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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!

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

 

7 ways to get better sleep on your period

7 ways to get better sleep on your period

Getting good sleep on your period is crucial to your mental and physical well-being during this time. There is so much happening in our bodies during menstruation and there are all sorts of reasons why sleep could be difficult any night of the month but today we’re chatting about how to get better sleep on your period. 

sleeping on your period

What happens to your body during your period?

Menstrual cycles last from 25 to 35 days, with an average of 28 days for the average women. Fluctuation in four key hormones mark phases of the cycle and account for many of the symptoms we experience. A cycle begins on the first day of menstrual flow when levels of estrogen and progesterone are low. During the follicular phase (days 2-13), estrogen rises, leading to ovulation (day 14). The post-ovulation luteal phase (days 15-28) sees an increase in progesterone before hormone levels drop and a new cycle begins with the start of menstruation. 

Why can’t I sleep on my period?

It’s one of the great ironies of menstruation! The same thing that makes you so tired during the day can make it tough to sleep at night. With the fluctuation of hormones during your menstruation phase, it can do a number of things to our body. Some women report a peak in anxiety which causes our minds to race and worry.  Other gals talk about the ups and downs of body temperature, making getting comfortable feel impossible!

7 ways to get better sleep on your period

Sleep in the fetal position. If you’re normally a back or stomach sleeper, try rolling to your side and tucking in your arms and legs. This position takes the pressure off your abdominal muscles and can relieve tension that can make cramping worse!

Keep your bedroom cool. Hormones that elevate your body temperature during parts of your cycle might make falling asleep difficult. Keep your bedroom between 60-68 degrees for a cool sleeping climate. Studies show that under cooler temperatures, our sleep-inducing hormone melatonin jumps which will aid in falling asleep and staying asleep.

Keep to a schedule. When you go to bed at a similar time each night, including weekends, you give your body ample opportunity to anticipate and prepare for sleep. You will feel sleepy and wakeful at the same times each day! Maintain a consistent sleep schedule and your body is less likely to be thrown out of whack by menstrual symptoms.

Reduce screen time. So much research is coming out about screen time, blue light and how it affects our minds. A lot of phones these days have a “night mode” or “dimming timer” that you can set to change every day. It transforms the backlight from a blue tone to a yellow or golden tone. Blue light suppresses the production of melatonin which can make falling asleep difficult or not allow you to fall into a deeper level of sleep. 

Do some journaling. Journaling is powerful! Writing your thoughts down enables you to see them, acknowledge them and then give your mind a rest. You’re not laying there having these things circle your mind if you can tell yourself they are now written down on paper. Sort of like making a grocery list. You make the list and then you purposely allow yourself to forget what you need because it’s written down! Relieving anxiety and quieting a busy mind will help you sleep on your period. Tracking your period is important too. You’re able to see patterns and know what to expect month-to-month.

Yoga. Yoga has been used for centuries as a means of controlling your body, bringing it back to a grounded state of mind and to help with things like anxiety. Setting aside even 30 minutes just before bed to roll out the mat could be incredibly helpful! There are poses that are suggested to help with sleep as well as a few key ones to help with any period cramping.

Heat therapy. If you experience cramps or lower back pain, try a warm water bottle or a timed heating pad. This will allow muscles to relax and ease up on cramping. 

menstrual cup for sleeping

How do I stop leaking when I sleep on my period? 

If you’re a tampon user, definitely check the absorbance level of the tampon or consider sizing up on your heavy days when you know you’ll be sleeping for 7+ hours. Another idea would be to switch to a menstrual cup! Menstrual cups are a cup-shaped device made from medical-grade silicone. It’s soft so that it molds to fit your body and is designed to safely hold menstrual blood for up to 12 hours. Popping in a menstrual cup before bed is sure to help take away the worry. We have plenty of tips on how to stop any potential leaks

  

If you’re interested in trying a menstrual cup to help with sleep on your period, head over to our store! Be sure to use pixieblog15 at check out for 15% off your order!

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Anxiety and Your Menstrual Cycle

Anxiety and Your Menstrual Cycle

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!

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.

Menstruation Phase

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.

Follicular Phase

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.

Ovulatory Phase

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.

Luteal Phase

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!

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This content was originally written on October 7, 2019 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.