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Menstrual Cup Insertion – 11 Questions & Answers

How do I insert a menstrual cup?

1) Wash your hands and cup with hot soapy water to avoid infection.
2) Find a comfortable position. Sit on the toilet, prop a foot on the toilet or the side of the tub, or squat down.
3) Fold the menstrual cup (click for details) and apply a water-based personal lubricant if needed.
4) Gently spread the labia and insert the folded cup aiming towards the tailbone.
5) Release the cup and allow it to unfold.

How do I know if I inserted the menstrual cup properly?

Most people only realize that the cup isn’t properly placed when they experience leaking. However, there are some things that you can do to ensure that it will not leak while you go about your daily activities.

After the cup is positioned, insert a finger and swipe around the body of the cup to make sure that the cup has unfolded. At this time, you can also check that the cervix is right above or sitting inside of the cup. You can also give the cup a gentle tug to check if it has created a seal (bear in mind that whether or not your cup seals will depend on the cup and on your body).

What’s the best position to be in when inserting a menstrual cup?

Common positions that people use to insert their menstrual cup are:
1) Sitting on the toilet
2) Standing while propping a foot on the toilet
3) Standing while propping a foot on the side of the tub
4) Squatting down

Try each one to find the most comfortable position for you and makes insertion easiest.

When I insert the menstrual cup, the stem is hanging out of my vagina – what do I do?

If the stem of the menstrual cup is exposed outside of the body, it’s safe to use as long as it is comfortable for you. If the stem is uncomfortable or you would rather have the entire cup inserted, you can easily trim the stem as needed:
1) Remove the menstrual cup and use sharp scissors or clippers to trim off a small section of the stem. Test the cup to see if the length is comfortable and still within reach if it is needed. If the stem is still too long, trim off another small section.
2) Do not cut the complete stem off until you are sure that you can reach and remove the cup without it.
3) Some cups have an extra thick piece of silicone where the base and the stem meet to ensure that if the complete stem needs to be removed – cutting this area will not puncture the cup. Some cups do not have this feature and will need extra care to ensure the cup is not punctured.
4) A file may be used to smooth away jagged areas.

What are the best folding techniques for inserting a menstrual cup?

Although each fold is unique and has its own benefits, what works for one person may not work for the next. Try each fold and see which works best with the cup you have and with your body. Some folds allow for a smaller insertion point, while others allow the cup to open easier. It’s a matter of personal preference and experience. It may help to research different folding techniques and their benefits.

Can I use a lubricant to ease the menstrual cup insertion process?

Using a water-based personal lubricant is safe to use on a menstrual cup when needed. Any other type of lubricants may deteriorate the cup, causing it to develop a sticky or gummy residue that won’t wash off. (Something like KY-Jelly is suggested.)

I am having difficulty getting the insertion technique perfected, is it normal to have problems when first using a menstrual cup?

Some people get the hang of using a menstrual cup during their first period with it, but some others may need more time. It’s very common, so don’t worry too much! It’s just like anything else that’s brand new: you’ll need practice and patience. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be so glad that you stuck it out! Check out some tips & tricks that might help you work through inserting the menstrual cup.

It feels like the menstrual cup is going to fall out, what do I do?

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 may also cause 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 pushing it out. Selecting the proper size or shape for you should eliminate this issue.

What is the best way to trim the stem of a menstrual cup?

1) Remove the menstrual cup and use sharp scissors or clippers to trim off a small section of the stem. Test the cup to see if the length is comfortable and still within reach if it is needed. If 2) Do not cut the complete stem off until you are sure that you can reach and remove the cup without it.
3) Some cups have an extra thick piece of silicone where the base and the stem meet to ensure that if the complete stem needs to be removed – cutting this area will not puncture the cup. Some cups do not have this feature and will need extra care to ensure the cup is not punctured.
4) A file may be used to smooth away jagged areas.

The menstrual cup is uncomfortable, am I doing something wrong?

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 haven’t yet found the perfect menstrual cup for you. There are menstrual cups in all sorts of shapes, sizes, diameters, lengths, and firmness. Once you determine what is causing the issue, 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.

I have long nails, is it still safe for me to insert the menstrual cup?

Whether you have natural or artificial nails of any kind and of any length, they can be pointy or scratchy and may make it a challenge to insert or remove a cup.
1) When inserting your fingers, overlap your nails.
2) Tuck your thumbnail under your pointer nail and place the rounded surface against your labia before inserting them. As you reach further in, your fingers and nails will separate like a flower in bloom and allow you to pinch the stem or base of the cup.
3) You can look into finger cots (“gloves” for single fingers) to pad the free edge from cutting you.
4) Invest in an inexpensive nail brush to use while washing your hands to eliminate the spread of germs and infection.

  1. I have been using menstrual cup for almost 5 years. I delivered twice in this span. I never had any trouble with the cup until now. I’m 4 months postpartum The stem keeps sticking out and I can feel the cup come outside. It’s very uncomfortable. What am i doing wrong.

    • Hello There!

      I don’t think it’s anything you’re doing wrong. I think it’s just that your body has gone through a lot of changes from when you first got your cup.

      Although you can trim the stem to shorten the cup, it won’t fix the issue of the cup sliding out.

      It sounds like your cervix may be a little lower after two births. A shorter and slightly wider cup may feel more comfortable and stay in place better.

      You can also check out bell-shaped cups with a flared rim like the Lena Cup. Cups with a flared rim tend to snuggle in higher around the cervix and normally have rounded bases which is great for individuals with a medium to a low cervix.

      I would be happy to leave you some suggestions if you share what cup you’re currently using.

      Until then,
      Good Luck! <3
      Red Herring
      RedHerringTV on YouTube
      *I do NOT own this website and I do NOT gain profit from sales from the discs or cups that I’ve mentioned here.

  2. Hello,
    I used a Sirona small and I found that the stem kept painfully stabbing into the side (always the right side) of my vaginal wall. I wasn’t sticking out. It was well within my vaginal canal but kept digging in as I sat. I don’t want to trim the stem off because I fear losing grip of the cup to remove it. I wanted to know if using a cup with a *soft ring stem* was a good alternative that wouldn’t dig into my vaginal wall.

  3. hi,
    so whenever i insert my menstrual cup inside the stem hangs out and it’s perfectly fine for me. but when i check on it after sometime i realize that the period cup has gone far too in my vagina and i have leaked a bit in my pants. how do i make the stem stick outside and not go in everytime ?

    thanks in advance

    • Hello There!
      There’s not much you can do besides use a longer cup or get one that has a longer stem. Shorter cups, especially bell-shaped ones with a flared rim, tend to ride up and sit higher around the cervix. Cups, no matter what shape or size, will move into the area of least resistance; either up (in) or down (out). Since the Pelvic Floor Muscles (PFM) contract without movements, it’s more likely that a cup will move upwards.
      A longer cup or stem will be easier to reach after it finds its resting place.

      Although some individuals leave the stem exposed, it seems that most prefer it to be completely inserted. Either way is fine as long as you can still remove the cup to empty it.

      As for the leaking, if you’re experiencing a bit of spotting, try wiping the stem and grip rings as best as you can with a wet wipe or cloth. Often, there’s some residual blood that finds its way out over the course of the day. Some extra clean-up will help prevent this from happening.

      If you’re leaking due to overflow, a higher capacity cup or larger size will remedy that. However, if you find that you’re leaking but the cup is only half full when removed, your cervix can be sitting inside of the cup and compromising the capacity. This is common with a cup that sits higher around the cervix.

      I hope that this helps. I’m sorry that I don’t have a fix to make your current cup stay put.

      Good Luck! <3
      Red Herring
      RedHerringTV on YouTube

  4. Hi, I’m having trouble inserting my cup. I use the Saalt cup small, and I’ve tried every fold in every position. Is my cup too big?

    • Hello There!

      I can’t tell you if the cup is too big or not, but there are a few things you can try before giving up on it. The Saalt is a great cup and I hope that you can get to work out for yourself.

      1. Start off in a squatting position either on the ground or in a tub or shower. It rolls your pelvis forward giving you easier access and reach and brings your cervix closer to the vaginal opening.

      2. A water-based personal lubricant can do wonders to help a cup glide in smoothly and without pain.

      3. Your body will tense up without you being aware of it. This will make inserting and removing the cup more difficult. Practice using the cup when you’re not in a rush to get it right. You’ll have less anxiety. If you start to get frustrated, give it a rest and try again later.

      4. Lubricant really does help!

      The cervix isn’t typically located straight up. If you’re inserting it like you would a tampon (if you have ever used one), this may cause the cervix to get pushed to the side, prevent the cup from opening as it should, or prevent the cup from being inserted all the way.

      Aim the folded cup down and back toward your tailbone. It might sound strange to aim down, but it guides the cup under the cervix (near your rectum) and will expand upward towards the bladder.

      Even aiming the cup correctly while inserting it can have issues. Often, when a cup is inserted all the way before releasing the fold, the cervix can prevent it from opening. If this happens you can try a couple of things:

      Let the cup open in a lower position (insert cup 1/2 way), let the rim expand, and then use a single finger to push the cup into place.
      Insert the cup and use a single finger to press the body into the vaginal wall. Then slowly release the pressure and allow the cup to open against your finger. Some cups need extra space to open in.

      If all else fails, you might want to try a narrower cup. At least until you get the hang of inserting it.
      Two narrower cups to consider if you choose to, are the Monthly Cup Mini and the Diva Cup Model 0 (teen).

      If you have a low to medium cervix, the Monthly Cup Mini is shorter and might be more comfortable.
      If you have a medium to high cervix, the Diva Cup Model 0 is longer and will be easier to reach during removal.
      If you have a very low cervix, you might want to check out the MeLuna Shorty version in small or medium. I don’t normally like to recommend these because they are so small and short that the cervix can take up the capacity.

      Good Luck! <3
      Red Herring
      RedHerringTV on YouTube

      • I have a size 1 honey pot and while it’s lovely and never leaks, when inserted as far as it can go, it finds its way lower than where I placed it and the stem base pokes at the lower walls. I’ve cut the stem as much as I could. It doesn’t seem like it will ever fall out, but it would be nice if it stayed further in.

  5. Hi there

    I was hoping I could get some help – I bought the saalt regular soft cup recently and I don’t know if it’s me or I got the wrong size but I can’t seem to get it in. I know this is quite embarrassing but I don’t exactly know where stuff is up there so maybe I’m using it wrong. I’ve tried a few times but no luck I know it’s supposed to fully go in and you can only see the stem. But when I try you can actually see the cup. I’m not used to putting anything up there as I only ever use pads and never tampons. I got the regular as I have very heavy periods so I thought that be the right one. If anyone could help me that be great.

    • Hey! I had the same problem when I tried the cup for the first time and after searching the internet for some time I realized I was inserting it wrongly. While inserting, lightly push the cup horizontally ( which is not how tampons are inserted but trust me, the cup works differently that way). Make sure that you are not pushing it upwards and keep watch of your wrist movement, it should be parallel to the floor. This way the cup will go in smoothly. Also, you might want to try other folds and see whichever works for you. Hope it helps.

      • I have been facing alot of struggle while using menstrual 1st it was perfect but I leaked at night… And after some time now the cup isn’t opening at all…I tried to do alot of stuff. Need help

        • Hi Nikita,

          There might be some helpful information on “Using Menstrual Cups 101” page:
          Scan through the links at the top of the page and see if any apply to your situation. The troubleshooting link might be useful in particular.

          Otherwise, here are some other tips that you can check while interesting your cup.

          – The cervix isn’t normally located straight up into the vaginal canal, but more slanted to the back (near the rectum). In a squatting position, aim the folded cup down and back towards your tailbone. This will place the cup in a better position near the cervix.
          – A common issue when a cup (any cup) is inserted completely, is that the cervix gets in the way of allowing the rim to fully expand. It can also push the cervix to the side and cause leaking. Wiggle or rock the cup down to let your cervix correct itself before pushing it back into place.
          – If you’re using a softer cup, you can try pushing the cup into the vaginal wall to create a void for it to open without any obstruction from the cervix. Let the cup open slowly against your finger and then push it into place after it’s open. This is also a great method to shield your cervix from getting hit if you have a very firm cup
          – You can also let the cup open lower in the vaginal canal before using a single finger to push it back into place.
          – There’s always some blood coating the vaginal walls even after the cup is place. To avoid spotting, use a wet pH balanced wipe or cloth to clean the grip rings and stem of any excess blood.

          If all else fails, you might want to look into a firmer cup for easier opening.

          I hope that you find the issue and are able to get the cup working as intended.

          Good Luck! <3
          Red Herring
          RedHerringTV on YouTube

  6. I can get it in but it slips down. I’ve always been able to feel the tampon when I have one in but I have a tilted uterus because I got the tampon in one day and it went in at a different angle. But I still have trouble with the diva cup. I’ve had it for around a year and I still can’t get it to work.

  7. I know how to properly insert and remove these however when I relax my muscles the cup drops down and the stem sticks out and it just doesn’t seem to stick to anything. I’ve tried a bigger size and that hasn’t worked either!

    • Hi There!
      Have you considered trimming the stem or does the whole cup actually end up sliding all the way out?
      Can you tell me what cup you’re using now and what other cups you’ve tried? You might need a different shape or a wider diameter.

      Red Herring
      RedHerringTV on YouTube

      • I’m 20 and I bought peesafe extra small cup.. I tried a lot but couldn’t insert it properly… And after many tries it went inside a little bit but I was too scary to leave it or push inside as I got afraid like what if it goes too far… So I just gave up on and again switched to napkin..but I really want to use Menstrual cup..pls help me

        • Hello There!

          I would suggest checking out this link first:

          Specifically, about how to locate and measure your cervix. This will help you understand what size or length might work best for you so that the cup doesn’t go in too far.

          Small/short cups, like the extra small PeeSafe Cup, are more comfortable for individuals with a low cervix. If you have a high cervix the cup will migrate higher. It can cause the cup to miss the cervix, cause leaking, and be hard to reach.
          Longer/larger cups (specifically “V”-shaped ones) will allow a user with a high cervix; easier placement, more capacity, and easier reach during removal.

          If you find that the PeeSafe Cup is too short after you measure your cervix, you can either choose one of the larger sizes or I recommend the SheCup or VCup (both made in India).

          Good Luck! <3
          Red Herring
          RedHerringTV on YouTube
          *I do NOT own this website and I do NOT gain profit from sales from the products or brands that I’ve mentioned here.

      • I’m facing problem while inserting the menstrual cup it’s not going in. I tried many positions but still it’s not going in what should I do? I’m using extra small size but still I’ve insertion problem!

        • Hello There!

          Make sure that you’re inserting it in the proper position. Our cervix isn’t typically located straight up. From a squatting position, the cup needs to be inserted down and back towards the tailbone. If you’re aiming the cup straight up the cervix can block the cup from being inserted (depending on how low it sits), prevent the rim from expanding, cause discomfort, and lead to leaking. A water-based lubricant can be very helpful to ease the cup in without resistance.

          Try squatting down. It will bring your cervix lower and give you an easier reach. When you return to an upright position, your cervix will also return to its spot taking the cup along with it. Squatting in a tub will also help give you better reach during removal, and makes for an easy clean-up if you spill.

          If you have a very soft cup, a slightly firmer one might be easier to handle. Very soft cups can bend over with the slightest of pressure.

          I hope this helps!
          Good Luck! <3
          Red Herring
          RedHerringTV on YouTube

  8. Reply
    Banaja Priyadarshini December 27, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    I am a first time user of menstrual cup, and I really did a lot of research on it before buying one.. I had it in me on the first day of my period and it was pretty fine, no leakage but I had an uncomfortable sensation all the time like I have something in me.. but on the second day of using it I saw too much stain and when I cleaned up my mess and tried to put it back on I had really bad pain in my vagina; believe me I tried to put the cup up multiple times but it doesn’t go in properly and if it goes it hurts! So I was literally frustrated and am back on my usual pads. But still I feel the suction of the cup inside me.. is this something that happens with everyone?

    • Hello There!

      For many new users, being aware of a cup inside of them is very common. Sometimes that feeling goes away soon after and other times it takes some time to get used to. Sometimes it even lingers for a couple to a few periods. However, it should never cause you any discomfort or pain.

      Can you feel the cup at the opening of your vagina? It may be too long and causing you irritating or to chafe.
      I know that when I have troubles with a cup and I insert and remove it several times, I start to get dry. Although the cup doesn’t absorb your natural fluids, it can carry it away each time we remove the cup. This can make inserting it very difficult. Try a water-based lubricant to help ease the cup back in.

      If you’re experiencing staining with a cup, rinse it with cold water until all the blood is gone before washing it with hot water. Hot water will set blood stains in.

      As for the suction feeling even after you’ve removed the cup, make sure that you break the suction by pinching the cup or collapsing the side of the body before gently tugging down on it. If there’s a suction when you remove the cup, you can tug down on your cervix causing some pain, discomfort, and even cramping even after the cup is removed.
      This seems more common with cups that have very small or no air holes.

      This doesn’t happen to everyone and it probably won’t happen with every cup that you try. We will all have different experiences with different cups.

      • Hi,
        This is my first time to use cup, using Sirona small size cup, I am getting issue to insert cup, took me 15_20 min fingers and V for sore, I am not getting how much cup should go inside, I have cup entirely gone inside but the little stem is little bit out it’s not bothering me but feeling like I have put a seal to my V , as people say they don’t feel anything or forget that cup is inside, not getting this feeling, I feel like a seal is placed on V am I doing something wrong, m virgin
        Tried the Medium size pained me lot couldn’t get it Inside

        • Hello Rhicha,

          If the stem is the only part that you feel, then trim the stem down until you can’t feel it but at a length that you can still reach the cup to remove it. If you are confident that you can remove the cup without a stem, then you can trim it off if it feels more comfortable. Do NOT trim the whole stem off at once. Trim it bit by bit until you’re sure that you can still remove the cup without a struggle.
          If you can still feel the cup after that, you might want to try a bell-shaped cup. Bell-shaped cups tend to have a rounder base and aren’t as noticeable as the pointed base of a “V”-shaped cup like the Sirona.
          A couple of bell-shaped or cups with a rounded base that is available in your area may be the StoneSoup Wings Cup, the Soch Cup, and the Nari-Yari. The StoneSoup Wings Cup doesn’t have a stem and the Nari-Yari has a very short heart-shaped nub that I really wouldn’t call a stem. The Soch Cup has a stem but is soft and can be trimmed.
          If you have a heavy period and need a small cup with a decent capacity, you can check out the small Venus Cup. It has just about the same capacity as the other cups that I mentioned but still as a small size (they also offer a large cup which probably won’t feel comfortable if you can already feel the small Sirona).

          Good Luck!
          Red Herring
          RedHerringTV on YouTube

  9. Hi, this is my first period with a menstrual cup after about two months of unsuccessfully trying to put it in. But I have a problem. I can’t seem to push it deep enough. The whole stem still sticks out of my vaginal opening and I do feel the cup inside of me whenever I move. I also have no issue with leakage at all so at first I thought I was doing alright. Is it okay if I just cut off the stem? Or should I try to push the cup deeper first until I can’t feel it anymore?

    • Hello!
      I know this comment is old, but just incase you’re still trying to figure your cup out…
      You can trim the stem bit by bit until it feels comfortable. If you can feel the base of the cup just inside the vaginal opening, you need to find a cup that’s a bit short.
      It sounds like you have a medium to low cervix. What cup are you using?

      • It’s my first period while using menstrual cup. It is my second day. But I am facing problem everytime while inserting the cup. Is it normal? What should I do? And one more thing, if flow is not that much heavy, can I use it more than 12 hours? Please reply.

        • Hello there,
          Since this is your first time using a menstrual cup, it is normal to have some issues. There’s a learning curve until you know how to fold, insert, position, and remove it. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature and you won’t have to think so much about how or when.
          Can you describe exactly what is giving your problems while inserting your cup? I can give some suggestions specifically on that issue.

          Here’s a page (and video) that might help:

          As for using the cup over 12 hours, while it might not be harmful on occasion, it’s a good habit to empty at the suggested time. Leaving it for longer periods can allow bacteria to grow increasing odor and infection.

          Good Luck <3
          Red Herring
          RedHerringTV on YouTube

  10. There is no way I can rotate the cup. I THINK I felt the cup pop but I’m not sure. And there is absolutely no way I can reach my cervix. I have a really hard time with tampons causing bad cramps. Should I expect the same with the cup?

    • I’ve been using the cup for about five mnths now.but since the last two months the tip of the cup is protruding and poking..i’m not able to walk properly bcs its constatly poking and it hurts..i didnt hav such issue d frst time i used..i tried cutting a tip of d stem but the problem remains..

      • Hi There!

        Since you said that your cup didn’t feel uncomfortable before, I’m guessing that the position of your cervix has just changed, as it does all through the menstrual, and the cup is sitting differently than before.

        You can try trimming the stem down even more if you didn’t already cut it completely off.

        You can also try turning the cup inside out and seeing if it feels more comfortable for you. This shortens the cup a bit and gets rid of the stem without cutting it completely off (if you still have some intact). It’s safe to use this way IF you can still reach your cup to remove it.

        Good Luck!

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