Those who use the menstrual cup know it: using a cup, instead of a tampon or sanitary napkin, means producing less waste, respecting the genital mucous membranes and obtaining a huge savings . Adopting the menstrual cup allows you to participate in one of the most intimate and revolutionary movements of the moment : many women, in fact, are choosing menstrual cups, for their own well-being and to respect their ethical choices. Join us!
Menstrual cup: an intimate revolution
MySecretCase supports women who choose to change the world through daily ethical choices, starting with a small menstrual cup that respects the body and the environment: we want a world where the cup is the norm. On the menstrual cup there are many opinions but we prefer facts that are based on scientific data and practical information. Here we will tell you everything we know about the menstrual cup and the reasons that convinced us to adopt it immediately, both in life and in our shop. We will explain, in a simple and concise way, how to choose, use and store the cup. We are sure that in the end you will join the ranks of women who save the world one menstrual cup at a time.
- How the menstrual cup works
- All the advantages of the menstrual cup
- False myths about the menstrual cup
- Defects of the menstrual cup
- Scientific opinions on menstrual cups
- Practical guide to using the cup
- How to insert the cup?
- How to remove the cup?
- How to clean and disinfect the cup
- Menstrual cup and virginity
- Menstrual cup and sexual intercourse
- Types of cups
- Cup sizes
- The hardness of the cup and the pelvic floor
- Price of the cup
- Where to buy a menstrual cup
- Brand of cups
How the menstrual cup works
Themenstrual cup is an instrument of containment and collection of menstrual blood , with a characteristic bell shape, usually made of environmentally friendly and biocompatible material. Instead of absorbing the blood, the cup collects it. It must be inserted, taken out and emptied several times during the days of bleeding. Thanks to the adherence of the walls of the cup, the blood is collected without remaining too long in contact with the vaginal walls, as happens in the case of the internal tampon, and this decreases the occurrence of vaginal infections. The menstrual cup is made of medical grade silicone or TPE, which is soft and pliable, allowing for quick and easy insertion. The average size of a cup is about 4/5 cm excluding the extractor, with an internal diameter (excluding the edges) of about ¾ cm and normally available in the two most popular sizes, M and L.
All the advantages of the menstrual cup
Why should you join the thousands of women who have chosen the menstrual cup to take care of their menstrual cycle? For so many good reasons. Let's start with you. Do you have a menstrual cycle that never stops, particularly heavy or painful but you want to have a life even during your period? The cup can help you get around these inconveniences that come with every moon turn because it collects three times the blood of a super absorbent tampon, conveniently and painlessly. This capacity allows you to bleed in peace, without having to think about changing one tampon after another, so you can take care of you, just on the busiest days of the month. If, on the other hand, you're active during your period, the cup is perfect because you can play sports and even go to the pool without fear of inconvenience.
The cup respects your mucous membranes and the environment because it allows you to drastically reduce the production of monthly waste that you cannot avoid with tampons and sanitary towels. If you use traditional tampons and you have observed that after the cycle you are more prone to dryness, irritation, candida and bad odors, the menstrual cup can help you: sanitary towels, in addition to blood, also absorb vaginal secretions that protect you from the invasion of potentially pathogenic bacteria. With the cup you solve the problem at the root because it maintains your natural pH. In addition, thanks to the perfectly adherent edges, it prevents the leakage of blood that could cause unpleasant odors. Finally, do you really want to know how much you save? Consider that on average you spend about 40 euros per year while with proper use and maintenance, a single cup can last up to ten years.
False myths about menstrual cups
Should be changed once a year
The first myth to dispel about the menstrual cup is that it should be replaced once a year: if used correctly and stored with care it lasts for years. This, if on the one hand reduces the commercial appeal for manufacturers, on the other enriches with ethical sense and ecological planning the trade of a high quality menstrual cup, designed to last. In fact, many menstrual cup manufacturers are rooted in a strong ecological spirit and a sense of corporate mission that is averse to waste and waste production.
Themenstrual cup: a cycle without plastic
It would be naive to believe that the mere use of the cup will save the world from plastic production: many cups on the market are made of TPE, thermoplastic elastomer, which is a derivative of plastic. Let's also add packaging, plastic windows in paper packaging, wrappers and bags. We are always talking about plastic. In any case, the philosophy that supports those who produce menstrual cups is steeped in ecological awareness and therefore there is an increasing tendency to opt for medical silicone - a synthetic compound but highly biocompatible - completely free of latex, dyes, phthalates or toxic substances.
The menstrual cup is a millennium novelty
Not really. In 1937, American Leona Chalmers invented the first rubber menstrual cup. Then war broke out and rubber was used by the army to shoot the enemy, so the production of the first cups immediately came to a standstill. In any case, the American female public rather than clean and reuse the medical device, was attracted to the seductive convenience of the nascent disposable products industry that was popping up on the horizon, along with the tsunami of waste they would drag along with them.
Cup size is related to blood flow
Not always. You can identify the right size by looking at other factors such as age, pelvic floor type and tone, any pregnancies and deliveries. The difference in the ability to contain the fluid of the two most common sizes is minimal, about 0.5 milliliters. Both sizes, however, can hold three times the fluid of a normal tampon, so with both sizes reduces the need to empty and reintroduce the cup.
One cup is as good as another
Absolutely not, this is a mass myth. The cup should be chosen carefully and without cutting corners. Check that it meets the highest standards of quality: yours. Take care to verify that the cup you buy is of excellent quality material, safe and soft enough to adhere comfortably to the walls of the vagina. A practical tip? Make sure it's medical silicone, not food-grade silicone that's not as safe as the former. Look at the label: choose a cup produced and packaged in a country that guarantees compliance with high standards of quality and safety. Check that the CE mark refers to Europe and not to China!
Defects of the menstrual cup
Defects? None! No, that's not true, we'll be honest: like everything, even the menstrual cup has its cons. Let's see what and how to overcome these drawbacks.
Shedding of blood
In the first few uses - especially in the first few emptyings - it is normal that there is a bit of unintentional or careless bloodshed. But when you consider the undeniable benefits of the cup, it's worth the extra wipe. Those who have been using it for a long time assure that bloodshed goes down to zero over time because you get used to emptying it under suitable conditions, with a dexterity that you acquire almost immediately.
The same goes for insertion: especially younger girls or those who have never had sexual relations can encounter difficulties at the time of the first applications. In addition, the presence of the intrauterine coil can also be a hindrance in the insertion of the cup and therefore it is necessary to first consult a gynecologist. However, a 2012 research has found that the expulsion rate of the IUD is the same whether a menstrual cup is used or not.
Sometimes specific anatomical conformations can make it difficult to use a cup: if you have fibroids or a prolapsed uterus, the cup may not find the right place inside.
Some people are uninterested in the whole process of care and maintenance that the cup provides, such as sterilization by boiling or sterilizing solution after each menstrual cycle. The truth is, however, that once you learn the simple techniques of maintenance and storage, taking care of your cup becomes an integral part of your menstrual cycle and especially menstruation, which often involves slowing down the pace and paying more attention to the small details in personal rituals.
Now that we have given you a general overview of the cup you just have to try it yourself, in first person and see if it's for you!
Scientific opinions on menstrual cups
The medical community considers the menstrual cup a completely safe device with no risks. Although some gynecologists have noted the possible occurrence of some risks, these risks are minimized if the cup is used according to the directions for use: the possibility of developing vaginal irritation, for example, is greatly reduced if you choose the right size for your vagina or if you apply a small amount of lubricant before inserting the cup. Vaginal infections, a more than rare occurrence when using the cup, can also actually be prevented by frequent cup replacement and washing your hands before insertion and extraction.
As we have said there is a fairly general consensus on the safety of using the cup but, especially for midwives - who study and take care of the pelvic floor and its functionality -, there are categories of people who perhaps could benefit from consulting with medical personnel before use, such as: those who suffer from vaginismus and therefore have pain on penetration, those who suffer from fibroids, endometriosis and changes in the position of the uterus.
Users who use it
The menstrual cup has now become part of the monthly regularity of many women around the world. At MySecretCase, when we decided to produce the Norma cup, we could count on 1000 users who guided us in the production of the best possible cup for our users. Designing the Norma cup we asked ourselves what was the right consistency to combine comfort and tightness: the 1000 users who have tried and approved Norma told us that our cup is the right middle ground between the hardness of Mooncup and the softness of Meluna. No two vaginas are the same, so it is very important to find the cup that offers the right compromise for everyone. People who use the cup are therefore valuable consultants who offer authentic and verifiable feedback on fit, comfort of application, odors, inconvenience.
Practical guide to using the cup
The menstrual cup is designed to allow for quick and easy insertion: it folds easily, thanks to the flexible nature of the manufacturing material, and is inserted into the vaginal canal. The small holes at the top help create the right suction to adhere to the walls of the vaginal canal. You bring the two curves of the pair together and fold them in two to minimize the insertion surface. Let's take a step-by-step look at how to optimize insertion, removal and maintenance of the cup.
How do you insert the cup?
It may seem difficult at first. Maybe it will take several insertions or even several periods before you reach a sense of comfort, but we can assure you that once you have overcome the first obstacles, your cup will become a friend you can always count on. And you'll start preaching the joy of the cup to your friends too, just like we are.
Prepare for the first use
Before using the cup for the first time ever, sterilize it in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Do not allow the cup to touch the bottom of the pan. At the end of the sterilization process let the water in the pot cool down. Wash your hands with running water and mild soap. Rinse the cup and dry it with a clean cloth.
If your pelvic floor muscles are relaxed, insertion is easier. Find a comfortable position. You can lie down, get into a squat position, sit on the toilet (the easiest) or stand, perhaps lifting one leg slightly on a step. For extra help, you could wet your vulva and vagina with water or lubricate with water-based lubricant.
Fold the cup. There are several different insertion techniques and you can choose the one that works for you. The two most popular are the "fist" and the "C" shape. At the time of insertion, the cup must necessarily be folded on itself, otherwise, as you can imagine, it does not reach the vaginal canal.
Once the cup is entirely inside you, you can remove your fingers and let it open. If the insertion is correct you may feel a slight suction or even a small sound, a sign that the cup has created the right fit. If the base of the bell is oval and without folds, you have inserted it correctly. If you feel even the slightest crease you can grasp the base of the bell (not the stem) and rotate the cup slightly until you find the perfect comfort. If you feel that the cup is well seated, pull the stem slightly: if there is resistance it means that the cup has created the right suction. The stem should still be completely inside you, but since we're all different, if the stem sticks out, you can shorten it with scissors.
In the flow
One of the main advantages of the cup is that you can forget about it inside you for up to 12 hours, whether it's night or day. But in the beginning, in order to know the flow rate of your flow, you may find it useful to empty it frequently, which allows you to calculate the right time of continuous insertion and the pace at which you in particular should proceed to empty the cup. According to medicine, a menstruating person can lose between 5 and 12 teaspoons of blood during their period. If it is your first time and you are afraid of some leakage wear a panty liner too!
How to remove the cup?
Wash your hands
Again, wash your hands with warm water and mild soap (Marseille soap is fine too).
Even in extraction, the more relaxed you are the easier it is to pull the cup out. Find a comfortable position. You can squat, lie down, get into a squat position, sit on the toilet (the easiest) or stand, perhaps lifting one leg slightly on a step. For extra help, you might wet your vulva and vagina with water or lubricate with water-based lubricant.
When removing the menstrual cup, press the menstrual cup at the base of the bell to allow air to be released so that the edges of the cup no longer stick to the vaginal walls. Gently move the menstrual cup, even slightly pulling the stem down, from top to bottom until fully withdrawn. Empty the contents of the cup, either into the toilet or into the ground (as shamanesses do), rinse (also remembering the aeration holes) and insert again or sterilize before storing. If you don't have access to running water, you can clean it with a wet washcloth or toilet paper and rinse it later.
How to Clean and Disinfect the Cup
If your period is over, boil the cup for 3-5 minutes, disinfect with a neutral antibacterial wipe and store the cup in a cotton bag with a drawstring closure to prevent dust accumulation.
Menstrual cup and virginity
Yes, if you are a virgin, you can use the menstrual cup. In fact, you can start using the menstrual cup at your first period. However, it requires a bit of practice before acquiring the right comfort: the muscles of young people and virgins tend to be tighter, which makes insertion more difficult. It is therefore necessary to practice initially. If you feel discomfort or uncomfortable, do not force the insertion but take a break. Relax and try later. The entrance to the vagina is tighter and smaller in width than the rest of the vaginal canal so proceeding gradually will make insertion easier. If you are a virgin, choose the smallest size you can find anyway. Remember, however, that the hymen is not the seal or the "plug" of the vagina that breaks at the first intercourse because it is "pierced": if this were not so, the girls could not have menstrual flow until the first intercourse. Which is not the case. The hymen is a thin layer of tissue that partially covers the vagina, but is worn away for various reasons such as sports, cycling, self-exploration or clinical examinations. According to medical standards, rupture of the hymen does not mark loss of virginity: you lose your virginity at the time of your first full penetrative intercourse.
Menstrual cup and intercourse
Penetrative sex (such as penis in vagina), insertion of sex toys, or masturbation with finger insertion is not possible as long as you are wearing a menstrual cup. If you want to have penetrative sex, you just need to pull out the menstrual cup.
Types of cups
The disposable menstrual cup is a one-time use menstrual cup with a ring of soft material and a clear, thin collection cup (similar to a condom, although clearly, it is not a valid method of contraception). Can be worn for up to 12 hours, even while sleeping and even during intercourse. It eliminates menstrual odors and does not cause any irritation or vaginal dryness. Commercially available in packs of 12 or 24.
The reusable menstrual cup is the most popular and used for obvious reasons of ethical consumption. It has a blood collection bell made of soft material but harder than the disposable cup. It provides for a careful maintenance that ensures its durability over time: if properly sanitized a quality cup lasts up to 10 years.
Choosing the right size menstrual cup is essential: you will have to insert and wear it many times and for a long time and it is right that you fit like a glove. To facilitate the process, however, there are criteria that can help you to disentangle yourself without problems: age and reproductive life are two decisive factors in the choice but also the length of the cervix and the firmness of the material of the cup can come into play in the choice. Vaginal muscle tone varies over time and with the experience of motherhood. Generally, choose size M if you are under 30 and have not had children. Choose size L if you are over 30 or at any age if you have given birth.
The hardness of the cups and the pelvic floor
It is difficult to draw up a definitive menstrual cup hardness chart for measuring the right cup for your needs: the thickness of the silicone is only one of the sensitive factors that define cup hardness. The shape, wall thickness, and quality of the silicone all play a role in the fit and comfort of a cup, hard or soft, when inside a vagina. In general, softer silicone cups are more comfortable because they don't exert outward pressure, but it may be harder to get them to open inside and may take some handling to get them to open. Moderately soft cups open more easily. Tougher cups are the best choice if you're a first-time cup holder because they don't require any maneuvering to get them to open on the inside, although they might get felt, for example, when you pee. The hard cup is also suitable for those who do moderate to intense physical activity during menstruation.
Everyone will then have to choose the cup based on their own subjective experience, but, in general, you can choose the cup based on the tone of your pelvic floor:
- if you have a pelvic floor with an average tone, Norma or a toned or semi-toned cup will be fine
- if it is very toned (those who practice sports, those who train the pelvic floor or those who are overweight), opt for a toned cup that opens easily
- if you are relaxed, hypersensitive or have been through a pregnancy, opt for a soft and flexible cup that guarantees greater delicacy.
Prolonged use of the cup does not loosen the elasticity of the vagina: the vagina has muscles that can stretch, flex, dilate a lot and return to normal soon after. This means that an object as small as a cup does not affect the elasticity of the vagina.
The prices of menstrual cups on the market vary between 10 and 40 euros with obvious differences in quality, design and material chosen. The cup is a good investment and a quality material allows you to enjoy the comfort of a serene menstruation without discomfort or internal irritation. Also consider that by already choosing the menstrual cup you are already saving a lot of money compared to using tampons or sanitary napkins.
Where to buy the menstrual cup
The safest place to buy a menstrual cup is of course our online shop because, thanks to our loyalty program, we guarantee not only the highest quality materials and workmanship, but also a guarantee that allows you to replace the cup in case of damage, so you have a fresh and new cup for you. We are so passionate about cups that we even decided to produce one: Norma. The best thing when your period arrives is to be able to count on a friend who is welcoming but also solid and reliable. A friend who listens to you and knows how to contain in a soft embrace all that you let go in the days of blood.
A retroverted or tilted uterus is a uterus tilted back toward the rectum instead of toward the bladder, with a slightly lower neck. A retroverted uterus does not preclude the use of the menstrual cup. You just need to carefully orient the cup for the blood to flow from the cervix into the bell without any problems. A great way to insert the cup correctly is to study with your fingers the inside of the vagina, locating the cervix that is recognizable to the touch by its round shape with a closed orifice inside.
The antiverted uterus is marked by the uterus tilting forward in the direction of the abdomen. This is a non-serious, non-pathological condition and is compatible with the use of menstrual cups. Again, a self-examination can facilitate proper application.
How do you measure?
Proceedto an exploration of your vaginal canal with your fingers. Clean your hands thoroughly before and insert your fingers: you will notice that the walls of your vagina are soft, moist and particularly elastic and will dilate when subjected to pressure.
The average length of the vagina is 6-8 centimeters in the front and 8-9 centimeters in the back (at the bottom, towards the cervix). Since it is an elastic channel it changes a lot in length and depth depending on the degree of arousal and can also vary over time.
From the mouth of the vaginal canal to the end - at the height of the cervix - there is an approximate average depth between 7.5 and 9 cm. Because it is very elastic, the depth can vary, and the vagina can accommodate a 20-centimeter erect penis.
Cervix (uterine cervix)
How to measureyour cervix
It is important to locate your cervix for proper insertion of the cup. We all have different cervixes so it is up to each of us to locate and "measure" it. The cup should be placed under the cervix, otherwise, bleeding may occur. Try to locate the cervix with your fingers: you should feel an area of firmer, rounded tissue at the end of the vaginal canal.
Brand of cups:
A long-standing British brand, it began rolling out menstrual cups in 2002. It offers a soft medical silicone cup that is latex-free, hypoallergenic and dye-free. Mooncup supports many charities and non-profit programs in the UK and around the world.
Is the first menstrual cup made in Italy. It produces a high quality certified platinum medical silicone cup.
Menstrual cup made in Germany, made of TPE, convenient and comfortable.
The eco-friendly menstrual cup made in the UK since 2012 and registered with the Vegan Society.