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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. Like Dillon, I am also having trouble getting the cup to open once inserted. Any advice?

    • Have you tried different folding techniques? Some will open easier than others. Also, once it’s inserted if it doesn’t open correctly sometimes when you rotate it, it will open up. Also did you feel to make sure your cervix isn’t what’s keeping it from opening because you’ve inserted too far? You can try letting it open before it is fully inserted then gently and slowly rotate while pushing it into the proper position. My cervix is kind of low and that is how I solved my issues with it not opening properly.

  2. I am having trouble getting my cup to open up once inserted. How do I resolve this issue?

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