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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.

27 Comments
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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
      RedHerringTV on YouTube

  4. 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.

  5. 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:
          https://menstrualcupreviews.net/how-to-use-a-menstrual-cup/

          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
          RedHerringTV on YouTube

  6. 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!

  7. First time Diva user here managed to get in twice, i also cannot rotate it to open as the instructions suggest.
    Shall persevere with this darn thing sure I’ll learn to love it eventually.
    Right now it’s a mission.

  8. Am I the only one that cannot rotate the cup once it is inserted??

    • I can’t rotate my cup either. At least not how the instructions explain! I have never been able to pinch the base to spin it.

      What I found that works for me is to insert one finger, press it against the body of the cup to cave it in just a bit and then swipe my finger to one side and then the other. At first, I was just checking if my cervix was hanging on the outside and that my cup was completely open, but I noticed that it also made my cup spin.

      Maybe it’ll work for you too 🙂 Good Luck!

  9. Hi! I love my Diva Cup but even after 7 months of using it I’m not 100% at it. I put it in fine and it opens but I’m still leaking. I dont know if I’m putting it in too high, but when I try and leave it low it moves up on its own. And I don’t know if I’m putting it in at the wrong angle? Some months I can nail it and others it’s like my first time! Please help because I really want this to work for me!!

    • I face same problem ..after tired a lot its still leaking so I have to wear pad with it as well…

    • Hi Emma!

      Do you make it a habit to double check the position of your cervix after you’ve inserted the cup? Sometimes a cup can push the cervix to the side, or the cup can pass the cervix and be inserted on the side of it into the vaginal fornix.

      After you insert your cup, squat and bear down with your muscles to feel around the rim or as high up on the cup as you can. If you feel any indentions, it could mean that your cup isn’t open completely. Wiggle it down and allow your cervix to drop in.

      There’s a photo on this link that shows what I’m talking about. There’s also a video with some tips that might be helpful 🙂

      https://menstrualcupreviews.net/how-to-choose-a-menstrual-cup/#Insert_and_remove

      You also might not be actually leaking. If you’re experiencing some spotting, it could be from residual blood that’s coating your vaginal walls even after you insert your cup.

      If this is what’s happening, squat and bear down with your muscles and use a wet cloth to wipe the stem and/or grip rings of any excess blood.

      This link might list some other things that you can check/try.

      https://menstrualcupreviews.net/how-to-choose-a-menstrual-cup/#Troubleshooting

      Good Luck <3

  10. Hi, I am having trouble with leaking. The cup opens fine once inserted, and I check that the cervix is not down the side but still have trouble. Is it possible to insert the cup too low? I have read everywhere to make sure the cup sits beneath the cervix but still find it leaks! I am coming up to cycle 7 now and really want to get it down pat!

    • Hi Megan!

      Are you “leaking” or spotting?
      If you’re just spotting, it could be from excess blood. This is the blood that’s coating the walls of your vagina even after you insert your cup. This blood pools down and ends up on your undies. Many people think that they’re leaking or spotting out of their cup when this happens.
      See if this doesn’t clear it up for you:
      After you insert your cup, squat down and bear down with your muscles.
      Wipe the grip rings and the stem (if it’s intact) with a wet wipe or cloth.
      Doing this will get rid of some of the excess blood and hopefully eliminate any “leaking” that you’re experiencing.

      You are correct, the cup can sit below the cervix OR up and around it. I personally feel more comfortable when it’s sitting up and around it, but to each their own….whatever feels more comfortable to YOU.

      This might have some answers for you: https://menstrualcupreviews.net/how-to-choose-a-menstrual-cup/#Troubleshooting

      as well as this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2YtfxUMeV4

      Good Luck and I hope you can get your cup to work for you! If there’s more that I might be able to help with, don’t hesitate to ask!

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