Okay. So you just got your cup in the mail and you’re slightly excited, slightly nervous, and you’re 100% in the what-did-I-do-but-it-could-be-good zone.
We’ve been there.
One of the scariest things about trying something new is the unknown. So today, we’re covering everything we can think of on how you use a menstrual cup!
Here’s everything you need to know, from how to handle your first try at inserting and removing — to the 8 steps of using the cup! Let’s take the fear factor out and give you all the things you need to slay this new period care you’re trying out.
Tips on Inserting a Menstrual Cup for the First Time
Find the right time. It’s exciting and nerve-wracking to try something new so to give yourself the most room for success, plan for a quiet time with up to 30 minutes to get used to your new period care system.
Relax. If you’re feeling fluttery, be sure to breathe deeply before, during, and after your practice session. Don’t be afraid to “lose” the cup — your vagina only has so much room for it to move and the stem is there to help you remove it!
To help you feel fully prepared, read through the “how-to” included with your cup, maybe enjoy a bath, and then experiment with inserting your period cup. View it as a time to pamper yourself and learn and grow as a woman.
Get Acquainted with the Cup and Yourself. It's helpful to have a little knowledge about your personal anatomy to get the cup to sit right and seal well. The period cup should sit comfortably just below your cervix — your cervix position and shape will impact how it fits and how far in the stem stays during your period.
If you want to check out where your cervix is, just insert your index finger and check for something that feels like the tip of your nose. If you can easily reach it, you should have no problem with any cup and may be more comfortable trimming the stem. If your cervix is a bit further up, you may want to get the larger size and keep the stem.
Note: During your period, your cervix is lower and more open than at other times in your cycle.
Test it out before your period. To understand how the cup works, sans the blood, you may want to get some lubricant (100% pure aloe vera gel is a great natural option) and try inserting the cup without the mess.
Take a few deep breaths and relax. Relaxing your muscles will make things go a lot smoother.
Like everything period related, position matters! Try sitting or squatting to see what works best for you. You may need to practice inserting it a few times to get the best feel.
While on Your Period. Give yourself some grace when it’s your first time inserting the cup on your period. Know that you’re trying something new that will take some getting used to! Be prepared with wipes for your hands and a water bottle to rinse the cup out if a sink isn't super close.
At first, you can use a pantyliner to be sure the seal is good and there aren't any leaks. Once you have the right fit and get used to using the cup, you shouldn’t need anything else for period protection.
Be sure that you clean your cup daily and if you see any unusual discharge or notice a smell, stop using the cup, as this could signal an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria. With proper care, most women never have an issue with this period care solution.
First Time Removing the Cup
Relax. This is a common theme, but it’s worth noting again, to just take some deep breaths to help your body relax as you attempt to remove the cup for the first time.
Release the Suction. To break the suction, simply pinch both sides of the cup with your thumb and index finger. If you are using our Easy-Empty™ Cup, you will need to be sure the bead is in the up position before pinching the cup.
Rock gently. To remove, simply rock the cup back and forth until you’ve removed it completely. At this point, you can pour the excess blood in the toilet, wipe it with some tissue paper, and set it somewhere sanitary until you can give it a good wash.
If you feel like you are having a difficult time retrieving the cup, remind yourself that it has nowhere else to go, and you can remove it. You can try another position, pinch the cup with a more firm grasp, and take your time taking it out. Within a few days, you should feel like a pro!
Steps to Use Your Menstrual Cup
Before using your new cup, boil some water, remove from the heat, and let the cup sit in it for about 5 minutes. Be sure the silicone isn’t touching metal or a surface that could melt or damage it. You may want to have a dedicated mug to sanitize your cup in. Simply pour the boiling water over the cup in the mug, and let it sit until cooled.
2. Wash Your Hands
Cleanliness is SO important when it comes to using this form of period care. Be sure to wash your hands before and after each time you touch your cup.
3. Rinse and Wash the Cup
From washing it to storing it, be sure you have some great fragrance-free, antibacterial-free, and oil-free soap close by — think an organic unscented bar or something liquid, free and clear.
4. Fold the Cup
Most people enjoy the basic C fold or the Punch Down fold, which creates a nice small insertion tip, but if you’re looking for something more comfortable, you can explore with a few more shapes! Here are a few different folds to try —
Hold the cup firmly in one hand, and gently locate your vaginal opening with the other. Aim the cup at the base of your spine, at a slight upward angle. Gently insert and remove your fingers slowly when you feel the cup sitting in a good position.
Grasp the base firmly and gently rotate in one full circle. You may feel or hear a "pop" as it opens and forms a seal in the vaginal canal — you can check if it’s sealed by feeling if the cup is round and smooth, without any folds. You can also gently try to move the stem to see if the cup moves position at all.
6. Wear and Adjust
You may be more curious at first and want to check your cup more often to be sure you’re not coming close to overflowing your cup. This is fine and all part of learning more about your body!
7. Remove and Empty
This may be the scariest step, but thankfully, our two options make it a bit more pleasant!
While it's most comfortable and convenient to empty the cup at home, you may want to have some wipes and/or a water bottle with you when out and about in case you have to empty your cup it in a public bathroom.
The Simplicity Cup or Other Traditional Cups
While sitting or squatting, you will need to pinch the base of the cup to break the suction — never pulling on the stem — and rock it back and forth slowly until you have it out. Empty the blood in the toilet, rinse if you are able to, wipe, and reinsert.
The Easy-Empty™ Cup
If you are wearing our proprietary valve cup, you will be able to pinch the pearl up to release the contents into the toilet and pinch the bead back down to close the valve and restore leak-free protection.
Remove it once a day to wash the cup with soapy water (perhaps during your shower to keep it simple). And that’s it! A hassle-free way to handle your period.
After your period is over, wash it well, sanitize, dry fully, and store in a cloth bag in an unsealed storage area, to let air continue to circulate.
Getting Used to Your New Period Care Routine
The cup is life-changing.
When you are able to go about your daily life and only stop once or twice a day to check, clean and change your cup, life is good! Instead of throwing away pounds of soiled, processed cotton and plastic in the form of pads and tampons, you now can check off another eco friendly change that literally saves you time and money.
Everyone is unique, and you may have other questions that aren’t addressed in this “how to.” Feel free to reach out to your friendly Femallay period care experts to share any questions or concerns! We’re here to help you get accustomed to your new period care routine!
And finally, share your success stories on social using #femallay or by messaging firstname.lastname@example.org!