If you were to track your anxiety, you might find that the increased times follow a somewhat monthly pattern. While this may sound strange, anxiety, along with a lot of other symptoms, can rise and fall with the hormonal changes of your period. Let’s dive into anxiety and your menstrual cycle!
What are the menstrual cycle phases?
To understand your period symptoms, it’s important for you to know the different phases of your cycle, and what role they play in your body. You may be surprised to learn that your menstrual cycle is not just one week of blood flow. It is a complex, month-long cycle that includes four main phases. As you learn how your cycle flows and how your body responds, you will be able to understand your emotions in a whole new way, which is so helpful in managing anxiety.
During menstruation, your progesterone decreases, which causes the uterus lining to shed. This is sometimes known as the “Winter” phase of your cycle, which makes sense because your energy is low and all you probably want to do is curl up inside with a blanket and a cup of tea. This phase is a great time to process, think, and invest in yourself a little. Do things that make you feel cozy, happy and safe.
Your body will start to experience a rise in testosterone and estrogen, so you’ll probably feel some extra energy and positive thoughts will start to flow! This phase — we’ll call it “Spring” — is a great time to get lots of work done, and complete social activities while you have the energy! During this phase, Follicle Stimulating Hormone, or FSH, is also rising to prepare your uterus for a new potential pregnancy.
Ah, ovulation… the “Summer” of the month! Expect maximum energy and confidence because your estrogen and testosterone levels have been rising to this point. This is a great time to act on planning, schedule meetings, flirt with your guy… and have some fun! Because as soon as ovulation occurs, your energy will start to slow down again and the cozy mood will take over.
Assuming that pregnancy did not occur after ovulation, the next phase is your Luteal Phase… or “autumn.” This phase can involve some bloating, cravings, and anxiety. What you can do, though, is focus on eating healthy foods, grabbing an herbal tea instead of sugar- and caffeine-packed latte, and get as much sleep as possible. If that anxiety rises, take the opportunity to remind yourself that this is a phase and it’s okay to feel a little low. It can be comforting to know that your hormones are speaking, and allow them to tell you to take it easy and chill. There’s nothing wrong with stepping back from high-impact activities and social engagements when your energy is low.
Do diet and exercise affect anxiety?
What you eat and whether you’re regularly exercising or not also can play a big role in aiding or alleviating anxiety. Taking natural supplements can help in boosting your mood such as vitamin B for energy and vitamin C for an immune booster. Recent studies have shown that turmeric is also a powerhouse for all kinds of health benefits including anxiety. Eating plenty of fruits and veggies will aid in less bloating and sluggishness too!
How to cope with anxiety during your menstrual cycle
While your menstrual cycle can impact the level of anxiety you experience, there can sometimes be a much deeper cause. We want to encourage you to seek out counseling, surround yourself with encouraging people + positivity.
Have you thought about using a menstrual cup? Women who are switching say that they have made their lives better and they aren’t going back! Once a menstrual cup is in place, it can safely be left for up to 12 hours without the worry about infection. If it’s placed properly, you won’t be able to feel it at all and you’re able to go about your life, worry-free. Sounds great, right? One less thing to worry about during our periods!
This content was originally written on October 7, 2019 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
Have you noticed an odor coming from your menstrual cup? The truth is, if you use your cup at all, there’s a risk that you could end up with a stinky menstrual cup on your hands. While a menstrual cup smell doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with your cup (or with your period), it can be annoying. The good news is, there are some steps you can take to make sure that your cup stays sparkling clean and smelling nice even after years of use, and it’s really not that hard to do!
Is it normal for my menstrual cup to smell?
Yes! It’s completely normal for a menstrual cup to develop an odor with regular use. This odor may be completely different from the smell associated with your menstrual flow. Some people have described the smell as similar to eggs, broccoli, or sulfur. Others have described the menstrual cup smell as sour. But don’t worry — it’s unlikely that other people will notice the smell of your menstrual cup or the smell of your period. But if it bothers you, here’s how to fix it!
How do I get the smell out of my menstrual cup?
The tips below will help remove both smell and discoloration from your menstrual cup. It’s always a good idea to read your manufacturer’s instructions for your specific cup brand. The following is what we recommend for Pixie Cup menstrual cups. If you have a cup from a different manufacturer (such as a Diva Cup or a Lena Cup), they may recommend different cleaning and sanitizing procedures.
Prevent or remove menstrual cup smell with deep cleaning
If you’ve noticed that your menstrual cup has a weird smell, or if you just want to prevent it from smelling in the future, make sure to keep your cup sparkling clean. It’s really important to take good care of your cup and keep it clean at all times, and this will help decrease the likelihood of any unpleasant odors.
We recommend deep cleaning and sanitizing your cup before and after each period, and giving your cup a quick rinse when you change it at least once a day. This will dramatically reduce the likelihood of unwelcome smells.
Don’t wear your cup too long
Menstrual cups are safe to wear for up to 12 hours. Ideally, it’s best to remove and empty your cup even more frequently — every 4 to 8 hours if possible. Leaving your cup in for longer than recommended can increase the chance of an odor developing. If your cup already has an odor, leaving it in too long could make it worse.
Rinse with cold water first
You may be tempted to wash your cup in hot water right after you take it out, but hot water can actually cause odor and stains to set in. When you remove your cup, wash or rinse it in cold water first. You can follow this by washing it in warmer water. The same is true for underwear or other clothing that gets menstrual blood on it: Give it a good scrub in cold water to keep stains from setting.
Give it a good scrub
Set aside a toothbrush that is designed just for your cup. After rinsing your cup under cold water, give your cup a good scrub with soap. We recommend our Pixie Cup Wash. Avoid using soap or other cleaning products that aren’t intended specifically for menstrual cups — they may contain oils, fragrances, or other chemicals that can increase the risk of odor or harm the silicone. When you wash your cup, make sure you get in between the grooves and clean the air holes around the rim to remove any residue that can build up in those areas.
If you’re changing your cup in a public restroom and can’t wash it, it’s fine to just wipe it off and reinsert. Keep some menstrual cup wipes in your bag or pocket for this purpose, and just make sure to give your cup a good wash the next time you’re at home.
Steam or boil your cup before and after your period
Before and after each period, we recommend sanitizing your menstrual cup by steaming or boiling it. You can boil it on the stove for 2-10 minutes. Or, to make sanitizing your menstrual cup easier, we created our menstrual cup steamer. The steamer sits right on your bathroom counter and sterilizes your cup in just three minutes!
Give your cup a sun bath
Find a nice sunny spot and let your cup soak up some rays for a few hours! This will help with both odors and discoloration. Just don’t leave it where it may get too hot or melt.
Use a naturally scented rinse every month or two.
Sometimes your cup needs a little more than soap and water to keep it smelling fresh. You can create an all-natural menstrual cup rinse with just some lemons and vinegar! Make sure to boil or steam your cup before use to remove any lemon or vinegar residue.
One last note…
Keep in mind that vaginal infections and yeast infections can cause unpleasant smells. If you notice an unpleasant or unusual odor that isn’t just related to your cup, it may be time to see your doctor.
Check out our online store to purchase our menstrual cup wipes, wash, steamer, and other products that can help you keep your cup clean and odor-free!
This content was originally written on May 28, 2019, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
Which one is better, steaming or boiling your menstrual cup? Does it matter? It really comes down to which one is more convenient for you. Not sure which one you prefer? Keep reading!
First, we want to start out by telling you a little about menstrual cup cleaning. It’s so important to keep your Pixie Cup sparkling clean at all times because your vaginal canal is one of the most sensitive parts of the body.
There are two different things you should do each cycle to keep your menstrual cup clean: clean your cup between each use, and sanitize your cup before and after your cycle.
Sanitizing is completely different than cleaning, but equally important! Before and after each cycle — both when you get your menstrual cup out for your period and when you put it away again — you need to make sure all bacteria is removed from your cup. This keeps your cup clean and stain free. It also helps prevent odors.
There are two different ways you can sanitize your cup. The most common method is boiling your cup, but many cup users are finding that they prefer steaming. They both do the same thing, so the best option for you just depends on which one you prefer!
Why do you have to boil your menstrual cup?
Boiling your menstrual cup sanitizes it and makes it safe to use. Any time you put a foreign object into your body, there’s a chance you could be exposing yourself to bacteria. Infections from menstrual cups are rare, as long as you use your cup correctly and clean it properly. Boiling your cup before and after every cycle, and washing it between uses, will help keep bacteria at bay.
It’s also important to wash your hands before inserting or removing your cup. You’re more likely to get an infection from bacteria on your hands than from the cup itself.
How often should you boil your menstrual cup?
Boil your menstrual cup twice a month: when you get it out at the start of your cycle, and when your period is finished.
How long should you boil your menstrual cup?
We recommend boiling your cup for about 10 minutes. If you boil your cup for too long, it could cause the silicone to thin and soften over time.
How to boil your cup
Simply put a pot of water on the stove to boil and turn it to high. When it reaches a boil, insert your cup. Make sure there’s enough water to completely cover your cup. Some cup users like to put their cup inside a whisk to keep it from touching the sides of the pot pot. If you don’t like the idea of using a pot that you cook with, consider buying a small pot to use just for this purpose.
It’s a good idea to stay close to your cup and keep an eye on it while it boils. You might be tempted to wander off and do other things, but we’ve heard stories of people who left their cup on the stove and forgot about it! If this happens, you could burn your cup and ruin it. If you do need to walk away, set the timer on the stove so you don’t forget to come back.
Can you boil your menstrual cup in the microwave?
Many people like the idea of boiling their menstrual cup in the microwave. Using a microwave is often more convenient, especially if you’re living in a dorm room or otherwise don’t have access to a stove.
The answer is yes … sort of. You can sterilize your menstrual cup with water that’s been boiled in the microwave. Don’t put the cup itself in the microwave, or it could damage it.
Fill a large mug with water – not too full or else it could boil over – and put it in the microwave. When the water has reached a boiling point, take it out and drop your cup in. Make sure your cup is submerged and leave it for a few minutes.
Our Pixie Cup sanitizing container was made just for this purpose! It’s collapsible, so it’s discreet and easy to store. It’s also microwave safe. Simply fill it with water and place it in the microwave for a few minutes. Or, you can plan your menstrual cup in the cup and pour boiling water over it. Your cup will emerge sparkling clean and germ-free!
Steaming your cup
Steaming is a relatively new option for menstrual cups. While it has been used for quite some time now to sterilize other silicone products, it is new to the menstrual cup world!
Steaming is a hassle-free way to remove 99.9% of germs from your menstrual cup. Our Pixie Cup Steamer makes sterilizing your cup easy!
Steaming your cup has several advantages over boiling. For starters, you don’t have to use your cookware to sterilize your cup. In fact, you don’t have to take your cup into the kitchen at all! This is especially great if you share a house with other people and you don’t love the idea of them seeing your menstrual cup on the stove. The steamer has the appearance of a small humidifier or diffuser, and can be tucked away in the corner of your bathroom counter when not in use.
When it’s time to sterilize your cup, simply place it in the steamer with 5ml of water, replace the cover, and push the button. Your cup will be sanitized in 3 minutes while you put on your makeup or brush your teeth. No more worrying about burning your cup if you forget about it on the stove!
The next time you get your period, pop your cup back into the steamer for another 3 minutes, and it’ll be good to go.
If you’re searching for the best menstrual cup for your body, you’ve likely read a lot of tips to help you find the best fit. Our bodies are as unique and varied as our personalities, and sometimes it can be a bit intimidating to try to find the perfect cup for your body. One of the most important factors to consider when you choose a menstrual cup is your cervix height. This is probably something you’ve never thought about before, so we have a quick and easy guide to help you measure your cervix for a menstrual cup!
Before we start, remember we have a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our products. Your happiness is important to us! If you aren’t completely happy with your Pixie Cup, we’ll help you find a different cup size that is right for you, or you will receive a full refund.
How do you measure your cervix for a menstrual cup?
The first step to choosing a cup is measuring your cervix. The position of your cervix can affect how your cup fits and feels when you’re wearing it. We believe your menstrual cup should always be comfortable — it’s one of the biggest reasons for switching to a cup! If your cup is uncomfortable for any reason, your cup may be the wrong size or it may be positioned incorrectly. This is common for women who have a tilted uterus or a low cervix.
How do you know if your cervix is high or low?
How do you know if your cervix is high, low, or somewhere in between? We have an easy test to figure out your cervix height. All you have to do is insert your finger into the vaginal opening and feel for the cervix. Your cervix, which is the lowest part of the uterus, may feel like the tip of your nose: firm but a little soft. You may also feel a small dip in the middle, which is the cervical opening.
One important thing to remember is that your cervix changes position and texture throughout your cycle. Around ovulation, or the middle of your cycle, the cervix becomes higher, softer, and harder to reach. During menstruation, the cervix is lower and firmer. Because this is when you’ll be wearing your menstrual cup, it’s best to check your cervix on or right before the first day of your period. (Measure your cervix in the shower to avoid any mess!)
Start with clean hands and trim nails and get into position. You may find it best to squat, or stand with one foot on the edge of the bathtub. Insert one or two fingers into the vagina and feel for the cervix.
If you can reach the cervix at just your first knuckle, your cervix is low. If you can reach it at the second knuckle of your finger, your cervix is a normal height. If you cannot reach your cervix at all, you have a high cervix.
Once you know your cervix height, it’s time to choose your cup! We have different cups for all cervix heights from low to high. You want a cup that’s big enough to accommodate your flow, but won’t sit too low in the vaginal canal that it becomes uncomfortable.
Best menstrual cup for a low cervix
If your cervix is medium to low, we recommend that you start with our small Pixie Cup. Cup users with a low cervix may feel some discomfort if their cup rubs up against the cervix, so try a smaller or shorter cup. Our smallest cup is the small Pixie Cup Luxe, which also has a shorter stem.
Stem length can also be an issue for those with a low cervix. If you find that the stem is irritating because it sticks out a bit, there’s an easy way to fix that, too!
Low cervix tip: trim the stem
If the stem of your Pixie Cup is protruding from your vagina, or if it irritates you inside, take some scissors and trim it just a little. Trim just a small amount at first, to make sure it’s not too short to reach for removal, and see how it goes! Some women end up removing the stem entirely! This may work for you if your cervix is low enough that you can grab the cup and pinch the base to remove it without using the stem.
If the end of the stem is sharp after trimming, you can use a nail file to soften the edges.
There are several other factors to consider when choosing a menstrual cup, such as your flow, whether you’ve delivered babies, and the position of your uterus. Before making a final decision, read our blog on how to choose the right menstrual cup for you. And if you have a tilted uterus, don’t worry, you can use a Pixie Cup, too!
Even though our bodies are all so different, each of us has the opportunity to live in period freedom. Give yourself a chance and invest in a Pixie Cup. You won’t regret it for a minute.
Leaks. This just might be the greatest fear that lurks in the mind of the Pixie Cup user wannabe. What if my cup leaks? What can I do then?
Menstrual cups offer countless benefits over disposable menstrual products. Not only can they be worn for up to 12 hours at a time and reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins, they also save you money and reduce waste. Many cup users also report positive side effects such as shorter periods and less cramping. But menstrual cups can take some getting used to, and if you’re a new user, it’s not uncommon to experience some menstrual cup leaking.
We hear from many women who are frustrated that their menstrual cup is leaking, even if it’s only been in for a few hours. They often think this means that menstrual cups just don’t work for them or won’t provide the hassle-free, leak-proof solution they’re looking for.
Before you read any further, we want you to know one thing. It may take a little time to get used to your cup and learn how to use it. Sometimes leaks will happen during that adjustment time, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the wrong cup or that you can’t use cups. It’s simply a learning period.
Factors such as how you fold or insert your cup, the position of your cervix, and where your cup sits in the vaginal canal can all affect how well it works. So, give yourself and your cup a little grace and keep trying until you find a leak-free system that works for you! We can promise that it will be 100% worth it.
That said, there are sometimes specific factors that may contribute to menstrual cup leaking. Take a look at these 10 reasons for menstrual cup leaks and learn how to fix them.
10 reasons for menstrual cup leaks
1. Your cup is positioned incorrectly
Improper insertion is the most common cause of menstrual cup leaking. The vaginal canal isn’t straight up and down; it’s angled toward the back. So as you insert your cup, make sure you direct it back toward the rear instead of straight up. It may also help to change your position while you insert the cup. Some women find it easier to squat, or stand with one leg on the toilet seat. Whichever position you choose, make sure your muscles are as relaxed, because tense muscles will make inserting your cup much harder.
2. Your cup didn’t open fully
After your cup is inserted, slide your finger around the rim of the cup to make sure that it’s popped open. If you feel a fold or dip in the cup, this means it didn’t fully open. Simply twist the cup clockwise or counterclockwise and the cup should pop open. If that doesn’t work, you can try sliding the cup up and down a little bit as well, or use a different fold. Sometimes the the punch down fold doesn’t work as well as the C fold or 7 fold. Learn more about folds.
3. Your cup is the wrong size
If your cup is too small for you, it might not create a tight seal and instead slide down in your vaginal canal. This could allow fluid to leak around the edge of the cup. Another less common option is sometimes the cup could be too big, and not completely unfolding. We have several different cup sizes to make sure you have options!
4. You aren’t using lubricant
If you’re having trouble with leaks, a little water-based lubricant could go a long way! A smooth insertion will help your cup open easier. We created a Pixie Cup Lubricant that is perfect for your cup! It’s hypoallergenic, made with simple ingredients, and specifically formulated so it won’t cause any damage to your silicone cup.
5. You need to insert your cup dry
If lubrication doesn’t help, maybe you have the opposite problem! Some women find that inserting their cup dry creates a more secure seal. Make sure your cup is nice and dry before inserting, and see if that takes care of leaks.
6. You’re not emptying your cup enough
We often hear from women who say their menstrual cup is leaking after only a few hours. You might be thinking, It hasn’t been 12 hours yet, and my cup is overflowing! Is something wrong?
Not at all! Your cup is safe for use for up to 12 hours, but sometimes — on your heavier days or if you have a heavier period — it might be necessary to empty it more often. This is completely normal. Just like tampons, a menstrual cup can last for different periods of time for different people. If you find that you’re having to empty your menstrual cup often, try a larger size, like our Pixie Cup XL.
7. You have strong pelvic floor muscles
While strong pelvic floor muscles offer many health benefits, they can also squeeze your cup, causing a half-full cup to overflow. If this is you, just change your cup just a little more often on your heavy flow days.
8. The air holes are blocked
The air holes around the rim of your cup are there to create a good seal, so if these are blocked, it’s possible that you could experience some leaks. If your cup is leaking, check and make sure the air holes are clean before inserting your cup. Our post about getting rid of the menstrual cup smell contains some tips for removing the buildup from air holes … check it out!
9. You have residual fluid on your vaginal walls
Sometimes you might think your cup is leaking, but it’s really just a bit of residual fluid from your vaginal walls. This is more likely to happen on the heavier days of your period. Just grab a wipe and clean out the extra residue so that it doesn’t leak out after you insert your cup.
10. Your cervix is tilted
For most people, the cervix is usually positioned centrally, which allows all fluid to flow directly into the cup. Your cervix does move during menstruation, however, and if your cervix is tilted or positioned against the wall of your vagina, this could cause the fluid to run down the vaginal wall. The same thing can happen if you have a tilted or retroverted uterus.
If you think your cervix isn’t lined up with the cup or it’s touching the rim after inserting, take your cup out and reinsert it. It also might help to let your cup sit below your cervix, or to open the cup lower in the vagina to catch the extra flow.
Clearly, there are a lot of factors that affect how well your menstrual cup works. This may all seem overwhelming, but don’t get discouraged! After a few cycles with your menstrual cup, it will all become second nature, and you’ll never want to go back to pads and tampons! We’ve helped many cup users find the perfect fit, so if you’ve tried these suggestions and you’re still experiencing leaks, get in touch!