Using a Period Cup 101

November 22, 2022

By Period Dignity Team

Do you remember your first period? The first time you ever attached that unfamiliar, nappy-like pad to your underwear before walking around all day like you had a wedgie? How self-conscious you felt to be walking around with a pad or tampon in because what if someone found out or worse, what if you leaked?! These are just some of the fears that went through my head when I first started my period, and those same feelings can arise when we begin the process of moving to a period cup.

Of course, it is still completely different, we’re often older and understand that no one will know what period products you use from the way we walk, but that discomfort in the pit of our bellies still shows up. Period cups are one of the newest forms of period management, coming out of the need for more sustainable solutions which support our environment and our finances. They’re often made from silicone or rubber, and are able to collect more blood than traditional pads or tampons. While the funnel shaped cup is a great option for many in managing their period, the shape and size can be quite a transition. Hopefully the information coming up will help you to consider making the change and give period cups a go!

Know Your Size

To start with, you need to know the size of cup you need. This is influenced by numerous factors including your age, whether or not you have a heavy flow, firmness and flexibility of the cup, length of your cervix, cup capacity, strength of your pelvic floor muscles or if you’ve given birth vaginally. Traditionally period cups are sold in two sizes, a smaller size for beginners and those under thirty who haven’t given birth vaginally and a larger size for those over thirty, with a larger period flow or have given birth vaginally.

Knowing your appropriate cup size is vital to making sure you feel comfortable and once you have the right period cup, you can begin getting ready to use it.

Inserting the Period Cup

To begin with, make sure your hands are washed thoroughly, and prepare your cup. Always sterilise the cup before use, by placing it in a pan of boiling water for around 10 minutes. And, as you would when using a tampon, wash your hands before use. This means applying a small amount of water or preferably a water-based lube to the rim of the cup. You can then either; fold the menstrual cup lengthwise or use one finger to fold down one side of the menstrual cup to make a pointed shape. Holding the cup tightly with the rim facing upwards, it should be positioned slightly lower than a tampon. Insert the cup slowly into your vagina as you would with a tampon without an applicator.

Once inside, the menstrual cup should sit a few centimetres below your cervix, similarly to tampons you should not be able to feel the menstrual cup if it has been inserted properly. You should be able to move, jump, do everyday activities and sport without the cup bothering you or fallinging out.

Removing the Period Cup

Period cups can be worn for six to twelve hours depending on your own flow, meaning you can also use a cup for overnight protection.

To remove the period cup, you should once again wash your hands thoroughly before inserting your finger and thumb index finger and thumb gently into your vagina. Pulling the stem of the cup very carefully until you reach the base of the cup’s funnel, then pinch the base to release the seal and pull down to remove the cup.

Doing this for the first time can feel tricky, so be careful when removing the cup. A helpful tip is to practise removing the cup in the shower initially. Once removed, empty the cup into the toilet or sink. Rinse and re-insert the cup.

It can take some time to get used to using a cup, so don’t feel guilty if you can’t wear it for the full day or night when you first use it. Trying it one day of your period or for a few hours every day will help you transition to using the cup full time. In no time you’ll be an expert and feeling more confident than ever when managing your period.

You can find our Grace & Green Period Cups here.

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