One of the downsides to using a menstrual cup is the fact that there’s a learning process involved. But come on, don’t most things, period products or not, have a process of learning before mastery is achieved? Indeed, learning to use a menstrual cup may require more practice than say, learning to cook your favorite meal, but both are worth it in the end!
During the learning curve, you may experience spotting or leaking, and it may seem messy to use, or uncomfortable to wear. However, during the learning process, you figure out not just about the menstrual cup and how to use one correctly, but about your own body as well, which I might add is uniquely yours.
Here are a few things that might help you have a better experience with menstrual cups:
Stay at Home
I suggest trying a menstrual cup for the first time on a day or days that you will be in the comfort of your own home. A day/s that you don’t have to go anywhere to do anything important that requires you to be away from the house is best. This way, you can use the toilet, tub, shower, or sink whenever the need arises.
Whether you stay home or not, use a backup product just in case you leak. Left-over sanitary pads will come in handy. You can also use panty liners if you aren’t bleeding heavy or comfortable period panties that will absorb all the leakage. If you have nothing other than your cup, fold some soft toilet paper over a few times and place it in your panties, removing if/when necessary.
Empty more Frequently
Although most menstrual cup companies state that you can use a cup for up to 12 hours, it depends on how light or heavy your flow actually is. Chances are, if you’re a very heavy bleeder and normally change your pad or tampon every hour, you will get at least one or two more hours out of a menstrual cup depending on its size.
During the learning process, empty the cup around the same amount of time you would use a pad or tampon. Try to pay attention to how empty or full the cup is. Some cups have measurements but they’re not critical. Just eyeball it at the bottom, middle, or top of the cup.
Say you normally change your pad/tampon every three hours, if there’s only a small amount of blood when you remove it after three hours, try using the cup for six hours and see how full it is then. Adjust this time accordingly and remember that when your period lightens, you will be able to leave it in for a longer time frame up to 12 hours maximum.
Empty on a Schedule
Once you’re comfortable with the time frame you have worked out to empty your cup, you won’t need to keep track of it every hour. Instead, you can set a reminder on your phone or watch, or you can adjust when you empty it to correlate with a break, recess, lunch, etc.
Making sure to empty the cup before you leave the house for the day will reset your time frame and give you a fresh start with full capacity, of up to 47 ml if you’re using the large Venus Menstrual Cup.
The thought of using a menstrual cup may be daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll realized you made the best decision not needing to ever use sanitary pads or tampons ever again!