Is PMS all in your head? Are periods shameful? Is period blood dirty? So many questions surround something so normal as menstruation. We tackle 7 common period myths we are asked frequently in hopes of helping you live free and empowered! #breakthestigma
First of all, it’s important to understand that a woman’s menstrual cycle is not the same as her period. The actual time that a woman bleeds is known as menstruation, but her menstrual cycle is the entire time from one period starting to the next. I didn’t know this until recently, and as a menstruating human, it goes to show there is a lot of ignorance and misinformation around the issue!
Although it’s assumed that a woman’s menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, that’s only an average number and everyone is unique.
Some women’s cycles are much longer, from 29 to 35 days, while others can be shorter. So many factors can change this. From woman to woman, but also from month to month. Things like stress, travel, weight fluctuation, stress, hormone changes, emotions, stress, birth control, medication (and did I mention stress?) can all affect when a woman’s period occurs.
There’s a very real physical change in a woman’s body during this time. In the days leading up to a woman’s period beginning — this time has coined us the phrase “PMSing” — her levels of estrogen plummet, while her levels of progesterone sharply increase. Talk about an imbalance for a bit!
Estrogen is linked to serotonin, the “happy hormone,” and progesterone is linked to the part of the brain that causes fear, anxiety, and depression. The effects of hormones on mood are complicated, and while progesterone may depress some emotions, it has a mood-balancing effect.
During that time of the month we are tired and most likely overwhelmed. It’s super easy to dismiss what’s happening if we have an excuse like it’s “just hormones,” but mood changes caused by hormones are still real. It may happen on a more monthly basis for us, but it doesn’t invalidate our feelings.
From the killer team of girls at the University of Texas, The Chatty Gal, “Contrary to that belief, the blood you menstruate is just as “clean” as the venous blood that comes from every other part of the body and it’s harmless as long as you don’t have any bloodborne diseases.”
It doesn’t mean conditions are less than ideal down there.
We’re taught that periods are dirty. (and grated they are messy, but not dirty) Period blood actually isn’t rejected body fluids or the body’s way of flushing out toxins. Think of it as an evolved vaginal secretion — there’s some blood, uterine tissue, mucus lining, and bacteria. It’s super important to keep up your water intake during your period as well. This helps flush everything that is happening during your period.
Here’s another to include in our common period myths! If you feel like exercising, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. It’s actually a great way of controlling PMS symptoms and menstrual cramps because it increases the supply of oxygen to your muscles. Because exercise gives you a natural endorphin high, it can elevate your mood and actually make you feel better. One of the main benefits of exercise while menstruating is the endorphin release and workout “high.” Since endorphins are a natural painkiller, when they release during exercise, you may feel relief from uncomfortable periods. Here at Pixie Cup we love living free and pursuing whatever we love to do. We’re all about being outdoors and being active every day of the month. A menstrual cup is a great way of continuing your exercise and be active during your period. Because it can safely hold period blood for up to 12 hours, there is no hassle like you’d have with a tampon.
Another big one among common period myths is that girls who haven’t had sex will find wearing tampons or a menstrual cup painful. This isn’t true, although levels of comfort depend on the person and general anatomy. For example, we recommend a young customer who might be apprehensive to try our Pixie Cup Luxe Small. We have other helpful products like our Pixie Cup Lube to help things be as smooth and comfortable as possible. Another concern is that tampons or period cups can somehow “take away your virginity.” This myth has deep roots tied to all sorts of cultural upbringing and traditions.
This is a common period myth, especially when we’re trying to justify how we are feeling. Wrong! Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms are related to the way your hormones change through your monthly cycle. Symptoms can be emotional (like irritability, depression or fatigue, and physical (cramps or headaches). Check out the facts on PMS and get some tips for minimizing the very real symptoms of PMS. Take this time during the month to really log your symptoms
As a menstruating woman, I feel this one hard. Unfortunately, we have a long history of embarrassment to overcome. Whether that be cultural or otherwise. Hiding my period was what I was taught to do from the age of 12 when I first started my period. I even had separate waste cans for me to conceal any sort of evidence (or smell) that I was on my menses. I fell into the habit of apologizing for what my body did naturally, opting out of social events and beach days regularly. I’m so sorry if this is something you carry with you. Here at Pixie Cup, it’s our mission to break that shame and have a #lifechangingperiod. As we do that, we’re face to face every day with the cultural and mental boundaries that have been ingrained in us. Change starts with us! I know for myself, I’m daily striving towards that freedom, conquering that mental mountain. You can bet my daughter won’t be taught the same hiding techniques I was. Take space for you, embrace what your body does as an amazing thing. We’re right here with you.
For more information on using a menstrual cup, please contact us! We love to talk about all things period and love normalizing the conversation. If you’re interested in trying a Pixie Cup, head over to our store and get 10% off your first purchase.
If you’ve had your period for a number of years or even if you’ve given birth, blood clotting during your period is old hat! If you’re just starting your period, you need to know you’re normal, blood clots during your period are normal and you are PERFECT! We’re answering the common questions regarding clotting while menstruating for anyone who’s ever wondered or is curious.
What are blood clots during your period?
As you may know, during your period you shed the lining of your uterus because you had an egg that wasn’t fertilized and your body is ridding itself of that to make everything new and ready for the next ovulation. Crazy, right? During this time, it’s super common to see blood of almost all kinds: bright red, dark red, brown, and even different consistencies like water-like, thick and then clots. This wide variation is most present during your heaviest days (usually day 1-3).
IMPORTANT: You are normal and all the things stated are a normal part of your period!
What causes blood clots in periods?
So, you know when we get a cut and it starts to scab? Our body immediately releases “procoagulants” which starts the clotting process. This is our body’s way of trying to stop the bleeding or stop us from bleeding too much. Well, during our period we shed the lining of our uterus, it’s not a cut, but the clotting is still our body’s mechanism to regulate the blood loss. (Your body is amazing!)
When we see small clotting during our period, “anticoagulants” are also released, forming a balancing act that ensures the blood is thinned out enough. During the heaviest phase of your period, the anticoagulants can be get lost by your flow, so they don’t have time to kick in and break down the clots before they are released from the body.
That is why during the first few days of your period when your flow is at its heaviest, is the highest chance of seeing clots. Some women experience clotting the first few days of their period when it’s the heaviest and others experience it right up until the end of the menstrual phase. Don’t worry either way! Your body is doing what it’s comfortable with.
When should I be concerned about blood clots during my period?
As we’ve mentioned, clotting is a perfectly normal part of the menstrual process. If you notice significant changes or any of these following symptoms, it’s best to consult your physician in case there is any sort of medical condition that is lurking.
If your clotting is grey-ish
You experience periods that are longer than 7 days
The clots are consistently larger than a nickel
You pass a lot of clotting in a short period of time
Excessive bleeding where you have to change your menstrual cup, tampon or pad every couple of hours.
Is my period blood normal?
Like every menstruating human, we are unique! This means our periods aren’t the same either. There are definite things to watch out for like we mentioned above, but in general, your period is fine. If you notice your period is bright red, it means your body is expelling it quicker. If you notice that your discharge is brown or darker, it just means it’s been ready to come out for a little while. One hint to help this is to keep incredibly hydrated during your period. Your vagina and uterus thrive off of water. Do you know when you’re thirsty? And your mouth is dry? Your uterus and vagina are similar because they too are always creating fluids. They need water to function properly and to continuously create a flushed and happy environment.
How can I better manage my period?
Take it from us! Periods are messy no matter what, however, if you find that seeing clots on your menstrual pads is disturbing to you or you’d rather not, we highly recommend a menstrual cup. Have you ever tried one? A menstrual cup is a small cup with a stem that is made of medical-grade silicone. It’s inserted in the vagina and collects menses safely for up to 12 hours. Imagine the period freedom, right? Not having to change your pad or tampon only but a couple of times a day? Crazy! Once you master a menstrual cup and how your body works with it, you’ll find immense freedom in it. And if the natural clotting bothers you, you just dump, wash and go!
Most of us are all about saving money in some form or another. We shop sales, we bargain hunt or shop second hand and hats off to any coupon clippers that are still out there holding strong! We are all at different stages of life, but typically saving a penny or two is the motivation to a lot of the decisions we make on a daily basis. If you’re a human who menstruates, you may want to check out these numbers and how menstrual cups can save money.
How much does an average period cost?
On average, a person bleeds from five to seven days and menstruates from age 13 until age 51. That equates to a total of (ready for it?) 456 periods over those 38 years! Kind of amazing, right? I know I feel empowered when I realize I can do anything that anyone else can do and I can do it bleeding. You’re incredible!
Now 456 is a huge number! Let’s talk in more tangible figures. We’re going to calculate the difference in costs over five years (or 60 periods) so you can get a general idea of how much you’ll save in a feasible amount of time!
Of course, there’s no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ period and If you’re reading this it’s likely you’ve already started menstruating. Depending on how heavy or light your flow is, you’ll probably need to increase or decrease the costs accordingly. Ready for the numbers?
How much money do you save using a menstrual cup?
Tampons. The average box of tampons (talking store brand) is about $4. Now, there is a lot coming out recently about what’s actually in tampons and how we are wise to start reaching for the organic options. So if you’d rather have the top-shelf stuff, we’re looking at potentially $7 for a month’s supply. The average person changes their tampon every four hours. Using one tampon every four hours equals six tampons per day. Multiply 6 tampons by the number of days you bleed (five days on average) and you’re using 30 tampons per period. Multiply that by 60 periods you’ll get in 5 years and boom: 1,800 tampons. At 36 tampons per box, that’s 50 boxes of tampons at approximately $7 each. So, over the course of five years, that’s going to cost you $350.
Pads. Are you still a die-hard pad user? Here are some numbers for you! The common opinion says it’s best to change your pad every 4 hours as it becomes saturated easily and holds bacteria. A pack of 40 pads can cost also around $7 per package for a standard brand or $8 for an organic option.
Using one pad every four hours = six pads per day. Multiply six pads by the number of days you bleed (five days on average) and you’re using 30 pads per cycle. If you have 60 periods and you’re using 30 pads per cycle, you’ll be using 1800 pads. With 40 pads per package and an average price ticket of $8, you’re looking at spending $360 in 5 years.
Menstrual cup.Here at Pixie Cup we offer several menstrual cup options and a couple of them come in combo packs so you can adjust according to your flow. Our combo packs average $25 and if you properly take care of your menstrual cup, it can last you up to 10 years! So your period cost for a decade literally becomes $25.
Do I need anything to go with my menstrual cup?
Nope! Once you have mastered inserting your menstrual cup, you’ll be free of leaks and free of period hassle. We have some great accessories that are designed to make your menstrual cup transition and journey even better and easier. Our Pixie Cup Lube is great for newbies as it helps with any uneasiness that comes with something new! Our steamer makes sterilizing a breeze as well as our Pixie Cup Wash for a quick wash between changes.
Are period cups worth it?
With the numbers we chatted about today, we definitely think so! But you make that call. Leaving something so familiar to you like a pad or tampon is hard and we fully acknowledge that. We are here to back you up every step of the way during your menstrual cup journey. Our 100% Happiness Guarantee ensures that we like to keep things simple and our friends happy.
Reach out to us! Let us know your #wins or struggles. We’ll be so glad to help.
Shoppers are made up of a few different types. When it comes to shopping for something out of the ordinary (like a menstrual cup) we find our audience is either the impulse buyer or the researcher. One says “sure, why not?” and the other is cautious, weighs out the options and purchases when they’re certain it will be just what they need! Are you the gal who is sold by the packaging or the one who carefully does the research? Regardless, we think you’re awesome and we’re here to make the transition from tampon to a menstrual cup as easy as possible.
What’s in the transition?
Like most of us, we basically knew of two feminine hygiene solutions: pads and tampons. Due to their popularity, we rarely stray. They are both relatively fool proof (but not leak proof!) and are super simple to use. They require you to know little about your anatomy to succeed (sorta) in maintaining and surviving your period. Until I tried a menstrual cup, I truly thought a period was something to be tolerated and “survived.” Simply put, it was the most annoying week of the month. I know I’m getting a lot of head nods with that one!
With something new comes a transition and learning curve! We’re here to help!
We are all in different places when it comes to our bodies and our acquaintance with them. Take space, take time, take whatever it is that makes you comfortable. Depending on your upbringing, culture, or general level of comfort with your own body, getting to know your reproductive anatomy can be a little daunting. But we can promise that the journey will leave you feeling confident and empowered.
“First things first, get over “putting your fingers up there”. Periods are natural. So are vaginas. My 21-year-old self didn’t understand this but now I do…and so should you. It’s just blood and it will be gone with a little hand washing. Deep breaths. You got this.“
Don’t worry! We’ve got you! Here are some helpful hints on making your switch from a tampon to a menstrual cup a little less intimidating.
Community. Plugging in to a community of women who are where you are, who have made the switch and who are tenured menstrual cup users. Join our Pixie Squad Facebook group to hear tips, tricks and stories from fellow Pixie Cup users!
Watch. Head over to our YouTube channel to see advice come to life. Members of our team share advice that will make using your cup so much easier.
Follow. Our Instagram is full of fun. Frequent giveaways, engaging posts, pretty pictures, and powerful testimonials! You don’t want to miss it. Our blog is updated bi-weekly with new posts consisting of topics that women are asking about and seeking answers for.
Talk to us. Lastly, email us! We absolutely love hearing from you. We will answer your questions to the best of our abilities… and we’ve had some crazy ones! So don’t hold back. We have a100% Happiness Guaranteeand we stick by it. If you purchase anything and aren’t completely satisfied with it, we will give you a refund.
For some, things just click right away, and for others, it’s a journey. Just remember this, at Pixie Cup we’ve built our company around providing community and support for all menstruators and cup users alike because we’ve been there! And life has taught us anything, it’s that taking the jump is easier when someone’s linking arms with you.
“Help, I think my menstrual cup is stuck!” If you’re experiencing menstrual cup removal stress, don’t panic! Take a deep breath and relax. We’re here to help.
It’s important to remember that your menstrual cup can only go so far before it reaches your cervix, and guess what? That’s the end of the tunnel. There’s nowhere else for it to go. Your menstrual cup can’t migrate into your uterus or get “lost” inside you.
That said, sometimes it can be hard to get a grip on your cup or break the seal. This can happen if the cup migrates further up in the vaginal canal, or if it forms a seal right up against your cervix.
If this happens to you, you may be tempted to call your doctor or head to the emergency room. Before you do, try our tips for removing a stuck menstrual cup.
1. Relax and breathe
It can be scary and frustrating when you can’t get your cup out, especially if this has never happened to you before. However, many menstrual cup users have experienced this at one time or another, and have gone on to use their cup happily for many years.
The best thing you can do right now is relax. That may feel impossible if you’ve been fighting with a stuck cup, but take a moment to just breathe. If you’re too tense, all of your muscles will be contracted, and it will make it harder for your cup to come out.
If you need to step away for a few minutes and regroup, go ahead. Do some breathing exercises, make a cup of tea, or do whatever else you need to calm down. It’s okay if your cup has already been in for 12 hours. Nothing bad is going to happen if you need to wait a little longer.
2. DO NOT use a spoon or other item for menstrual cup removal
You may have heard of something known as the “menstrual cup stuck spoon trick.” However tempting it might be to use tweezers or a spoon or something else to help you reach your cup, don’t do it! We do not recommend inserting anything into your vagina that isn’t made to go there. The vaginal canal is a sensitive area, and you don’t want to risk injuring yourself or causing infection. Plus, it simply isn’t necessary. You can break the seal on your cup just as easily with your finger if you do it correctly.
3. Take a squat
When you’re ready to try again, it may be helpful to get into a squatting position. Get as low as you can to the ground. This will allow you to reach further into your vaginal canal. You can also lift one foot up onto the edge of the toilet or bathtub.
Before you get started, make sure your hands are clean and dry. The drier your hands are, the easier it will be to get a grip on the cup. If the base of the cup is close to the vaginal opening, you could even use a little bit of toilet paper to dry it off.
4. Don’t bear down
You may have read some advice to bear down when you’re trying to get your cup out, but we don’t recommend this. Bearing down when under stress is not good for all the organs and muscles in the pelvic region.
When you have a bowel movement or are giving birth, your muscles work together naturally, and are not being forced. Some reports indicate that improper removal of a menstrual cup could be linked to prolapse of the pelvic muscles, although this has not been proven.
5. Gently break the seal
For proper menstrual cup removal, you need to break the seal that it formed when you inserted it. DO NOT yank on your cup and attempt to pull it straight out. Pulling on a sealed cup will strain the pelvic muscles.
There are two ways to break the seal:
Pinch the base of the cup. Grab the cup as far up as possible and pinch it. You may want to squeeze it for a few seconds to allow the seal to release. If you can’t quite get a hold of the cup, grab the stem and wiggle the cup back and forth a bit (don’t pull) until you’re able to grab the base. Listen for the sound of air leaking, which means the seal is broken.
If that doesn’t work, try inserting one finger up along the side of your menstrual cup and feel for the rim of the cup. Gently push in the rim, similar to the process used for the punch-down fold, until you hear the seal break. This can allow some fluid to leak out, so it’s best to do this when sitting on the toilet or squatting in the shower.
Once the seal is broken, tip the cup a little bit to allow more air into the vagina, and try wiggling your cup out or removing it at an angle.
If that doesn’t work, try a different position. Sometimes changing position can make all the difference. If you’ve been squatting, try putting one foot up on the edge of the bathtub instead.
Still having menstrual cup removal issues?
If you’ve tried all these steps — and made sure to relax and breathe — and you still can’t get your cup out, it may be time to call your doctor. Remember that not all gynecologists are familiar with menstrual cups, and you may need to tell your doctor not to attempt to pull it straight out. Also, don’t let your doctor throw your cup away! There’s no reason it can’t be sanitized and reused.
If you frequently have trouble getting your cup out, it could mean that your cup is the wrong size. If you have a higher cervix but are using a shorter cup, the cup may migrate further up in the vagina and be hard to reach.
Measuring your cervix can help you choose the right cup for you. We also created this cervix ruler to help you feel more confident in your decision and knowing your body!
We also offer a 100% Happiness Guarantee. If you buy a Pixie Cup and it isn’t the right size or it otherwise doesn’t work for you, we’ll work with you to find one that works or refund your money! We want everyone to experience true period freedom, and your happiness is our priority.
Check out our different menstrual cups and menstrual cup accessories in our store.
This content was originally written on February 19, 2019, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.