Frequently Asked Questions: IB Menstrual Cup
*Note: This product is nonrefundable and not eligible for exchanges or returns!
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What size of menstrual cup do I need?
Sizes are generally based on the kind of flow you have, your age, and your childbearing history but several other factors should be taken in account when choosing a menstrual cup. Though there is a small difference between the two sizes, it is important to use the right size for your body in order to prevent leakage.
- Childbirth: Vaginal birth often affects the shape of the vagina. Size 2 should be used by most women who have had a vaginal birth, though the additional factors below should be taken into consideration if they apply to you.
- Pelvic Floor: The tone of the pelvic floor muscles has an important role in choosing a cup size, as they hold the menstrual cup in place. Pregnancy, hormonal changes, and age can all change the muscle tone of the vaginal walls. If you have a weak pelvic floor or any pelvic floor conditions such as incontinence, a size 2 cup is recommended. If you have a strong pelvic floor due to regular kegel exercises or other activities, consider a size 1 cup regardless of age or childbearing history.
- Uterine Tone: Women who have experienced mild to moderate uterine prolapse may be more comfortable with a size 1, regardless of their childbearing history. The stem of the menstrual cup can be trimmed to a comfortable length or even completely removed. If the stem is too long, it will likely cause discomfort.
- Flow: This is an important factor when choosing a cup size. Size 1 is recommended for a lighter flow, and size 2 for a heavier flow. (Additional details on determining your flow are below.)
- Sexual Activity: If you have not had sexual intercourse, you should use a size 1 cup. If you are concerned about your hymen, please consult your healthcare provider before using a menstrual cup.
- Build: If you have a small build or frame, consider a size 1 cup. If you have a larger frame, a size 2 cup is recommended.
How do I know if I have heavy or light flow?
Use this six-point scale to help understand your menstrual flow.
Mansfield-Voda-Jorgensen Menstrual Bleeding Scale
- Spotting: A drop or two of blood, not even requiring sanitary protection though you may prefer to use some.
- Very light bleeding: You would need to change the least absorbent tampon or pad one or two times per day, though you may prefer to change more frequently.
- Light bleeding: You would need to change a low or regular absorbency tampon or pad two or three times per day, though you may prefer to change more frequently.
- Moderate bleeding: You would need to change a regular absorbency tampon or pad every three to four hours, though you may prefer to change more frequently.
- Heavy bleeding: You would need 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.
What are the dimensions of the cup?
The stem, which is 25 mm, should be shortened to the length most comfortable for you or can even be completely removed. Use caution when trimming the stem with a pair of scissors so that the cup is not damaged.
How does the menstrual cup work?
The soft and flexible cup is worn around the cervix to collect menstrual flow, rather than absorb it the way tampons do. Because the cup is made of soft medical grade silicone, it softens with body heat and forms to your body.
How do I insert a menstrual cup?
For details on how to use the cup, see the instructional video below.
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Can the menstrual cup get lost or stuck inside me?
No. The vagina ends at the cervix, so the cup cannot get lost inside your body once it is inserted into your vagina.
How long does the cup last? How often should I empty it?
For most women, the menstrual cup can be worn continuously for up to 10 hours without a need for regular changes. How often you choose to empty your cup depends on your flow. It is recommended to empty, wash, and rinse your menstrual cup a minimum of 2-3 times per 24 hours. Generally speaking, you can expect to empty the cup more frequently on heavy flow days than light flow days. With time and practice, you will be able to determine how often you personally need to empty your cup.
How do I clean the cup?
It is important for you to thoroughly clean the cup before and after each use, hand-washing it with mild soap and hot water. Prior to cleaning the cup, please wash and cleanse your hands with warm water and soap. Rinse your cup thoroughly after washing. Do not clean your cup in the dishwasher. Do not use harsh soaps, as they may cause irritation and disrupt your natural vaginal pH level. Do not use petroleum-based products, harsh cleaners, tea tree oil, bleach, or alcohol to clean your menstrual cup.
How often should I replace the cup?
It is generally recommended to replace your menstrual cup every 12 months. However, if properly cared for, it could last for many years. Use your discretion. While silicone is very durable, you should replace your cup if you notice any cuts, punctures, or oily residue on the cup. Slight discoloration is normal and will occur over time.
Can I wear my cup during sex?
No. The menstrual cup should not be worn during sexual intercourse.
Is there a foul odor from that results from using the menstrual cup?
No. Using a menstrual cup actually reduces the likelihood of vaginal odor during your period. Menstrual flow begins to develop an odor when it is exposed to air, as is the case with the use of maxi pads or tampons. It is very likely that you will feel cleaner and fresher with use of the menstrual cup during your period.
Can the menstrual cup be used as contraception to prevent pregnancy?
No. The menstrual cup is not a contraceptive. It is intended for period protection only. It is not a method of birth control, and it is not for prevention of STIs, sexually-transmitted infections.
What is TSS and does the menstrual cup cause it?
TSS stands for toxic shock syndrome, a condition caused by toxic-producing strains of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. While uncommon, the risk of TSS is associated with tampon use due to the absorbent nature of tampons. Since menstrual cups are not absorbent, there is not a link between TSS and menstrual cup use.
Can I use a menstrual cup if I have an IUD?
The menstrual cup is held in a lower position than a tampon and should not interfere with any internal birth control device such as an IUD, intrauterine device. However, please consult your healthcare provider prior to using a menstrual cup if you have an IUD in place, as there is a slight risk of dislodging and pulling on the IUD strings when inserting or removing a menstrual cup.
Who should not use a menstrual cup?
- Women who currently have an IUD, intrauterine device, in place should consult their healthcare provider prior to using a menstrual cup. Your healthcare provider will help you determine if there are steps that can be taken (such as trimming the strings of your IUD) so that you can safely use a menstrual cup and IUD simultaneously.
- Women who have recently had gynecological surgery or have been advised to not use absorbent tampons should refrain from using a menstrual cup during the recommended time frame of healing and recovery.
- Women with a history of TSS (toxic shock syndrome) should never use an internal product for period protection, including a menstrual cup.
- Women who have recently birthed, miscarried, or had an abortion should consult with their healthcare provider prior to using a menstrual cup.
- Women with a tilted uterus should consult with their healthcare provider prior to using a menstrual cup.
- Women with a vaginal infection should discontinue use of the menstrual cup until the infection completely clears. There is no known increased risk of vaginal yeast infections while using the cup, though it is advised to replace your cup with a new one if you acquired a yeast infection while using the menstrual cup.
- Women should never use the menstrual cup while using a topical medicated cream or gel. The cream or gel may compromise the silicone and ruin the cup. If this occurs, please replace your cup with a new one.