Articles / How to Use Menstrual Cup: First-Timers’ Guide

How to Use Menstrual Cup: First-Timers’ Guide

12.07.2023 7 Minutes
How to Use Menstrual Cup: First-Timers’ Guide

"Wow, that looks so easy to use and not intimidating at all," said virtually no one upon encountering their first period cup. My reservations held me back from trying a menstrual cup for several years. However, once I finally embraced the change, my only regret was not doing it sooner!

I understand the hesitation – after years of relying on tampons and pads, the switch to a menstrual cup might seem daunting but knowing how to use menstrual cup can make complex simple.

What is a Menstrual Cup?

Initially, menstrual cups might seem more apt for holding a hard-boiled egg or perhaps a shot of tequila than managing Aunt Flo's monthly brew. Their wide appearance might also suggest difficulty in insertion, but folding them makes their size comparable to a tampon.

Let me assure you, based on personal experience, knowing how to use menstrual cup can significantly improve your period experience. However, mastering their use isn't always straightforward. While some users might adapt to using cups effortlessly right from the start, it's perfectly normal if you find it challenging initially – you're definitely not alone.

Menstrual cups are totally amazing, but they do require some patience and practice to use comfortably. And as grandma used to say, 'practice makes perfect.'

How to Use a Menstrual Cup

Before you even think about getting up close and personal with your menstrual cup, make sure to sterilize it according to the instructions provided. A clean start is the best start, am I right?

How to insert a menstrual cup?

If it's your first time getting to know how to a menstrual cup, it might feel a bit uncomfortable. To have a smoother insertion, try lubricating the rim of the cup with water or a water-based lubricant. This helps the cup slide in more easily.

Inserting your menstrual cup for the first time can feel like taking a shot in the dark, but with the right folding technique, it becomes much easier.

The punch down fold is universally loved for good reason – it makes your cup as slim and non-threatening as possible.

Don’t forget to relax your muscles and take it slow. The first time learning how to use the menstrual cup might feel like a new language, but soon you'll be fluent.

How Long Can You Wear Your Menstrual Cup?

One of the many perks of cup life is the extended wear time compared to tampons. Depending on your flow and the cup size, you can confidently rock your cup for up to 12 hours. Picture this – you’re living your best life all day (or sleeping like a baby all night) without a single bathroom pit stop. Talk about freedom!

How to remove a menstrual cup?

Keep calm and take a deep breath. A little bearing down action, combined with a gentle pinch at the base of the cup to release the seal, and you’ll have it out in a jiffy.

Don’t panic if your cup heads south and you think it’s lost. It’s a dead end street up there so unless David Copperfield has paid you a visit, your cup is still there. To help move your cup down, we recommend gently baring down like you are doing a poo and reaching for the toggle at the same time. While you are doing all of this the other, and most important thing, is to RELAX. The more stressed you are, the more your muscles will clench onto your cup, so deep breathes. If it’s still not budging, have a break and try again in an hour. Once you’re confident in using your cup, you will be whipping it in and out like a total boss, promise.

How to Care for Your Menstrual Cup?

Rinse and repeat – literally. Between uses during your cycle, clean your menstrual cup with water and a gentle, unscented soap is usually all you need. Post-cycle, give it a good boil to prepare it for its next appearance. Proper care means your cup could be your period pal for years, which is pretty awesome for both your wallet and the planet.

6 Tips on Using a Menstrual Cup:

Here are my pro tips regarding how to use a menstrual cup:

  1. Read the instructions provided. It kinda sounds like common sense, we've been amazed by how many users seem to skip this step. Just like you wouldn’t go parachuting without learning which cord to pull as you hurtle toward earth, take time to read what’s recommended for the cup you’ve bought. Different cup companies offer different advice – they know their cups best so take the time to read their advice.
  2. Don’t buy based on your menstrual flow alone – if you’re petite, a large cup will likely be too big for you even if you have a heavy flow so start with a smaller size. While you may find you can increase the cup size as you get used to how they work, when you are first starting out our advice is definitely to find a cup that is relevant to your age and body shape. If there’s not enough room for your cup to unfold, it will leak.
  3. The punch down fold is your friend. There are lots of fold recommendations online and again, the brand of cup you have may suggest a particular fold works best for their cup. At Hello Cup, we strongly recommend starting off with a shallow punch down fold, ensuring the ‘punch’ doesn’t go all the way down to the bottom of the cup. The shallower the indent, the easier it will open. Check out our video to see it in action.
  4. Don’t assume your cervix is ‘straight up’. The habitat of the cervix is a curious one. Some like to hang out to the side, some like to angle themselves backwards. If your cervix is in those categories, it doesn’t mean you can’t use a cup but you will likely have to experiment with the angle it sits on.
  5. Use a reusable liner while you are mastering your cup. We’ve heard plenty of stories of first-timers throwing caution to the wind and matching their new menstrual cup with a pair of white trousers with no issues what-so-ever BUT if you want an extra layer of security – a liner is a good idea.
  6. We recommend you measure where your cervix sits before you start cup life. Check out our cervix measurement guide here. At Hello Period we have specialist cups specifically designed for low and high cervix if you find you are in one of those categories.

What Sets Menstrual Cup Apart?

There are several factors that set menstrual cups apart from other menstrual products such as tampons and pads.

  1. Comfort and flexibility: Menstrual cups are made of soft, flexible material that conforms to the shape of your body, providing a comfortable and secure fit. They also allow for natural movement and can be worn during physical activities such as sports or swimming.
  2. Longer wear time: Unlike tampons and pads which need to be changed every few hours, menstrual cups can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time. This makes them ideal for overnight use or long days when it may be difficult to find a private place to change products.
  3. Better for the environment: Menstrual cups produce significantly less waste compared to disposable menstrual products, making them a more eco-friendly choice.
  4. Healthier option: Menstrual cups are made of medical-grade materials, which is safe for use in the body and reduces the risk of toxic shock syndrome associated with tampon use.
  5. Customisable fit: Menstrual cups come in different sizes and shapes to accommodate different cervix heights and vaginal shapes. This ensures a comfortable and leak-free fit for each individual.

What are Some Challenges and Solutions When Using Menstrual Cups?

Sure, in the journey of learning how to use menstrual cup, you might face a challenge like leaks or initial discomfort. But, like all good things, perseverance pays off. Identifying your cervix position can be a game-changer, as can experimenting with different folds. Remember, every body is unique, and finding your perfect fit might take a hot minute – and that’s okay!

How Much Does a Menstrual Cup Cost?

Less than you might think, especially when you consider that the right cup can last you years. It’s a one-time purchase that keeps on giving, saving you money and sparing the planet from disposable period product waste. Talk about a win-win!

How to Choose the Right Menstrual Cup?

Think about your flow, your anatomy (especially that cervix!), and your lifestyle.

You can opt for a regular size if:

  • You normally use regular tampons or pads before menstrual cups.
  • You have light to moderate menstrual flow.
  • You have not given birth vaginally.

Choose a larger size if:

  • You typically use extra-thick tampons or pads for nighttime.
  • Your menstrual flow is heavy.
  • You have had a vaginal birth.

The different sizes of menstrual cups can hold three times more than single-use tampons and pads.

The Last Drop

Entering the world of menstrual cups is like opening the door to a whole new dimension of period freedom and sustainability. It might take a minute to adjust and know how to use menstrual cup, but once you do, it’s nothing but smooth sailing. Here’s to taking the plunge – you’ve got this!