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Everything you need to know about swapping from tampons to menstrual cups

You’ve heard the good word about menstrual cups – whether from your pal who loves theirs or from endless Instagram graphics extolling their benefits – and now, you’re pondering finally making the switch.

What do you need to know?

It can be a little daunting abandoning the period products you’ve relied on for years in favour of something new, so we’ve put together the ultimate guide to swapping from tampons and pads to the magic of a menstrual cup.

Ahead you’ll find all you need to know about making the move.

Yes, you’ll save money

A menstrual cup needs an initial investment, but you’ll soon earn your money back – typically within a few months.

While with tampons and pads, you’ll usually be buying a new box of products each time your period strikes, a menstrual cup can last a lifetime if you treat it with care.

And a lot of faff

The disposable nature of tampons and pads can mean their use can get a bit tricky.

If there’s no little bin in your bathroom, it’s all too tempting to flush a tampon down the loo – which you absolutely should not do (for the sake of the environment and your plumbing).

Even if you are able to bin your menstrual products, you’ve then got extra rubbish month in, month out – and as we tackle the climate crisis, we’re all trying to cut down on our waste.

A menstrual cup rids you of these issues, because it’s designed to be used over and over. There’s no waste, no filling up the bins, and nothing to clog up your drains.

Not all cups are the same

A quick Google will reveal a wealth of menstrual cups to choose from – we’re a long way from the dark days when they weren’t the norm.

It’s important to note that there can be a lot of variation between different brands and designs. Some are larger than others, designed for a heavier flow. Some have super soft and squishy silicone, while others are a touch firmer.

Finding the right cup for you is very much down to preference – what feels comfy for one vagina won’t work for another.

You might also need to trim the stem of your cup for a better fit.

If you try your first cup and isn’t quite doing the trick, don’t give up on the concept entirely. Try a different size or brand to find your perfect fit.

You’ll need to learn how to clean and sterilise your cup

When you’re used to just bunging your products in the bin, a reusable option might take a bit of getting used to.

But once you wrap your head around the process of cleaning and sterilising, looking after your menstrual cup is a breeze.

First, let’s cover the cleaning process between uses. When you’re on your period, you’ll want to empty your cup when it fills up, then clean it before reinserting – this will help to avoid stains.

How to clean your cup day-to-day

  • Remove your cup and empty the menstrual blood collected into the toilet
  • Rinse the cup with clean water, and, if you’d like, some fragrance-free soap. Make sure you don’t use any oil-based cleansers, which can damage the silicone, or anything with a fragrance, which will irritate the vagina
  • Dry off the cup then reinsert

If you’re out and about when you need to empty and reinsert your cup, don’t panic – you don’t need to clean it in a public sink for everyone to behold (unless you want to, in which case, go wild).

It can be handy to bring a bottle of water with you, for a quick rinse off in the toilet cubicle, but if you’re caught short, simply empty your cup and wipe away any last bits of blood with some toilet roll, making sure to remove any small bits of tissue paper left behind.

How to sanitise your cup between cycles

At the end of your period, it’s time to sanitise your menstrual cup before storing it away for next time.

Rinse and clean your cup as usual, then it’s time to boil.

Boil a saucepan of water, then let your cup sit in the water for a maximum of ten minutes. Make sure your cup is cool and dry before stashing it away in a pouch until the next time you need it.

Inserting your cup will feel strange at first, but you’ll get the knack quickly

You’d just got the hang of applicator tampons, and now you have to learn how to pop in a menstrual cup?

The good news is that it isn’t too difficult, and once you get the hang of it, it’s no faff at all.

How to insert a menstrual cup

  • Wash your hands first
  • Hold the cup with the rim facing upwards, and fold it across in half
  • Insert the cup, rim up, into the vagina, moving it a few inches below your cervix
  • Let the rim open up and create a seal to stop leaks

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