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Flora & Fauna's easy guide, tips and tricks for using a reusable menstrual cup. How to make the transition fuss-free and easy.
Many of us have been there which is why we’ve put together a guide below to coincide with the F&F launch of OrganiCup, an award-winning menstrual cup made from 100% medical grade silicone. With their guidance, we’ve detailed step-by-step instructions that answer the common questions and concerns we receive from our customers when transitioning away from the safety and comfort of a sanitary pad/tampon. For further support and encouragement, we recommend watching this video from OrganiCup that will gently massage away any anxiety surrounding the adoption of a cup into your cycle.
STEP 1 - HYGIENE
First things first - So you’ve purchased your new cup and you’re ready to begin your new journey… Best practice to get into is to prep your cup a day or so in advance *if possible* by sterilising the cup in boiling water for approx. 3-5 minutes. Ensure that there is enough water in the pot to prevent the cup from touching the bottom (there is a potential risk of damage to the cup if it sticks to the base of the pot). Do not exceed the 5 minutes, as again, this may cause damage. Wait until your cup has cooled completely before moving on to the next step.
STEP 2 - HOW TO INSERT
With almost all things body related, always ensure you have washed your hands and your cup with a mild soap before inserting - we have several dedicated cup soaps and wipes to choose from.
Ok, so now you’re officially ready to move along to the insertion - take a deep breath and relax while getting into your preferred position, e.g. lie down, squat, sit on the toilet or simply stand up. Over time you will figure out what works best for you. Next up, we fold - folding the cup is pretty much the only way to go about inserting the cup. There are many different folding techniques, so experiment and find the one that works for you. Note - You might want to use water or a water-based lubricant to make insertion easier.
OrganiCup recommends the below two popular methods:
The Punch-Down Fold -
The C-Fold -
Keep the cup folded until it is firmly inside your vagina, and once the entire cup is inside, simply remove your fingers and let it pop open.
If the menstrual cup has been inserted correctly, you might hear a “pop” or a suction sound which means that the cup has folded out completely and created the necessary suction seal. If you’re in doubt, reach in and feel around the base of the cup – it should feel round or oval and not have any noticeable folds.
If you feel any dents or folds on the base of your menstrual cup and you’re not quite sure the suction seal has been created, then gently grip the base of the cup (not the stem), and rotate it to make it unfold.
Once your menstrual cup is in place, try to pull the stem a bit, if you feel resistance, the suction seal has been created and the cup has been placed successfully!
In comparison with a tampon, the menstrual cup should be placed lower in the vaginal canal. The stem should be completely inside of you. However, we’re all built differently and if the stem pokes out and annoys you, you can trim it.
STEP 3 - WHEN TO EMPTY
If you’re brand new to using a menstrual cup, OrganiCup recommends that you regularly empty your menstrual cup to get to know the cup, your flow and to grow your confidence. Most users find that they can use the cup for up to 12 hours at a time - empty once in the morning and then again at night. It all just depends on how heavy your flow is which you will become familiar with the more you use it. In terms of volume, the OrganiCup can hold more liquid than 3 super tampons. According to the NHS (National Health Service, UK), you’ll lose 5 to 12 teaspoons of blood during an average period, so you might be surprised at how little you bleed.
STEP 4 - HOW TO REMOVE
Follow the same steps as Step 2 - Start out by washing your hands with warm water and a mild soap before finding a comfortable position that works for you. Take a deep breath and relax once again - Being relaxed is essential as removing your menstrual cup will only be more difficult if you tense up.
To remove your cup, slightly pull on the stem (slowly) while using your abdominal muscles to push the cup downwards until you can reach its base. Give the base of the cup a gentle pinch to release the suction and slowly ease it out. Avoid removing your menstrual cup entirely by pulling the stem as this might cause discomfort.
Once you have removed your menstrual cup, you should empty the collected fluid into the toilet or sink and rinse the cup with water and re-insert if needed. If you’re in a bathroom without access to clean water, you can use a wipe or toilet paper to clean your cup and rinse it with water at a later time.
Once your period has ended, you can repeat Step 1 to sanitise the cup or simply use a menstrual cup specific wipe to disinfect it and store back in the original bag.
Tips & Tricks
OrganiCup is available in two sizes
Size A: For those who have not given birth vaginally
The difference between size A and B is very small (size A is 0,4 cm smaller than size B) but still it is very important to use the proper size to prevent leakage. Be sure to check out this post for further information on our range of menstrual cups.
A menstrual cup, just like a tampon, should not feel uncomfortable or can still be felt when it has been completely inserted. Briefly go for a walk to test out the comfort level and if you can still feel it inside, push the cup up a bit higher until you can’t feel it any longer.
Some users prefer to cut the stem shorter or remove it completely. OrganiCup advises that you wait with cutting off the stem until you’re confident with the whole removing process.
If you have any concerns with whether the OrganiCup will be suitable for you or not, we advise that you to talk to your doctor or gynaecologist as potentially a prolapsed or tilted uterus might have difficulty using the cup/finding the optimal position for it once inserted.
If you’re ever concerned of leakage, it is recommend that you use a pad the first couple of times until you’re comfortable you’ve found the best position for your cup.
And finally, the menstrual cup can’t get lost in the vagina; it will ultimately slip down by force of gravity. If you’re unable to reach your cup, try squatting and using your abdominal muscles to help push the cup downwards. Take deep breaths and ensure you’re feeling relaxed as this will ease and assist with the exit of the cup!
And there you are - hopefully the mystery surrounding the menstrual cup has been eliminated. Of course it still may take you a few days or a few periods to become completely comfortable with the cup. Experiment with different folding and insertion techniques and you’ll be a cup pro in no time.