General Questions About Using Menstrual Cups
How does a menstrual cup stay in position?
There are several things that help a menstrual cup stay in place, and it’s all due to our awesome bodies! The vaginal canal is like a balloon: it can expand to accommodate various shapes and sizes and form to them. Once the cup is inserted, the vaginal walls close around it and help keep it in place. The mouth of the cup sits just under or right around the cervix and creates a slight seal or suction. This keeps the cup leak-free while it collects menstrual flow. Lastly, the pelvic floor muscles (PFM) act as a sort of hammock to hold the cup higher inside of the vagina.
Can a menstrual cup get stuck inside of me?
This is a big fear for new users, and rightfully so. Sadly, the answer is yes and no. If a person has a high cervix and they purchase a cup that is too small or too short, the cup may ride up and sit higher. This may make the cup difficult to reach or hard to find in some cases. This is the importance of locating & measuring the cervix to find a cup that will suit your body. However, rest assured that a menstrual cup cannot get lost because there is no way it can travel to other areas of the body.
If the menstrual cup is hard to reach, try a different position. Sit, stand, or squat, and push with your PFM like you’re having a bowel movement to bring the cup closer to the vaginal opening. A series of pushes may need to be done to bring the cup close enough.
If you’re unsure which size you should try, consider seeking a company that offers a two-pack like the Venus Cup. This way, if a cup is too short to reach, you can opt to try the larger/longer size.
What do I do if it feels like the menstrual cup is falling out of me?
If you feel like the menstrual cup is going to fall out or it keeps sliding down, make sure that it has opened properly and has created a slight suction. Fit issues might also be causing this to happen. A cup that’s too small might not be making good contact with the vaginal walls or might not be creating a good seal around the cervix. If a cup is too large, the vaginal walls and PFM might be causing it to be pushed out. Selecting the proper size or shape for your individual situation should eliminate this issue.
If you’re unsure which size you should try, consider seeking a company that offers a two-pack like the Venus Cup. This way, you can try both sizes to see which one feels comfortable and ‘fits’ your body better.
Is it messy to use a menstrual cup?
There will always be blood, just like there would be with a disposable menstrual product. However, with practice, it will become easier to insert and remove. It will also become less messy to handle as you become more comfortable with using a menstrual cup. Bonus! You won’t have to deal with the mess and odor rotting away in the trash!
How often do I empty my menstrual cup?
Menstrual cups hold a higher volume than disposable menstrual products. Someone who typically changes their tampon or pad every two hours may find that they can use their cup for 4-6 hours before needing to empty it. It all depends on how light or heavy your flow is. Because everyone has a different definition of light, moderate, and heavy, you will need to learn how long you are able to use the cup based on your own flow. A good idea would be to empty your cup when you would normally change out a tampon or pad. If there is still a lot of empty space in the cup, you can add a couple more hours to your next scheduled change. Over time, you will start to notice when your period lightens up and you can adjust your schedule to add even more time. If your period is light, you may only need to empty your cup every 12 hours or at least twice a day.
The average large sized menstrual cup holds approximately 28-36 ml. However, there are some ‘high capacity’ cups that you can consider if you either have a very heavy flow or have a lighter flow and would like to prolong the use to the suggested maximum hours (maximum of 8-12 hours depending on the brand).
Although the capacity measurements listed are of the larger sizes, some of them have a higher capacity small, as well.
Will a menstrual cup cause me pain or discomfort?
1) A menstrual cup should never cause you any pain. It may feel strange for a time because it’s a new experience, but it should never hurt.
2) If you feel pain while inserting a cup, try a water-based personal lubricant to help ease it in. You may also want to try a different fold that creates a smaller insertion point.
3) If the cup hurts after it has been inserted, you may want to try to adjust it by pinching the base and rotating it.
4) If the cup is applying too much pressure to your bladder, a softer cup might be more comfortable.
5) If you can feel the cup at the opening of your vagina, trim the stem bit by bit until it’s comfortable. If it still feels too long, you might need a different shape or a smaller size.
Can I wear a menstrual cup at night while I sleep?
Yes. Just make sure to empty the cup right before you go to bed. This will give you a fresh cup with full capacity at the start of your night. Remember that most menstrual cups hold a lot more capacity than a regular absorbency tampon or pad. Many people use menstrual cups because they allow them a good night’s rest.
If you’re experiencing overflow during the night, you may want to consider using a higher capacity cup while you’re resting. Cups such as the Merula XL, Venus Cup, LuvUr Body, Super Jennie, or LaliCup, have a capacity of 40 ml and over.
If I am a menstrual cup newbie, should I use a back-up menstrual product?
Some people get the hang of using a menstrual cup right away and others need a few cycles to get used to it. If you are among the latter, back-up menstrual products can be used until you’re comfortable with inserting and wearing a cup without one. If you would like to refrain from disposable products, cloth liners and pads are good back-up options.
The menstrual cup looks big, will it fit inside me?
We understand that it’s hard to imagine how small or how large a menstrual cup is in photos if there is nothing to compare it against. Rest assured that most cups aren’t as large as they appear to look in photos, and there are many shapes and sizes to choose from on the market.
Menstrual cups are pliable and will be folded smaller prior to being inserted. There are many folds that can be used, and some create a smaller insertion point than others. You can practice different folds and see which one is most comfortable for you. The vagina itself can expand upward and outward 200 times its normal size and can accommodate a variety of shapes and sizes. Knowing the height of your cervix can also help narrow down a cup that will fit you correctly.
If you’re unsure of which size would be more comfortable to you, considering seeking a company that offers a double pack of a small and large. This way, you can try both of the to see which one feels more comfortable, yet still easy to fold, insert, and remove.
Is it difficult to insert and remove a menstrual cup?
Menstrual cups have a learning curve just like everything else that’s new to you. It may be difficult to insert and remove a menstrual cup when you’re first starting out but with practice and patience, you’ll become a pro in no time! A majority of the people who had issues when they first started using a cup say that they’re so happy that they stuck with it and would never go back to disposables.
Since everyone is different, we’ll all have varying experience with any given cup. While someone may have an easy time inserting and removing one cup, the next person may find it difficult.
Can I wear a menstrual cup when I bathe and swim?
es. Menstrual cups can be worn while bathing, showering, and swimming without inconvenience. They offer the user discreet protection when partaking in activities that include water. No strings, no wings and no more soggy tampons! Read more here.
You may consider using a higher capacity cup to prolong your activities. If you have a heavy period it will allow you more time to play, or if you have a light flow and would like to continue to wear the cup for the suggested maximum time (typically 8-12 hours maximum depending on the brand).
Can I use a menstrual cup if I am very active in sports and fitness activities?
People who lead active lives love the freedom of using a menstrual cup while participating in sports and activities. They can be worn safely and comfortably during any activity.
Can I wear a menstrual cup while having sex?
Most menstrual cup companies suggest against using their menstrual cup while having penetrative sex; however, some companies say that the risk is up to the user. There is a type of menstrual cup or ‘disc’ specifically designed to be worn for mess-free period sex. SoftCup (disposable), FlexFits (disposable), Ziggy (reusable), and Lumma Unique (reusable) are a few.
Read more here.
I just started my period, can I use a menstrual cup?
If a teen is comfortable with the inserting process and it doesn’t go against any of their religious beliefs, then there is no reason that someone who just started their first period can’t use a menstrual cup.
Will I notice I am wearing a menstrual cup?
Avid menstrual cup users report that one of the largest benefits is not noticing the menstrual cup at all. When a cup fits properly and is inserted correctly, it should not even be a second thought (other than to empty it when necessary). There should be no pain or discomfort. Cups provide the freedom you need to live life without worrying about your period. However, please note that a new user might be aware of the cup during the first few uses; that’s normal because it’s something new and getting used to it may take a bit of time.
How will I know when to empty my menstrual cup?
Because you can’t see the cup while it’s inserted, there is no definite way to know when it needs to be emptied. Some experience a different sensation such as a bubbling or gurgling feeling, but it’s not always the case. The best way to avoid overflow leaking is to schedule toilet breaks to empty the cup depending on how light or heavy your flow is. Remember that a menstrual cup holds a considerable amount more than disposable products. For example, if you normally change your tampon or pad every two hours, try removing the cup and emptying it then. If there is still empty space, use it for four hours next time and see if it’s full. If your flow is light, you might be able to use it for 12 hours before emptying it. Make sure to remove your cup and rinse it well every 12 hours or at least twice a day (morning and night).
Should my menstrual cup be leaking?
Definitely not. If a menstrual cup is leaking, there’s something wrong. Check that the cup unfolded completely. Make sure the rim of the cup is right below or right around the cervix. If the cervix is pushed to the side, menstrual flow will not be collected. If your flow is heavy, you may need to schedule to empty it sooner or consider a higher capacity cup. Some people notice that their cup is only half filled when they remove it despite experiencing some leakage. It happens often that the cervix sits lower into a cup and compromises some of the capacity. A larger capacity cup or a different shape might suit you better. Check out more info and how to correct it on the Troubleshooting page.
What do I do if I am having issues with my menstrual cup not working properly?
There are a few common issues that new users experience. Check the Troubleshooting page to see if your issue is listed there and some answers that might help solve them.
The menstrual cup is uncomfortable, what do I do?
If you have gone through the process of checking that the cup is open and positioned correctly but the cup is continuing to cause you discomfort, it may just be that you have not found the perfect menstrual cup for you. There are menstrual cups in all sorts of shapes, sizes, diameters, lengths, and firmness. By determining what is causing the discomfort, you can adjust your search for the perfect cup for you. Visit How to Choose a Menstrual Cup for some factors that might help narrow down your search.