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.
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!
This question is very common, so don’t feel alone if you’re hesitant about using a menstrual cup as a virgin!
There are only two things that could cause a virgin to experience difficulty using a menstrual cup.
Your own comfortability.
First, you need to assess your own mind and see if you feel comfortable with the thought of using an internal period product. If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with your vagina and have never used a tampon, make sure to take time to relax. Take it slow and give yourself some grace to figure it out! We believe in you, and we wholeheartedly recommend a menstrual cup to every girl because it truly is a life-changer! Imagine swimming, riding a bike, and running without fear of leaks and stains!
First of all, your body is more resilient and strong than you could imagine! Your vaginal canal was created to expand when needed, and then return to its normal state, without stretching out! Otherwise, how could we women ever achieve a vaginal birth?
That being said, if you have never used a tampon or inserted anything into your vaginal canal, it could feel a bit uncomfortable at first. We advise you to start with a smaller cup and apply a little lubricant (we sell a really smooth Pixie Cup Lube that is AMAZING) to help you experience a comfortable insertion.
We also recommend that you start with the “Punch Down Fold.” For this fold, place your index finger on the top of the rim and press inwards to the base of the cup forming a triangle.
One of the most frequently asked questions we get from new cup users is, “Can my cup get stuck up there?” If you are concerned about that possibility, check out our blog post on menstrual cup removal, HERE!
There are two more things you need to know if you are considering a menstrual cup as a virgin:
Your hymen may stretch.
First, we need to address what your hymen is NOT. It is not a film deep inside your vaginal canal that stretches across the opening and must be broken during sexual intercourse. Your hymen is an outer layer that partially covers your vaginal canal and it can be stretched by doing all kinds of things including something as simple as riding a bike. Your vaginal canal itself does not stretch, but the hymen could.
You cannot lose your virginity to a menstrual cup.
Your virginity is not based on a thin piece of skin, it is a simple fact about your life experience. You are a virgin if you have not had sexual intercourse, and that fact has nothing to do with a menstrual cup, or your hymen for that matter. Women all over the world struggle with the question of whether or not it is acceptable in their religion or culture to use a menstrual cup. We deeply desire for each woman to have the freedom and the right to use a menstrual cup and experience the joy and ease that it can bring to her life. We need to be the voice that tells the world that the value of a woman is not determined by the state of her hymen, but by the existence of her soul.