## 7 common period myths: what you need to know

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 Slim 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.

## What is the blood clotting during my period?

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.

1. If your clotting is grey-ish
2. You experience periods that are longer than 7 days
3. The clots are consistently larger than a nickel
4. You pass a lot of clotting in a short period of time
5. 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!

Here are some tricks for newbies!

Do you have questions regarding a menstrual cup and how it works? Or maybe which cup would be the best for you? We’ve got you covered! Comment below because we’d love to hear from you! Meanwhile, check out our store.

## Do menstrual cups save money?

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.

## Transitioning to a menstrual cup: making the leap

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.

The Healthy Maven

## The transition from tampon to menstrual cup

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 a 100% Happiness Guarantee and 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.

## How to make your menstrual cup pop open

Is your menstrual cup leaking or not popping open? Menstrual cups make life 1000% percent easier when you’re on your period, but figuring out how to use them can take a little time. The #1 secret to a leak-free period with a menstrual cup? Making your menstrual cup pop open.

If you are lazy, here is a short video for you!

Getting your menstrual cup to pop open correctly will allow it to form a tight seal so that you won’t experience any unwanted leaking. Today, we’re going to share some helpful tips to make sure your cup opens up perfectly every time.

While the cup itself is designed to be leak-free, it can take a few tries to get comfortable using and inserting it. We recommend that you practice at home first (rather than in a public restroom) so you can learn the perfect cup technique that works for you. You may even want to practice inserting your cup when you don’t have your period. If you do, don’t leave the cup in — just get familiar with how it feels when it’s inserted properly and forming a seal, and then remove the cup.

### Why won’t my menstrual cup pop open?

There are a few different factors that could be preventing your cup from fully opening. It could simply be a matter of finding a fold that works well for you, or you could actually need a different cup.

### First, grab some lube

If you aren’t already using lube when inserting your cup, this is a must! Our Pixie Lube is designed specifically to provide a smooth insertion and a good seal for your menstrual cup. Not only does it make inserting your cup easier, it will help you position your cup correctly so that it can form a seal and prevent leaks. For many cup users, using a little bit of lube is all it takes to get their cup to pop right into place.

Lexie

This product made my cup pop right in! I was having trouble getting my cup in … This works like a charm.

### 3 easy steps to make your menstrual cup pop open

Now, let’s make sure you’re inserting the cup properly. Before inserting your cup, always wash your hands thoroughly. And, try to relax! This process can feel intimidating to new cup users, but if you’re feeling tense, it will make inserting your cup harder. So take a few deep breaths and remember, while learning how to use a menstrual cup can be a little uncomfortable at first, it should never be painful, and the cup can’t get lost inside you. So there’s nothing to worry about!

1. Use the C-fold for insertion

The C-fold is a simple fold that you can do with one hand, and that allows the cup to pop open easily.

2. Run a finger around the rim

After your cup is fully inserted, run a clean finger around the rim of the cup (the top). As you do, you may feel some folds or indentations.

3. Grab the base and twist

If you feel folds, grab the base of the cup and gently twist the cup in a circular motion. Turn the cup one full rotation. This will help it pop open and form a seal.

That’s it! For most people, following these steps will allow their cup to pop open properly and provide leak-free protection!

## Why is my cup still leaking?

If you’ve tried these steps and your cup is still leaking, there are a few possible reasons:

1. Your cup could be the wrong size. If your cup slides up or down a lot during the day (a little movement is totally normal… we’re talking a LOT of movement) you might have the wrong cup size. Pixie Cup is available in two different styles and three sizes, so we have options for just about everyone!

## Which Pixie Cup is right for you?

How do you know which menstrual cup is right for you? Everyone is different, so we’ve created several different versions of our Pixie Cup! Your flow, cervix position, and activity level can all affect the fit and feel of your cup.

Our 8-question quiz will help you determine which cup best suits your body and your lifestyle! Take our cup quiz to find your perfect fit and get a special discount!

1. Your menstrual flow could be heavier than your cup can handle. We designed the Pixie Cup in a bell shape to capture as much fluid as possible — more than several tampons. But, if you have an especially heavy period, you may need to empty your cup more often. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of emptying your cup every few hours, try our XL Pixie Cup! No matter what size you wear, make sure you empty and clean your cup at least every 12 hours to keep it clean and sanitary.
2. You might have a tilted cervix. If you have a tilted cervix, and your cup isn’t properly aligned, your menstrual flow might run along the vaginal wall, missing the rim of your cup completely. If this is the case, try wearing your cup lower. You may also want to try our Pixie Cup Slim, which was specially designed for people with a tilted or low cervix.
3. You may need a cup made with a firmer material. Some people find that it’s easier to get their cup to pop open when they use one that’s slightly more rigid. If you’re using a cup that’s very soft and flexible, try one that’s more firm, such as our original Pixie Cup.

Menstrual cups take a little bit of practice, but don’t let that scare you. Everyone’s body is different, and everyone uses a slightly different technique. Before long, you’ll figure out which folds and tricks work for your body. Once you’re comfortable using a cup, you’ll never go back to pads and tampons!

Did our tips work for you? If so, drop a comment below to let us know!

This content was originally written on December 16, 2019, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.