The (f)low down on period cups

  • Period Products
  • October 25, 2021

As part of our TOM organic mission this month — to know, feel and see the difference — we’re empowering you with every bit of intel on the period cup. Below you will discover everything you need to know about it to help empower you to make an informed and sustainable switch. Because your small change can have a big impact.

What is a period cup?

A menstrual cup is a reusable period product. It sits in the vagina and collects blood directly from the cervix. When inserted correctly a seal is formed meaning that no fluid should leak. It can be with for up to eight hours, day or overnight. And when you need to empty it, you can simply pour it into the toilet, rinse and reinsert. Our period cups are sold with their own unique steriliser which helps make the entire process and experience simple.

With a lifespan of up to five years, this incredible little period device can significantly reduce the number of disposable period products that end up in landfill each month.

What’s it made out of?

Our TOM organic period cup is made from 100% medical grade silicone which is extremely hygienic. It has been designed and manufactured in Melbourne, Australia, and is free from plastic, BPA, rubber and latex. We’re proud that it’s made locally, and that it’s created on a machine that leaves no waste off-cuts.

As part of the design, our period cup has unique finger indents and an internal rib system which makes insertion and removal super-easy.

Our period cup comes with an easy to use microwave steriliser case for quick cleaning. It’s made from medical grade recyclable plastic.

How does it work?

Menstrual cups work by creating suction below your cervix and collecting period blood, instead of absorbing it, unlike what a tampon or pad does. When worn correctly, you should not feel it in your body in the same way you would not feel a tampon.

How do you insert one?

There are a number of different folds that you can create to help insert the cup easier. We’ve created this video to help explain this so you can easily follow along and recreate at home.

Until you’ve mastered the insertion and removal, it might be a wise idea to wear a pad, liner or period briefs for extra protection and peace of mind.

Will it get stuck?

There’s no way the cup could get stuck in your body. Our cup has been designed with unique finger indents and an internal rib system that allows you to break the seal and safely remove it. You should never tug at the stem (it’s not a tampon), we’ve included that in the design to provide a guide to help you find the cup.

What size should I choose?

You should choose your cup size based on your body size and not based on your flow:
Size 1 is recommended for those under 30, with a short (low) cervix, who haven’t given birth.
Size 2 is recommended for those over 30, with a long (high) cervix, who have given birth.

The dimensions of the cups:
Size 1: 6.4cm high (including stem), 4.4cm (excluding stem)
Size 2: 7cm (including stem), 5cm (excluding stem)

Discover more information on finding your perfect fit here.

How much liquid does it hold?

Size 1 holds the equivalent of two regular tampons, and size 2 holds the equivalent of three regular tampons (or 2 super tampons).

How long do you leave the period cup in for?

It can be worn for up to eight hours during the day or overnight. Under Australian guidelines, cups should only be worn for up to eight hours and then emptied, to reduce the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Once empty, simply rinse and reinsert. Once you’re finished with the cup, simply clean and store in the cotton bag. You only need to sterilise it just before you wear it at the start of each cycle.

How do you empty it and rewear it?

The cup should be emptied every eight hours. You can empty it down the toilet, rinse (no need to sterilise) and then reinsert it.

Should I wear a pad or a period brief with it?

If the cup is inserted correctly and emptied every eight hours, then there should be no issues with leaking. If you’re concerned that the seal is broken and that you may leak, then you could wear a pad or period brief for peace of mind. If you’re new to wearing a period cup, then practicing removal while wearing a brief of pad is always a great idea.

Can I have sex while wearing the cup?

No, it is not recommended to have sex while wearing a cup. A menstrual cup is not a contraceptive device and will not protect you against pregnancy or STIs.

Can I swim or exercise with the menstrual cup in?

Yes, you can do almost anything with your cup inserted, like you would a tampon as long as you have inserted it correctly and have a secure leak-free seal.

Are there any situations where I shouldn’t use the period cup or maybe it’s not a suitable option for me?

A menstrual cup is not suitable for women with severe clinical uterine prolapse, but all women with normal anatomy should be able to comfortably use a menstrual cup. They are also not suitable for women who experience cervical or vaginal prolapse after childbirth. We do not recommend wearing a period cup if you’re at risk of infection, such as post-surgery or immediately after giving birth or if you have a yeast or bacterial infection. If you’re unsure about your personal circumstances, please seek advice from a medical professional.

Can I wear a period cup if I have an IUD?

Yes you can, and it’s important to break the seal with a finger prior to withdrawing the cup to ensure there’s no danger that you could dislodge the IUD. If you wear an IUD, please consult your doctor before using your period cup for the first time.

How do I clean the cup? What soap should I use? And when should I sterilise it?

Rinsing during your cycle: First, rinse your cup thoroughly with a fragrance-free, oil-free mild soap under running water. Please pay special attention to cleaning out the small holes around the rim. If you’re storing it, then there’s no need to sterilise – you should wait until you need to use your cup.
Sterilising at the beginning of your cycle: Sterilise in the microwave (1000W) for 60 seconds using the accompanying steriliser. Which makes this process super-simple. Or, by placing the cup in boiling water on the stove for 4-5 minutes (don’t let it touch the bottom). For more detailed instructions, please read the information booklet supplied with your cup.

Can I use a menstrual cup if I have a low cervix?

The length of your cervix can change over the course of your cycle, if you find on some days that the cup is sitting ‘low’ or popping out, then a tampon, pad or brief may be a better period choice for you on those days.

How do you store it?

It’s important that silicone is stored in a breathable environment, that’s why our cups come with an organic cotton pouch bag. You should store the cup in there between periods. The steriliser case should only be used when sterilising the cup or for carrying it for less than 12 hours.

Will the period cup stain or discolour?

If you are regularly washing your cup between each use, staining should be limited. We do not advise bleaching or cleaning your cup with anything other than warm soapy water as harsh chemicals can both deteriorate the silicon and be harmful to your body. If your cup is stained, it’s just part of your period and something we think you should own and be proud of!

How much does it cost?

The TOM period cup costs $40. The pack includes the medical grade silicone menstrual cup, plus a cotton pouch for storage, as well as the portable steriliser.

Where can I buy one?

Here online, Coles, Chemist Warehouse and a bunch of other local independent retailers. You can find the full stockist list here.

Small change. Big impact.