How to put a menstrual cup?

New hygienic protection in tune with the times, the cup, or the menstrual cup in French, is very popular with women. But how is it used? Our advice, our diagrams, our instructions for use. You will know everything!

In recent years, the menstrual cup is gaining ground and is gradually replacing tampons and sanitary napkins, two classic means of protection widely used during menstruation, which nevertheless remain expensive, not very ecological, and unfortunately unclear as to their composition. Thus, the menstrual cup appears to be more practical and safer for health.
The menstrual cup is a method of intravaginal protection, designed in silicone or medical plastic (TPE). It is shaped like a small funnel or bell, and has a rod. It collects menstrual flow without absorbing it. There are menstrual cups of all colors and several sizes, so that each woman finds a shoe for her foot, finally a cup for her vagina. They are found in pharmacies and even in supermarkets, or on the Internet, directly from brands such as Dans Ma Culotte, BeCup, La Week'Up or LunaCopine.

The menstrual cup is worth around fifteen euros on average and can be stored for ten years, but its ecological and economic character is not its only asset. The menstrual cup respects the vaginal flora more than tampons, since it does not suck the protective secretions from the vagina. It can also be worn for prevention, just before menstruation, while the tampon is irritating.

How to wash your cup before the first use and during your period?

Before putting your menstrual cup for the first time, it should be sterilized with boiling water. To do this, boil water in a saucepan and immerse your cup in it for a few minutes as you would dip a shellfish. There are also cup sterilizers that are very easy to use: a little water, a microwave, and voila.

Ideally, you should sterilize it every night during your period. During the day, when you empty and rinse it, you can wash it with Marseille soap. A condition which requires having a toilet and sink available. However, at work, it is not always easy to wash your cup properly, in which case you can have several cups.

At the end of each cycle, it is also necessary to sterilize it before putting it back in its pouch.

Read also : I tested the menstrual cup (and I tell you everything)

How to insert a menstrual cup in her vagina?

Putting on a menstrual cup the first time is not always easy. It's like everything: it takes a little time to find the gesture, until the day when you even get there in the dark. In any case, the cup remains a great way to get to know your body.
To be comfortable during the first insertion, test first during your period, because blood is an excellent lubricant. It will be easier. Otherwise, you can use a water base lubricant.

  • To insert it, start by taking a comfortable position: sitting or standing with one leg raised on the edge of the bed or bathtub. You can also lie on your back!
  • Before being inserted, you must fold your cup. There are several folding methods. The two most used folds are the C fold, or the "Pushdown" fold, that is to say that you tuck part of the cup inside itself, as explained by La Week ' Up on Instagram:
  • Introduce your menstrual cup into your vagina. Note, however, that the cup is placed closer than a tampon. Do not hesitate to twist it a little bit in itself in your vagina until you feel good.
  • Once your menstrual cup is properly positioned, it opens and returns to its original shape inside your vagina. Check with your finger!
  • For removal, be careful, do not pull on the rod. The rod simply allows you to locate its cup for removal. Lightly pinch the base of your cup, or insert a finger on the side of your cup so that it "peels" off your vaginal walls. Then bring it down, then take it out twice: tilt it to one side until half of its collar appears, then the other.

Toxic shock syndrome, the precautions to take

The cup should be emptied and washed every three hours because, like the tampon, it exposes you to toxic shock syndrome, a serious infection. Indeed, it has long been thought that the STC was due to the composition of the tampons, but the concern simply comes from the blood which stagnates too long inside the vagina when you wear a tampon or a menstrual cup. You should know that blood is a culture medium conducive to bacteria. Staphylococcus aureus, which are bacteria naturally present in our body and usually neutralized by our immune system, can multiply during menstrual periods. All this therefore has nothing to do with the composition of tampons (even if the substances in its products are still unclear) or even menstrual cups, which are generally composed of medical silicone. It is a question of hygienic protection worn for (too) long.

On the other hand, the cup would still be more at risk since its diameter allows an air intake which promotes the proliferation of staphylococci, and therefore of the toxins they manufacture. So, one rule, finally two: a sanitary napkin at night, a change every three hours and a wash with soap, or another cup in the pocket if the office toilet is not really a model of intimacy.

Size, swimming, accounting with the IUD … Frequently asked questions around the menstrual cup

Still new to the hygienic protection market, the cup is not always well known. Women have questions about the use of the cup, their health, their bodies.

  • Can I use a menstrual cup if I wear an IUD? The answer is yes, even if there is a risk of a suction cup around the cervix, where the IUD is placed. However, it is very rare.
  • Can you swim with your cup? Yes, the use of the cup is compatible with swimming, and unlike the tampon, the cup blocks and the water in the pool cannot enter your vagina.
  • How to find your size and make the right choice ? There are usually three sizes, S, M, and L, which fit all women. To define your own, we base ourselves on several criteria: body size (if we are small and thin, we will rather go to a size S for example), the fact of having already given birth or not (because childbirth by vaginal route changes your body, the perineal muscles are more flexible) and the amount of menstrual flow (periods are more or less abundant). If your cup is too big for you, it’s hard to expand inside your vagina when you put it on. If it is too small, you will feel that it turns and does not fix itself, but also that it is more difficult to remove because it is lodged deeper to find a place!
  • Can we wear a cup if we are a virgin? Yes, of course, there is no medical contraindication to wearing a cup when you are a virgin. Prefer at this time a small model and go easy. If the cup hurts, it is because it is not properly installed. But patience, it takes a little experience.
  • Can we make love with a cup? No, not with menstrual cups as we know them, because they are placed at the entrance to the vagina. However, you can make love without penetration or discover the Ziggy Cup, a "flat" menstrual cup, which allows you to make love when you wear it.

> You can find the Intimina's Ziggy Cup on Amazon, at € 39.95.

See also: What is Free Instinctive Flow (FIL)?

Video by Clemence chevallet