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How to Use a Menstrual Cup

How to Use a Menstrual Cup

Sustainable Wellness

Last Updated on May 29, 2020

I first heard about menstrual cups or period cups when I was doing outdoor theatre one hot and humid summer. 

I was living in actor housing made from cinder blocks and bunk beds built by the set department – glamorous. 

But, what it lacked in sophistication, it made up for in some of the best memories of my life. 

Which reusable menstrual cup is right for you from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #menstrualcup #intimina #periodcup #lowwaste #periods #sustainable #wellness

This post was sponsored by Intimina, all thoughts and opinions are my own, for more information please see my disclosure policy.

We were steps away from a gorgeous forest filled with lightning bugs, warm nights, lots of laughter, and female friendships that embraced women’s health, periods, and hormones. 

Growing up, many of those subjects were taboo. It felt so liberating to talk about them in a comfortable setting and without judgement. 

Shortly after leaving that gig to pursue another, I picked up my first menstrual cup – and it’s one of the most life changing zero waste swaps I made! 

If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you know I LOVE my Thinx period panties which work beautifully in conjunction with Intimina’s range of menstrual cups

Menstrual cups were a cornerstone swap for me. I consider cornerstone swaps to be the ones that just revolutionize everything – the ones where everything just falls into place.

These are the swaps where you couldn’t pay me to go back to using disposable products. You know what I’m talking about? 

It’s the swaps that just make SO much sense. The ones that save you money, are easy, effective, and work SO much better than anything you’ve ever tried before. 

Menstrual cups checked all of those boxes for me. They worked a lot better than any tampon I’d ever used and were more comfortable. 

Plus, it fostered a better relationship between my body turning something that I thought was gross (newsflash – it’s not!) into a deeper understanding and acceptance of who I am. 

If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you know I LOVE my Thinx period panties which work beautifully in conjunction with Intimina’s range of menstrual cups

Many of my friends use both cups and reusable period panties together. 

If you have a heavier flow, pairing an Intimina cup with a pair of reusable period panties might work perfect!  

But, before I go any further I want to break down some of the F.A.Q.s. 

Which reusable menstrual cup is right for you from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #menstrualcup #intimina #periodcup #lowwaste #periods #sustainable #wellness

what’s a menstrual cup? 

The first period cup was invented in 1867. Which came a decade before pads and more than half a century before tampons. 

However, I hadn’t heard about them until 2013 so don’t worry if you haven’t either. 

Menstrual cups, like Intimina’s, are made from 100% medical grade silicone, and are inserted into the vagina similar to a tampon. 

But, instead of absorbing blood like a tampon, they catch it! 

Which reusable menstrual cup is right for you from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #menstrualcup #intimina #periodcup #lowwaste #periods #sustainable #wellness

how do menstrual cups work?

There are several different folding methods, but one of the things I really like about Intimina’s Lily Cup is that it folds so small that it’s the same size as a tampon. 

You insert the folded cup into your vagina, and then twist it slightly to allow it to unfold naturally. 

At the base of the cup there’s a stem which you can tug on slightly to make sure that your cup is placed well. 

I’ve found it’s easiest to do this while squatting over the toilet rather than just sitting down. 

The first time I used a period cup, especially not being a tampon wearer in the past, I had a lot of difficulty getting it into place.

Using a personal lubricant made it so much easier! So, if it’s your first time using a cup I highly recommend. It will be so much easier for you to insert it and understand what it feels like for the cup to be in the right place. 

If your cup is placed well, you won’t be able to feel it when moving around. You also want to make sure the full cup is unfurled to avoid any leaking! 

Cups stay in place by using suction, which is completely painless. 

When it’s time to remove your period cup, I like to kegel my cup down a bit and pinch the base. When you pinch the base of your cup, you’re able to break the suction and slide the cup out easily. 

Which reusable menstrual cup is right for you from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #menstrualcup #intimina #periodcup #lowwaste #periods #sustainable #wellness

are menstrual cups messy? what happens when your cup is full? 

I either take my cup on the toilet or in the shower. If I’m on the toilet I scoot back and squat slightly. I kegel the cup down and then pinch the base to release the suction. 

Then I can easily flip the cup out and dump the blood into the toilet bowl. 

If I’m at home, I use my bidet to rinse my body and my sink to rinse my cup before reinserting. 

If I’m somewhere like a public restroom without access to a private sink, I would wipe the cup with toilet paper and then re-insert. I would rinse the next time it was convenient. 

Which reusable menstrual cup is right for you from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #menstrualcup #intimina #periodcup #lowwaste #periods #sustainable #wellness

will my menstrual cup leak? 

Every body is different. Some people experience a little bit of leaking like with a tampon and others won’t. 

But, if the cup is placed properly, you shouldn’t have any major leaks. If you’re experiencing a lot of leaking you may have the wrong shape, style or size of cup for your body.

I wore my first cup for a little over a year, and never had an issue with leaking.

Which reusable menstrual cup is right for you from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #menstrualcup #intimina #periodcup #lowwaste #periods #sustainable #wellness

how often should a menstrual cup be replaced?

If we’re talking per menstrual cycle, then you should be removing your cup every twelve hours and giving it a rinse before re-inserting.

 But, of course you can change it more frequently if you need to. 

If we’re talking overall lifespan, high-quality cups like Intimina’s are made of 100% medical-grade silicone and will last on average 10 years as long as you’re caring for them properly.

Which reusable menstrual cup is right for you from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #menstrualcup #intimina #periodcup #lowwaste #periods #sustainable #wellness

How should I clean my menstrual cup? 

Once your period is over, then it’s time to sterilize your cup and give it a good scrub-a-dub-dub. Don’t worry, you don’t need anything fancy, the easiest way to do this is with boiling water!

  1. Rinse your cup and make sure it’s clean.
  2. Fill a small saucepan with 3 cups of water and bring it to a boil on your stove. 
  3. Place your cup in the pot and try to avoid having it touch the bottom or sides of the pot. One way to do this is to put your cup inside a whisk to hold it away from the sides. 
  4. Boil your cup 5 – 8 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove your cup, and let it air dry. 
Which reusable menstrual cup is right for you from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #menstrualcup #intimina #periodcup #lowwaste #periods #sustainable #wellness

which intimina cup is right for me!?!?

It can be really difficult to know which cup is going to be perfect for you so I’ve tried to make that choice easier by breaking down the different aspects of each cup.

ziggy: 

The Ziggy Cup is a bit different than standard menstrual cups because it’s flat in design. Before I committed to buying a reusable menstrual cup, I tried a disposable menstrual cup that’s shaped very similar. 

I found this style to be extremely comfortable and wished they made a reusable version of it, and am so glad that Intimina offers this style! 

But, the best thing about this style is that it can be worn during sex. Yes. Mess-free period sex that give you the freedom to feel yourself without having to run to the restroom to remove something before getting it on. 

lily one: 

The Lily One Cup is is a starter cup, perfect if you’re trying a cup for the first time! This cup is made with Intimina’s signature soft and flexible 100% medical grade silicone. 

It’s different from their other options in that it’s fairly petite. It’s one of the most petite options on the market and designed specifically for teenagers or first time cup wearers. 

It collapses into a small traveling case and it has a loop on the end which is designed for easy removal. 

lily: 

The Lily Cup can be rolled as thin as a tampon and it’s perfect for people who have a higher cervix or a heavier flow. 

It’s incredibly smooth and flexible, but what really sets it apart is it’s angled shape that complements your anatomy. 

They also offer this cup in a compact form that collapses into a small carrying case, and both come in two different sizes either A or B. 

Opt for A, if you haven’t given birth or you gave birth by caesarean, and you have a medium flow. 

Go for B, if you’ve given birth, have a weaker pelvic floor, or have a heavy flow. 

can I use a cup if I don’t like tampons? 

I really disliked using tampons. Something about them didn’t sit well with my body chemistry and I found them exceedingly uncomfortable. 

I didn’t have any of those discomforts with using a cup. My question for you would be why do you dislike wearing tampons? 

If it’s because you’re really uncomfortable with the idea of touching yourself and inserting something? Then a cup might not be right for you. 

If it’s because you find them to be really uncomfortable, unreliable, prone to leakage (like I did) then a cup might work well for you! 

Which reusable menstrual cup is right for you from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #menstrualcup #intimina #periodcup #lowwaste #periods #sustainable #wellness
Which reusable menstrual cup is right for you from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #menstrualcup #intimina #periodcup #lowwaste #periods #sustainable #wellness

benefits: 

better for your body: Tampons absorb 35% of your natural moisture which can cause a pH imbalance. Tampons also contain plastic and can have other toxic chemicals in them like aluminum, alcohol, fragrance additives and hydrocarbons.

Worst of all, tampon bleaching processes leave behind dioxin, exposure of which is associated with endometriosis.

better for the environment: One Intimina cup can last 10 years. That means you’re diverting at least 2,880 tampons and disposable pads from the landfill. Just think of all the resources you’re saving!

better for your wallet: A one time $20-$30 purchase that lasts 10 years. Over the $5-$10 spent on every period. That’s over $1,000 savings. 

Other things I love – never having to run to the store at midnight; because, my period unexpectedly started. 

Which reusable menstrual cup is right for you from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #menstrualcup #intimina #periodcup #lowwaste #periods #sustainable #wellness

what are the cons of using a menstrual cup? 

Well, it can’t control my chocolate cravings…. thankfully, I can buy lots of chocolate from the bulk bins or make my favorite black bean brownies with plenty of iron and magnesium to support my body’s needs during my period. 

I would like to give a huge shout out  and thank you to Intimina for sponsoring this post! They’re currently running a 20% off sale if you’d like to snag a cup of your own. 

With every cup purchase until June 14th, Intimina will be donating $5 to period poverty relief in collab with non-profit organization PERIOD, in honor of Menstrual Hygiene Day.

And, I’ll be running a giveaway with them on my Instagram on May 26th that you don’t want to miss! 

I would love to hear what you think about the menstrual cup? Do you have any tips?

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