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Talking about menstrual cups: a how-to

Talking about menstrual cups: a how-to

Periods aren’t fun to talk about. Why is that? (Definitely another post for another time) For a woman, it’s a normal bodily function just like breathing, eating, sneezing or snoring. All these things happen every single day and we don’t feel awkward (OK, maybe the snoring). You may feel doubly uncomfortable talking about a product that may not be as well known or is “out of the norm” for periods and menstruation. We get it! (We get weird looks when we are asked what we do for work, ha!) Here are some helpful tips for when you’re talking about menstrual cups. 

holding menstrual cup

What are menstrual cups?

If you’re going to explain it to someone, you’ll feel most comfortable if you know exactly what it is you’re talking about, right? Here’s a quick refresh. Menstrual cups are egg-shaped cups typically made from medical-grade silicone that are inserted into the vagina. They collect menses and can be worn for up to 12 hours, safely. If you’re casually talking about it, all the detail may not be necessary…

“A menstrual cup is an alternative to tampons and pads. They are better for your body and eco-friendly.”

If they push for more detail or “Wait, how do they work?” you can quickly say, “It’s inserted in the vagina and collects your period mess!”

Menstrual cups aren’t just a fad

Even though menstrual cups have recently gained popularity, they have actually been around for nearly 100 years! Tampons and pads took the spotlight in the 1970s because they were a disposable product. Up until that point, most women still used rags and other reusable cloths to soak up menses. If I had only known washcloths and wads of fabric in my underwear, I would leap at a throw-away product too! Women working outside the home became increasingly popular in the 1970s as well which would make reaching for a tampon even more appealing. 

menstrual cup

What should I say when I’m talking about menstrual cups? 

Whenever we’re excited about something new, we always talk about what we love first, right? So here are some super easy and quick perks when talking about menstrual cups.

Period cups are eco-friendly. Menstrual cups save nearly 250 tampons (and plastic applicators) from entering the landfills, per woman, per year!

They are healthier. Tampons are linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). This is no mystery. Recently, however, tampons have been the discussion of vaginal flora and disturbing the pH balance in the vagina. We talked about that recently. Menstrual cups do not soak up anything, they just collect. So this doesn’t mess up your vaginal balance. 

Menstrual cups save you money. A typical box of tampons is $7, and that’s not even the really nice, organic ones. In two months time your Pixie Cup will have nearly paid for itself. 

They are convenient. Menstrual cups can be safely left in the vagina for up to 12 hours. This was a mind-blowing fact for me! I was used to getting maybe 3 or 4 hours out of a tampon and I felt like I was a slave to toting them around during my period. 

We’re here for you

Here at Pixie Cup, we believe in period freedom for all women. Our company was founded on that very fact. This is the breath and backbone of everything we do here and with our Buy One, Give One program we do just that. Every time a Pixie Cup is purchased, we donate one to a woman in need. So really, you not only changed your life, but you changed someone else’s too. How’s that for a fact?  

How did you break the ice with your boyfriend, girlfriend, BFF or coworker? We would love to hear the story. If you’re still on the fence regarding switching to a menstrual cup, hopefully, we’ve made the idea of “the conversation” easier! Head over to our store to see the different styles + sizes. If you’re questioning which one is best for you, we have that covered too

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Can I go to the bathroom with a menstrual cup?

Can I go to the bathroom with a menstrual cup?

Being a menstrual company, we are all about periods all the time. We also get asked a lot of questions regarding female anatomy, menstrual cups and functioning while on your period. A common one is if you are able to poop and pee with a menstrual cup. The short answer is ‘yes!’ Keep reading for the reasons why. 

bathroom picture

Can I go pee with a menstrual cup? 

Yes! It depends on your unique anatomy, whether or not you may have to do some adjusting to your menstrual cup before or after going to the bathroom. Both urinating and having a bowel movement while wearing your menstrual cup is possible! You’ll figure out what works best for you.

But first… 

Women have two front openings.

The urethra. This is the first opening in the female anatomy. It’s just above the vaginal opening and its job is releasing urine. 

The vaginal opening. Bingo! It’s the vagina! 

Going pee with a menstrual cup is easy-peasy. If your period cup is positioned properly, you shouldn’t feel it at all. If it has fallen lower in the vaginal canal, it can push against the vaginal wall, creating pressure against your urethra, making it feel like you have to pee constantly. It could make it hard for urine to flow freely as well. If you’ve experienced either of these, you know exactly what I’m talking about! If, when you are wearing your menstrual cup, you feel like you constantly have to pee, try squatting or sitting on the toilet and pushing your period cup up further. Another tip from our friends at Put A Cup In It is to opt for a softer cup! Our Pixie Cup Luxe is our softest, most pliable cup yet. 

blue pixie cup

Can I go poop with a menstrual cup?

Some women prefer to remove their menstrual cup before having a bowel movement. A common concern is pushing the menstrual cup out while you’re pooping. We all have the less-than-ideal image in our minds of fishing a period cup from the toilet bowl. We get it! You’ll figure out what is best for you and your body, but we recommend removing your menstrual cup prior to having a bowel movement to free your mind. If you choose to leave it in, just know you more than likely will have to adjust its positioning once you’re through. So much is happening in our bodies during our periods. We’re basically rock stars. Did you know that you actually have to poop more when you’re on your period? If you’ve ever thought that, then no, you aren’t going crazy!

Do menstrual cups cause urinary tract infections?

There haven’t been studies done on this specific question but it’s thought that a period cup directly doesn’t cause UTIs, however, our hygiene and use of them may. As we mentioned above, having your period cup positioned properly really will make or break your experience! If you feel like your urine stream is confined when going pee with a menstrual cup, it could stop your bladder from being able to empty fully. UTIs are caused also by bacteria and it’s extremely possible for these germs to be on your hands when you insert your menstrual cup. It’s very important to make sure your hands are cleaned before and after insertion and that you are sterilizing your menstrual cup regularly. 

Largely, the issues mentioned above can be remedied with cleanliness and what size and style menstrual cup we choose! Good news, right? See our online store for different cup styles and several methods of sterilizing — which one fits your life best? Let us know!

Can you fertilize your plants with period blood?

Can you fertilize your plants with period blood?

We recently posted on our Instagram about how to fertilize your plants with your period blood. Here at Pixie Cup, we are all about periods and period hacks and this was new to us! In light of the time of year and everyone starting and tending to their gardens, we did some digging. Quickly, we realized how popular this method was as a green-living ritual from feminists and plant lovers alike. 

menstrual cup

Is it ok to use period blood to fertilize your plants?

While studies haven’t been specifically done on it, we can look at the chemical breakdown of menstrual blood and see that some things make sense. Blood contains three primary plant macronutrients—nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. So, if you’re a gardener and menstrual cup enthusiast, you may want to try to use your next cycle to help your plants! 

Nitrogen. Put simply, nitrogen promotes plant growth. It’s the star of the show and makes your plant bushy, leafy, and promotes growth! Nitrogen is part of every protein in the plant, so it’s required for virtually every process—from growing new leaves to defending against pests. Nitrogen is part of the chlorophyll molecule, which gives plants their rich green color and is involved in creating food for the plant through photosynthesis. Lack of nitrogen shows up as yellowing (chlorosis) of the plant. 

Phosphorus. Phosphorus is responsible for transferring energy from one point to another in the plant. Energy from the stem can be transferred to the tips of the leaves with the help of phosphorus! It’s also critical in root development and flowering. 

Potassium. Potassium helps regulate plant metabolism and affects water inside and outside of plant cells. It is important for good root development and for these reasons, potassium is critical to plant stress tolerance! When you repot a plant it disturbs the root system and can cause shock. Potassium helps the plant bounce back and re-establish its roots in the new soil and new pot. 

Using a menstrual cup will make fertilizing your plants easier

If you want to give period blood fertilization a shot, using a menstrual cup will help make that easier! A menstrual cup is a cup-shaped device made of medical-grade silicone. It is inserted into the vaginal canal and creates a seal. It collects menstrual blood for up to 12 hours, safely. When you go to empty your menstrual cup, be sure to pinch the base or slide a finger up one of the sides to “break the seal” which makes removal quick and easy

HOW TO:

It’s not recommended to pour period blood directly onto the soil to fertilize your plants. The concentrated fluid could cause an odor as it dries and could attract insects. It’s best to dilute and make a watering solution! Empty your menstrual cup right into a half-gallon container and fill with water. This dilution is fit for daily watering. It’s also not an exact science so more water is fine too if you need to make it stretch to feed your garden! 

PLEASE NOTE: menstrual blood should be used right away and not stored. It is a bodily fluid that contains bacteria and could become a hazard the longer it ages. 

menstrual cup and plants

Maybe watering your plants with blood has a deeper meaning

More than nourishing plants, maybe this practice also nourishes women’s relationship to their periods. This is crucial because traditionally society has taught us that the natural, healthy experience of menstruation is embarrassing and a source of shame. We whisper for a tampon. We log our periods on a locked app on our phones. We apologize to our significant other for the “inconvenience.” Maybe using something from us to feed something else, connects us to ourselves and to the earth. Our periods are a perfect time to focus on self-care and adding gardening and tending to our plants could be a great addition. 

Do you have a routine during your period? Do you think fertilizing your plants with your menstrual cup would be a good addition? Let us know if you have tried this before! If you don’t have a menstrual cup, head over to our store for a variety of styles and sizes.

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Why you need to switch to a menstrual cup (and it has nothing to do with the environment)

Why you need to switch to a menstrual cup (and it has nothing to do with the environment)

Menstrual cups are rising in popularity and with something new comes questions and checking reviews and feedback, right? Menstrual cups offer so many benefits to you physically and to your busy schedule. Your period shouldn’t slow you down. We’re summing up some of the reasons why making the switch to a menstrual cup will totally improve your life.

holding a menstrual cup

What is a menstrual cup? 

A menstrual cup is an egg-shaped cup made of medical-grade silicone that is designed to sit in the vaginal canal and collect menstrual blood. While they have been around for nearly 80 years, they are just recently having their time in the spotlight. (and for good reason!) Menstrual cups are super eco-friendly and kind to the earth in big ways. Today we’re talking about you and how they can make the whole month fantastic. Keep reading for 5 really practical, every day (and awesome) reasons to switch to a menstrual cup. 

Menstrual cups are approved to be worn for up to 12 hours

12 hours?! I know when I made the switch to a menstrual cup this fact totally blew my mind. Hello freedom! I was used to wearing a pad which definitely couldn’t be worn for 12 hours. Or with my short relationship with tampons, I quickly realized that I needed to change it every couple of hours. I was doomed if I forgot to pack some in my purse or if my emergency car stash ran out. Which leads me to my next point…

You don’t have to pack extra “just in case” if you switch to a menstrual cup

Going on a trip? Taking a hike? Running errands for the day? If you are wearing a tampon or pad, you would absolutely need to pack extra for any of these scenarios. Depending on your flow the tampon should only be worn for 8 hours max. On days when my flow is heavy, I was lucky to get 2 hours out of a tampon! Menstrual cups safely collect menses for up to 12 hours. 

They don’t contribute to vaginal dryness

Tampons are made of cotton. Cotton absorbs absolutely everything it touches because that’s it’s purpose. The problem is if you wear a tampon that isn’t appropriate for your flow level (example: wearing a super tampon on a light flow day) you’re not only soaking up your menstrual blood but also any vaginal fluid. This fluid is gold. It keeps your vagina working smoothly! We talked about the vaginal pH balance recently and the types of bacteria that naturally live there. If you get a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, then somehow that delicate balance was thrown off. Your vagina is naturally a little dry the first couple of days after your period as your body is adjusting to the hormone shift and re-establishing that pH balance. If you are sensitive to your pH level or if you feel you’re doing the dance between infections and handling your period, you may want to switch to a menstrual cup. Because they are made of medical-grade silicone, they do not soak up anything. They just collect your menstrual blood until you empty it!

sleeping girl

Switch to a menstrual cup and you can sleep in peace

Because they can hold menses for up to 12 hours safely, you can change your menstrual cup before bed and sleep without worrying if you’re going to leak onto the sheets. Or the age-old hack of using a tampon and a pad while you sleep. (ew!) Once you get the knack of using a menstrual cup, you’ll master wearing it with no leaks! Say hello to a blissful night’s rest while on your period.

When you see the numbers, you’ll switch to a menstrual cup

They save you money! And quite a lot of it, actually. Here are the dirty details. In 2015 a research project found that the average American woman will spend nearly $1800 on tampons alone. That’s not counting the panty liners, new underwear because of staining and menstrual products that help with easing discomfort. A Pixie Cup costs the price of about 2.5 boxes of tampons. This means that in about 2 months your menstrual cup will have paid for itself! Keep in mind that a menstrual cup (if taken care of properly) can last and function for up to a decade! 

 

If you’ve tossed the idea around of trying a menstrual cup, now is the time to do it! With our 100% Happiness Guarantee, you can try a Pixie Cup risk-free! Life is complicated and we like to keep things simple. If you aren’t completely satisfied with your Pixie Cup product, we will refund your money. Please comment if you have questions and check out our store here

 

Using your menstrual cup postpartum

Using your menstrual cup postpartum

Pregnancy can be a mixed bag, right? Some of us love it, some of us hate it. Regardless, it’s an incredible journey and one of the perks is having a 9+ month break from our periods! Postpartum is often referred to as the 4th trimester of pregnancy and for good reason! It’s definitely a second leg of the journey. We’re talking about adjusting to after-birth and using a menstrual cup postpartum. 

postpartum menstrual cup

Postpartum bleeding: what can I expect?

Postpartum bleeding is a mixture of blood and debris from the uterine lining. It looks like a period but it’s not the same thing. To distinguish them, the bleeding after birth is referred to as “lochia.”  Here’s what to expect the first six weeks after delivery.

  • The first 2 to 4 days after birth: Bleeding is very abundant and bright red. You’ll basically be wearing a diaper during this time. There may also be blood clots, but if they are as big as a golf ball, you need to seek medical advice.
  • From the 4th day and for the next one to two weeks: the loss of blood diminishes and the lochia becomes pink, sometimes brown.
  • Around the 3rd week post-partum and for the next 3-4 days: Bleeding regains intensity, which is due to the pregnancy hormones falling. But it’s nothing at all to do with your period because your menstrual cycle has not yet resumed.
  • Until 6 weeks after childbirth: Lochia is light yellow or white. It should smell similar to a period.

Lochia is present strongly for the first 6 weeks postpartum. If you are breastfeeding, you will feel your uterus contract and it will help shorten the length of your postpartum bleeding!

Can I use a menstrual cup postpartum?

The short answer to that is no. Your healthcare provider will strongly urge you to not put anything in your vaginal canal for the first 6 weeks after delivery. Nobody is created equal, and you may notice that your period returns relatively quickly after giving birth. Sometimes it stays away for months! A menstrual cup can be worn safely for up to 12 hours without changing it. You’re a new mom, you don’t have time to change a tampon! 😉

Everybody is different and the time it takes to heal from a vaginal birth varies from person to person. Consult your doctor before the use of your menstrual cup or any other internal feminine hygiene products.

What menstrual cup size do I need postpartum?

If you gave birth via c-section, you most likely won’t need to change menstrual cup sizes at all! If you gave birth vaginally, your doctor will give you instructions on how to strengthen your pelvic floor to help your vagina and uterus go back into place. Chances are, you’ll still be able to use your original Pixie Cup! We do have three sizes, so if you feel like sizing up is best, try our large or x-large.

Does my cervix change after giving birth?

You bet. Your cervix was basically the quarterback player during your birth process. It enabled you to safely push and birth your baby. Everything about your cervix changed during birth and it will take some time for it to go back to normal. After giving birth, you may become more aware of your cervix height and even if you have a tipped/tilted uterus! Your cervix never really gets a break and is constantly moving through our cycles. If you find that after pregnancy, your cervix is low during menstruation, you may want to try our Pixie Cup Luxe. It’s designed to sit low in the vaginal canal and is a favorite among gals with a low cervix or tipped uterus

menstrual cup

Can I have an IUD inserted right after giving birth?

Yes! An IUD can be inserted after the placenta has been delivered. The average woman experiences abnormal bleeding after having an IUD inserted. If you choose a hormonal IUD, your bleeding will potentially start right away. The good news is that if you have it inserted right after birth, the IUD bleeding will happen right along with your postpartum bleeding. If bleeding exceeds the 6-week postpartum healing, consult your doctor. This discharge could be due to the hormonal IUD. A menstrual cup would be a very convenient solution to dealing with this extra discharge after the first six weeks. We recently talked all about IUDs and menstrual cups! If you choose a non-hormonal IUD, one common side effect is heavy periods. Take a break from changing tampons and give a menstrual cup a try! You won’t even notice that heavy menstrual bleeding! 😉 

Giving birth comes with so many decisions. Birth control, period management, birth plan, breastfeeding. You name it! Your body is doing a lot of changing and is trying to get back to normal after a 9-month pregnancy and that can be a rollercoaster! Be patient with yourself. Seek support. You’re a rockstar.

Are you interested in switching to a menstrual cup? Please let us know if you have any questions. We would love to help you decide which cup is best for you. Now or after a baby!

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