Krissy here again with another guest post on tips and tricks to using menstrual cups (Diva Cup). Today we have the amazing boss and brains behind Belle Butters, Miss Tasha B. Tasha’s presence and skin care products can be found sprinkled all over this blog. She’s just incredibly amazing, in-tuned, super knowledgeable. Needless to say I was ecstatic when she agreed to share her menstrual cup experiences. I think if you’re in a position to switch to menstrual cups and you’re open to the idea you should really consider the change. But that change is new for so many of us and sharing these tips and and methods is what’s going to make you experience a positive one.
I was on Implanon (a hormonal implant for birth control that completely stops your cycles) for 6 years and decided not to get it replaced in 2014 which meant I would have to start buying tampons again. Thankfully, the Diva Cup/menstrual cup rose in popularity amongst black women and I had time to research using it before my cycles started again. The most notable difference with using a menstrual cup was having a shorter cycle. I noticed that using tampons caused my period to go for a full 7 days. My cycles now last on average 5 days. The other significant difference was experiencing less clotting because my cycles were no longer as heavy as they had been. This could also be a factor of age as I’m in the 30-35 bracket when our hormones start playing Mickey Mouse games with us, but I would say that my cycles would still be heavier using tampons. Lastly, they’re eco-friendly. There is a huge reduction in waste when you eliminate tampons altogether.
Tips and things I’ve learned:
Never sleep with your cup in overnight. When I was researching the menstrual cup, I would see on occasion some women complaining about the cup giving them an infection. The cup is intended to be emptied when it is full or every 3-4 hours. Sleeping with it in, especially on your heavy days, there will be leakage. There is also the chance of it becoming a breeding ground for bacteria which can lead to a bacterial infection or yeast infection. Using an overnight pad is your best option.
You can totally go number two with your menstrual cup in. You could have body builder strength kegel muscles and you still wouldn’t be able to “birth” or push the cup out. Because the vagina acts as a vacuum once the cup is properly inserted and open, only pulling it out yourself to release the suction is how it would be removed. I like to use two squares of toilet paper to remove the cup. I get a better grip on the stem of the cup by using toilet paper and it avoids getting my hands messy.
Use a pH balanced feminine wash to clean your menstrual cup each night. Diva Cup makes a great feminine wash but any feminine wash you prefer will work. Allow your menstrual cup to dry completely before putting it back in. You can pat it dry with a towel, but I prefer to let it air dry by placing it on a paper towel or drain.
Menstrual cups over time will get stained and I’ve found the best way to remove them is to bring a pot of water to a boil. You’d then remove the pot from the heat and place the menstrual cup in the water, completely submerged. Not only is this a way to further sanitize your cup, it should also remove stains. I do this at the end of each cycle and I place the menstrual cup back in the pouch until it is time to use it again. If water alone isn’t giving you the desired result, baking soda can be added AFTER you’ve removed the pot from the heat (boiling water and baking soda can be a science experiment disaster waiting to happen). You should see a significant difference in the color of the cup or the complete removal of the staining altogether.