This week on my Instagram account I am talking all about period products! re-usable Menstrual cups and Discs are quickly becoming one of the more popular options for managing periods. Not only are they environmentally friendly, they seriously help you save SO MUCH money over the long term! While it varies cup to cup, most cups have at least a 2 year lifespan, often longer, but cost about the same as it does for 1-2 cycles worth of disposable products!
They also do not contain harsh chemicals, or pesticides that many traditional cotton fiber products contain, which is certainly important to consider when deciding how to best manage your period.
This being said, I think for many cup-curious, or those who tried and couldn't commit, a major fear is that you will not be able to "retrieve" said cup after successfully getting it into place.
This happened to me, and it was a major learning experience. Let me share some of my best tips for getting your cup out without any drama.
Something I think it's important for everyone to know about their cups, is that they CANNOT get lost. There is literally only one place for them to go and your cervix blocks it at the top.
That being said, it doesn't mean that it isn't scary when its not where you think it should be within reach!
The first time I tried a cup I was about 13 months post partum after my first. I was finally starting to feel like I was in a good place with my strength training as well as just my confidence as a mom, parent and new pelvic floor physical therapist. The prolapse symptoms I was having earlier in my PP journey were basically non-existent and was feeling good!
I had a number of clients ask about cups, and problems they were having with cups, but because I had never used one, I felt like my advice was pretty basic.
I learn best though doing, and prefer to be able to provide advice from experience if I can, so, I hopped online and found www.putacupinit.com.
There are soooo many cups out there, this site, and the quiz helped me narrow down my choices. I decided on an intimina disc and a Saalt cup in various sizes and firmnesses to really give them all a try!
My period was fairly light since I had an IUD and so I went with the small saalt cup first. My period started later in the day, so I boiled it up, and put it in before bed.
I had no issues with it all night, but in the morning my issue was not comfort, or storage capacity. But the fact that I couldn't reach it!
I rooted around for what felt like a year, pelvic floor tightening more and more with each passing moment making it more and more difficult to find.
I decided to take a break, relax, and let some time and gravity help me out. It wasn't leaking or overflowing, so just needed to get my mind off of it for a little bit.
After a nice calm breakfast, I decided to hop in the shower. The warm water, and the ability to get one foot elevated and move into a sort-of side squat allowed me to take a few big relaxed breaths to help my pelvic floor relax, I was then able to get a hold of the end of the cup, inhale again, break the seal and gently rotate it out. Phew!
On the packages of most cups it does talk about "bearing down" to help it out.
As someone who had been diagnosed with prolapse post partum and was told never to run or jump again, and certainly not bear down. I had already done a lot of unlearning about what would ACTUALLY cause harm to my pelvic floor/pelvic organs (HINT- not any of those things above)
I knew that bearing down just for a moment wouldn't increase my prolapse, and likely not even symptoms of it, but that didn't mean that I wasn't still concerned at the thought of it.
So instead of bearing down, or even just relaxing... my pelvic floor was like, NOPE... we're not letting this out. She's worked too hard getting symptom free of this prolapse.
Taking a moment to step away after the initial worry was really helpful for both me mentally, but also to allow the cup to move down. Overnight, when we are laying horizontal our cervix and pelvic organs move upwards as they are not against gravity, making those early morning retrievals a bit more difficult.
So if you out your cup in at 9pm, and it's not over-full, it's ok to get your morning started and move around some before taking it out. They are safe to leave in for 12 hours.
A warm bath is another good option, where you can breathe, relax and help the cup find its way out.
While getting in the shower, with one leg up or into a nice warm bath, is a great strategy at home. I knew I may have to change it at work that day and so I had to think of some other ideas.
Luckily, I had a squatty potty in the bathroom of my office and simply getting knees above hips, taking a few deep breaths and feeling it move all the way down info the pelvic floor seemed to do the trick no problem!
If you had more success in standing you could totally put one foot up on the toilet, or squatty potty as well!
Another great tip for those with prolapse that I learned this week from ADDIE HOLZMANN for those with prolapse was to take thumb and index finger NOT side to side to pinch but front to back. This front to back pinch also allows for your fingers to support either the anterior or posterior wall of the vagina (or both) depending on where you feel that pressure/buldge.
I hope my story and some of these tips have been helpful to you in your cup journey!
If you have the opposite issue (trying to keep it in) stay tuned for more social and blogs on this soon!
* Hayley Kava PT participates with AMAZON affiliates. If links here are used for purchase I may receive a small commission.