Period cups hit the scene years ago but I could never fully buy into it. I mean how could a reusable period cup be sanitary and effective? Well after doing tons of research I decided to give them a try.
What are Period Cups? Period cups are medical-grade silicone or rubber cups designed to catch menstrual fluids during your cycle. They are designed to be used no more than 12 hours at a time and many of them can be reused for up to 10 years.
Let’s start with the benefits and what drew me in:
- Can be worn for 12 hours at a time
- Can be worn overnight
- Sustainable and reusable
- No need for tampons and pads
- Affordable – the cup pays for itself after 1 or 2 cycles compared to the cost of tampons/pads
I tried the Honey Pot cup (linked below) in a size 1 and the June period cups in the small and large sizes. It’s recommended that teens and those with a light to medium flow use the smaller size. The larger size is recommended for older women, women who have had children and those with heavy flows. I chose the larger size because I have a heavy flow.
I must admit, I was so scared to try these the very first time that I bought them. I think I even opted not to use them on the first period after purchase because it was so nerve-wracking. I finally decided to go for it after researching how to use them very heavily before when I expected my period to arrive. These Youtube videos were very helpful for me to visualize how to use the cups: One, Two, Three.
Before inserting the cup and (before each cycle) you must boil the cup. Do not skip this step. I keep an unused pot for these purposes. In between wear, you can wash the cup with sanitary wash. I use the Honey Pot wash or the June wash. I prefer the Honey Pot brand. In addition to prepping the cup to be inserted at the start of the period, always insert/remove the cup with clean hands. Now, inserting it is the interesting part – you will get very comfortable with yourself during this process. It can also be a tad messy on the first few tries. There are various ways to insert the cup by folding it in different “methods” I tried a few but found the most success using the “punch down” method. On my first wear of the cup, everything worked out beautifully – I got the cup in, it didn’t leak and I was able to wear it for 12 hours like you’re supposed to be able to do. The second insertion, not so much. It leaked a bit and I had to keep adjusting it to get the positioning right. After I figured out the sweet spot, it was smooth sailing. It took several periods for me to get comfortable with the process, I have now found my stride and feel comfortable inserting and emptying the cup. I’ve found the most success by inserting and emptying the cup while in the shower.
Once the cup was inserted I didn’t feel anything. It felt comfortable and probably a similar experience to wearing a tampon. I would wear a pantiliner or period panty while wearing the cup just in case there were leaks or residue from the cup. I loved that I didn’t have to worry about changing out period products in public restrooms and could relax and breathe easy knowing that my cup was in. Being able to wear them for 12 hours means you can leave home, go to work for 8 hours, return home and still be good. I know if I were wearing a pad or tampon I would have to change it mutiple times throughout the day. In the past, I would change a tampon maybe 6-8 times a day. I don’t wear pads often but I would roughly compare it to 4 super pads per day. The cups must be removed and emptied after 12 hours – no exceptions. Near the end of my cycle, I typically don’t wear the period cup because it gets a little uncomfortable. On those days I will wear a period panty or the very small period cups from, June.
When wearing the cup at night, I felt very comfortable as well. I enjoy the fact that I don’t worry about if I might be leaking at night like I would when I would wear tampons/pads. I usually insert the cup at night after showering and remove and reinsert it in the morning to begin my “12-hour clock”.
The removal of the cups is the easiest part in my opinion. I would lightly squeeze the bottom part of the cup and slowly pull down and dump the contents in the toilet or down the shower drain (with the water off). From there I like to wash mine with a sanitary wash add then reinsert. If I am in the shower I will do my shower routine and then reinsert it right before I get out of the shower.
Once your period is over, you can clean the cups well, let them dry and store them in the silk pouch that comes with the cup. I usually store mine under my vanity and they are ready to go for the next cycle.
I am now a believer in period cups after trying them for several cycles. I do not need to go back to tampons because cups are perfect for my lifestyle and my needs. Not only are they effective, but they also help us create more sustainable lives – instead of buying tons and tons of pads and tampons these can be purchased once and most last up to at least one year.
FAQ from the IG Fam
Do they work for heavy flows? Yes, I have a heavy flow and they work well for me. On my heaviest days, the cup gets about 75% of the way full. I feel like pads and tampons make you think you’re flowing heavier than you really are.
Are they messy? It can be a messy experience but I think as you use them more it gets less messy. You can enter/remove them a few different ways. My preferred ways are sitting on the toilet and while in the shower. When I am in the shower, I turn the water off and softly pour the cup out right into the drain.
Is there any leaking? I did experience some leaking when I didn’t have the cup inserted correctly. You really have to use them and play around to get the positioning right. Watch the Youtube videos mentioned to get some clarity.
Aren’t period cups unsanitary? They are sanitary as long as they are boiled before each cycle/initial insertion. They must also be cleaned well after use. You can do this by using cup wash to wash them or cup wipes. If this isn’t possible for you to maintain then I would not recommend them.
Did your period change? Do you still have cramps? I did not have any changes with my period. Everything still happened as it used to. I also still had cramping but I really think that it felt lighter with the cups compared to pads/tampons.
Will blood flow over the top of the cup? It is possible for blood to flow over if the cup fills up. I think this will all depend on the heaviness of your cycle. I have a pretty heavy cycle during the first few days of my period and my cups usually fill about 3/4 of the way during those days. I have not had a cup runneth over. (LOL)
So how do you feel? Do you currently use period cups, Let me know your thoughts.