The menstrual cup and the IUD are two devices that make it easy to tend to your health without a lot of effort. One device helps keep you protected from leaks and accidents (with much fewer trips to the bathroom) when you’re on your period, and the other is a long-term form of birth control that frees you from needing to remember to take a pill every day.
It’s no surprise you’d probably want to use both of them together, but you need to know whether or not it’s safe. We’ll help you learn about what these devices do, how they make your life easier, and how you can safely use them at the same time.
What Is a Menstrual Cup?
A menstrual cup is a device that catches your period flow. Like a tampon, it sits inside your vagina. Unlike a tampon, you don’t need to change it every four to six hours. A menstrual cup can keep you protected for up to twelve.
Most cups are reusable, although there are some disposable, single-use cups available. Menstrual cups are made from flexible silicone and are designed to sit just inside your vagina. The design of the cup creates suction that forms a tight seal to prevent leaks.
Your cup collects your flow until you remove it. It’s a great product, and with proper care, menstrual cups, like the ones we offer at Rael, are reusable for up to ten years. That’s a lot more lattes and a lot fewer tampons and pads.
The menstrual cup is safe and effective and a great option for people who want to spend less time changing pads and tampons and consider sustainable period care.
- Menstrual cups sit just inside the vagina.
- Cups collect period flow for up to twelve hours.
- Most cups are reusable and long-lasting.
What Is an IUD?
An intrauterine device, or “IUD,” is a long-lasting method of birth control; it can be used for up to ten years. An IUD is a small device that resembles the letter “T.” It is placed inside your uterus by your healthcare professional.
Strings located at the bottom of your IUD extend down through your cervix and rest in the top of your vaginal cavity. You can feel them with your fingers, although they only extend down a short space from the cervix.
When you are ready to have your IUD removed, you’ll make an appointment with your healthcare provider to remove it in their office.
There are two types of IUDs.
Copper. The copper IUD is a non-hormonal form of birth control. It works by causing an irritating response in the uterus that is toxic to both eggs and sperm. Copper IUDs can make your periods heavier, and some users complain of more intense cramping.
- Hormonal IUD. A hormonal IUD is shaped just like the copper IUD and placed in the same location. Still, instead of copper, it contains slow-release hormones that work similarly in preventing pregnancy, like hormonal birth control pills. Hormonal IUDs typically make your periods lighter. In fact, you may eventually stop having a period while the hormonal IUD is in place.
The IUD is a great option for users who have trouble remembering to take a daily hormone pill or who know they don’t want to become pregnant for a long time. IUDs are safe and effective, and your healthcare provider can help you determine if using one is a good fit for you.
- IUDs are a long-lasting form of birth control.
- Using an IUD means you may not need hormonal birth control.
- Your healthcare provider inserts and removes your IUD.
Menstrual Cups and IUDs
If you already have an IUD or are considering getting one, you may want to know how it will affect you if you plan to also use a menstrual cup. The good news is, you can use them both at the same time.
It is generally accepted as safe to use both an IUD and a menstrual cup simultaneously. This is mostly because the IUD sits inside the uterus, and a cup sits inside the vagina. The two devices will never touch. However, there may be an issue with the cup coming in contact with the strings attached to your IUD.
Recent studies suggest that improper use of a menstrual cup may trigger expulsion of your IUD; however, safely using the menstrual cup with an IUD is possible. Here’s how to make sure you use your menstrual cup correctly to protect yourself against leaks and protect your IUD.
Six Steps to Using a Menstrual Cup With Your IUD
As long as you use your menstrual cup correctly and be mindful of how you insert and remove it, it shouldn’t interfere with your IUD. Here’s how to make sure you’re taking care of your IUD while using your menstrual cup.
1. Take Care of the Strings
The strings of your IUD should be a length that you can feel with the tips of your inserted fingers. In other words, they should be fairly short, and it should be difficult for you to feel them. This means the strings are short enough to sit just outside the cervix and are not disturbed by tampons, sex, or a menstrual cup.
If you feel like your strings are very long, contact your healthcare provider and make an appointment to have your IUD checked and the strings shortened.
When you insert your menstrual cup, make sure you have it folded. If you know where your strings are located, make sure you place your menstrual cup just below the strings so that they essentially rest inside the cup.
2. Don’t Push the Cup in Too Far
Your menstrual cup is designed to sit about mid-way inside your vagina. You’ll know it’s in place when the stem of the cup is no longer visible outside of the vagina, and you can no longer feel it. There’s no reason to push it any further inside.
3. Check Your IUD Strings
Before your period, check the location and length of your IUD strings. After your period, recheck them to see if there are any changes. This will help you determine if your menstrual cup has interfered with your IUD.
If your strings feel longer than normal, make an appointment with your healthcare provider to make sure your IUD is still intact.
4. Remove Your Cup Properly
Take proper care to remove your cup so that you don’t accidentally pull the strings of your IUD. When your menstrual cup is placed correctly, it creates a vacuum seal that prevents you from experiencing leaks. If you pull the cup out without breaking the seal, an IUD string hung on the side of the cup could be pulled along with it.
Instead, break the seal of your cup while it is still inside your vagina before removing it. If you’re not a seasoned professional removing your menstrual cup, try removing it in the shower for easy clean-up.
5. Menstrual Cup Size Matters
Menstrual cups are available in different sizes, which is important to make sure you get the proper fit. If you are a younger user or haven’t had a baby, you’ll need a different size menstrual cup.
Using the correct size of a menstrual cup can ensure that the strings of your IUD aren’t burdened by a cup that is too large.
6. Take Care of Your Cup
Your menstrual cup should be rinsed every twelve hours or every time it is changed. When you’re done with your period, rinse it thoroughly and make sure it is completely dry before you store it in its container.
If you don’t rinse your cup, you could risk transferring bacteria into your vagina, which could spread to the strings of your IUD and cause an infection.
Rael’s Menstrual Cups
When you’re ready to try a menstrual cup, Rael has you covered. Our menstrual cups are reusable and have an optional case that keeps them safe and protected. We offer three different sizes for the various stages of womanhood, so there’s a cup that will work for you no matter where you are in life.
Rael has all the period care products you need to have the best period possible. Whether you’re shopping for menstrual cups or organic, chemical-free tampons and pads, we support you through every phase of your cycle, not just the week of your period.
You can trust your menstrual cup to be safe with your IUD and feel empowered by your period with knowledge and products from Rael.
Sources:Is the IUD Safe? | See if the IUD is Right For You | Planned Parenthood