Menstrual cups are hardly a new idea. In fact, the first menstrual cup was invented in 1937 by a woman named Leona Chalmers. It was met with a lot of resistance and didn’t make as big as an impact as Chalmers had hoped. Over the years, menstrual cups have become more and more popular but, still, people have a lot of questions about this seemingly-odd bell-shaped cup. Understandably! With pads and tampons being the most mainstream types of period care products, it can be hard to find solid information on menstrual cups. Fear not - we are here to answer your bloodiest questions.
Menstrual Cup Basics
What are the holes in menstrual cups for?
Those holes at the top of the cup are not there for decoration! They play an important role in making sure that the cup is easy to remove. These holes can get blood caught in them over time, so make sure to clean your cup thoroughly after every cycle.
I've never used a cup before. Is it hard?
Some say it is super easy and they got it right right away. Some said it took five periods before they got it right! When you try the cup for the first time read the instructions well and try to be as relaxed as possible. Try different kinds of foldings and positions and get to know your body. Wash your hands and use your fingers and a little mirror to learn what's your body like. If it doesn't go well for the first time do not panic. It can take some time but i'm sure you'll learn it! You'll find a blog post about the topic here.
How much blood can a menstrual cup hold?
Lunette menstrual cups come in 2 sizes. Model 1 can hold about .85 fluid ounces of blood and Model 2 can hold up to 1 ounce. This might not seem like much but the average person only releases about 2-3 tablespoons (or 1.5 ounces) of blood during each period.
Menstrual Cups vs. Tampons
How does the menstrual cup differ from the tampon?
Both are internal menstrual protection. A menstrual cup collects the blood and the tampon absorbs it. A tampon can be used only once whereas a menstrual cup can be used for many years.
The absorbing capacity of a tampon is given in grammes and the capacity of the menstrual cup in millilitres. One ml of menstrual blood is comparable with a gramme, so the capacity of tampons and menstrual cups are comparable. The capacity of the Lunette menstrual cup is 25 ml (model 1) and 30 ml (model 2). The absorbing capacity of a tampon is 6-18 g.
How are menstrual cups different than tampons?
The Lunette menstrual cup is made of medical grade silicone…not cotton or rayon- which can dry you out. Plus, the Lunette cup’s capacity is much greater than tampon’s. The Lunette model 2 can hold (30ml) 1 fl oz of liquid compared to a super absorbency tampon which can hold only 12-15 grams. We have more menstrual cup and tampon comparisons here.
Can you wear a menstrual cup longer than you can wear a tampon?
Oh yeah you can! Tampons shouldn’t be left in for more than 4 to 8 hours, depending on your flow because they absorb (and dry!) and can cause micro wounds. Menstrual cups are good to go for up to 12 hours. That’s right - you can stop worrying about whether you have enough tampons to last through the day. But, if you have a heavy period, you might want to empty it more often to prevent leakage.
You aren’t supposed to use a tampon on light flow days but can you use a menstrual cup?
The reason you shouldn’t use a tampon on light flow days or spotting days is because your vagina is much drier during this time. Since tampons are absorbent, this could dry you out even more and increase your risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. Menstrual cups are non-absorbent (they collect the blood, instead of soaking it up) so you can use it whenever you’d like.
How do I know if my flow is heavy or light?
The dividing line between normal and heavy flow is 80 ml during your periods.
Lunette model 1
Spotting: A drop or two of blood, not even requiring a sanitary pad though you may prefer to use one.
Very light bleeding: Needing to change a low-absorbency tampon or pad one or two times per day, though you may prefer to change them more frequently.
Light bleeding: Needing to change a low or regular absorbency tampon or pad two or three times per day, though you may prefer to change more frequently.
Lunette model 2
Moderate bleeding: Changing normal absorbency pad or tampon every three to four hours.
Heavy bleeding: Needing to change a high-absorbency tampon or pad every three to four hours, though you may prefer to change more frequently.
Very heavy bleeding or Gushing: Protection hardly works at all. You would need to change the highest absorbency tampon or pad every hour or two.
Using a Menstrual Cup
Can I sleep or swim with the cup?
Of course you can! The cup is really easy to use when swimming since there are no strings attached.
Do I have to remove the menstrual cup when I go to the toilet?
No. You can go to the toilet as you normally would when you’re wearing your Lunette. After a bowel movement, you might want to check that the menstrual cup is still sitting properly. Please do not forget your hand hygiene here!
So does my blood just sit in there?
Technically yes, but you don’t have to worry about leakage, unless you absolutely forgot you had the cup inside you because it’s just that comfortable! Your blood might overflow and only then would leakage be a problem.
How do I clean my menstrual cup?
The Lunette cup should be cleaned before and after your cycle and after emptying. We suggest boiling your menstrual cup for 5 minutes. If this is not a good option for you (say, while you’re out shopping or camping) wipe your cup out with toilet paper or use a Lunette disinfecting wipe.
Is it actually necessary to sanitize your cup with sanitizing tablets, boiling water, or disinfecting wipes, or is it okay to just wash it with unscented soap?
We highly recommend to use only our cleaning products because they are the only ones that have been made exclusively for Lunette cups. We have tested them and we can guarantee they don't harm you or your cup. It is good to disinfect the cup before and after your period to make sure there isn't any stains left in cup so nothing ugly will start to grow in them. Boiling for 10 minutes (for the very fist time 20 minutes) and our cup wipes are the best and easiest way to do that. Normal soap is not good for many reasons: their pH is normally not optimal, they can contain oils which is super bad for the cup and they can leave some remains to the cup. Your body or the cup cannot handle it. All in all if you wanna make sure you don't do any harm to you or your cup use our products. The cup cleanser is super sufficient and one bottle lasts easily a year.
Can I use the Lunette menstrual cup with an IUD?
Of course. If you do use an IUD, consult with your doctor about cutting the strings as short as possible and monitor their length regularly during periods. If the strings seem longer than normal, it might be a sign that your IUD has moved.
Can I use Lunette with a Contraceptive Ring?
Yes! We’re not trying to prevent you from using your preferred form of birth control. If you are using Lunette together with a contraceptive ring, insert the contraceptive ring before you insert your Lunette Cup. If you’re struggling to take the cup out because the ring is slipping out, don’t panic – it’s a-okay to pop it back in right away.
Can I use my menstrual cup in an airplane? Will the changes in air pressure affect the seal?
Your menstrual cup is safe inside your body and air pressure won’t affect it.
Can I do inverted yoga poses with a menstrual cup in?
There has been a lot of debate over whether you can do yoga while on your period and even more questions about whether doing upside down poses will cause your blood to leak all over you. Thanks to the suction of the menstrual cup, this isn’t something you should worry about. Staying upside down for a long time might weaken the seal but if you’re just going through asanas in a class, rest easy.
Is it dangerous that the cup reaches to my cervix?
It is not dangerous, only slightly uncomfortable.
What's the best remedy for back cramps? I normally don't get back cramps but this month I have them something fierce!
There are a lot ways to ease menstrual pain and something that works for one might not work for another. Here is a blog post about the ways cuppers find most effective. We also recommend trying period yoga!
Problems While Using a Cup
Sometimes I have leakage when I use the menstrual cup. Can it be related to cervix?
The cervix is the entrance of the uterus through which menstrual blood flows through a pin-sized hole into the vaginal canal. The cervix is cylindrical or cone-shaped and located in the upper part of the vagina. When touched, it feels like the tip of a nose. For some women, it moves significantly lower during menstruation. Since the cervix is usually high in the vagina and the menstrual cup is placed low, the cervix remains above the cup. But if the cervix is significantly low, it may enter the interior of the cup.
Tampons in contrast, are placed further up inside the vagina, where the cervix is located. In Lunette diagrams, the cervix is intentionally placed very high to emphasize that the correct position of the cup is low in the vagina. Leaks are more frequent for women whose cervix moves lower during menstruation or if the cup has been inserted too high in the vagina, next to the cervix, or above it. The cup might also exert pressure on the cervix and cause discomfort and even pain. The best way to evaluate the position of your cervix is by observing leakage — if you have experienced leakage even when the cup has been opened, make sure that the cup is significantly lower than the cervix.
In some users, the cervix fits best inside the menstrual cup. For many users, the cervix descends after giving birth; for others, it is simply situated low in the vagina. If you have given birth recently, or more than once, you should exercise the pelvic diaphragm muscles by doing kegels. Keeping these muscles in shape is useful when using the menstrual cup, as well as to avoid incontinence and improve sex. If you haven’t experienced leakage and you have not located the cervix, there is no need to hunt for it. You’re a woman whose cervix is so deep in the vagina that it does not affect the use of the menstrual cup in any way.
My Lunette menstrual cup has been inside me for ten hours, is that okay?
The usage limit of 12 hours is a recommendation, but longer use will not necessarily cause problems. We recommend changing it 3-4 times a day to avoid any risk of infections.
I can’t get my menstrual cup out. Should I be worried?
Don’t worry! You’re not getting anything stuck in there. Removing your menstrual cup can be tricky at first, but we promise it will come naturally after a few tries. When removing the cup, always remember to use your own pelvic floor muscles. Push the cup down with your pelvic muscles (as if you were pooping) until you can get a firm grip from the bottom. Pinch the bottom with your fore finger and thumb to release the suction. Then, keep pushing while slowly pulling the cup out. You can also rock it from side to side, or you can fold the cup a bit by grabbing the cup with your fore finger, middle finger and thumb. Place your fingers around the cup and push your thumb between the fore and middle finger, that way you fold the cup with the c-fold method and it’s easier to get out.
You can also try this trick: slide your finger amongst the side of the cup (your finger between the cup and vaginal wall) and bend your finger when you reach the rim.
Be careful with your fingernails if they are too long!
Can you get Toxic Shock Syndrome from a menstrual cup?
Like with any period care product, you cannot have zero risk of TSS. But a clean, properly used menstrual cup means the chances are very small. Take good care of personal hygiene and always choose a trusted brand. Our cups are made from the highest medical grade silicone, which is BPA free and contains no chemicals. With Lunette, you’re in safe hands.
TSS is an infection caused by bacteria entering through wounds or mucous membrane. It is an extremely rare, potentially fatal disease occurring in those with or without a uterus, and children. TSS is connected with absorbent tampons.
Early recognition and cure is vital, so if you have some of the symptoms mentioned above, remove the menstrual cup immediately, contact your doctor and express your concerns about the possibility of TSS.
HELP! Why can’t get my menstrual cup inserted comfortably?
You may not be able to get the menstrual cup to fit right the first time, but with a bit of practice you will be able to insert the cup like an expert. Check out these folding methods here. Every body is different so if one fold doesn’t work well for you try another one! You also don’t need to wait for your period to start before you can try out your menstrual cup- it’s perfectly OK to do a “dry-run”- especially since the Lunette cup wont dry you out. Check out more useful tips for insertion here.
Why am I having difficulties removing my cup?
Relax. The first few times using the cup you may feel that removing your cup is a complicated process. After a few tries you’ll realize that it can actually be quick and simple! Break the seal by squeezing the bottom part of the cup until you feel or hear the suction release. Then, gently rock the cup from side to side while pulling down. Make sure that you do not pull the cup out by the tab alone! Our website has some good tips for the removal of the Lunette menstrual cup.
What about leakage? My cervix is tilted and shortly after placement I experienced small bit of leakage.
The problem can be that the cup is a bit tilted too. Then it doesn't face your cervix properly and lets some of the leak pass the cup. Here is a video about how to make sure your cup is its place!
Menstrual Cup Materials
Are colored cups safe?
Yes. The dye used in Lunette menstrual cups is FDA approved for medical and food use. The colors don’t contain heavy metals or phthalates. We don’t use really bright colors or glitter in our products- we choose our colors very carefully so they are truly safe to use inside the vagina. Plus the type of dye used in the Lunette menstrual cups are inside the silicone so it’s not possible for the color to leach like with some cheaper dyes which are also used in other menstrual cups.
If I’m allergic to latex, can I still use a menstrual cup?
You sure can if the cup is made of silicone! Lunette menstrual cups are made of medical grade silicone, so you can bleed without worrying about a latex allergy.
Menstrual cups are the period care of the future. The more you know about how they work, the easier it will be to rock your cup all period long.
My first cup has been unused in it's bag for quite a long time, can I still use it?
If the cup looks fine (no creficies or so) you can totally use the same cup.
What materials other than silicone are appropriate for menstrual cups?
Latex is fine too but people might be allergic to it. There are also cups made from TPE plastic which apparently is safe. It's not a material we use, so we can't say anything for certain.
My Lunette menstrual cup has started to become discolored over time. Is this normal?
Yes, it's normal because blood is quite strong, but with good cleaning you can minimize the discoloring.
How often should I get a new cup?
We recommend replacing the Lunette cup every few years depending on how well you take care of it. We have users who have used their Lunette cup for ten years but some prefer to change it yearly. You should replace yours if it has any tears, holes, or just isn’t in good condition anymore. Even if you replace your cup every second year, you’ll be spending hundreds less than you would on tampons!