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When one thinks of menstrual hygiene products, the first few things one thinks of are pads or tampons. These products, unfortunately, contribute to a major portion of non-biodegradable waste. Hence, women all over the globe are switching to more eco-friendly solutions and sustainable ways of dealing with menstrual hygiene.
As a result of the big switch, menstrual cups have now emerged as one of the top players. However, most women refrain from using it as it looks complicated to use and often wonders how does one really use the cup? Using a menstrual cup is quite similar to using a tampon. One must keep an open mind while giving it a shot and remember that it might take a few attempts to get used to it. This step-by-step guide to using a menstrual cup will help you make the most of this eco-friendly feminine hygiene product.
Before you use your brand new menstrual cup, it is important to sterilize it. Place it in a boiling water for 3-5 minutes ensuring that the cup is kept away from the bottom of the vessel.
Step-by-Step guide to using a menstrual cup
Here is a simple guide to understand how the menstrual cup can be used safely and without any discomfort:
- Start by washing your hands: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. You must also wash the menstrual cup to make sure that there is no dirt or dust on it.
- Fold the cup: Menstrual cups are flexible and can be folded. The most common type of fold is the C-fold. This is done by folding the cup in half at the stem. Of course, you can try other folds that make it comfortable for you to insert the cup into your vagina, depending upon your anatomy. You also have the option of the punch down fold where the rim is pressed down to fold the cup.
- Inserting the cup: Once you have folded the cup, hold it on one hand. With your other hand, look for the opening of your vagina and insert the folded cup in at an angle of 45 degrees. Make sure that the cup is inserted up to the stem. Once fully inserted, it will pop open and fit into place. In order to make this process easier, it is very important to keep your pelvic muscles relaxed. If you are unable to do this, you may try kegel exercises that will help you understand how to loosen or tighten these muscles. To make sure that it is in place, you can reach up and run your fingers around the ring. If it is not fully open, use your fingers to make sure that it is. Only when the rim is open, the cup will create a vacuum that holds it up in place.
- Empty the cup: The menstrual cup can be kept in place for up to 12 hours. However, this number depends upon the amount of flow that you have during your period. You will be able to understand how often the cup needs emptying in the first few uses. It is recommended that you empty and wash the cup at least twice a day.
- Removing the cup: In order to remove the cup, use your pelvic muscles to lower it down. This happens by loosening and tightening the pelvic muscles to force the cup to slide down. The pelvic muscles are the same muscles that you hold when you really have to visit the restroom. Wash your hands thoroughly. Hold the stem of the cup and reach for the base of the cup. Pinching this base will release the vacuum, making it easy for you to remove the cup. Make sure you keep the cup upright. Another convenient option is to remove it over the toilet. To make it more comfortable to remove the cup, you can also fold the rim before you pull it down, just the way you did while inserting it.
- Cleaning your cup: Empty the contents of the cup into the toilet and flush it out. Wash the cup thoroughly. You can then wash it or even place it in boiling water to sterilize it for the next use.
Points to remember
Here are some things that you should know when using the menstrual cup:
- It can take some time for you to get used to the menstrual cup. Try it at least for three cycles to ensure that you are completely used to it.
- Inserting the cup properly is a must. If the stem protrudes or if the vacuum is not created properly, there will be leakage that can become very uncomfortable.
- In case you notice any leak with the menstrual cup, there are two possibilities. Your cup may be damaged or the cup is not inserted correctly. To prevent the latter, you can practice using the cup before your actual menstrual cycle begins.
- The stem could protrude because your vagina is short. If this is the case, you can use a pair of scissors to shorten the stem and use the cup correctly.
The menstrual cup is one of the most hassle free options available. It is not only comfortable once you are used to it, it also keeps you free from any worry of leakage all day long.