How does a menstrual cup work?
A menstrual cup is often made of silicone, just like our Flow Cups, or other materials such as natural rubber or plastic. Most menstrual cups on the market are shaped like a cup and have a small handle or stem at the bottom so you can easily pull it out.
A menstrual cup collects more blood than tampons and can stay in for up to 12 hours. The cup is inserted into the vagina, just like a tampon, but the difference is that a menstrual cup doesn't absorb the menstrual fluid, it collects it. Then you can easily empty the contents into the toilet. The period cup is therefore often perceived as kinder to the vagina than a tampon, as it does not absorb any fluid. If you take good care of it, it can also be reused for years.
How do you insert a menstrual cup?
You may feel a little nervous inserting your period cup for the first time, but as long as you take it easy and stay in a relaxed position, you will easily be able to position your cup so that it fits securely and comfortably. It's perfectly normal that it may take a few tries at first before you get the hang of it.
If you insert a finger into your vagina, you will first feel a couple of centimetres which is quite tight. Past that, it gets a little roomier - there's the vagina. The cup should be placed above the "entrance" to the vagina, about as far in as a tampon. How far in you put the cup depends on what feels comfortable for your body. For some, the cup is placed far from the cervix, and for some it is placed just below.
How to use a menstrual cup:
If this is your first time using a menstrual cup, boil it in water for 10 minutes before inserting it.
Wash your hands thoroughly.
Get into any relaxed, comfortable position. For example, standing with your legs apart and knees slightly bent, squatting, standing with one foot on the toilet seat, or sitting.
Fold the cup, hold it and make it as narrow as possible. Use a fold that suits you. Here you can find different suggestions how to fold your cup.
Insert the cup as high up as a tampon. Let the cup go and adjust a little until it feels comfortable, and you notice that it has unfolded. It doesn't matter if the bottom part of the cup is a bit compressed, it will adjust to the shape of your vagina. Practice makes perfect. If it feels uncomfortable or if the cup doesn't unfold, it may be because it's placed too far down.
Check that the cup has unfolded by inserting a finger and feel around the side of the cup. If you feel resistance when you pull lightly on the stem, this indicates that the cup is positioned correctly and has fully unfolded. FlowCup Flex is flexible and follows your anatomy, so the thinner part of the cup may appear compressed, even if the rim has folded out. The stem at the bottom of the cup may sometimes need to be cut off. Everyone's body looks different, so you need to feel for yourself whether the stem is too long or not. If the stem is chafing or feels uncomfortable in any way, you can take the cup out and cut it off a little at a time.
If it’s secure and doesn't chafe or leak - it's the right fit! See our full digital manual here.
Tip: Did it feel a bit dry inserting your period cup? Then you can use lubricant or rinse the cup in water before inserting it. Note that you must use water-based lubricant for a silicone cup.
How often should I empty my menstrual cup?Once your cup is in place, you can do anything you want without worry. You should not leave your cup in for more than 12 hours without emptying or cleaning it. How often you will need to empty it depends on how heavy your periods are and how quickly you fill a cup. After using your cup for a while, you will learn how much you bleed and how often your cup needs to be emptied. Since you can pee with the cup in, you don't have to take it out every time you go to the toilet. If you have left your cup in for too long, there is no need to panic. Take your cup out, empty it, clean it, and then use it as usual. If you feel worried or experience unusual symptoms, you should contact your doctor.
How to remove your menstrual cupWhen you feel your cup is full or it has been in for up to 12 hours, it's time to take it out. To take it out, squeeze the cup and break the suction that has formed. The most important thing to remember is to relax and not pull the cup out too quickly as this can lead to an uncomfortable suction.
- Wash your hands.
- Relax, assume any position you feel comfortable in. Preferably at the toilet so you can easily pour the blood out without spilling.
- To break the suction, wiggle the cup a little or insert a finger and gently squeeze the side. Gently pull downwards by grasping the stem or bottom of the cup.
Disclaimer! Remember to be extra careful if you have an IUD, so that the IUD is not dislodged when you remove the cup.
If your menstrual cup is stuckThere's no need to worry if your cup gets stuck or if you have trouble getting it out. Removing the cup can be a bit tricky at first. Usually this is because the suction has not been broken yet. You can solve this by pressing a little on the side of your menstrual cup to let air in. The most important thing is to relax in order to break the suction, making it easy to pull out.
How do I clean my menstrual cup?
Before the first use, you should boil your period cup to make sure it is completely clean. In general, it is important to maintain good hand hygiene when handling your cup to avoid getting bacteria in your vagina. Every time you empty your menstrual cup, wash it with lukewarm water and mild soap if necessary. Be careful not to leave any soap residue behind. When your period is over, boil your menstrual cup in water for 10 minutes and let it dry. Keep the cup dry and airy until the next time, for example in a cotton bag. It is quite natural for the cup to become discoloured after a while and this does not mean that it is dirty.
Tip: Turn your menstrual cup inside out for easier cleaning of the inside.