menstruation cup

How to use a menstrual cup?

We asked the Sisko test group what menstrual products they prefer using. We were surprised to find out that the winner was the menstrual cup, leaving behind traditional pads and tampons. The newcomer, period panties, did not yet achieve a high level of popularity.

This survey shows that the use of menstrual cups is widespread among Finns with vulvas. The survey revealed the following benefits of using a menstrual cup:

  • the most comfortable menstrual product
  • easy to carry around
  • very suitable for heavy periods
  • feels the most hygienic and least smelly of all menstrual products
  • long-lasting and therefore the most affordable
  • works also with minimal flow
  • long replacement interval, can be worn up to 12 hours

We also received some negative comments regarding the menstrual cup. Someone mentioned that the cup had been difficult to remove, causing a traumatic experience. At the end of the article, we’ll give you our top tips for inserting a menstrual cup, as this can be bewildering, particularly for first-timers.

In the past, menstrual cups were mainly sold in specialised shops and pharmacies, but now they are also available in grocery stores and online shops. As the survey also revealed, the prices have become very affordable over time, with a mooncup currently costing between €20 and €30.

The menstrual cup in brief

Menstrual cups are made of medical silicone, natural rubber or TPE plastic. They are available in a variety of sizes and designs. The basic models are bell-shaped and diaphragm-shaped, but you can also find cups that are V-shaped and ones that have a ring at the bottom.

When used and cared for properly, a menstrual cup can last up to ten years. Some respondents to our survey reported that their own cup is already 10 years old and still going strong.

Use of a menstrual cup

Like a tampon, the menstrual cup is used inside the vagina. But unlike a tampon, which can be uncomfortable to use when there is limited flow, a menstrual cup can be used at any stage of the cycle. Yes, any stage of your cycle, not just your period! You can test the use of a menstrual cup outside the time of your period because its material is gentle on your mucous membranes.

To insert the cup, fold it and hold it as low as possible, guiding it up the vagina towards the back wall with your fingers. The folded cup can be opened inside the vagina by gently rotating it.

The cup is held in place by the slight vacuum created by the vaginal wall and the edges of the cup and by the muscles of the vagina.

The menstrual cup can also help with mild urinary incontinence. For example, you could try it on a run if you suffer from mild urinary incontinence.

The cup can be kept in the vagina for up to 12 hours. Because it is so long-lasting, you don’t have to remove (and empty) it as often as a tampon.

The cup is emptied into the toilet and first rinsed with cold and then washed with hot water. Good hand hygiene should also be followed when inserting and removing the cup from the vagina. The cup should always be disinfected after menstruation, for example by boiling it in water. You can use it throughout your period and disinfect it at the end, so that it is ready for the next cycle.

Sisko test group tips for inserting and using a menstrual cup

  • Aim to be as relaxed as possible when inserting the cup. For example, try a squatting position or with one foot on the toilet seat.
  • Lube is your friend!
  • Boil the menstrual cup before use to make it a little more flexible.
  • When pooping, remove the cup. Your bowels will empty better without the cup.
  • Fold the mooncup. There were almost as many tips for folding as there were answers, so try different methods to find what works for you.
  • For the first few times you insert the cup, make sure you have enough time. And remember that practice makes perfect.

Read more about other menstrual products, e.g. period panties.

Sources: Wikipedia, NHS, Lunette, test: Sisko test group respondents September 2022