How to use a menstrual cup without freaking out!

It’s that special time of the month. The time we affectionately label ‘shark week’ or ‘the red wedding’. Oh yes, Aunt Flo is on her way.

You’re stocking up on tampons and pads, packing the pantry with chocolate, and getting ready for a week filled with emergency tampon runs, uncomfortable nights, and underwear stains. When it comes to the time of the ‘red monster’; life can suck.

What if I told you there was a way out? It can’t cure your cramps (get the hot water bottle onto it ASAP!) or stop your chocolate cravings (eat it I say!), but it will save you thousands of dollars and make your TOM feel like a walk in the park.

Introducing: the menstrual cup.

I’ve used a menstrual cup for 2+ years, and have never looked back. Gone are the days of stinky rubbish bins and secretly carrying tampons to the toilet. I’ve said goodbye to spending $30 on menstrual products every month, and I never have to skip yoga when I’ve got my flow on.

I feel robbed that no one told me about menstrual cups from the very day I got my period, and I don’t want you to feel that way too.

Here’s all you need to know about how to use a menstrual cup, why it’s best for you and the planet, and some cup options to check out right here at Oh Natural.

What is a menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is a reusable bell-shaped cup that sits low inside your vagina and catches blood as it flows. It’s a clean, safe, eco-friendly, affordable, and comfortable way to manage your period.

On a menstrual cup, you’ll find a stem that is used to locate the cup when inserting and removing, the base grip, and breathing holes which ensure the cup will release suction upon removal. The opening edge of the cup is referred to as the rim, and the bell curve is the body.

With all these terms defined and explained, let’s brace the infamous question…  how the heck do you use it?

WHY USE A MENSTRUAL CUP?

Best for your body…

When using a menstrual cup, you can swim, exercise, dance, walk, run, and jump, without fear of a tampon string getting caught or a pad dislodging. You’re able to track the amount of blood you are losing, staying more in touch with your body and monthly cycle.

Best for the planet…

Here are the facts. A tampon is made from plastic and takes hundreds of years to break down. On average, a person uses 11,000 disposable sanitary products in their lifetime. Depending on the material, a cup can be used for up to 10 years, and is the sole period product needed for most users. You do the math.

Best for your wallet…

If you menstruate, you’ll be familiar with the monthly cost of Aunt Flo. Since using my cup, I have calculated that a cup can save, on average, $240 a year. That’s $2,400 over the space of 10 years (the estimated time a standard cup lasts)!

WIN A HELLO CUP BOX!

For your chance to win TWO Hello Cup Boxes, each one containing two cups (one of each size), simply comment below with a tip for using cups OR a reason you want to try using one!

The winner will get a Hello Cup Box for themselves, and one for a cup-curious friend – you’ll both be set for your whole cycle!

Ends 10 pm 15 September 2019, NZ & AU residents only. Prize cannot be exchanged for cash.

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Low to Zero Waste Sanitary Care

THE HELLO CUP MENSTRUAL CUP (NZ MADE)

$49.00$69.00

or 4 interest free payments from $12.25 with Afterpay

OH NATURAL MENSTRUAL CUPS

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Low to Zero Waste Sanitary Care

THE HELLO CUP MENSTRUAL CUP (NZ MADE)

$49.00$69.00

or 4 interest free payments from $12.25 with Afterpay

The Hello Cup is one of New Zealand’s most popular cups, and it’s made in New Zealand too. Choose from a range of funky colours, and pop your Hello Cup into a little cotton bag between uses.

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Low to Zero Waste Sanitary Care

LUNETTE MENSTRUAL CUP – CORAL

$54.90

or 4 interest free payments of $13.73 with Afterpay

The Lunette is made from soft medical grade silicone, and comes in two different sizes for different body types. Lunette cups provide the ultimate comfort, sophistication and quality, plus their cups come in vibrant colours to fit your personality.

How to use a menstrual cup:

First things first, when using a menstrual cup it’s important that it is clean and sterilised. Before and after your period, clean your cup with a sterilising tablet and water, or boil it on the stovetop for a few minutes. During your period, you can clean your cup with the Lunette Cup Wash or Cup Wipes, or try the Hello Go On-The-Go Menstrual Cup Spray Cleaner. These products come in handy little bottles to store easily in your bag when you’re on the go. Always make sure your hands are washed before handling your cup, and store it safely in it’s carry bag whenever your cup is not in use. A dirty cup is not useful!

The concept of a menstrual cup involves folding, pushing, twisting, and a pop to finish. Keeping this in mind helps you break down the process of insertion and simplifies a daunting procedure which gets easier every time.

Step 1: Fold it!

Now that your cup is clean and sterilized, it’s time to start folding. You’re not going to get that thing inside your vagina without making it smaller!

There are two main folds you can choose from: the punch down, or the U fold. A personal favourite, the punch down involves punching the cup in on itself. Simply push one side of the rim inwards and down towards the base of the cup so it’s inside the cup body. This reduces the circumference of the rim, but ensures the cup is easy to pop open when inside your vagina – I’ll get to this step shortly.

The U fold is another popular fold that could work for you too. It’s easy: fold the cup in half. The rim of the cup should look like a U shape now.

Step 2: Insert it!

Now for the main step: putting it up there. It may sound daunting right now, but I promise that one day you’ll look back on your rookie cup insertion days and laugh at your hesitation.

Take a deep breath, relax your body, and sit for a second in peace. If your vaginal muscles are tight, inserting your cup will be difficult. Cups are best inserted when relaxed.

With the cup folded, push it into your vagina with your index finger. The stem should be facing downwards, towards the floor as you do this. Place the cup high so the stem is not sticking out, but low enough for you to reach it.

Give your cup a little twist to make sure it has popped open completely. Run your finger around the base of the cup to feel for any dents. If the cup is still folded, and will not pop open when you twist it and try to gently manoeuvre it, remove the cup, relax, and try again.

If your cup is inserted properly, you will not feel a thing. Do a little ‘cup dance’ to make sure you cannot feel the cup inside you, and continue on your merry way! You can leave your cup in for up to 12 hours, but it is recommended you remove it every 8 hours.

Step 3: Remove it!

Similar to insertion, take a breather and relax before removing your cup. Then, locate the stem. Whatever you do, NEVER pull on the stem to remove your cup. Only use your stem to locate the cup and help with manoeuvring. 

Instead, pinch the base of the cup, and slowly wiggle the cup out of your vagina. Keep the cup upright as you do this, so blood does not spill. Empty the blood into the toilet, rinse your cup under warm water in a hand basin or with your menstrual cup wash, and insert again.

Top Cup Tips

  • Before inserting your cup, make sure it is wet.
  • Squat when inserting and removing your cup (the shower is a great place to do this).
  • Don’t insert your cup when you’re in a rush.
  • Cut the stem of your menstrual cup if it’s slightly too long for your vagina.
  • ALWAYS wash your hands before handling, inserting, or removing your menstrual cup.
  • Before inserting your cup, play around with it: practice different folds, and become familiar with an object that will soon be very close to you. You could even practice inserting and removing before your period, so you know what to expect.
  • Hold your cup over the toilet and rinse it with water from a drink bottle if there is no hand basin close by.
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49 thoughts on “How to use a menstrual cup without freaking out!

    • Maria says:

      I heard great things about this product and I would like to try because no pads to buy and no embarrassed leaks and wished that it was talked about in Sex Education Classes that there is a third option to try and not just pads and tampons.

  1. Sandi says:

    Oh Id love to win this! I love my cup – can’t rave enough about them. They do take some getting used to but I recommend waiting until your second or third cycle of using until you conclude your thoughts. Once you have adapted to using them you will wonder why it isn’t what you have always used.

  2. Pania says:

    I’ve never gone back after getting my first cup! I love it and rave about it to all my friends. If it’s your first time, totally give it a try out before your period if you’re worried about inserting and pulling it out! In the shower is a great place to practice 🙂

  3. Zoe says:

    Would love to win as I’ve been longing to make the switch for the environment and for the simplicity of it

  4. Pel says:

    My tip is to pop your cup in a little cotton bag and into your handbag a few days before you’re due on, so you’ll have it with you as soon as you need it.

  5. Lara says:

    Best tip anyone ever gave me was to let your body help you.
    1. When inserting your cup, once the cup is in squeeze your pelvic muscles to help pull the cup further up and into a comfy place.
    2. When removing if you can’t find the stem, bear down like you are pooing and it should be pushed further down so you can grab it.

  6. Daina says:

    If you are worried about leaks when you first start using a cup then wear a panty liner or pad too (reusable of course!) until you get your confidence up.

  7. Katie says:

    I would like to try this product and stop using nasty products when I have my period, although I would be nervous about using it but there are some great tips above, thank you!

  8. toutouwai says:

    Love my cups, I’ve been using them for 16 years now! Tip for cleaning: If you live in a shared house or with family, and you feel embarrassed or are never alone to boil your cup – buy some Milton steriliser tablets from the supermarket or pharmacy. Then you can leave your cup to soak in a jar some place more private to get it clean.

    • ingrid says:

      Aunt Flow hadn’t been for a visit in over 5 years while I was having kids, I was so excited to use a cup when she came! Haven’t looked back, it’s been a few years now. Best tip from me – I always try use a toilet with a reachable basin for rinsing the cup out after emptying – just make sure you give the sink a good flush out after!

  9. Abbie says:

    I have only just been using a cup since getting my period back after have my 2 babies and I will never go back!! I have only recently learnt though that the height of.your cervix can change from start to end of your cycle so you may need different sizes/shape cups to accommodate this. I still need to find the right size for the start of my cycle but I still love my cup!

  10. Casey says:

    Oh i’d Love to try this brand as me and the 2 I own are not friends. I’m thinking a different brand might be the way to go.

  11. Shannon says:

    I love my cup and would never go back! I was hesitant to use it at first but my main tip would be to relax as much as you can when inserting and removing the cup and take your time, then it will become a breeze.

  12. Oh Natural Team says:

    That IS a pro tip, thanks for sharing & entering! Also good for absent minded ‘boilers’ who wander off to do something else – one of our team has melted 3 so far!!

    • Izy says:

      I rave about my cup to ANYONE who will listen! The shower is a great place to change your cup while getting used to it all as there will be no mess 🙂

  13. Oh Natural Team says:

    That IS a pro tip, thanks for sharing & entering! Also good for absent minded ‘boilers’ who wander off to do something else – one of our team has melted 3 so far!!

  14. Hannah says:

    I would love to try a menstrual cup! Over the past year, I have been working to go zero waste and have significantly reduced my consumption of plastics but am yet to transition to menstrual cups! Winning this competition would be a really awesome opportunity to take the next step on my zero waste journey 🙂

  15. Sarah Barnett says:

    Love love love my cup! Wouldn’t know where id be without it these days! My top tip is to relax, take your time, using a cup can take a bit of practice, but totally worth it in the end!

  16. Tab says:

    I’ve been using a cup the last year or so. First time in my life I’ve been able to sleep peacefully while on my period! You can buy little rubbing alcohol swabs to keep in your handbag when in the bathroom to wipe them before reinserting. They sanitise and you don’t have to awkwardly try wash out in a public sink or toilet with a water bottle. Between each cycle, buy a small saucepan to boil your cup.
    During cleaning, those small tooth bristle picks work great for the holes!

  17. Sian says:

    My tip for using: always bring it with you in a bag as part of an on the go period kit: reusable pad, spare underwear and your period cup and your always ready 😊

  18. Sophie Cooney says:

    I much prefer the punch fold, I was using the C fold for a few months at the beginning and found it was leaking because it wasn’t opening properly, it’s all about perseverence, I hated it at the beginning but now I can’t swear highly enough by a cup! I certainly don’t dislike my period as much as I used to! 🙂

  19. Keryn says:

    I literally just tried it for the first time today! I tried the ‘squat’ method which hurt, so tried inserting whilst on the loo which worked a treat. I can’t feel the cup, but unfortunately I bought one that has a stem that you can cut to size. Which definitely hurt and needs a trim. Pondering if the ball ended ones are better …
    Either way I’m happy to have converted!

  20. Charmaine says:

    These are all great tips and ones I have been using for years now. I have been trying to get my teen daughter on the bandwagon for a few years now and have told her when she decides to get one to persist. It can seem tricky at first, I almost gave up after the first month of trying. Oh my, I have horror flashbacks thinking about the first time I tried to take it out, lol. I wish I knew then about squatting, bearing down and squeezing the tip! Arm yourself with information, look up online the folds and q & a sections. There may be questions you may feel embarrassed asking. Once you figure out the cup, how to insert securely and take it out etc, it will truly change your life!

  21. Hannah says:

    I would love to try one to reduce waste and stop using tampons! I have heard great things about the hello cups.

  22. Amy V says:

    I’ve been wanting to try a cup for years but never bit the bullet! It just seems like a win all round: good for the earth, good for your body and your wallet. Wish they were around when I first got my period!

  23. Lemonadey says:

    My first cup experience was so painful and awkward. I purchased it two years ago and the man serving me said… have you had kids? You’ll need size large.
    I haven’t used it since and feel guilty every month that I’m
    Contributing to waste 🙁

  24. Anna says:

    As people have already said, definitely shower removal the first time around! Just to prevent any messy accidents while you get used to removing the cup. Also, finding a cup with a smooth tail – sharp edges or ridges can be really irritating

  25. Michelle says:

    I have been back and forth about if I should buy one or not. I love the concept of it being reusable, waste free and healthier for my body. After reading this blog and all the comments I feel way more confident to take the leap to a healthier shark week and a happier planet.

  26. Melody says:

    This one is just a little safety tip that’s definitely worth knowing. I didn’t and it got me in some hot water 😅 If you have an IUD there is unfortunately a risk that a menstrual cup can pull on the strings too much at removal and pull your IUD partially, or all the way out! I had my IUD partially expell due to a menstrual cup and had to get it removed in the emergency department 😅 You can still use them with an IUD if you’re careful to break the suction before pulling your cup out, and are aware of your string placement (all the better if your strings are short enough to not get caught in the cup’s suction!), but it’s definitely important to know the risk and how to avoid it as no one talks about it! I’m sure if I had known I’d would still have an IUD! I hope this helps someone 😊

  27. Tessa Werner says:

    I’ve been using a mooncup for four years now and its amazing. It took a bit to get used to in the beginning, but as the saying goes – practise makes perfect and it’s now a breeze to use. Life continues with exercise and sport during my period with no problems. I have young teen daughters (who are very environmentally conscious) and would like to give them the option of a mooncup from the beginning. Imagine the money they will save over their lifetime being tampon free!

  28. Chloe says:

    Empty in the shower for a easy, mess free change! Absolutely love my cup, my job as a theatre nurse means often long surgeries and with a cup I dont have to worry about the length of time, or any leaks while being super comfy. Would love my other nurse friends to also have this same comfort and try a box of cups!

  29. Emily Blakey says:

    I have always wanted to try one of these because every month I throw away so many pads/tampons and it has always made me think that there must be a better way than making all this horrible toxic waste on the planet!! Really keen to give this a go 🙂

  30. Susan says:

    Until I had selected a different fold that suited me and my menstrual cup, and practised it, I had difficulty. Youtube has a couple of clear, practical how-to videos that helped me. Choose a folding method that suits you, and practicing holding the fold with the same amount of fingers you have available for the actual insert. The more automatic it is, for our brains, the easier it is. All the best!

  31. Sheree says:

    Relax, that is my biggest tip. If you struggle, go away have a cup of tea and try again later. Also, read up about all the hints and tips from everyone, but also just do what feels right for you. I am still learning and trying to get a cup to work for me and think I am overthinking it now trying to put into practice ALL the tips, when I should just do what feels right for my body!

  32. Sonna says:

    Best tip would be to use lubricant especially when you first start using it! I love the bonk water based one on here 😍

  33. Kim says:

    Just got my first one and it was the easiest thing it took a day or two to adjust, would love to gift this to friends! For first time use I would recommend to start using the cup when around the house to get comfortable with using and inserting it, and ensuring that your not leaking ( I know that was my main concern with using it, however it never leaked once for me). Tip always check the bathroom to ensure there is a sink in there for you to wash up with!

  34. Hayley says:

    I recommend these to everyone I know, I bought a lunette one about a year ago and will never look back! Definitely give these a go! They’re amazing and save money on sanitary in your shopping!!! Would love to win to give them away to my friends who have not yet tried! Thanks so much!!

  35. Desiree says:

    I want to use one to cut down on all the waste from using tampons. It seems like a no-brainer but I’ve struggled to choose a cup so far

  36. Peachy says:

    Would love to win this please as I have been too afraid to dive in and purchase one thus far but super keen to make the switch for the environment and the long term reduced cost …but also for the comfort in bed (no more pads!) and the reduced hassle of not having to get up to change through the night.

  37. Sarah says:

    I’ve tried a different brand cup & I just could not get the hang of it. Came to the conclusion that the size was too big. I have a friend that raves about Hello Cup, also after a bit of trial & error with other brands. Finding a perfect fit & going through different kinds/brands seems to be the norm, so I haven’t given up! But it ends up being quite a costly experiment. I like that Hello Cup offer a two size pack. Would be so grateful if I won this!

  38. Olga says:

    Don’t cut the neck the first time you insert it. Walk around for a bit and find the natural resting place for your cup before you decide if the neck it too long or not. It should feel comfortable as if there is nothing there.

  39. janine says:

    Before inserting your cup, play around with it: practice different folds, and become familiar with an object that will soon be very close to you. You could even practice inserting and removing before your period, so you know what to expect.

  40. janine says:

    Before inserting your cup, play around with it: practice different folds, and become familiar with an object that will soon be very close to you. You could even practice inserting and removing before your period, so you know what to expect. love to try this brand.

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