In partnership with Lunette Cup, I’ve put together a VERY in-depth post for you on all of the intricacies of using a menstrual cup as well as what I thought about using a cup from Lunette for the first time.
I’d love to say using a menstrual cup came naturally but it did not. There were so many things about using one I’d wish I’d know before I started. Of course, I started using one over 5 years ago back when it wasn’t as popular and the resources weren’t as plentiful. Though I really wish I’d known about them years before.
It really was a trial by error process that I nearly gave up on, if I’m being honest. I went through multiple cycles with issues and tribulations before I finally got the hang of it. Of course, that’s typical for me considering my embarrassing past with tampons.
I can’t believe I’m telling this story as I’d never told anyone but why the hell not.
When I was in 5th grade, I remember having my first group talk at school regarding puberty and sex education. Let’s just say it was pretty damn brief. We vaguely learned about the female and male bodies and went home with a “discrete” paper bag full of super-absorbent maxi pads.
Even after that class, I still had ZERO clue what to expect when my period first came. And not to knock my mother, but I never really got a full “run down” on what a period was, the products involved, or how to even use them.
I’m pretty sure, at the time, tampons were still deemed “Satan’s Little Cotton Fingers” that took little girls’ virginities away. There people out there that actually believe TSS (toxic shock syndrome) is God’s way to punish women for using them. Digest that if you will.
Fast forward to after my period was a normal part of life. I had only ever used pads because I still didn’t know how to use tampons. I felt trapped every 3 weeks, especially in the summertime when all of my friends were hanging out at the pool and I was stuck at home.
I remember finally having enough and went to the store and bought a box of tampons. I was way too embarrassed to ask my friends for help and was too proud to ask my mother. So, I stuck one in and attempted to go about my day to see how tampons felt.
It hurt. Like, bad. “How on earth do women wear these things?!”, I thought as I waddled around my house.
I gave up. Got rid of the box I had just purchased – they were expensive. And sadly laid in bed for the remainder of the week.
Here’s the embarrassing part. It wasn’t until college that I had realized that THE PLASTIC PART DOESN’T STAY IN, TOO.
Fine, yes, you can laugh. We didn’t have readily available youtube videos and resources like you all do today. We had to actually read books and ask other humans’ for advice back then, 100 years ago.
I really hope menstrual education is better today and I hope that menstrual cups are part of the lessons because if they are not, then Mommas, let’s give our menstruating children the tools for a healthy, financially-friendly, and eco-friendly period.
What are menstrual cups?
If you’ve made it this far and are confused as to what I’m talking about, let me explain.
Menstrual cups are flexible, silicone cups that are inserted into the vagina to capture menstrual fluid during menstruation.
Unlike disposable menstrual products, they can be worn all day without fear of TSS (toxic shock syndrome) and are reusable, lasting up to 10 years. They can eliminate 1000s of dollars worth of products in your lifetime as well as liberate you from the typical period routine. You never have to worry about buying any more products.
And for a little history lesson, since menstrual cups are not a new invention at all…
Some of the first cup prototypes were created in the USA around 1860. Most of them never made it to market, unfortunately. Probably because they were a little, well, “interesting”. In 1937, the modern design we are familiar with today was created by American actress Leona Chalmers.
The cups were made of latex rubber making them comfortable, and very convenient. However, during the Second World War, latex rubber was in short supply causing cup manufacturing to halt.
The product was relaunched in the 50s, but despite glowing reviews and recommendations from nurses, society deemed reusable menstrual cups taboo. Humans… I’m guessing as a result of some marketing campaign to keep the sales from disposables increasing. That’s always the case.
Despite singing their praises though, there are still a few things I wish I’d know before I started using one.
Things I Wish I’d Known Before Using a Menstrual Cup
Menstrual Cups are not one size fits all.
There are actually a few things to consider before purchasing a cup.
- Your age.
- Your flow amount.
- The length of your cervix.
- Whether or not you’ve given birth.
Most menstrual cup companies have at least 2 sizes. The smaller version is intended for women who are under 30, have not given birth vaginally, and have a normal flow.
The size 2, larger version, is for women who have given birth vaginally, or older than 30, or have a heavier flow.
How to put it in.
Yea, I had no idea. I fumbled around twisting and turning it every which way to get it in only to find that after I got it up in there, it leaked. Or that it felt weird.
There is a right and wrong way to insert apparently. And lucky for you, I’m a master cup inserter so I will show you my “never-fail” way to fold and insert.
The happy face fold.
This is just what I call it because well, it looks kind of like a smiley face?
Just press your finger into the side until you can basically fold it in half, longways.
- When inserting, I find it easier to either do it while sitting on the toilet or in the shower with one leg up.
- Make sure your hands and cup are clean leaving the cup wet to reduce friction.
- Relax your muscles.
- Fold the cup as I showed you above.
- Insert the cup until it’s sitting just slightly below your cervix (like a tampon).
- Turn the cup slightly so that it opens up and creates a seal.
And that’s it!
If it’s properly inserted, you won’t feel a thing – the cup should be very comfortable.
How to get a menstrual cup out.
Of course, if you’ve had a baby, this is pretty well self-explanatory. But for us who are a little greener when it comes to the workings of our vaginas, this could be a new learning experience.
- Just like inserting, I prefer to do this on the toilet or in the shower.
- Make sure you have clean hands.
- Relax those muscles.
- Push pelvic muscles slightly.
- Reach in and slowly wiggle it out breaking the seal gently by pressing on the side of the cup first before using the stem to pull it out. This is especially important if you have an IUD. You wouldn’t want to suck that out accidentally.
- I empty into the toilet then rinse in the sink.
How to change it in public.
Though I rarely if ever, need to change and empty my cup in public, there have been a few times it was necessary. Without a system, it was awkward and nerve-wracking. It’s just one of those things I’d never thought about until the time came when I didn’t have a choice.
I had to come up with a simple way to manage it without making a mess and to make it more convenient. To do this, I have a kit I bring in my purse.
I keep the following:
- Cloth wipes
- A couple of cloth pads (just in case I decide to wear those instead of the cup.)
- A portable bidet from Tushy for rinsing.
- And a bag to keep everything in.
How to clean it.
I just lightly rinse in between daily changes, but in between cycles, I like to sanitize it to ensure it’s perfectly clean for the next month.
I first scrub it with soap and water then add to boiling water for no more than 3 minutes. Once done, I put the cup in its little bag and store it away for the next cycle.
How difficult it would be to use it after having a baby.
Things were just different down there if you know what I mean. I had it in my mind that it would be no different than using my cup before baby but was I wrong.
I honestly couldn’t use my cup for months after giving birth and had to retrain my body to accommodate it once again. I have a whole post going into detail below.
Review of Lunette Cup
Lunette Cup was so nice in sending me one of their cups for review and it was perfect timing too! Like the day it came, I started my period so it was just fate I guess.
On my first day, I’m usually pretty swollen and sore so menstrual cups usually don’t feel very good. I was surprised at how comfortable the Lunette Cup was. It is soft, super flexible design allowed me to wear it even on the first day without any trouble.
The stem is the perfect length and didn’t require any alterations. On other brands, the stem has been too long and needed trimming.
I had zero trouble with any leaks even during the night. Overall, I’d rate the Lunette Cup as the perfect first and last cup you’d ever need. I’m honestly upset this wasn’t the first cup I tried rather going through other cheap-o options to only be disappointed.
What are some things you don’t understand about Menstrual Cups or things you wish you knew?