Each year, people in the U.S. spend more than $2 billion on period products. Yet periods don't need to remain expensive—or uncomfortable.
Don't worry if you've never tried a menstrual cup before.
Keep reading to learn all about the benefits of menstrual cups.
Menstrual Cups vs. Tampons: The Future of Period Wear?
Made from medical-grade silicone or rubber, menstrual cups offer women an alternative to organic cotton pads to control the flow of blood during menstruation.
Both menstrual cups and tampons are inserted into the vagina. However, tampons are single-use items that require replacing throughout the day. Menstrual cups are an eco-friendly, multi-use item that lasts for a long time.
How Menstrual Cups Work
Menstrual cups are designed to create a seal against the vaginal walls, preventing any leakage of menstrual fluid.
When inserted correctly, you should not feel the cup, which shouldn't cause discomfort. To insert the cup, you need to fold it in a specific way (below). Once inserted, the cup will unfold and create a seal, allowing it to collect menstrual fluid.
The cup can remain in place for up to 10-12 hours, depending on how heavy your period flow is.
Inserting and Removing Your Cup
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before inserting your cup. Then, fold the cup in one of three ways:
- Pinch fold: push one side of the rim down, creating an insertion point
- C-fold: press the sides together to create a "C" shape
- 7-fold: press the sides together and fold one corner down, creating a "7" shape
Next, find a comfortable position for insertion. Some women prefer to sit on the toilet, while others raise one leg. Slowly insert the cup (aiming for the small of the back). Release your grip once fully inserted.
Try different methods if you're having trouble with insertion. Rotate the cup gently to ensure the seal is tight.
To remove the cup, pinch the base of the cup to break the seal and slowly pull it out. Make sure you keep it upright to prevent spillage.
Cleaning Your Menstrual Cup
You can rinse your cup with water to clean it throughout your period. At the end of your cycle, you should give it a thorough clean by washing it with unscented soap. Follow up with a menstrual cup sanitizing wipe.
Dry the cup and store it in a breathable storage bag between uses.
Benefits of Using a Menstrual Cup
Compared with organic reusable pads, menstrual cups offer a number of advantages:
- No recurring monthly expense
- No waste to dispose of
- Menstrual cups are comfortable
- You can go swimming while wearing them
Unfortunately, tampons still aren't taxed properly. They're classified the world over as "luxury items", meaning women everywhere are forced to pay unnecessary taxes.
Menstrual cups are reusable, meaning they create less waste than disposable tampons and pads. By switching to a menstrual cup, you can significantly reduce your environmental impact.
Overall, you'll find you're paying far less each month after you make the switch. Although menstrual cups have a higher upfront cost than disposable period products, they can last for several years with proper care, saving you money in the long run.
Menstrual cups are comfortable and easy to remove with practice—and they're great for swimming, too!
Combining Period Underwear with Menstrual Cups
Organic period underwear (like Hannahpad) is a sustainable alternative to disposable period products.
Made from natural materials (like cotton), these underwear are designed to absorb menstrual fluid throughout the day, allowing you to wear them without additional pads or the use of tampons.
Some women choose to combine menstrual cups with period underwear for extra protection against leaks. The great thing about period underwear is that it's comfortable and available in a wide range of styles and sizes.
Choosing the Right Menstrual Cup for You
With so many menstrual cup options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your needs. The most important consideration is the size. You should choose a cup that accommodates your needs and feels comfortable to wear.
Other factors to take into account when choosing a menstrual cup include:
Menstrual cups are made from latex, silicone, and similar materials. You should avoid any material you're allergic to, and consider which material feels most comfortable for you to wear.
Also, think about your flow.
The capacity of your cup combined with your natural period flow will influence how often you need to empty and rinse it. While most cups have similar shapes, you'll find variants that come in a bell shape and a "V" shape on the market.
Experiment to find the one that's most comfortable for you.
Transitioning to Menstrual Cups
If you're new to menstrual cups, it can take some time to get used to using them. The best advice is to take your time.
Remember to read the manufacturer's instructions carefully and practice inserting and removing the cup before your period starts. It may take a few cycles to get a feel for it.
Don't get discouraged if it takes time to get the hang of it.
Find Your Freedom
Menstrual cups are kinder on your purse strings and on your vagina. Women everywhere are making the leap—and they never look back.
At Hannah, we're always looking to dismantle taboos around menstruation while offering women everywhere experience more comfortable cycles. Click here to browse our range of menstrual cups.