How to Use a Menstrual Cup
WE RECOMMEND A SHALLOW PUNCHDOWN FOLD FOR HELLO CUPS
We say ‘shallow’ because the key is to make sure the punch doesn't go below the letters on the side of the cup. Once you've nailed the fold, insert your Cup. Once it pops open, give it a gentle tug to help it form a seal and you’re good to go. If it’s inserted correctly and is the right size, you shouldn’t get any leakage. Like most things in life, you might need to practice a bit until you’ve got the hang of it.
You can leave menstrual cups in for up to 12 hours. As a guide, on heavier days you might want to remove it every three or four hours. On light days you can leave it for up to 12 hours.
To remove your Cup, feel for the base of the cup. Give it a gentle squeeze – this helps to break the seal – and pull down slowly. Once it’s out, simply tip the contents down the loo, rinse (or wipe if there’s no tap handy) and reinsert. Easy!
Once your period is over, we recommend you sterilise your Hello Cup either by using a 1/4 of a sterilisation tablet in a glass of water. You can also give it a quick 3 minute boil on the stove (don’t let the bottom touch the bottom of the pan though).
How do I clean my Cup?
It's easy to look after and clean your cup. Remember to wash your hands before you insert or removing your cup. After removing your Cup, empty it and rinse under the tap with cold water. Coldwater helps prevent stains from setting in. If you're not near a sink, it's fine to simply empty the contents of your cup into the loo, wipe your Cup out with toilet paper and reinsert. Otherwise, you can clean it with water and mild soap (just make sure all soap residue is rinsed off). While you can leave your Cup in for up to 12 hours, we recommend changing it every 8 hours if you can. If you are traveling in countries where tap water is not safe to drink, we recommend rinsing your Cup with bottled water.
At the end of your period, sterilise your cup before you put it away. We recommend boiling your Cup for 3 minutes (no longer) or soaking your Cup in a glass of cold water containing 1/4 sterilising tablet (Milton is the most common brand and is available in supermarkets and pharmacies) for 15 minutes. Do not leave your cup soaking for longer than 30 minutes as this may damage the cup. Make sure your Cup is fully dry before you store it.
How do I prevent/get rid of staining?
Stains can happen and vary between individuals. The best way to prevent staining is to rinse your cup in cold water each time you remove, making sure you flush out the suction holes and also rinse the base and around the lettering on the cup. Coldwater halts stains setting in - whereas hot water can help them set in - so remember - cold always comes first! If you have existing staining, you can soak your cup in a 1:3 solution of household bleach and water (1 part bleach to 3 parts water) for 15 - 20 mins. Don't leave your cup in the solution for longer than the recommended time frame. A mixture of lemon juice and water (50/50) or white vinegar and water (50/50) can also help lift stains.
What do I do if my Cup gets 'stuck'?
Don't panic - it's basically a dead-end street up there and your Cup has just moved up a little higher. During the course of a day, your cervix can move up and down and your cup can move up and down with it. If you can't feel the toggle of your Cup, the best thing to do is to sit on the loo and bear down and push using your pelvic floor muscles - a bit like you are doing a poo. Too much info? We're all friends though, right? This will help your cup to move down and you should now be able to reach it. While it's easier said than done sometimes, the key is to relax - the tenser you are, the more your muscles will clench around your Cup making it harder to remove your cup. The more you use your menstrual cup, the easier and faster removal will be.
Do you get blood on your hands?
Using a Cup is very clean because blood is captured inside the cup. While you're getting the hang of things and nailing your technique, you might find it's a bit messy - but not messy like a scene from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. To remove the cup, locate the base and squeeze it gently. This will release the suction. Pull the cup out keeping it upright. Simply tip the contents down the toilet, rinse or wipe out the cup and reinsert. Simple.
Will the contents of my cup leak if I lie down?
No - if your cup is inserted correctly, a seal will have formed and this will prevent your cup from leaking. Because they hold more blood than tampons, your Cup is perfect for overnight.
Can I use a Cup with an IUD in?
Yes, you can. Care needs to be taken to ensure your Cup isn't touching your IUD strings. We recommend talking to your doctor about using your cup with an IUD. They may want to shorten the strings to ensure they don't interfere with the cup.
How do I find the right size Hello Cup?
The Hello Cup comes in three sizes – XS (extra small), S/M (small/medium) and L (large or ‘lovely’). Our XS cup is is our smallest, softest cup. It’s the perfect choice for teenagers, petite users or those who prefer a ‘mini’ tampon. Our S/M is our ‘one size fits most’ menstrual cup. We recommend it for users under 35 – regardless of whether they have had children or not. It’s worth noting that we find physically fit people are often best suited to the S/M regardless of age. Our L is best for those over 35 who feel it’s a bit roomier up there (possibly thanks to pushing out a small human or two). Sometimes finding the best size for you can be a bit of trial and error. If you’re uncertain about what size to choose we offer a Box with two sizes inside. Many find they can wear two sizes anyway and opt for a smaller sized Hello Cup on light days and a larger one on heavy days.
The diameter of the XS is 38mm and the overall length including the toggle is 57mm. It holds 17.5ml (to the holes).
The diameter of the S/M is 41mm and the overall length including the toggle is 59mm. It holds 21mls (to the holes).
The diameter of the L is 45mm and the overall length including the toggle is 64mm. It holds 28ml (to the holes).
How often do you change them?
On heavy days you might need to empty your Cup up to four times a day but later in your cycle, you will likely find you only need to take it out once a day. It is not recommended you leave your Cup in for more than 12 hours – ideally, you should empty it every 8 hours. You can wear your Cup overnight as well as while swimming and exercising.
Can you get Toxic Shock Syndrome using a Cup?
The risk of getting TSS (toxic shock syndrome) while using a menstrual cup is extremely low. TSS is a rare but serious condition caused by toxins released by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. Symptoms include fever, chills, dizziness, fatigue, muscle aches, or rash. If you experience any of these symptoms – remove your Hello Cup and seek medical advice. To keep yourself safe, ensure you do not leave your cup in for more than 12 hours. TSS can only occur if the toxin enters your bloodstream. This can happen if you have an abrasion – which could be caused by sex, nails, tampons or cups being inserted without sufficient vaginal lubrication. If you are aware you have an abrasion, avoid wearing your cup (or tampon) until it has healed. Wash your hands before and after changing your cup. If you have access to a sink, you can wash your cup after each use with hot water and mild soap. If you are in a loo with no hand basin – it is fine to simply wipe out your cup and reinsert. It is important to sterilise your cup at the end of your cycle. If you have two cups you may wish to alternate them and sterilise after each use. To sterilise your cup, boil in for three minutes, sterilise in the microwave (as you would a baby bottle – specific times and settings will depend on your microwave) or use a sterilising tablet. Sterilising tablets are a great option if you are in shared accommodation. Just soak your menstrual cup with 1/4 of a sterilisation tablet in a glass of water for 15 minutes. Sterilisation tablets (a common brand is Milton) can be found in most supermarkets and chemists (normally in the baby section).
Do they leak?
As long as your Cup is the right size, is inserted correctly and emptied when needed, it shouldn’t leak. However, like tampons leaks can happen from time to time – especially if your cup hasn’t opened out properly. To check your Cup is open, run your finger around the base of the cup. It should feel even right around. If you feel an indent, try twisting your cup around a couple of times. It also pays to give the toggle a couple of gentle tugs after inserting your Cup to help ensure a suction has been formed. Some users chose to wear a liner as a safeguard while they get used to cup life, but most find cups to be far more reliable than tampons. If you feel you’ve done everything and your cup is still leaking – it may well be a sign it’s too big (if there’s not enough room for a cup to unfold it can stay folded), the ‘punch’ of your punch-down fold need to be shallower or you need to tweak the angle you are inserting your cup on.