What’s a Reusable Menstrual Cup?

What’s a Reusable Menstrual Cup? 

The more I learn about reusable menstrual products, the more I wish I knew about them sooner. I look back on years of disposable period product use and cringe. The toxins in those products don’t belong anywhere near my vagina and I am thankful for my reusable product collection. I use reusable menstrual cups, reusable menstrual pads, reusable cleaning products and toxin-free vag care.

A reusable menstrual cup, like a tampon, gets inserted in your vagina and sits up near your cervix. It collects menstrual blood, and other fluids, up high and unlike a tampon, doesn’t pose the risk of toxic shock syndrome. They come in different lengths, firmnesses and shapes.

reusable menstrual cup

These cups are made of medical grade soft silicone and comfortable to use, with the right fit. When I handled my first reusable menstrual cup I thought that it looked and felt similar to the newborn pacifiers they use in the hospital. Soft, easily washable and made from material trusted for pacifiers!

Most reusable menstrual cups can be worn up to 12 hours, even overnight, and come in different shapes and sizes. In addition, most companies offer a smaller and larger size to fit pre-baby women and post-baby Moms and ladies who have lived beyond a certain age. Often size 1 and size 2, or size A and size B, these cups can be purchased individually or in sets of both.

Parts of a reusable menstrual cup

    The main parts of the cup are the cup, the stem, the rim (sits near cervix) and the air holes. Air holes are necessary for cup function and to help with cup removal. Without the holes, you might get too good of a seal and have difficulty with removal.

The stem can be trimmed to fit your personal length and many cup companies have a slightly different rim. Some are angled, some are flat and most are designed with your cervix in mind.

Some cups are more firm and some cups are softer.

See more cup details and photos in my LENA cup review and coupon.

How to use a reusable menstrual cup

While the unfolded cup may look large, it gets folded before inserted and is very similar to the size of a tampon. There are multiple folds, and most companies offer a pamphlet with different options, but in my experience it’s easy to know right away which fold works for you.

I typically sit on the toilet, hopefully without an audience of children, fold the cup and start to insert it slowly. To my surprise, the cups are comfortable and super clean. Because menstrual blood collection is up so high the outside of my lady area, my vulva, and lower end of my vagina says very clean and odor-free.

reusable menstrual cup insertion

Reusable menstrual cups sit at different locations for different vaginas. Above, seated at the cervix and below seated below the cervix held by vaginal walls and suction.

reusable menstrual cup in vagina

Awesome, right?

reusable menstrual cup

(Please pin this super special size image below to Pinterest)

How to wash a reusable menstrual cup

Reusable menstrual cups are easy to clean. If I’m out in public, I usually empty the cup and reinsert it without a thorough cleaning. This is okay to do.

If a sink is available, I give it a rinse before reinserting and if I’m home I use a recommended menstrual cup wash.

Some ladies report boiling cups between uses, to get rid of unwanted odor (your cup should not have an odor) and just for peace of mind and knowledge that the cup is sterile.

How to store a reusable menstrual cup

Most reusable menstrual cups come with their own pouches. I store mine in a drawer, and when I’m on the go it just hangs out in a pocket in my purse. The basic purpose is to keep the cup dry, clean and easy to find.

reusable menstrual cup

Not all cups are created equal

    When shopping for your first cup, make sure you purchase a reputable brand. There are some cups floating around on Amazon that arrive with toxic smells, don’t have medical grade silicone and are not produced with the same oversight as many other brands.

Definitely not something I’d recommend inserting into your vagina, saving a few dollars upfront can lead to issues with your cup later.

How to purchase a cup

    Many reusable menstrual cup brands offer great customer service. If you’re unsure, call before purchasing. The upfront cost, often between $20-$40 can seem a bit daunting. Who wants to buy the wrong cup? While picking a pre-birth or post-birth or post a certain age cup is easy, the length may not be.

Some brands recommend that you measure your cervix. This can be done by inserting a clean finger until you find your cervix, or with help from a partner, and then measuring the length of your digit. Don’t go poking your cervix, no one likes that. But, if you don’t have a general idea of the length it’s a good thing to know anyway. Some cups are longer and some are shorter and finding the right size will help greatly with the learning curve.

What do you think? Do you love your reusable menstrual cup or are you just starting to research?

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3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I tried a Diva Cup in a size 2 and no matter what I did, I felt pain. I tried it during two different cycles and just did not like how it felt. Do you think if I went down a size it’d make a difference?

    1. It could have been the firmness of the cup or how it was seated. How may tries did you give it? When I first started I had to take it in and out a few times to get it right. Was it the stem or where it sat on your cervix? There are soooooo many different brands and firmnesses out there! I often say to start with measuring your cervix height to get the right cup length. That will give you an idea and really narrow down your search!

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