EnvironMenstruals

for Better Menstrual Options

New Zealand's

One stop shop for alternative menstrual products

Kia Ora! Welcome to EnvironMenstruals.

How to use a menstrual cup

First of all, wash your hands. Then take your cup and fold it. Fold it any way you like that you think you can hold, fit, and open easily. A video of some popular folds can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nt6L-POE-b0

 Holding the cup so the fold is facing down/toward your back (so it will unfold more easily that way), insert your cup in a similar way as you would a tampon. Take notice of how your vagina is naturally tilted and insert the cup on that angle. When the rim is just past your pubic bone (where the vagina suddenly gets a lot squishier), or even just below that, let go of the fold and let the cup open. You may need to help it open by turning it or pushing and pulling it a bit. Once it's open, twist it around a few times (2 full rotations usually does it), or push/pull (gently) or squeeze the base to make sure the rim is fully unfolded, sometimes standing up and squeezing your pelvic floor muscles will help a softer cup to open up. You may want to reach a finger up past the cup body and feel for dents in the side - these indicate that it's not fully open, so you need to rotate it a bit more or it will leak.

Cups are designed to sit lower in the vagina than a tampon, so don't push it all the way in. Instead position it as low as you feel comfortable with, then squeeze your pelvic floor muscles to move it upward (these are the muscles you use if you're trying not to pee). This way it will naturally move up to where it wants to sit, under or around your cervix, rather than beside it.

Feel free to experiment - there is no right or wrong way to fold or open your cup. I find that each of my cups requires a slightly different technique of folding and opening.

For the next 8-12 hours (maybe less, depending on your capacity needs and your cup), go about your life. Ignore your period. Forget you're wearing a cup...

When it comes time to remove your cup, again make sure your hands are clean. Feel around for the cup stem (if you left it intact), give it a gentle tug to pull the cup down lower. Don't use the stem to just tug the cup out, that will hurt like ^%&*!! Pull it down until you can reach the cup body. If you can't reach the stem, try bearing down, like you're trying to do a poo - the cup will move downward. Now, grab hold of the base/bowl of the cup and squeeze it gently to break the seal. You may find it useful to refold the cup a little at this point. Now, holding the cup body, gently wiggle the cup out, removing it one side at a time (it's nicer than all at once). Just remember to keep the cup upright as you do this, so you don't make a mess.

If you experience any pain, tugging or any other forms of discomfort when removing your cup (especially if you also have an IUD) the STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING! You need to make sure that air can get through (the rim needs to be distorted a little, usually). You shouldn't try to remove the whole cup at once, always tilt/rock/rotate it out so that a little of the rim comes out first. If the cup seems to be stuck, you may need to squeeze the base to increase the pressure inside it, and/or distort the rim to let more air in. 

Rinse and repeat.

All cups come with instructions to help you with insertion, removal and cleaning. Make sure you read this. There are excellent tutorial videos on youtube (see my links page) if you need help.

There is a learning curve involved, just like with any new device, so don't get discouraged if you can't get it in, form a seal or remove it easily the first time you use it. You may get it first time, or it may take you a little longer, but don't worry, that's normal. You should really give yourself about 3 months with any new cup before giving up on it altogether, as it can take some getting used to. I recommend doing a 'dry run' with your cup before your period, or trying to insert and remove it a few times at home before venturing out into the world of public toilets, as removing it may be messy at first (dropping the cup on the floor in a mall toilet is not ideal for your composure), and it may take a little longer than you'd expect. You'll get faster and tidier with practice.