by Hello Cup Co-Founder, Robyn Mclean
“Oh that looks really easy to use and not scary at all,” said no one ever when they saw their first menstrual cup.
It was thoughts like that that kept me from trying a menstrual cup for years and then when I finally did take the leap all I felt was annoyed – annoyed at myself for not making the change earlier!
I completely get it – you’ve been using tampons for years and so changing tack to something like a menstrual cup is a bit of a mind f**k. For starters they look more suited to holding a boiled egg, or possibly a shot of tequila than Aunty Flo’s monthly brew. And then there’s the fact they are wide and look like they’ve be hard to insert (you actually fold them making them no bigger than a tammie).
Well friends, trust me and learn from me – a menstrual cup will likely change your period life for the better but mastering them isn’t always straight forward. Yes, some users nail cup life straight away but, if you don’t fall into that category don’t worry – you’re not alone. Cups are totally amazing, but they can take a while to get the hang of and, just like grandma said, ‘practice makes perfect’.
Here are my pro tips to making the change as smooth as possible:
- Read the instructions provided. It kinda sounds like common sense, we’ve amazed by how many users seem to skip this step. Just like you wouldn’t go parachuting without learning which cord to pull as you pummel toward earth, take time to read what’s recommended for the cup you’ve bought. Different cup companies offer different advice – they know their cups best so take the time to read their advice.
- Don’t buy based on flow – if you’re petite, a large cup will likely be too big for you even if you have a heavy flow so start with a smaller size. While you may find you can increase the cup size as you get used to how they work, when you are first starting out my advice is definitely to find a cup that is relevant to your age and body shape. If there’s not enough room for your cup to unfold, it will leak.
- The punchdown fold is your friend. There are lots of fold recommendations online and again, the brand of cup you have may suggest a particular fold works best for their cup. At Hello Cup, we strongly recommend starting off with a shallow punchdown fold, ensuring the ‘punch’ doesn’t go all the way down to the bottom of the cup. The shallower the indent, the easier it will open. Check out our video here to see it in action.
- Don’t assume your cervix is ‘straight up’. The habitat of the cervix is a curious one. Some like to hang out to the side, some like to angle themselves backwards. If your cervix is in those categories, it doesn’t mean you can’t use a cup but you will likely have to experiment with the angle it sits on.
- Use a reusable liner while you are mastering your cup. We’ve heard plenty of stories of first-timers throwing caution to the wind and match their new menstrual cup with a pair of white trousers with no issues what-so-ever BUT if you want an extra layer of security – a liner is a good idea.
- While your cervix moves up and down, it’s good to have a rough idea of where your cervix sits before you start cup life. There are cups on the market specifically designed for low and high cervix if you find you are in one of those categories. There are plenty of guides online to help you determine your cervix height.
Don’t panic if your cup heads south and you think it’s lost. It’s a dead end street up there so unless David Copperfield has paid you a visit, your cup is still there. To help move your cup down, we recommend baring down like you are doing a poo and reaching for the toggle at the same time. While you are doing all of this the other, and most important thing, is to RELAX. The more stressed you are, the more your muscles will clench on to your cup, so deep breathes. If it’s still not budging, have a break and try again in an hour. Once you’re confident in using your cup, you will be whipping it in and out like a total boss, promise.