Wondering how to make periods more environmentally friendly? Mai, one of our community members shares with us all the knowledge she has gathered about her experience using a menstrual cup. Keep on reading to find answers to everything that you have been wanting to know about menstrual cups!
Zero waste periods: A summary About the Menstrual Cup
By Mai @maigreenlife
It is estimated that the average woman uses roughly 11,000 disposable pads and/or tampons in her lifetime. Meanwhile, one menstrual cup can last up to 10 years. To achieve a waste-free period, I decided to switch to a menstrual cup. After using it for 10 months, I would like to share my knowledge, experience, and thoughts.
How to use it?
Step 1. Sterilize by boiling it for 2-5 mins (make sure the cup isn't touching the bottom)
Step 2. Fold-down one side to the middle and pinch the top. There are several ways but this way provides the smallest circumference for inserting.
Use water or water-based lube for extra ease.
Step 3. Pulling the stem gently to check if the vacuum is created.
Step 4. Run a finger around the base to help the cup to pop up
Step 5. Take out: insert a finger around the base to break the seal. Push the side in to break the seal. Rock side to side gently while pulling out.
Step 6. Wash hands and cup with gentle soap in between changing.
Step 7. At the end of your period, make sure to sterilize the cup again.
You can check the organic cup's video on how to use:
General tips for the first times
1. Practice before the start of your period.
2. It takes a few cycles to get used to.
3. Wear a pad for extra protection in case of leaks.
4. Always wash hands before inserting.
5. Use water or a water-based lube for smoother insertion.
6. Depending on your cycle, your flow it can hold up to 8-12 hours before needing to change.
Tips on choosing a cup
There are many types of menstrual cups with different shapes, designs, materials, and softness. So there are a few factors you should consider before choosing:
2. Heavy or light flow
3. Gave birth vaginally or not.
4. Cervix height (low, average, high). You may consider measuring your cervix.
5. Frequency/intensity of exercise.
6. Allergies to specific materials.
7. Strength of your pelvic floor muscles.
※You may try taking a quiz for cup fitting, click here.
My thoughts after 10 months using the cup:
In one sentence: I will never go back to pads or tampons!
1. I never have to buy disposable pads/tampons again and again. It helps me to save time, energy, and money.
2. It is much cleaner as the cup collects the blood right inside my body so there is no smell.
3. Vaginal pH and beneficial bacteria stay in place.
(Tampons absorb all your vaginal fluid along with the blood, which may disturb the delicate pH and bacterial balance in your vagina.)
4. Waste-free, good for the environment.
5. Understand more about my own body (Before menstrual cup, I never knew if I had heavy/light flow, my cervix height...etc).
6. Menstrual cup is safer. Though it is quite rare, bacterial infection may occur with tampon use.
7. When I exercise, I can run or workout normally without feeling uncomfortable.
8. Compared to pads, I almost cannot feel its existence inside my body.
The difficulty of insertion.
Might create a bit of a bloody messy sometimes.
Depending on cervix height, you may have trouble when removing the cup.
When you exercise, the cup might go further inside (however, this depends on the structure of your cervix).
1) Fear of putting something inside your vagina. Many people are afraid that the cup is too big so they are still scared of putting the cup inside. Here are some tips:
1. Try putting a finger inside to get to know your own body. You can try it when you take a bath. This is also a way to measure your cervix height.
2. Try tampons first.
3. Prepare yourself with knowledge and the right mindset: Understand what your body is capable of, how your body works will help to overcome fear.
2) Fear of not being able to get it out. When you can not touch the stem when removing the cup, it might be scary for the first time but actually, you can use stomach muscles and breath to push the cup downwards until you can reach the stem.
3）Fear of not knowing how to properly sterilize the cup, here are some tips for that:
1. Put the cup in boiling water for 10 mins
2. Use the Milton mini sterilization tablets.
4) Not really into the cup or can't use a cup.
I understand that for some people, the menstrual cup is not the best choice.
However, there are other alternatives for eco-friendly periods, for example, period underwear and/or reusable pads.
So? are you ready to try your first cup? let us know how it goes! stay tuned for installment 2 where we will tell all you need to know to get a cup in Japan! Do you have further questions? leave your concerns here. If you are a cup user please let us know all about your experience by filling this form, your input can help other women find their right cup more easily and avoid tons of waste!