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    How Does a Menstrual Cup Work and How to Use It? Step-by-step Guide 2021

    how does a menstrual cup work and how to use it

    When it comes to using menstrual hygiene products, menstrual cups are probably the most convenient, yet one of the least understood options out there – but don’t let that stop you. If you haven’t tried a period cup, don’t worry, we’ll give you all the deets to make it simple! Your life will become ten times easier, while saving you money, time and hassle. Not to mention, being able to avoid added stressors that you experience during your period, like worrying about leaks, stains, or being caught short on period supplies in public.

    While learning how to use a menstrual cup might seem intimidating at first, most users get the hang of it after 2-3 period cycles and never look back. Because period cups, like VOXAPOD, made with high-quality, medical-grade silicone are biocompatible, body-safe, and environmentally-friendly period care products, it makes the extra small effort to learn how to use it worthwhile. Before we talk  about how to use a period cup, let’s go over how it works.

    What is a Menstrual Cup and How Does it work?

    menstrual cup is a flexible, small cup made with a latex rubber or silicone material that is specifically designed to fit in your vagina. With VOXAPOD, we go the extra mile to manufacture our cups with the highest quality FDA-approved, medical-grade silicone to ensure there are no risks of reactions to allergens or harmful chemicals.

    While period care products, like pads and tampons, are designed to absorb your menstrual flow and can dry you out, a menstrual cup is worn internally during your period and catches and collects your flow, rather than absorbing it – working with your natural lubrication so it won’t dry you out. Start by washing your hands with warm water and soap and when you’re just about to start your period, you fold the cup tightly and insert it into your vaginal cavity like you would insert a tampon, but without an applicator. The top and sides of the cup conform to your vaginal walls, creating a foolproof seal when it is inserted properly (more on that shortly) – you shouldn’t be able to feel the cup once inserted and situated. When you remove the menstrual cup, you can dump out the blood, wash or wipe out your cup and put it back in for another round of period protection. Pretty brilliant, right? 

    The process is less intimidating than it may seem at first, and the silicone material means that you can wash and reuse your cup month after month – eliminating the cost and waste of single-use disposables, like pads and tampons. 

    A Step-by-step Guide on How to Use a Menstrual Cup 

    While it’s not rocket science learning to use a menstrual cup, it’s not uncommon to have fears about using a cup (or any new period product) for the first time. Don’t worry – it’s not painful and, for most, it is way simpler (and less messy) than they may have imagined.

    We will walk you through basic menstrual cup instructionsmenstrual cup placement, as well as the best menstrual cup tips for beginners

    If you are using your VOXAPOD menstrual cup for the first time, follow this step-by-step guide on how to use a menstrual cup. (If using a different brand, carefully follow their instructions for max wear time, etc.):

    Before first use

    Before first use and between periods, sterilize your cup by putting it in a pot of boiling water for 5-7 minutes. Drain or use tongs to take it out of the water and allow it to completely cool (or run under cold water to cool). 

    how to clean a menstrual cup with a whisk tip

     

    Tip: Make sure there is enough water in the pot so the cup is not resting on the bottom of the pan. Put your cup inside a wire whisk while boiling it to keep it from touching the bottom of the pot. 

    How to insert a menstrual cup

    1. Wash your hands with warm water and soap before inserting your menstrual cup.
    1. Relax in a squat, standing, sitting, or one-leg-raised position. You might want to apply water or a water-based lubricant to the lip of the cup before inserting it into the vaginal opening (to make things more comfortable).

     

    How to fold a menstrual cup

    1. Choose one of the following menstrual cup folding methods from the instructions below:

     

    Best Menstrual Cup Folds C-Fold  Punch Down Fold  7 Fold

     

    Tip: Try all three folds to figure out which one works best for your body, as each results in a slightly different positioning after insertion.

    1. Keeping a firm hold on your chosen fold, separate your labia with your fingers and gently guide the period cup into the opening of the vagina towards your tailbone, with the opening lip of the cup end-in first, and the flat part of the fold facing the back of the vagina.
    1. Release your hold once the base of the cup is just inside the vagina, not before. The base of the cup should not be exposed at the vaginal opening. If you can feel the base, gently push the cup beyond the entrance of your vagina. Don’t push the base of the cup more than ½ inch (1.27cm) past the vaginal opening, as this may cause leaks or make removal of the cup more difficult.

    Tip: The cup sits just inside the vaginal cavity, and does not need to be placed as high as a tampon might. The cup and stem should be completely inside of you. However, we’re all built differently, so if the stem pokes out and bothers you, it can be trimmed or removed (not while being worn or inserted).

    menstrual cup vs tampon voxapod

     

    Inserting Menstrual Cup Tips: rinse your menstrual cup with warm water before inserting to act as lubrication, or practice inserting your menstrual cup in the shower to help you (and your vaginal muscles) relax. This can be especially helpful when first learning how to use a menstrual cup as a beginner.

    1. Run a finger along the base of the cup to ensure there are no folds, and that the cup has opened completely to form a proper suction seal. A proper seal will prevent leaks and keep the cup from moving too high into your vaginal cavity where removal could become more challenging.

    Tip: menstrual cups work by creating a seal between the lip and sides of the cup and your vaginal walls. This can only occur when the cup is fully expanded inside of the vagina. To ensure you’ve got a good seal after inserting your menstrual cup, grasp the indents at the base of the cup with your thumb and index finger, then gently rotate it or wiggle it back and forth. 

    Bonus tip: Your menstrual cup will conform to your body and movement, naturally finding a comfortable position. If you feel like a proper seal wasn’t formed, or that the cup is positioned awkwardly, remove the cup and try re-inserting it with one of the other folds or positions.

    When inserted correctly, the cup should unfold and create a gentle seal with your vaginal wall and you shouldn’t be able to feel it at all. The blood released from your uterus during your period will flow and be collected conveniently into the sealed cup.

    Because the VOXAPOD menstrual cup is made of reusable, medical-grade silicone, it glides in (much like a plastic applicator would)––working with your natural lubrication, rather than against it.

    How long can you wear a menstrual cup?

    VOXAPOD menstrual cup holds 3-5x more than a tampon, and can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time, which means you can wear it all day and night once inserted. However, how longyou wear a menstrual cup varies from user to user – mostly depending on how heavyyour menstrual flow is. 

    VOXAPOD menstrual cup should be emptied and rinsed at least every 12 hours. If you have really heavy periods and clots, or heavy flow days, you may find you need to empty the menstrual cup more frequently on those days. Your menstrual cup can be worn overnight while sleeping, during workouts, showering or bathing and doesn’t need to be removed when going to the bathroom. (No more pee string!)

    Tip: The average person loses 2-4 tablespoons of blood during their period, so you may be surprised at how little you bleed and how long you can wear your cup without emptying it. We recommend emptying it more often in the beginning until you get used to what works best for your body.

    How to Remove a Menstrual Cup

    1. Always wash your hands with soap and water before removing your menstrual cup.
    1. Relax in a squat, standing, sitting, or one-leg-raised position. It’s essential to relax your vaginal muscles to remove the cup – tensing up can make it more difficult.

    2. With your thumb and index finger, locate the base of your cup inside your vagina. If you cannot reach it, gently pull on the stem in a wiggle motion until you feel the base of the cup.

    Tip: If you can’t comfortably reach your cup, first up, don’t freak out. Your cup can’t get lost up there. (Seriously, your vagina only goes so deep.) Take another calming breath, then try using your pelvic muscles to make a series of gentle, downward pushes to help move the cup towards the opening of the vagina where it can be easily reached. Positioning yourself in a slight squat, or giving it a try in the shower can also be helpful. 

    Just remember—tensing your vaginal muscles can cause the cup to move further from the vaginal opening. So, above all, stay calm. If you have further concerns, please seek medical advice from a physician. 

    1. Once you locate the base of your VOXAPOD cup, pinch two of the base indents to break the suction seal.

    Tip: Don’t try to remove your menstrual cup by pulling on the stem alone – it will be uncomfortable. You need to pinch the base of the cup to break the suction seal before removing the cup. 

    1. While holding the indents, gently guide the cup out of your vagina. (You can wiggle it back and forth, if necessary.) Be sure to remove it at an upright angle to avoid spilling the contents of the cup.
    1. Empty the contents into a toilet or sink. Hold your cup tightly when doing so, as it will be slippery from use. You can wear your VOXAPOD menstrual cup for up to 12 consecutive hours, but may find you need to empty it more frequently depending on your menstrual flow. You should, however, empty and clean your VOXAPOD cup at least 2–3 times every 24-hour period.

    Tip: There’s no need to remove your cup while using the toilet.

    1. Rinse your menstrual cup with clean water before re-inserting it. If water isn’t accessible, you can wipe the cup with a clean tissue or just re-insert directly, rinsing as instructed at the next opportunity. If you know you’ll be in a public bathroom, try bringing a bottle of water to rinse your cup over the toilet.

    With practice, inserting and removing a menstrual cup becomes muscle memory and you’ll be able to do it without even thinking about it. 

    voxapod menstrual cup how it works

     

    VOXAPOD Menstrual Cup is Designed to be Easier to Use for Beginners

    VOXAPOD’s patented menstrual cup was designed by women with premium details to make it easier for first-time cup users and to be the most comfortable and reliable period protection, ever. Its unique pinch grips and stem at the base, allow for an easy, mess-free removal. It’s made with dreamy, soft medical-grade silicone with a rounded base and flexible stem so there is never any poking or chaffing near the vaginal opening – it’s like slipping into your favorite weekend sweats, but for your period.

    Don’t worry about leaks – 
    VOXAPOD cup includes Made-to-move Technology™ that was tested by athletes and active lifestyles which includes a reinforced lip and center silicone band to ensure the cup opens for a double leak-proof seal and stays put for total peace of mind. The hourglass shape and soft period cup walls move comfortably with your body. 

    most comfortable menstrual cup easy to use

     

    It is made in the USA with 100% FDA-approved, premium medical-grade silicone. It's non-toxic, BPA-free and latex-free for the person who wants a solution that's convenient, safe, and sustainable. It’s super comfortable, easy to use, and comes in two sizes so that you can find your perfect fit. 

    Still have a question?

    Have a question about menstrual cups or VOXAPOD? Drop us a note in the comments or at hello@voxapod.com! Sign up for our newsletter to know your body more and get our latest blogs on periods, inner cycle, sex and self-care.

    Jia Yu WangWritten by VOXAPOD Editorial Team and Jia Yu Wang. 

    Jia Yu Wang is a historian, bookworm, and curious dog lover who enjoys watching historical documentaries and reading Wikipedia pages. Her current passion is in integrating historical writing with marketing to help others fuse the context and relevancy for many of the social and environmental issues we face today and thereby further growing a movement of sustainable change. When not diving into the worlds of the past, Jia indulges her inner food enthusiast by hunting down the best eateries around the world.
    ––
    ★ REVIEWS

    Let customers speak for us

    63 reviews
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    Amazing for heavy workouts!!

    This cup is amazing – I ran with it today and all of my other menstrual cups have been an utter disaster for heavy workouts, but this one is awesome. Thank you so much! 😍

    Great first cup!

    I read a ton of reviews and watched a bunch of YouTube videos before I finally picked this for my first menstrual cup. Of course, my period showed up yesterday and I was both terrified and excited to try this thing out.

    I’m 41 and haven’t had children and absolutely no clue how high or low my cervix is, but I got the small size. I picked this cup because it seemed to be both a little firm where the structures are but soft everywhere else. I was afraid if I bought a cup that was too soft it wouldn’t open up and I might leak, and if I bought one that was too firm, it might be uncomfortable with my mind-numbing cramps or make it harder to go pee. I was hoping it would be my goldilocks firmness so I wouldn’t have to try several cups to get the right one. While, I haven’t tried other cups to compare it too, this cup does definitely seem to be perfect because it has both firmness and softness to it.

    Inserting the cup at first was a little awkward but not really hard. It definitely opened up right away. The guide that comes with the cup gives lots of helpful tips to make sure you have a good seal, and I followed all of them just to make sure I got it in right. I’ve read reviews on other cups where if the person sat a certain way they could feel the stem, and I was trying to avoid that with this cup. I’ve been able to leave the stem on and I can’t feel it regardless of what position I’m in or activity I’m doing.

    A few times throughout the day, I would feel a gush of flow coming out and was certain that I had just leaked everwhere, but when I checked there was nothing on my pad, so I believe it was just my flow releasing into the cup. After a few hours I took it out, just to make sure I didn’t overflow or anything. It was a bit tricky removing it my first time, but the stem and pinch grips, the way they are, make it fairly easy. The first time I think maybe I inserted it too far because I’m used to using tampons. I bared down a bit and it moved down where I was able to easily remove it without trouble or discomfort. Since, I don’t insert the cup as far and I haven’t had any issues since, but even if you did, it’s easy to just bare down a bit to help the process. The cup was less than half full, which made me feel like I could wear it overnight without a mess. I’m pleased to say I can now sleep all night without having to get up and change my tampon and pad (I wore both before to prevent leaks). This alone was worth the purchase to me. I hate wearing pads––they are so uncomfortable and smell. I also believe since using this product, my cramps are significantly less. I don’t know if it’s just in my head, but it really seems like they are better. All in all, this was a great first cup experience and I completely recommend it!

    K
    VOXAPOD Menstrual Cup
    Katie Morson
    I would give this ten stars if I could!

    Okay, I’ve been a cup user for over 12 years and had several cups over the years, most of them shaped basically the same way: conical with a harder stem. This cup’s design is a total game-changer, in my opinion. With all of my other cups, removing it was always a bit of a challenge because I would pinch at the base but the suction seal at the top would not break, so I would have to put my finger in and push the whole side of the cup in while I tried to pull it out otherwise it would be uncomfortable when removing the cup. This cup has a thicker line of silicone that goes from the bottom of the cup where you pinch for removal up to the suction hole at the top (basically acting as my finger used to do for removing other cups), so now I can just pinch at the base and the suction remains broken while I’m trying to remove the cup which is waaaaayyyyyy more comfortable! Goood gosh, what a smart design. Also, sometimes with my other cups the stem would poke me if I moved or sat a certain way and this one NEVER does. So, if you’re wondering if this cup really is that much better, it definitely is and I could see how it would reduce the learning curve for first-time cup users especially. If I could give this product ten stars, I would! THANK YOU!

    The design of this cup is better than others!

    I think the firmer lip on top is what helps it to be such an effective, secure product. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making it so much more comfortable to be a woman! I will continue to spread the word.

    Big fan and would totally recommend.

    I am one of the Kickstarter backers and wanted to write in to tell you how awesome your product is. Of the three cups I own, this one is by FAR the most comfortable. It conforms and seals itself properly with virtually no assistance, and I never leak with it compared to the other two, which would leak occasionally for no reason. I'm a pretty big fan!