Enter code 10FIRST for 10% OFF your 1st order! Click here for details.

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

shop now banner
Can I go to the bathroom with a menstrual cup?

Can I go to the bathroom with a menstrual cup?

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

bathroom picture

Can I go pee with a menstrual cup? 

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

But first… 

Women have two front openings.

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

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

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

blue pixie cup

Can I go poop with a menstrual cup?

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

Do menstrual cups cause urinary tract infections?

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

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

Can you fertilize your plants with period blood?

Can you fertilize your plants with period blood?

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

menstrual cup

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

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

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

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

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

Using a menstrual cup will make fertilizing your plants easier

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

HOW TO:

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

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

menstrual cup and plants

Maybe watering your plants with blood has a deeper meaning

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

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

shop now banner

Using your menstrual cup postpartum

Using your menstrual cup postpartum

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

postpartum menstrual cup

Postpartum bleeding: what can I expect?

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

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

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

Can I use a menstrual cup postpartum?

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

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

What menstrual cup size do I need postpartum?

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

Does my cervix change after giving birth?

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

menstrual cup

Can I have an IUD inserted right after giving birth?

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

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

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

shop now banner

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!

shop now banner