A Menstrual, or Period Cup is inserted in the vagina during menstruation. Unlike tampons which absorb your flow, the cup collects it, and can be safely worn for up to 12 hours. The cup is then removed, emptied, wiped or washed clean, and then re-inserted.
Menstrual cups keep the pH in your lady bits optimal - helping to avoid thrush, and that awful 'drying out' feeling that can result from tampon use.
Because cups do not absorb menstrual fluid, but instead collect it, the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is tiny. There has been one suspected case of TSS, however it is not clear if the infection was due to the cup, or a scratch that had been present on her vaginal wall. In comparison to the risk of TSS with tampons, it is not much of a concern, however it is important to familiarise yourself with the signs and symptoms of TSS.
Menstrual cups produced by reputable companies adhere to strict manufacturing practices - which ensure that the materials are safe for their intended use. Be wary of cheap knock offs - firstly because you cannot guarantee the materials purity and safety, and secondly because you get what you pay for...... and who wants a leaky cup that does not stay open?
Most cups are made of either Medical Grade Silicone, or Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE). Both materials are used in surgical implants and medical devices (such as catheters, IV lines etc). So super safe.
We believe in giving women choice, however we also understand that too many options can, and do make decisions a wee bit harder. That's why we have chosen a few key brands to stock, as they have been tried and tested, and proven to be the best in their respective leagues.
LENA Cup (made in California)
The LENA is our favourite cup, once you have tried a LENA you really wont want or need to try another. The small is shorter than the Diva, but still has good volume. It is shaped like tulip, with no ridges, and is reasonably firm (so it wont squish and lead to leaking). The silicone is soft, and they come in gorgeous colours.
Diva Cup (made in Canada)
Made from silicone, the shape is classic and long, while not having a super tough rim - much more comfortable! The Diva suits most women, however if you are very active, or have a lower cervix, then consider either a LENA or a Me Luna.
Me Luna Cup (made in Germany)
Made from TPE, the Me Luna comes in a variety of sizes, and firmness. We like the Me Luna Shorty for women with very low cervices, and the Me Luna Small for teens and girls who are not sexually active.
What works for one lady, might not work for another. Please keep this in mind as you venture into the wonderful world of cups.
To help you make the most informed decision, we have listed the 5 things that you should take into consideration before purchasing a cup.
If you have found yourself with a not so efficient cup (leaking, hard to remove, uncomfortable), then it may be that you have the wrong cup for you. Don't give up just yet, your perfect cup might be just around the corner ;)
Cups come in different lengths, the cup that will work best for you wont be too long or too short. To work out which length cup you need, check the height of your cervix during menstruation (see next question for 'how to check cervix')
Most cups come in 2 sizes:
A smaller one for women who have a strong pelvic floor, generally under the age of 30, and have had no vaginal births.
A larger one for women over 30, or who have given birth vaginally, or with weak pelvic floor muscles.
The Me Luna comes in 4 sizes (the Me Luna Small is the perfect size for teens or girls who have not been sexually active)
What we are wanting is for the cup to create a seal around the walls of your vagina when it has been inserted, this will prevent it from leaking.
Is your flow light, medium or heavy? You may choose to go with a larger cup, so that you do not have to empty it as often.
This is quite important. If your cup is too soft, you run the risk of it being squished by your pelvic floor muscles, and it leaking.
The Me Luna comes in 3 different firmness's; soft, classic, and sport. The LENA is a firm cup. The Diva cup is slightly softer.
As well as the material, either silicone or TPE, there are various different 'finishes' that a silicone cup can have. Some are glossy, some are matte, some are coloured, some have embossing, and some are smooth.
During your menstrual cycle, your cervix rises and falls, which changes the length of your vagina. Generally, your cervix will be at its lowest during menstruation (it is at its highest just before ovulation).
The first thing you should do before purchasing a cup, is check to see how low your cervix sits during your period. If it sits low, then you will need to chose a shorter cup.
To check your cervix, on the second day of your period, wash your hands, and insert your middle finger into your vagina, and feel for your cervix which will be at the end. It will feel like the tip of your nose.
If you can insert your whole finger, then your cervix is high, if you cannot reach your cervix at all, then it is very high. - You can chose any length cup (except for Me Luna Shorty), however keep the stem on initially as you will need it for removal.
If you can reach your cervix, and your finger goes in up to the second knuckle, then your cervix is medium height. - You will be more comfortable with a slightly shorter cup, such as the LENA cup.
If you can reach your cervix, and your finger goes in up to the first knuckle, then your cervix is low. - You will need to chose a short cup like the Me Luna Shorty.
To insert your cup, first fold (watch clip below for demonstration), and then insert into your vagina - make sure you don't let it unfold until it is high enough (usually just past the pelvic bone).
To help you with insertion, wet the cup first with some water (you can also use a little bit of water based lube).
Once the cup has unfolded, it should form a seal in your vagina - this will ensure that it does not leak. If you feel any sensation at all, then the cup may not be high enough, remove it and try again.
Try to relax your pelvic floor as you place your cup, just remember that 'practice makes perfect', it will take you a few cycles to get the hang of it.
To remove your cup, you will need to break the suction first. Don't pull on it, but gently pull the stem until you reach the base of the cup. To break the suction, squeeze the base of the cup and then shimmy the cup gently out of your vagina. If that is not enough to break the seal, reach one finger up the side of the cup and press inwards to break the seal.
Don't panic if you have trouble removing your cup at first. It can take some time to figure it out, the best thing to do is to relax and try again.
If you are finding it difficult to reach the base of the cup, then bear down your pelvic floor muscles (as if you are doing a bowel movement). This will move your cup lower, making it easier to reach.
When you receive your cup, it will most likely have a stem. You can trim this stem if it is causing any irritation. The LENA Cup's stem is quite soft, so you may not need to trim it.
NOTE: Do not trim your stem until you are confident removing your cup.
Turning it inside out
Some women with a lower cervix may find a cup sitting too low - and because of this, they experience a little irritation form the grip rings. If this is something you have experienced, try turning your cup inside out.
NOTE: Please do not insert an inside out cup if you have a high cervix - as there will be nothing to grip onto when removing the cup.