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If you’re a first-time user of menstrual cups, I know you must be excited but anxious at the same time with two thousand questions running through your mind at the speed of light! I was in your place not many months ago, so here I am trying to make your life a little easier.
Firstly, let me tell you that using a menstrual cup was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I liked it so much that I knew I had to tell more women in Pakistan about them and enable them to have this experience. That is how Recircle Cup was born (in addition to our dream of conserving the environment). However, using any menstrual cup has a learning curve and you must be patient for at least one period to get familiar with a cup.
Let’s now #PutACupInIt
- Boil your Recircle Cup for 3-5 minutes in clean water.
- Wash your hands! This should be done every time you insert or remove your Recircle cup.
- Sit down on your toilet seat. (Some women prefer putting one leg on the toilet seat and standing, and some squat and put it in, but I recommend sitting on the toilet seat comfortably).
- Breathe! You need to relax your muscles, and not be anxious. Put on some nice music if it helps you relax.
- If you’re a first-time user, you must put a water-based lubricant on the rim of your cup. If you don’t have any, you can apply some water to the rim. Don’t use vaseline or other oil-based lubricants as they can be harmful to your vagina.
- Fold the cup.
- Hold it and guide it inside. It’s a good idea to first feel your vagina with a finger, and insert your finger in a little first to know where exactly you have to insert the cup. The vagina curves backward towards your rectum, and so you have to gently push the cup in that direction rather than trying to thrust it straight up.
- Release the fold, and let the cup open.
- To make sure your cup has opened up, pinch the base and move the cup up and down 1-2 times and see if suction is created. It will become very difficult to pull the cup down if suction is created.
- (Additional step) Squat a few times so that your cup is adjusted inside.
- You should feel nothing inside now. The cup’s stem shouldn’t be hanging outside your vulva. If it disturbs you (in case you have a low cervix, feel free to cut the stem).
And you’re good to go! Below is a demonstration of the process in 4 simple steps.
How your vagina looks like from the inside
Tips for Avoiding Leakages With Recircle Cup
If you experience leakage using Recircle Cup, here are some possible reasons with solutions to make your period leakage-free.
1. Your Recircle Cup’s fold did not open inside your vagina
Some women have strong vaginal muscles that push against the walls of the menstrual cup as you put the cup in. This inhibits your cup from opening up properly. You will know when the cup is open, as you’ll feel suction and it will be quite hard to pull the cup out. If you don’t feel this, do the following.
- After putting your cup in, pull it down, and push it up once or twice so that the change of position allows it to open up inside.
- Pinching the base, try and twist your cup once or twice. That will allow the cup to open.
- Feel the base, and, if possible, the sides of your cup with your forefinger while the cup is in to make sure the cup is open.
- If you can reach up to the rim of the cup with your finger while it is in, opens it using your finger.
- Try a different fold! I have a hard time opening up the 7 fold inside me. The punch-down fold works best for me. You can experiment with several folds to find the one that works best for you.
2. Your cervix is resting inside your cup
During your period, your cervix can change its position and come a little lower than on normal days. Also, some people generally have a low cervix. It could drop down inside your menstrual cup, which means it will take up space and cause the cup to overflowing when it’s not full. To avoid this:
- You can either empty your cup before it’s full.
- Use a large cup.
- Stop pushing your cup high up. Rather let it lie lower in your vagina.
The cup should still last 8-9 hours on your heavy flow days if you’re wearing the right size. On normal flow days, 12 hours are easy-peasy with a menstrual cup.
3. The cup is not resting directly below your cervix
The position of your cup in relation to your cervix is an important factor in causing leakages. The cup needs to be resting just below your cervix. If the cup is not directly below, the blood can slide down the side of your cup and out from your vagina. The image below demonstrates this position.
To solve this issue, you can insert your finger inside your vagina and feel your cervix first. Then, push your cup in that direction. If your cervix is too high and you cannot feel it, and you are experiencing leakage, just pinch the cup a little from the base and change its position slightly. You will figure out where it works best.
4. Wiping Leaks!
If your cup is wet, and there is leftover blood on the outside of your vagina, period blood mixed with water might appear as a small leakage later in your pants. Make sure you wipe your vagina before and after putting the cup in to avoid this.
- Wash your hands!
- Sit on your toilet seat. (Some women prefer to take it out in the shower, or while squatting on the floor but I recommend this to avoid any mess at all).
- Put your thumb and forefinger in to grab the stem of your Recircle Cup.
- Pull at the stem with a little force, until you can touch the base of the cup.
- Pinch the base, to deactivate suction.
- Grab the base and pull the cup, until the stem is fully out, and the base almost out.
- Push down your cup from the front a little with your thumb, to create a fold again. It’s okay that the blood will leak. This step will avoid causing pain to your urethra as you pull the cup out.
- Pull the cup out, and empty it completely in your toilet.
- Wash the cup to use it again.
Q. Can virgin women use Recircle cup?
Yes! When folded, Recircle cup’s tip becomes as small as the width of your middle finger (with a punch-down fold, and 7 fold). As you push the cup in, your vaginal muscles expand and make way for the rest of the cup to be put inside. If you haven’t had sex, your vaginal muscles will be tighter and insertion can be challenging, especially if you are not familiar with your anatomy. It is likely that you will rupture your hymen too because the cup will cause it to stretch. The vagina is incredibly elastic though and retains its shape after stretching, so it will tighten again after using the cup. Also, you should know that medically, the condition of your hymen does not define virginity. If you haven’t had sex, you’re a virgin! You just need to relax while putting the cup in and know the insertion process. It should cause no or little pain.
Q. Can Recircle cup get lost inside me?
It can’t! There is limited space between your vagina and your cervix. For some women who have a high cervix, the cup can go in a little deep but never so deep that they can’t reach it with their fingers. The diagram below shows you that it is practically impossible for the cup to be lost inside.
Q. How many hours can I keep Recircle Cup inside without leakage?
This depends on your period flow. For light period flow, the small size can last you 12 hours easily. For medium flow, the small cup will need to be emptied after 8-10 hours. The large cup can last you for up to 12 hours on a medium flow. On your second day of the period (which is usually the day for the heaviest flow), you might have to empty the cup every 6- 8 hours. We recommend that on your first use, you remove the cup after 4 hours of use and check how full it is, which will give you an estimate of how long your cup-emptying time is.
Q. Is it disgusting to use Recircle cup?
If you find period blood disgusting, you first need to come to terms with the fact that a menstrual cup will catch your period blood. The fact that the blood comes out of your vagina does not make it disgusting. This might be the first time you’ll ever see so much blood up close (given that you take the cup out and examine it). However, you can completely avoid looking at your period blood too by emptying the cup inside the toilet just as you take it out of your vagina. Very little will remain on the inside of the cup which you will have to wash out, but hey, it’s your blood, pure and natural.
Q. How will I know when to empty my Recircle cup?
Recircle cup has 4 air-holes close to the rim. If the cup fills up to the rim, it will cause bubbles to come out of the air-holes. You will feel the bubbling effect, and know that it’s full! Also, obviously, if the cup is too full you will experience leakage. The bubbling happens BEFORE you experience leakage so watch out for that. With the heaviest of flows, Recircle cup will last at least 4 hours (heaviest meaning if you change a sanitary pad every hour). It can be used for up to 12 hours for light to medium flow.
Q. Can I swim with Recircle cup?
Recircle cup seals your vagina, so there is no risk while you swim. However, you need to be sure that the cup’s suction is activated and your vagina is sealed completely before you step into the pool to avoid any embarrassing situations. If you’re new to using menstrual cups, we would recommend that you give yourself some time to get used to the cup before swimming and ensuring it doesn’t leak.
Q. How will I know if my Recircle cup’s suction is activated?
When your cup is fully open inside, it will automatically create a suction effect. You will know that the suction is activated because pulling the cup out will not be easy and you will feel the suction force as you pull it out.
Q. Is it normal for my vagina to hurt when the cup is inside?
No, you should not be able to feel your Recircle cup once it’s inside. If you feel some discomfort or pain, please take the cup out and reinsert it. If you feel some discomfort or pain, reinserting it for better positioning can help.
Q. How do I decide which Recircle cup size to purchase?
If you are a virgin, we would recommend you start by using our small cup. This is because your vaginal muscles will be tighter, and inserting a bigger cup can be a little tricky. However, the size basically only changes the capacity of the cup. If you have light to medium flow, you should use a small Recircle cup. If you have a heavy flow, use a large Recircle cup. Please that the large recricle cup is only slightly larger in diameter than the small Recircle cup, so it’s not going to make a huge difference.
Q. How am I saving the environment by using recricle cup?
An average woman uses over 11,000 pads in her lifetime. All this waste is filling up landfills. On top of this, most sanitary pads and tampons are non-biodegradable. The packaging that comes with them is also plastic which again is non-biodegradable. Recircle Cup is reusable and made of medical graded silicone, which is unreactive with chemicals and can be reused for up to 10 years. This makes Recircle cup much more environmentally friendly. One cup, no chemicals, reduced burden on the environment.