop you from exploring period options other than pads.
Ok, But How Do You Keep a Menstrual Cup Clean?
If you’re removing and reinserting a menstrual cup at home, I find it easiest to just dump out into the toilet, and then rinse in hot water in the sink. While in public, a water bottle is your best friend. Enter the bathroom or stall with a few paper towels, remove the cup, use water to rinse out, and then dry it with paper towels. Lunette makes special cup wipes that would probably be great while on the go, and I’m also a fan of Lola’s cleansing wipes for cleaning my vagina while on my period in public – they’re also amazing while traveling!