Simple answers to your tough questions
Here’s where the Oi experts answer your burning questions, like ‘What is a menstrual cup, anyway?’ or ‘Why did I just pee a little then?’
Getting started- +
Umm, am I normal?
You might feel like there’s a lot of blood when you have your period. Or there may be not much more than a few spots. The amount of fluid lost during a period will range from 10-80ml across 2 to 7 days. We’re all different sizes and shapes, we live different lives, and we get different periods. Which is why we make a range of products to help you manage your period, your way. Should you have any health concerns regarding your period and flow please see your medical professional.
Tampons or pads – what’s best for me?
If you prefer tampons to pads, or are planning sports, swimming or any other activities where a tampon is required then the tampon range from Oi is the perfect choice. We recommend pads be used overnight. Tampons should be changed every 4 hours or so.
Who can use Oi’s period products?
All people with periods have the chance to make a difference by choosing period products which are good for their health and better for the environment. Our bodies are unique, but the average age for starting your period is 12.5 years, while menopause usually starts between 45 and 55 years old. Transgender boys and men, non-binary and gender-queer individuals may also get periods.
What are other tampons, pads and liners made from?
Most tampons are made from rayon and conventionally grown cotton – a crop heavily sprayed with pesticides – along with chlorine-bleached wood pulp. Chlorine bleaching produces a by-product called dioxin, linked to cancer, endometriosis and immune system compromise. Most other menstrual pads, liners and tampons on the market also contain synthetics, plastics, surfactants and, plus fragrance and dyes.
Why should I choose Oi certified organic cotton period products?
Conventional, non-organic cotton is grown using herbicide and pesticide sprays which leave potentially harmful residue. Not stuff we want to be putting in our bodies! These residues may cause irritation, soreness and discharge. By choosing Oi, you’re saying NO to these nasties in your body and your environment. Oi tampons, pads and liners are made from 100% certified organic cotton – free from chlorine bleach, synthetics, toxic chemicals, pesticide residue, dyes, fragrances and lubricants. Many gynaecologists recommend 100% certified organic cotton tampons and pads to their patients.
Are all tampons, pads and liners biodegradable?
In the right conditions, certified 100% organic cotton will safely biodegrade within five years. Sadly most conventional tampons, pads and panty liners contain synthetic materials (like plastics), which are not compostable or biodegradable and may take 500 years to break down in landfill.
What about Oi packaging?
Oi cardboard boxes are kerbside recyclable, and our inks are made from plant-based dyes. Our pads and liners wrappers are made from corn starch derived biopolymer which will compost in approximately three weeks under industrial conditions and the cardboard applicator tampon is individually wrapped in paper. Oi non-applicator tampons were previously wrapped in recyclable polypropylene, but we’re switching to a compostable wrapper. Oi Adult Care pads are wrapped in Green PE (a renewable sugarcane based plastic), and we are currently working on a more sustainable, biodegradable option.
Where are Oi products made?
Oi is a New Zealand owned company. Our cotton comes from GOTS (Global Organic Textiles Standard) certified farms in the USA, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Turkey. Our products are made in Europe and Israel, to meet strict GOTS, BioGro, and AS/NZS 2869:1998 guidelines.
How to use a tampon
Applicator vs Non-Applicator Tampons – what’s the difference?
Non-applicator tampons (aka digital tampons) are inserted into your vagina using your fingers. Minimal packaging (less waste, whoop!), discreet, easy to carry and the most affordable tampon option. On the other hand, you may prefer using the Oi cardboard applicator to guide the tampon in, so there’s no need to touch the tampon. When you’re starting out, we recommend giving both types a go, to find the one that suits you.
Which absorbency should I use?
Everyone’s flow is different, so we make a range of absorbencies to fit your flow: Select the absorbency rating that goes with your flow. Choosing a lower absorbency tampon can reduce the risk of TSS. If you need to change it more often than every 4 hours, try a tampon with a higher absorbency rating. If changing your tampon is uncomfortable, try one with lower absorbency, or check out other options like pads or cups.
How do I insert a non-applicator tampon?
Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before and after you insert or remove a tampon. Remove the coloured tear tape and wrapper. Carefully pull the removal cord out of the ‘flat’ end, and tug gently to make sure it’s attached – if it feels loose or comes off, grab a new tampon. Hold the tampon at the flat end and insert it with your finger into your vagina as far as possible – it’s easiest if you’re relaxed – until you can’t feel it inside. If you can still feel it, gently insert it deeper. The removal cord should hang outside your vagina.
How do I insert an applicator tampon?
Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before and after you insert or remove a tampon. Unwrap the tampon. Twist the applicator to unlock it. Sit or stand in a comfortable position – try squatting, or stand with one foot on the toilet seat. Hold the applicator between your thumb and index finger where the smaller inner tube goes into the larger outer tube. Make sure the string is visible and pointing away from your body. With your other hand gently push the applicator into the vagina, aiming for the small of your back. Stop when your fingers touch your body, and the outer tube of the applicator is completely in. Use your index finger to push the inner tube into the outer tube, before gently removing the applicator. The removal cord should hang outside your vagina.
When should I change it?
We recommend changing your tampon 3–6 times a day (every 4 hours, and never longer than 8 hours ). We don’t recommend using a tampon overnight. Use the lowest absorbency needed to suit your flow.
How do I take it out?
Relax and gently pull the removal cord. Can’t find the cord? It’s usually easiest for your fingers to reach it in a squatting position. Remember to remove the last tampon before inserting another and make sure you remove the last tampon at the end of your period.
Should I flush?
Oi tampons are biodegradable – perfect if you have access to composting facilities or biodegradable collection. If not, wrap it in a piece of toilet paper and put it in your waste bin. Please don’t flush tampons down the toilet.
Am I at risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome?
Using tampons and menstrual cups has been associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) – a rare but serious condition that may cause death. Everyone using tampons risk TSS, which is higher for those under 30 years and teenagers. Luckily, practising good hand hygiene and changing your tampon regularly can reduce your risks.
Oi Cup- +
What’s the deal with the Oi Cup™?
Menstrual Cups can seem a bit scary to begin with, but with patience it will soon feel natural. Users tell us the Oi Cup™ is a complete game changer. Made from safe, comfortable TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomers), once in place, it gives you more hours of freedom than when using a tampon or pad. And because it’s reusable, it’s the zero waste way to manage your period.
Which size should I use?
The Oi Cup™ is available in three sizes to suit different people and their flow. The following is a guideline, but it may take time to work out what size fits best for your unique shape.
Small: Suitable for those under 18 years old, who do not have sex regularly, or those who are smaller inside.
Medium: The most common size & suitable for those over 18 years old, & those who have not given birth vaginally
Large: For those who are larger inside, this may be because they have given birth vaginally.
Please note that the Oi Cup™ is a personal hygiene medical device, and as a result used cups may not be returned or exchanged.
How to use the Oi Cup™
Getting used to a menstrual cup can be a little difficult at first, but be patient. After a little practice inserting and removing it, it is very easy and very comfortable. Oi Cup™ users love how simply and effectively it works.
Sterilize the cup
Before using the cup for the first time each month you must sterilize it:
- First wash your hands.
- Bring water to the boil in a saucepan and place the cup in the water for 3-4 minutes, covering it completely. We suggest setting a timer to ensure you do not over boil your cup, as this can shorten the useful life of your cup.
- Remove the cup being careful not to burn yourself, and it will be ready to use once it has cooled to your skin temperature.
Get yourself relaxed and ready
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Adopt a comfortable position. You can squat or sit on the toilet, or stand.
Fold the cup to make it easier to insert
- The simplest option to fold the cup is the C Fold
- Press both the sides of the cup to put them together and then fold the cup in half forming a ‘C’.
- Insert the Oi Cup™ While holding the cup folded with one hand, with the other hand separate your labial lips and push the cup into your vagina and towards the tailbone or base of your spine. The cup sits a bit lower than a tampon, but not so low that the stem becomes uncomfortable.
- Once you have inserted the cup, let it loose, it will ‘pop’ open and perfectly fit your vaginal wall.
- To be sure that the cup has created a seal, turn it slightly by grabbing the base of the cup just above the stem.
- Your cup should not leak. If yours is leaking it is probably not placed in correctly or it is full. It should be placed at the entrance of the vagina, lower than a tampon.
- You should be able to rotate it easily inside you.
- Check the cup size, perhaps you have not chosen the right size and you need a larger one from our Oi Cup™ range. Or if the cup is not opening up once inserted correctly, then you may need to size down.
- If none of these tips help, and you use a large size, you may need some exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Consult with your doctor. Or switch to a tampon or pad.
Avoid discomfort: Your cup should be very comfortable. If it isn’t then it may not be positioned correctly. Remove the cup and try the process again with a slightly different angle.
You may find the stem too long, generally it shouldn’t protrude outside the vagina. It is OK to trim it until you find the most comfortable length for you, as long as you don’t damage the base of the cup.
When to empty the Oi Cup™
When to remove it
- You must empty the cup at least once every 12 hours for your personal health.
- Once you are familiar with its use and your flow, you will know how frequently you need to empty it.
- If your flow is heavier, you may need to empty it sooner. Typically a cup is emptied after six hours and before 12 hours after placement.
How to remove your Oi Cup™
This can be tricky at first, but don’t panic if it seems a bit hard, relax and stay calm, breathe in and out slowly.
- Get into a comfortable position (standing, sitting on the toilet or squatting).
- Place your index finger and thumb in the vagina to locate the stem, reach just above the stem, pinch the bottom of the cup to release suction and gently pull down and out keeping it in an upright position.
- Push down with your abdominal/pelvic muscles to make it easier, so that if the cup is too high in the vagina it falls through.
- Gently pull the stem until you are able to firmly hold the base of the cup. Try holding the base of the cup rather than the stem and making small movements from side to side as you roll it gently out.
- Press the cup base with your thumb and index finger for air to enter and help release the suction.
- Remove the cup completely, while still holding it vertically so that the content remains within it.
- Empty the content into the toilet, or the shower if this is where you prefer to remove it.
How to care for your Oi Cup™
Sterilize and store
- After your period is finished, we recommend sterilizing again to keep it perfectly clean.
- Store in the Oi cotton canvas bag provided.
- Next time you use it, you need to sterilize it again before inserting.
- Use the cup according to the instructions in the provided leaflet and only during your period.
- The Oi Cup™ is a product of intimate use so you should not share it.
- For cleaning do not use abrasive cleaners or disinfectants such as tea tree oil, Aleppo or Alep soap.
- Do not use oil-based lubricants to insert the cup into the vagina.
- Never keep the cup in a plastic bag or airtight containers.
- If you’re in a place with poor sanitation, ensure that you wash your hands and the Oi Cup with either cooled down boiled water or bottled water.
- In case of burning, irritation, genital or vaginal inflammation, discomfort during urination or other symptoms that you think are abnormal, immediately remove the cup and ask your doctor.
- You must remove the cup before having sex and remember that the menstrual cup is not a contraceptive device and it does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.
- If you notice that your cup is damaged, you must replace it.
- Keep the cup out of the reach of small children.
Answers to more frequently asked questions
NO. It won’t disappear inside you.
NO. You don’t need to remove the cup to urinate or make bowel movements.
NO. Your cup shouldn’t leak if you have the right size and have placed it correctly.
YES. You can use the cup at night for up to 12 hours.
YES. The cup can be used while you exercise and play sport including swimming.
YES. The cup is compatible with the IUD or diaphragm but we recommend checking with your doctor before using.
NEVER. Use the cup as a contraceptive device, it isn’t one.
SEEK. Medical attention if you have any questions about TSS or cup use.