BASICS AND GETTING STARTED
What is a menstrual cup and how does it work?
A menstrual cup is a device used to collect blood in the vagina instead of absorbing it as tampons during menstruation. It is a reusable tool. It is made of silicone or medical thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), like the GENIAL DAY cup. Both of these materials are harmless to the woman's body, react well with blood and vaginal microflora. The TPE material is hypoallergenic, so women allergic to silicone can choose the GENIAL DAY cup.
Do menstrual cups fit everyone?
Menstrual cups generally fit most people, but there are some exceptions to consider. Different brands offer cups in various sizes, shapes, and levels of firmness. Here's how to find the best fit for you:
- Branding: Cup sizes are marked differently depending on the brand—some use words, others use numbers or letters.
- Common Sizes: Most brands offer at least two sizes, usually medium and large.
- GENIAL DAY Cups: Our cups come in three sizes—Small (S), Medium (M), and Large (L).
- Young or Petite Women: The 'S' size is recommended for teenagers or very petite women.
- Post-childbirth: Women whose cervix has descended after giving birth might prefer a shorter cup.
- Muscle Tone: If you have particularly strong vaginal muscles, a smaller cup may fit better.
- Multiple Births or Heavy Periods: A larger cup is likely more suitable for those who have had multiple children or experience heavy menstrual flow.
- Toxic Shock Syndrome: Cups are not advised for women who have had toxic shock syndrome related to tampon use.
- Vaginal Conditions: Cups may not be suitable for those with vaginal stenosis or pronounced vaginal atrophy, as these conditions can make using the cup uncomfortable or painful.
The most important thing is to choose the right cup for your individual needs.
How to choose the right size for a menstrual cup?
Comfort Comes First:
- You shouldn't feel the cup once it's inserted. If you do, it might be too large or not inserted correctly.
- If the stem irritates you, it can be shortened for comfort.
GENIAL DAY® Cup Sizes:
- Small (S): 17 ml capacity, 40 mm diameter, 62 mm length
- Medium (M): 25 ml capacity, 43 mm diameter, 67 mm length
- Large (L): 30 ml capacity, 46 mm diameter, 66 mm length
- Stem Length: 12 mm for all sizes
Factors to Consider:
- Age: Women under 30 often prefer size M.
- Body Composition: Petite women may be more comfortable with sizes S or M.
- Childbirth: After giving birth, you may need a larger size due to changes in pelvic muscles.
- Activity Level: Athletic women may prefer sizes M or S.
- Menstrual Flow: Heavier flow? Opt for a larger cup to reduce the frequency of emptying it.
- Bladder Sensitivity: A smaller cup may be better if you have a sensitive bladder.
- Pelvic Health: For weak pelvic muscles or sagging, consult with a healthcare provider about whether a cup is suitable for you.
- Vaginal Length: Measure it using your index finger. If the cup is too long or short, consider other brands that offer the right size for you.
- Under 18: If you're a minor and have never had sex, using a cup may be uncomfortable or not recommended. However, if you do choose to use one, start with size S.
- "I'm 43, have given birth twice, and weigh about 60 kg. On heavy days, I use a LARGE cup and empty it 3-4 times. On light days, a MEDIUM cup suffices."
- "I'm petite and weigh 45 kg. I've not given birth and am 36 years old. I chose a MEDIUM cup and am satisfied."
Can a menstrual cup get lost in a vagina?
No, a menstrual cup cannot get lost inside the vagina. The cervix at the end of the vaginal canal serves as a barrier that only allows sperm and menstrual flow to pass through.
What To Do If You Can't Find the Cup:
- Don't Panic: Remember, the cup can't go beyond the cervix, so it's still in there.
- Use Pelvic Floor Muscles: Contract the same muscles you use for bowel movements to gently push the cup downward.
- Locate and Grasp the Tip: Once you can reach the tip or stem of the cup, gently grasp it.
- Break the Seal: Squeeze the base of the cup lightly to allow air in, which will release the vacuum seal.
- Remove Gently: With the vacuum seal broken, carefully pull out the cup.
By following these steps, you should be able to safely and comfortably remove the menstrual cup.
How often should I empty the menstrual cup during menstruation?
The frequency depends on your menstrual flow and the size of the cup, but you can generally wear it for up to 12 hours.
- Light to Moderate Flow: If you have a light to moderate flow, you can safely wear the cup for up to 12 hours. This means you can sleep through the night or go about your day without worrying about leaks.
- Heavy Flow: On days when your menstrual flow is heavy, you might need to empty the cup every 3-4 hours, depending on the size of the cup you're using.
By adjusting the frequency of emptying the cup according to your menstrual flow and the cup's capacity, you can use the menstrual cup comfortably and effectively.
How will I know when the menstrual cup is full and needs to be emptied?
You'll become more familiar with your flow over time. However, it's a good idea to check the cup after about 4 hours when you're using it for the first time.
- First-time Users: If you're using a menstrual cup for the first time, we recommend checking to see if it's full after about 4 hours.
- Learning Your Flow: After a few menstrual cycles, you'll have a better understanding of how heavy your flow is and how often you'll need to empty the cup.
- Using a Sanitary Pad: Initially, you can use a sanitary pad along with the menstrual cup. If you start to notice blood on the pad, it's likely an indication that the cup is full and needs to be emptied.
Remember, you can safely wear the menstrual cup for up to 12 hours, but it's best to check it more frequently when you're still getting used to it.
How to make it easier to insert the menstrual cup into the vagina?
To facilitate a smoother insertion, you can moisten the menstrual cup with water or use only water-based lubricants. Avoid oil-based lubricants as they can damage the cup material. Additionally, experiment with different menstrual cup folding techniques to find one that minimizes discomfort during insertion.
USING THE CUP
How to use a menstrual cup?
To use a menstrual cup:
- Fold the cup and insert it into your vagina, similar to how you would use a tampon.
- Once it's inside, let the cup unfold. It will expand to fit snugly against the vaginal walls, creating a seal to collect menstrual blood.
- The cup won't absorb the blood; it will just collect it, and it's designed to prevent any leaks.
- When the cup is full, gently remove it, empty the collected blood into the toilet, and rinse the cup with water.
- After rinsing, you can reinsert it.
- Before using the cup for the first time and after each menstrual cycle, make sure to boil it in water for 3-5 minutes to disinfect it.
- One cup can last for 2 to 5 years, sometimes even longer.
- Menstrual cups are environmentally friendly because they produce no waste. Some are even made from recyclable materials like thermoplastic elastomer.
What to do if the menstrual cup does not open?
- Identify the Issue: One of the most common problems women face is that the menstrual cup doesn't fully open after insertion, leading to potential leaks.
- Partial Insertion Strategy: To mitigate this issue, insert only half of the folded menstrual cup into the vagina and allow it to open at that point.
- Check for Full Opening: Make sure the cup has fully opened at the halfway point before proceeding.
- Complete Insertion: Once you're sure the cup has opened, gently push it deeper into its correct position. You can use circular motions to assist in this process.
- Adjust and Test: If the cup still isn't opening fully, try removing it and re-inserting using a different fold technique. Sometimes the type of fold can make a difference in how easily the cup opens.
- Consult Instructions or Healthcare Provider: If all else fails, consult the manufacturer's instructions or speak with your healthcare provider for additional guidance.
By taking these steps, you can reduce the likelihood of the cup failing to open properly and consequently, minimize leaks.
Will I get blood on my hands while emptying the menstrual cup?
It's possible, especially when you're still learning how to use the cup. Over time, you may develop a technique that minimizes or eliminates this issue.
- First-time Users: If you're new to using a menstrual cup, it's likely that you'll get some blood on your hands during the removal process.
- Location Matters: Choose a location where you have easy access to a sink. This will allow you to wash your hands immediately after emptying the cup.
- Practice Makes Perfect: Many experienced users report that they've learned techniques that allow them to remove the cup without getting blood on their hands.
- Cleaning: Regardless, it's always a good idea to wash your hands thoroughly after handling the cup, especially if you're in a public restroom or other shared spaces.
By taking these factors into account, you can minimize the likelihood of getting blood on your hands and ensure a more hygienic experience.
Do I need to use pantyliners for extra leakage protection?
No, you don't necessarily need to use pantyliners for extra protection against leaks when using a menstrual cup.
- Initial Learning Phase: We recommend using pantyliners when you first start using the menstrual cup. This provides an extra layer of protection while you get used to inserting and positioning the cup correctly.
- Alternative Option: Period panties are another option for preventing leaks. They are especially useful if you're unsure when your period will start.
By taking these precautionary measures, especially when you're new to using menstrual cups, you can minimize the risk of leaks.
How to empty a menstrual cup in public toilets?
- Preparation: Wash your hands thoroughly before removing the menstrual cup.
- Emptying the Cup: After removing the cup, carefully empty the contents into the toilet bowl.
- Cleaning the Cup: Wipe the rim and sides of the cup using toilet paper.
- Optional: If you have a bottle of water with you, you can use it to rinse the cup.
- Wet Wipes: Keep Gentle Day organic wet wipes in your bag for an alternative way to clean the cup.
- Public Sinks: If there is an accessible sink, rinse the cup with water only. Avoid using public liquid soaps as they can damage the cup.
- Final Step: Re-insert the cup and wash it thoroughly once you're home.
Do I need to remove my menstrual cup when I urinate or defecate?
- Separate Channels: No, you don't need to remove the menstrual cup when using the toilet. Urination occurs through the urethra, defecation through the anus, and the menstrual cup is placed in the vagina. These are separate anatomical channels.
- No Interference: The menstrual cup does not interfere with urination or defecation.
- Pelvic Floor Muscles: If you exert a lot of pressure with your pelvic floor muscles during defecation, the cup may shift slightly. In that case, you may need to readjust it afterward.
Consult your healthcare provider for personalized medical advice.
Do you need to have several menstrual cups of different sizes for days of heavier and lighter bleeding?
It's not strictly necessary to have multiple sizes of menstrual cups for different days of your menstrual cycle.
One size is generally sufficient for most women throughout their entire period. However, some women do prefer to use different sizes for days of heavier or lighter bleeding.
For example, you might choose to use a larger cup on days of heavy flow for greater capacity, and then switch to a smaller, more comfortable size for lighter days. This approach can also be beneficial if the position of your cervix changes during your menstrual cycle, affecting the fit of the cup.
Ultimately, it's a personal choice and depends on your comfort and needs.
What does it mean to break the seal of the menstrual cup?
- Understanding the Seal: The menstrual cup forms a seal with the vaginal walls, ensuring it stays in place and catches menstrual fluid. This seal needs to be broken before you remove the cup.
- Purpose: Breaking the seal prevents any potential damage to the sensitive vaginal mucosa that might occur if you pull the cup out while it's still sealed.
- How to Break the Seal: To break the seal, pinch the base of the menstrual cup (just above the stem) between your thumb and index finger. This action lets air into the cup, releasing the suction.
- Alternate Method for Deeper Placement: If you have a longer vaginal canal and can't easily reach the base of the cup, use your pelvic floor muscles to push the menstrual cup downwards. This should make it easier to reach the stem and ultimately the base, allowing you to break the seal.
- Safety Note: Always break the seal before attempting to remove the cup. Failing to do so could result in discomfort or damage.
Understanding how to properly break the seal is crucial for a comfortable and safe menstrual cup experience.
Can a menstrual cup fall out or slip from the vagina?
It can slip out only if the vaginal muscles are completely weak, the cervix is low and the wrong size is selected.
Can the menstrual cup get stuck?
No, the menstrual cup cannot truly get "stuck." If you're having difficulty removing it, the key is to stay calm and relaxed.
Step-by-Step Guide to Removal:
- Stay Calm: Panicking can cause your vaginal muscles to tense up, making removal more difficult. Take deep breaths to relax.
- Insert Fingers: Insert your thumb and either your index or middle finger into your vagina.
- Locate Stem: Gently feel for the stem of the cup. If you can't locate it, don't worry. Once the cup is full, it will naturally lower itself, making it easier to reach.
- Break the Seal: Once you have a grip on the base of the cup (above the stem), squeeze gently to let air in. This action will break the vacuum seal.
- Twist and Pull: After breaking the vacuum seal, carefully twist the cup a little as you pull it out.
If you still experience difficulties, the cup will eventually lower itself as it fills up, making it easier to remove. The main advice is not to panic and to take your time.
Can I bathe or go to the sauna while using the menstrual cup?
- Bathing and Saunas: Yes, you can bathe or go to the sauna while wearing a menstrual cup.
- No Immediate Emptying: Unlike tampons, there's no need to immediately empty the cup after swimming or water activities.
- Reduced TSS Risk: Using a menstrual cup reduces the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) compared to tampons, which must be changed after swimming.
- Discreet Use: The menstrual cup is discreet; there's no string or indicator that shows you are wearing one, making it suitable for skinny dipping or sunbathing without swimwear.
Remember to consult your healthcare provider for personalized medical advice.
Can I use the menstrual cup to collect vaginal discharge?
Basically, it is possible, but you must not forget that the purpose of the menstrual cup is not to absorb secretions, it is designed to collect blood.
In addition, vaginal discharge is necessary to maintain a proper balance of vaginal microflora, they lubricate the vagina, so we definitely do not recommend using a menstrual cup or even a tampon for daily discharge.
Is there a specific smell when using the menstrual cup?
No, using a menstrual cup typically does not produce a specific odor.
- Blood and Oxygen: Menstrual blood only develops an odor when it comes into contact with oxygen. Since the cup is sealed, this is unlikely to happen unless the cup is removed after extended use (more than 12 hours).
- After Removal: If you do notice an odor after removing the cup, it is usually the smell of blood and is temporary.
- Cleaning the Cup: Boiling the cup usually removes any residual odors.
Tips for Odor Prevention:
- Initial Rinse: To minimize odor, first rinse the cup with cold or lukewarm water.
- Subsequent Cleaning: Then clean it with warmer water. You can also use a detergent specifically designed for intimate hygiene, but it should be unscented to avoid irritation.
By following these tips, you can effectively prevent any odor while using a menstrual cup.
Can blood flow back into the uterus from the menstrual cup?
Absolutely not! The cervix is only the "exit" - only sperm can "enter" through it.
Can the menstrual cup be used by girls who have not had vaginal sex yet?
Yes, girls who haven't had vaginal sex can use menstrual cups, but there are important considerations, such as hymen integrity and comfort.
- Tampon Use as a Precedent: If a girl is already comfortable using tampons, she may find it easier to transition to a menstrual cup.
- Size Matters: Opt for the smallest size cup initially for greater comfort and ease of use.
- Parental Consultation: It's advised for younger girls to consult with a parent or guardian before using a menstrual cup, especially due to concerns about the hymen.
- Hymen vs. Virginity: It's important to differentiate between the hymen and virginity. Using a menstrual cup can stretch or tear the hymen, but this doesn't indicate a loss of virginity.
- Health Benefits: Menstrual cups are often considered a healthier alternative to tampons, as they don't contain bleaches or other chemicals commonly found in disposable feminine hygiene products.
By considering these points, a girl who hasn't had vaginal sex can make an informed decision about using a menstrual cup.
Will a menstrual cup work for me if I can't use tampons?
Probably yes. Both the menstrual cup and tampons are inserted into the vagina, but tampons can be drying and irritating. Meanwhile, the surface of the menstrual cup is smooth and soft, it collects all the secretions - it does not absorb them, so it does not irritate the mucous membranes.
Is the menstrual cup suitable for endometriosis sufferers?
Yes, menstrual cups can be suitable for individuals with endometriosis. Contrary to a common misconception, there is no evidence to suggest that menstrual blood can flow back into the uterus due to the use of menstrual cups, thereby exacerbating endometriosis symptoms. In fact, some users have reported experiencing less pain when using a menstrual cup compared to other menstrual products. The non-absorbent nature of the cup means it is less likely to irritate the vaginal lining, which could be a factor in reduced discomfort.
However, it's important to note that experiences can vary from person to person. If you have endometriosis, it's advisable to consult your healthcare provider for personalized recommendations on whether a menstrual cup is the right choice for you.
Do you need to have several menstrual cups of different sizes for days of heavier and lighter bleeding?
It's not strictly necessary to have multiple sizes of menstrual cups for different days of your menstrual cycle. One size is generally sufficient for most women throughout their entire period.
However, some women do prefer to use different sizes for days of heavier or lighter bleeding. For example, you might choose to use a larger cup on days of heavy flow for greater capacity, and then switch to a smaller, more comfortable size for lighter days.
This approach can also be beneficial if the position of your cervix changes during your menstrual cycle, affecting the fit of the cup. Ultimately, it's a personal choice and depends on your comfort and needs.
Can I use a menstrual cup if I have retroverted uterus?
Yes, you can use a menstrual cup even if you have a retroverted uterus. A retroverted uterus is one that tilts towards the sacrum, which can also affect the position of the cervix.
Finding the Right Angle:
It might take some experimentation to find the most comfortable angle for inserting your cup. To get a sense of your anatomy, you can explore your vaginal canal and try to locate your cervix. This will help you understand at what angle to insert the menstrual cup so it sits properly just below the cervix.
Can I use a cup if I have an IUD?
Yes, you can use a Genial Day menstrual cup if you have an IUD, although it's advisable to wait at least a month after the IUD's insertion before using a cup.
Why the One-Month Wait?
During the first month, the IUD's threads are still fresh and might be more prone to shifting. After about a month, these threads often become covered with vaginal mucus and may adhere to the vaginal wall or cervix, reducing the risk of IUD dislocation when using a menstrual cup.
- Breaking the Vacuum: Always break the vacuum seal before removing the menstrual cup to minimize the risk of disturbing the IUD.
- Tampons vs. Cups: Anecdotal evidence suggests that the risk of accidentally removing an IUD may be higher when using tampons compared to menstrual cups.
Consult a Gynecologist:
While many women use menstrual cups without any issues, it's always a good idea to consult with a gynecologist to ensure a menstrual cup is the right choice for you, especially if you have an IUD.
Can I have vaginal intercourse while using the menstrual cup?
No. Unless you're using a special menstrual cup that's designed for vaginal sex.
Can I use a menstrual cup to collect postpartum blood?
No. Any device used internally can cause infection, not to mention pain during childbirth.
How long after delivery should I be able to use a menstrual cup?
You should wait at least 6 months before you can use a menstrual cup. Regardless of whether you gave birth vaginally or had a Caesarean section, hormonal changes do not bypass the vaginal canal, so you may experience discomfort if you start using a menstrual cup too early.
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
How long will the menstrual cup last and when is it time to replace it?
The lifespan of a menstrual cup varies depending on how well it is cared for, but it can last anywhere from 2 to 5 years, and some can even last up to 10 years.
You should consider replacing your cup if you notice any tears, if the material becomes worn, sticky, or starts to irritate you. A change in color alone doesn't necessarily mean that the cup needs to be replaced.
How to take care of the menstrual cup?
Wash the menstrual cup with water. Use only unscented, intimate hygiene cleaners (Gentle Day gentle intimate hygiene wash is perfect) or special menstrual cup cleaners.
Do not use perfumed body and dishwashing detergents. Sterilize the cup before first use and at the end of each cycle: boil the cup for 3-4 minutes in a pot of water. You can also do this in the microwave by placing the cup in a container with water. The cup must be fully covered in water.
What to do if the menstrual cup has a specific smell after use?
If you do not empty the menstrual cup for 9-12 hours, an odor may appear, but it is still safe to use the cup.
- Extended Boiling: After your menstrual cycle is over, try boiling the cup for a longer period of time, up to 10 minutes, to help eliminate any lingering odors.
- Baking Soda Rub: Dampen a bit of baking soda between your fingers and gently rub it onto the cup. Rinse thoroughly afterwards.
- Vinegar Soak: Add a spoonful of food-grade vinegar to a glass of water and let the cup soak in it for several hours or overnight. This can help to neutralize any unpleasant smells.
If your cup continues to have an odor even after trying these methods, consider reaching out to the manufacturer for further guidance.
Can I continue to use a menstrual cup if it has fallen into the toilet bowl?
- Initial Cleanup: If your menstrual cup falls into the toilet, retrieve it and wash it immediately using a mild, unscented soap under running water.
- Sterilization: Boil the cup for 5-10 minutes in a pot of water to thoroughly sterilize it. Make sure the cup is fully submerged and that the water doesn't evaporate, as this could damage the cup. (Note: Standard sterilization after each menstrual cycle usually requires boiling for 3-4 minutes.)
- Psychological Comfort: If the idea of using a menstrual cup that has fallen into the toilet makes you uncomfortable, especially if it was a public toilet, you may prefer to buy a new one for peace of mind.
The key is to ensure the menstrual cup is thoroughly cleaned and sterilized before using it again. If you're still uneasy about using the cup after it has fallen into a toilet, it might be best to replace it.
Where to store the menstrual cup between periods?
Never store the menstrual cup in a plastic bag or airtight container. When you buy GENIAL cup, you get a special cotton bag to store your cup.
Would you recommend buying a menstrual cup for a few euros?
A low price might be tempting, but it's crucial to prioritize quality and safety when it comes to menstrual cups, especially since they are inserted into the vagina—a highly absorbent and sensitive area. Cheaply-made menstrual cups might be made of inferior materials that could pose health risks, including irritation or the potential for chemical absorption.
I would recommend opting for a menstrual cup from a reputable manufacturer that is made from medical-grade TPE (like GENIAL CUP), silicone, latex, elastomer, or rubber, depending on any allergies you may have. Check for certifications and read reviews or get recommendations before making a purchase. While these cups may be more expensive initially, they are also more durable and safer for long-term use.
So, if you find a menstrual cup for just a few euros, do your due diligence to ensure it meets safety and quality standards. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always prioritize your health and well-being when choosing such products.
Is it safe to buy a used menstrual cup?
While it is technically possible to buy a used menstrual cup, safety is a major consideration. Make sure you are purchasing a reputable brand made from certified, safe materials. Additionally, it is crucial to thoroughly sterilize the cup after purchasing, even if the previous owner claims it has already been sterilized.