Menstrual Cups: How to Get Started and Is It Worth The Change?

You’re probably reading this because you’ve been thinking of trying a menstrual cup but it’s all a bit daunting and scary. I mean, who wants to regress back to that first year of having your period when you’re totally clueless and paranoid about leaking in public (or anywhere for that matter)? Then, suddenly, your inner hippy starts to feel super guilty about the “disposable” nature of tampons and pads, you want to reduce the unnecessary plastic in your life, and you’re -- of course -- concerned about polluting Nemo and Dory’s home. So, these crazy things called “menstrual cups” have been on the back of your mind.

Well, because sharing is caring, I wanted to share with you exactly how I went about switching from tampons to almost exclusively using a menstrual cup. Don’t panic, I’m not going to get graphic with details on how to insert a cup (thankfully there are hundreds of Youtube videos covering that). Instead, I’m going to focus on the lessons I learnt and share my hot tips to hopefully help you avoid the mistakes I made.

Which Cup Should I Buy?

Menstrual cups are by no means a new concept, but they have come a long way and now there are literally hundreds of different types and brands. It’s just as confusing as when you were researching buying your first pram. Do you know why there are so many options for cups? Because no vjayjay is the same! We’re all made differently and therefore there is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to cups.

I personally use the Diva Cup (large size, because I’ve had kids). The only reason I went with this cup is because their marketing is the best: it appears quickly in a Google search and, at the time I was looking, I simply remembered the name. Listen closely! Don’t make your purchase based on convincing marketing techniques! What I since learnt is that the Diva isn’t right for my body shape so I had to modify it (i.e. cut the tip off) and now it works a lot better. I can’t say I love it, but it’s better than disposable products.

Check out the Diva Cup here if you believe that it would suit you:

Diva menstral cup

If I had the chance to do it again, I would have joined the Facebook Group “Put a Cup In It” and taken their online quiz to find the right cup. Yep, there is a magical quiz that you can take and based on your answers, the algorithm recommends a few cups that are right for your body and lifestyle.

This is the link to the quiz here:

How Do I Insert the Cup?

I won’t go into details here because there are some great resources and blogs on Youtube. I spent hours watching these trying to get as many hot tips as I could. Here are some of the reviews I found the most helpful:

I will share that I find it easiest to insert my cup squatting down in the shower. So for one week a month I have a valid excuse to shower uninterrupted morning and night, who wouldn’t love that!

Put a cup in it

Hot tip: one thing I wish I had known from day one, and only discovered it after a kind lady on the Put a Cup In It Facebook group told me about it, is that your cervix moves during your period!! Mind blown! It goes up, down, forward, back and side to side. Some women have a long cervix and some have a short one. And of course to make it more complicated, this distance changes during your period. Switching to a cup will teach you things about your body that you should have learnt in high school!

Before I insert the cup, I squat down and use my index finger to quickly check exactly where my cervix is at that time and then insert the cup in that direction. Voila! No more leaking because the cup is sitting exactly where it should be to catch where the flow comes from.

But how do you find your cervix? Easy, it feels like a round donut!

What About Leaking?

If you have your cup in correctly, it won’t leak. However, if you have a super heavy period, you might just have to empty it more often until your period lightens off. My cup did leak while I was in the learning phase (what a nightmare!!!), but I made sure I was prepared by wearing my Modibodi period proof underwear day and night. These undies really did take the worry away. I love them so much and even wear them to the gym to guard against embarrassing leaks.  

Modibodi period underwear

Hot tip: See why Modibodi underwear is the best!

I also used reusable panty liners, as I am fully focused on reducing the amount of plastic waste that I generate and leave behind. I got my panty liners from an Australian business called, funny enough, The Period Shop

Do You Wear Them Day and Night?

Yep! I’m on the pill, officially rendering my period as predictable as clockwork, which takes the guesswork out of when Aunty Flow is arriving. On the day I’m due, I just pop the cup in while I shower and then forget about it!

For a normal flow, you should be able to go 12 hours between emptying your cup. That could mean it goes in at 7am and is emptied at 7pm. Even on my heaviest days, I can get 12 hours of cover. If you’re heavier you may only get 8 hours or so. Again, it’s worth repeating that everyone is different but you’ll soon figure out what works for you.

Can You Feel the Cup?

Not really and if it’s inserted correctly you shouldn’t feel any discomfort. I would describe the feeling more as being mindful that you just inserted a pretty large piece of silicone into your vjayjay.

Hot tip: I found the Diva cup really uncomfortable and it felt like it was always falling out. This isn’t normal and your cup shouldn’t feel this way. What it meant was the cup was a little bit too long for me, so I needed to trim the stem off. Problem solved!  

Can It Get Lost and How Do You Get It Out?

No, of course it can’t get lost! But if the cup does move up higher (I find mine does at night), you just need to bear down like you’re pushing a baby out and your body will move it down. Squatting helps too.

Summary of Hot Tips:

I have to honest with you, it actually took me 4 months of trying before I finally figured it all out and now I have successfully worn mine for 3 months leak-free. I don’t want your learning curve to take this long, therefore here is a summary of my hot tips:

  • Join the Facebook Group – Put a Cup In It and take their quiz to find the right cup for you. Also take the time to read through the threads, because there is loads of helpful information out there from women in the same position as you!
  • Watch the Youtube videos and get really familiar with it all.
  • Don’t be afraid to trim the stem of your cup if it feels like it’s too long.
  • Have your Modibodi, or similar, undies at the ready. Or reusable pads/panty liners. These will give you peace of mind.
  • Get familiar with your cervix, it’s amazing! Check what your cervix is doing each time before you insert the cup will give you best chance of nailing your positioning.
  • Empty your cup in the toilet, otherwise it will literally look like a blood bath in your shower.
  • Insert the cup morning and night. The shower works great for me. Some people do it while on the toilet but I couldn’t get the right position. Squatting down gives you “room to move” when getting your positioning right. I’ve read some people find it best to lay down. Each body is different so it’s important to find what works for you.
  • To help keep your cup looking new and fresh (i.e. stain free), rinse it under cold water first and then clean with soap and hot water. Rinsing under cold water first will help reducing the staining.
  • I use the natural plant-based soap that Diva cup sells to clean my cup but you can use any gentle soap. People also recommend boiling the cup once a month to get it nice and clean.
  • You most likely don’t want your kids participating in cup changes, so try and sneak 5min of alone time. No one needs the extra pressure of an audience!

That’s it! Everything I learnt and wish I had known when I was just getting started. I’m so happy I’ve switched to a cup and really truly wish I had known about these 20 years ago. Note only are they the best environmental choice, they’ll also save you a TONE of cash as one cup can last years and years.

Anything that saves me money so I can buy more shoes is a winner for me.

I’d love to hear if you’ve made the switch to cups and how you went. Did you figure it out faster than I did? Any other hot tips I can add to this post? Shoot me a message below!

About Mummy Couture

Hey there, lovely mum! I’m Emily. I’m from Australia and I’m a mother of two small, energetic children. I started Mummy Couture when I was eight months pregnant with my second baby as a passion project to block the “baby brain” we pregnant mums invariably endure. After giving birth, I fell in love with kimonos as they flattered my post-baby body and I felt beautiful again. I started creating my own kimonos, refining my designs with new colours and patterns. Mummy Couture is dedicated to every mum who wants to feel amazing in her own skin!

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