You should try a menstrual cup

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The Mina cup is comfortable and better for the environment. Picture: Supplied
The Mina cup is comfortable and better for the environment. Picture: Supplied

Mina cup

R400 at minacup.org

Remember in an earlier edition of #Trending I wrote about how I tried period panties and loved the experience? Well, after many years of curiosity and being a chicken, this time I gave the menstrual cup a try.

Meet Mina, a feminine hygiene product that is inserted into the vagina during menstruation. Menstrual cups prevent blood from leaking during your period and are usually made of flexible medical-grade silicone and shaped like a bell with a stem – the stem is used for insertion and removal.

Basically, instead of absorbing your flow, like a tampon or pad, the menstrual cup catches and collects the blood.

Experts say it’s safer than a tampon because it poses a lower risk of toxic shock syndrome and bacterial infections, and, compared with a pad, there’s no chance of chafing or a rash.

What I found great about the menstrual cup was that it was easier to insert than I thought it would be. There was no leakage or the usual period whiff we get. One of the major fears I had was whether it would hurt to remove the cup – and, no, it absolutely didn’t. All I had to do was gently pull the stem to break the seal and it came out without any discomfort. Just be careful not to spill.

A big surprise was that my flow was much lighter than I thought it was considering that I kept it in for an entire day. Of course, I was nervous and checked a few times the first day because I was scared there was going to be a volcano in my panties. But I relaxed the next day and just went about my business, and the cup was not even half full at the end of it.

You’ll clean the cup by sterilising it in boiling water and it will last you for up to five years.

Here are answers to the questions I had before giving the cup a try:

1. Does it hurt to insert the cup?

I found that using lubricant to help insert the cup made it easier. Just make sure to use a water-based lube instead of a silicone-based one, which will break down your cup. Here are some of the easier ways I found to insert the cup:

  • The C or U fold. With this method, you pinch the sides of the cup together and then fold the ends of the cup together, making a “C” or “U” shape.
  • The punchdown fold. Push one side of the cup down to the bottom, then pinch the ends together. This makes a smaller insertion point.
  • The seven fold. Pinch the sides of the cup together. Fold down the right side so it makes the shape of the number seven. This also provides a smaller insertion point.

2. Will I be able to feel the cup when it’s inserted?

You shouldn’t if it is inserted and worn properly. Having the correct size cup for your needs and shape is also important. Feeling the cup most likely means it isn’t seated properly inside your vagina and should be adjusted. If you can feel your menstrual cup when walking, adjust it by pinching the base and moving it slightly from side to side. Check to make sure the cup has properly expanded and is fully sealed. Finding the right way to insert the cup that works for you could do the trick (I found YouTube tutorials useful). If you can feel the stem, it means that the length of the stem is too long and that you have a low cervix, so give it a snip to shorten it.

3. Is there a possibility of it falling out?

No. Your cup forms an airtight seal when inserted and fits snugly under your cervix. There might be a little mess when you’re learning how to insert and remove the cup, but once you’ve got the hang of things, it’s a pretty tidy choice.

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