Menstrual Cup • How it works

For most women, there are only two menstrual hygiene alternatives: pads or tampons. Another way to get your menstrual period under control practically and discreetly is the menstrual cup. What the little plastic cup is all about.

The menstrual cup, also called menstrual cup, menstrual cup, moon cup or “mooncup”, is a reusable, bell-shaped container made of medical silicone, latex or other medical plastics. It is inserted into the vagina during periods and left there for several hours to catch the bleeding. The menstrual cup hugs the vaginal wall and is available in different sizes.

Article content at a glance:

Important period warning signs

Menstrual cup: Soft and hardly bigger than a tampon

The word cup or mug sounds rigid and uncomfortable at first. But a menstrual cup is hardly bigger than a tampon and is made of soft, flexible material. If it has been inserted correctly and sits well, users will not feel the cup any more than a tampon. According to the manufacturers, even sport is unrestrictedly possible.

In addition, the menstrual cup has properties that are becoming increasingly important to many women: It is discreet and hygienic to use – and at the same time significantly cheaper and more environmentally friendly than tampons and sanitary towels. Menstrual cups are suitable for women of all ages. They are available in many different versions in pharmacies, drugstores or on the Internet – the price ranges from six to 30 euros.

How is the menstrual cup used?

Many women who already use a menstrual cup report that installing it takes a little practice first. The small container is folded up and inserted into the vagina. There are various folding techniques that are explained in detail in the instructions for use. Insertion works best when the user is completely relaxed.

Inside the body, the soft menstrual cup unfolds by itself and lies tightly against the inner wall of the vagina. This creates a negative pressure that holds the cup together with the vaginal muscles. By carefully turning and pulling, the user can check that everything is securely in place and that the cup has unfolded correctly.

Removing the menstrual cup

For emptying, the resulting negative pressure must be released and the menstrual cup removed from the body. To do this, it is slightly compressed at the lower end and pulled out. The blood is drained into the toilet and the cup is briefly rinsed with clear water before it is reinserted.

Gripping the menstrual cup inside the body is usually not a problem: the different models have either a stem, a ring or a ball on the underside, with which the container can be pulled out. In contrast to the tampon, this pull-out aid is not visible. There are special tampons without a return thread for saunas, for example. Without the ribbon, however, many women have doubts whether the tampon can be removed without any problems.

Clean the menstrual cup

During menstruation it is sufficient to rinse the cup with clean water after emptying it. After the menstrual period has ended, the container should be boiled for a few minutes for thorough cleaning. Many manufacturers also offer water-soluble tablets with which the menstrual cup can be sterilized (made aseptic).

Washing out the cup on the go can be a little tricky. After all, you hardly want to clean your menstrual cup in a public toilet. Here it helps to always take a small bottle of tap water with you and clean it over the toilet bowl.

Palpate the chest: Instructions in 6 steps

How long will the menstrual cup be worn?

The menstrual cup can hold about three times as much blood as a tampon. Depending on the amount of bleeding, it must be emptied about two to five times a day. Important: Even with very little bleeding, the cup must be removed and cleaned after twelve hours at the latest. Otherwise there is a risk of infections in the genital area due to poor hygiene.

A well-fitting cup, like a tampon, cannot be felt

Inexperienced users are sometimes unsure whether their menstrual cup is properly seated and really cannot leak. It is relatively easy to judge whether everything is sitting perfectly: After inserting the menstrual cup, you should neither be able to feel it while standing or sitting, nor when moving. If the cup feels like a foreign body, it can be removed again and reinserted. It is often enough to correct the fit of the menstrual cup with light, careful twisting and pulling movements.

Tip: “Beginners” in particular are too timid when they try to insert them for the first time. Often the foreign body sensation disappears as the cup is inserted deeper into the vagina.

Durability of the menstrual cup

With careful care, a menstrual cup can be used for up to ten years. This makes it much more environmentally friendly than, for example, tampons, of which a woman uses around 10,000 pieces during her fertile period and throws it away in the trash.

Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by

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