It is easier to insert the cup when you are relaxed and if you do it when you do not have your periods, the process will be better, suggests Srijana Bagaria, co-founder, Pee Safe.
A quick swipe through Instagram and you are sure to notice several women narrating their experience of switching to sustainable menstrual products.
While there are biodegradable sanitary pads and tampons, the newest rage is around what are called menstrual cups.
Those who rave about using this alternative product, talk about how easier, cleaner, and safer they are to deal with their periods not to mention the fact they last longer (up to 10 years!).
With all those reviews and why, even your friend using a menstrual cup, it sure must be tempting to try these out for yourself too!
If you are someone who wants to make this switch to more sustainable periods, but are wary of using something that needs to be inserted into the body, we have you covered. Some practical tips and you are good to go.
At the outset, it is important to remember that the cycle length and flow, cervix position, pelvic floor strength, and other things vary for every woman.
Given this, do not expect to be able to get it right the very first time.
For most women, it takes a bit of practice to get used to a menstrual cup and you may want to use a panty liner for the first couple of cycles.
Once you are confident of using it, there is no looking back.
Here are some things you should consider:
1. Get the size right
Menstrual cups come in different sizes and not getting it right can make the experience uncomfortable or lead to a leakage.
There is no way to know what the exact measurement or size is but a little bit of trial and error can do the trick.
2. Insert it correctly
Those who have used a tampon before may find the process of inserting the menstrual cup a tad bit easier.
All you need to do it is to fold it correctly and insert it at the back of the vagina. Make sure it sits comfortably.
It is possible to trim the tip of the cup as well. When the cup is inserted correctly, you should not feel anything inside of you or experience any leaks. Some things to note.
3. Understand how to do it
Read instructions carefully before use isn’t just another statement on labels.
Make sure you do read what is given about using the menstrual cup.
Get to know the different folding techniques to find out what suits you best.
In case you experience any issues for a prolonged time, make sure to contact a doctor or healthcare professional.
4. Stay calm and composed
It is easier to insert the cup when you are relaxed and if you do it when you do not have your periods, the process will be better.
Do not just insert and leave it in place but try to walk around with it, do your work regularly, and then remove it.
It is easier to insert a cup when it is wet.
Damp the vagina entrance with either water or a lubricant to make the process of inserting it better.
5. The pop sound!
A menstrual cup must be inserted at a horizontal angle of 45 degrees.
Squat down on the knees with them spread open to insert it properly the first time.
The cup should achieve a good suction seal around the vaginal wall and wait for the 'pop' open sound.
In case you do not hear that sound, try running your finger around the base of the cup to ensure it is not flat or scrunched at any spot.
Try to do some pelvic floor exercises (kegels) to help establish the seal.
Note that the cup should sit low in the vagina rather than on the opening of the cervix. Nothing should be out.
6. Keep it clean
The vagina is a sensitive area and therefore, any external products that are used in and around must be clean and hygienic.
Make sure to wash your hands well before and after inserting and removing the menstrual cup.
Menstrual cups are reusable and therefore, even these should be cleaned with a mild soap to prevent any infection.
Clean them with some cold water first and then run them under warm water. Stretch out the holes gently and use a brush to remove any debris.
Although all these tips can read like using menstrual cups is a big deal and complicated, in reality it is a cakewalk once you get it right.
Start using them and you will be left wondering why you did not try them earlier. Pretty soon, you will also perhaps be getting your friends to switch -- not to mention posting Insta stories about them!
Srijana Bagaria is co-founder, Pee Safe, a company that specialises in sanitation and hygiene products.