What is a Menstrual Cup?
- Stated simply, a menstrual cup is a reusable tampon alternative worn inside the vagina that collects flow rather than
absorbing it. Cups come in all sizes and shapes to fit the wearer best and are most
often made from medical grade silicone (but not always.) They are a safer, healthier,
and more comfortable way to manage your period.
Is wearing a cup messy?
- Not at all! Even when removing the cup you should have little to no blood on your hands- remove
while over the toilet or in the shower.
Can you feel the cup while wearing it?
- When you have a cup that fits your needs (that’s where a quiz comes in) it should be entirely undetectable (or at least very close!) If you do notice the
cup, it is most commonly that the cup is not inserted properly (remove and try again)
or the stem that you are feeling (which can be easily trimmed or removed). If neither
of these things helps, you may have a cup that will work (catch your flow) but isn’t
the best for your shape. If it doesn’t bother you, you can keep on using it. If it
does, we recommend trying another cup that is softer than your current cup.
Can a cup get lost inside me?
No. At the end of your vaginal canal is the cervix (the opening to the uterus) and it
won’t allow anything past it… except sperm.
If your cup is “lost” and you can’t reach it, again, remember it’s not going anywhere.
Use your muscles to work the cup down low enough to reach by bearing down, the same
strain you use to poop. Once you can reach it pinch the base to break the seal and
Can the cup get stuck?
- No. The cup has no where to go but “out” and can’t possibly remain inside you or travel
farther than the cervix. If you go to remove your cup and it feels stuck the first
thing is to remain calm. Panic only worsens removal due to tense vaginal muscles.
Be sure you are pinching the base of the cup to break the suction the cup likely has
then pull out.
How do I know the cup is inserted correctly?
- When inserted properly, you should be able to feel around the cup and notice no pronounced
puckering. The cup can form to your shape a bit, so not being perfectly round is okay.
The cup should be comfortable and not protruding from the vagina. If the stem protrudes,
it can be trimmed. If the bottom of the cup protrudes, the cup needs to be placed
higher, or is too long for you.
- Confused about insertion? Check out this video by Put A Cup In It on the different ways to fold your cup for easy insertion!
How often do I need to empty the cup?
- Every 10-12 hours your cup must be removed. This reflects the experience of someone
with an average menstrual cycle (30-60ml total per cycle). If you have a heavier period
you will want to remove the cup and empty the contents more frequently. Cups do hold
4-6x more than a single tampon or pad so you will still get to wear it for longer
How will I know when the cup is full?
- It will make a sloshing noise. JUST kidding. Cups can be worn safely for up to 12 hours but we recommend checking it after 4 or
so when you first start using a cup. Within a few cycles you’ll have a better understanding
of your flow and how often you need to empty it.
Can I go to the bathroom with a cup in?
- Yes! Cups do not inhibit any normal functions — with exception to sex. If you find that
your cup moves down from having a bowel movement, it can be nudged up to be back in place. Cups
with a firmer base are great for this.
Can I wear a cup while exercising?
- Yes! Running (and any exercise) is great while wearing a cup. If you are very active you
may prefer a firmer cup, as these stay in place better against any muscle contractions
made while exercising.
Can cups cause toxic shock syndrome?
- No. You may be familiar with the risk of TSS associated with tampons, which is due to
their materials and the environment for bacteria that they can foster. These conditions
are not created with cups. TSS is a risk if the bacteria (most commonly Streptococcus
pyogenes (group A strep) or Staphylococcus aureus (staph)) can enter the bloodstream.
There have been just two reported cases of TSS alongside (not caused by) the use of
a cup when a woman scratched the inside of her vagina and the cup was not worn as
directed. You can read a lot more about TSS and menstrual cups here.
How and when do I sanatize my cup?
- We recommend sanatizing your cup inbetween cycles. For cleaning while on your period,
just rinse with water in between changes. You can also use a vagina friendly soap
and water inbetween wears.
- To boil your cup we suggest placing it inside of a metal whisk and resting that in
a boiling pot of water for 1-2 minutes. There is no reason you can’t use the same
kitchen utensils you use for food.
How do I change my cup in public?
- If you find yourself in a public stall without access to your own personal sink you
can remove your cup, dump contents, and wipe the cup rim with toilet paper. Wash as
usual when you are back home. There are also portable single use cup wipes available to keep in your purse if you choose. If you do have access to a sink in
the public bathroom use only water and not the public soap since you won’t know what
ingredients are in it that could potentially be too harsh.
How do I store my cup between periods?
- Most brands include a small cotton pouch to store the cup in. If you are choosing
your own bag be sure it’s breathable for long term storage (PUL waterproof bags are
ok for short stints in your purse).
- Check out this document that contains additional links and resources to help your transition to a more sustainable period. These resources were put together
from a recent presentation between CSUSM & CSUN