Skip to Content

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Menstrual Cups

Everything you ever wanted to know about Menstrual Cups – how do you insert/remove. Does it leak? Your questions answered.

Menstrual Cups

This post may contain affiliate links where I earn a small commission from your purchase. See full disclosure for details.

I recently wrote a post about how how my Menstrual Cup Changed My Life. I got quite a bit of positive feedback from the post and quite a bit of “Huh?  Seriously?” type feedback too! So, I put out the question on the Lindsey Blogs Facebook page and got some great questions about menstrual cups. 

I also scoured FAQs about the subject and am going to tackle those too – in a very down-to-Earth, non-technical way.

Menstrual Cups

Knowledge is Power. I didn’t know a thing about menstrual cups a year ago, well, other than seeing an occasional blog post on the subject every now and then.

The first time I tried to use my cup I failed miserably. I only tried once that first cycle. My next cycle, I really, really wanted to make it work, but I semi-failed again and only used it a few times. 

Finally, during my third cycle I decided I was going to make it work. And I did.

There is definitely a learning curve with Menstrual Cups.

You will need to learn your body and how it works for you. Menstrual Cups aren’t cheap enough to buy one of each brand and see which works best for you {for most of us}, so do your research on what types work best for certain body types.

This post is intended to answer the Frequently Asked Questions about Menstrual Cups – not a review of each type and brand.  Although you’re more than welcome to read my reviews of the Lunette Cup and the Diva Cup.

menstrualcupsexplained

First things first.  A menstrual cup is a flexible cup or barrier worn inside the vagina during menstruation to collect menstrual fluid. Unlike disposable tampons and pads, the cup collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it. They are usually made from medical grade silicone.  Source.

Diva CupDiva CupSckooncupSckooncupLunette Menstrual CupLunette Menstrual CupInstead SoftcupsInstead Softcups

Menstrual Cups are green-er, healthier, and honestly free you from your period.  But I know that’s all fine and dandy for me to say because I’ve been using one for about 7 months now. Those first couple of months were challenging. I had the same questions that some of you have and then some.

Reader Questions and Answers

Casey asks “Can you feel it?  It looks so large in your hand.”

If the cup is inserted correctly, you cannot. The cup sits low in your vagina, but high enough that you won’t feel it.  Need a visual? Click here.  {That link also demonstrates 9 different folds you can use to insert} 

The stem on all cups is uncomfortable for me, so I trim it completely down. If you get a good seal, the cup should not move up or down but sit right in place meaning you shouldn’t feel a thing.

I agree, though, that the cup looks rather large, but once you fold it to insert, it doesn’t seem quite so big.

removeamenstrualcup

Valerie asks “How do you insert it and pull it out?”

Insertion is easy, once you get the hang of it. It really does take some time learning and you probably won’t be totally comfortable until about your 3rd cycle. 

Practice folding your menstrual cup and see which way works best for you.

menstrualcupfoldCollage

As you can see, folding the cup makes it much smaller, just a bit bigger than a tampon. There are different ways to fold, like I said above and the picture above shows how I fold mine. Remember, most menstrual cups are made of a medical grade silicone so they are easily pliable and bend and move with your body.

I have found that sitting is the best position for me to both insert and remove a menstrual cup.  I’ve also found that if you remember to push the cup back, not up, you’ll get a better placement.

Removing a menstrual cup comes with practice also

There are TWO important things to remember about removing a menstrual cup. One, you should bear down and push. Pushing similar to a childbirth push or a push like you’re having a bowel movement. This makes the cup come down lower. 

The second thing to remember is BREAK THE SEAL! If you don’t, you’ll feel completely uncomfortable when removing. To break the seal, simply use your finger to press the cup on one side before you start to pull on it. You’ll hear a pop and that means the seal is broken.

Now, I suppose the stem is there to aid in removal, but I find that way too messy to try to use and I also cut mine off for better comfort. I remove the cup, just as I insert it. After I break the seal, I grasp the cup and fold. 

Remember – practice.

menstrualcupquestions

Charlotte asks “How do you know when it’s full and how do you pull it out especially when it’s full?”

Honestly, you don’t know when the cup is full. There’s nothing that you’ll feel, unless it’s just overflowing, but that’s unlikely to happen unless you have really heavy periods and leave the cup in for a longer period of time. 

I suggest that you use that first cycle to learn your body. Learn how heavy your flow is, learn the difference on different days, and get comfortable with your body.

It is true that the more full the cup is, the more likely it’s going to be messier.

Just for reference, I don’t have a heavy flow. I would think about normal. On my first 2 days, I empty the cup in the morning, 2 times during the day, and once before bed. On my 3rd and 4th days I only have to empty in the morning and night.

The average woman only flows approximately 1 to 1.4 ounces (30-40 ml) per cycle {Source} and most cups hold 1 oz or 30 mL so you will be FINE.

Heidi wants to know “How do you not get freaked out when you go to remove it?”

Stay calm. Freaking out will only make the process harder. It gets easier than the first time you use it, I promise.

Also, I wanted to address the “ick” factor here. You should be totally comfortable with your body, if you’re choosing to use a Menstrual Cup and if you’re not yet… you certainly will be soon!

“Can you use a menstrual cup with an IUD?”

I asked Lunette this question directly and they responded with Yes.

“How many cups will you need?”

You really should only need 1 cup at a time, as you simply clean it immediately and put it back in. 

You could have a back-up, if you chose to. Different companies say different things about replacing them. I think Diva Cup recommends every year, but the FDA recommends every two.

Most Comfortable Menstrual Cup - includes Period Cup WipesMost Comfortable Menstrual Cup – includes Period Cup WipesLunette Feelbetter Menstrual Cup CleanserLunette Feelbetter Menstrual Cup CleanserAthena Menstrual Cup - includes Bonus Bag - Solid PinkAthena Menstrual Cup – includes Bonus Bag – Solid Pink

“Are menstrual cups drying like tampons? Do they hurt when you take it out?”

No, No, No! The silicone actually warms up with your body temperature and does not dry your body out like disposable tampons.

Charlotte also asks “How active can you really be with your cup – Swimming, Running, etc?”

Menstrual Cups are made for this – no more worrying about wandering tampon strings {yep, I went there} or changing a tampon or pad when you’re running a marathon!

sckoonmenstrualcup

Charlotte also wonders about backup protection “How many women still need to have a panty liner on in the first day or so?”

Lots of women still use a panty liner with a cup. You shouldn’t have any leakage unless your seal isn’t correct OR if your cup is too full. 

But with that said, it’s a good idea to wear a pantyliner especially when you’re just learning how to use the cup.

“I am totally freaked out, scared, and intrigued by menstrual cups at the same time.  What advice can you give me?”

My best advice is read, read, read. Get comfortable with the topic. Get comfortable with the idea. I promise I was there just a year ago. 

The idea totally freaked me out but I can honestly say that switching from disposable sanitary products to a menstrual cup was one of the best green decision I’ve ever made for myself!

Menstrual Cups

Have a question that I didn’t address?  Leave it in the Comments!

H

Friday 3rd of May 2019

My cup leaks majorly at night. Any hints or tips to have it not leak, it does fine during the day.

Lindsey

Sunday 5th of May 2019

Sorry to hear this as I know how frustrating it is to have your cup leak. I do have this issue sometimes on the 2nd night of my period. I usually wear a pantyliner during those times. I would just try to make sure you're getting a tight seal, by twisting cup once it's in place. Then also determine if your cup is leaking because it's too full or if it's another issue. I wish I could help more!

OrganiCup – Mrs Simplicity

Wednesday 2nd of January 2019

[…] Let’s get down & dirty […]

Kay

Sunday 16th of July 2017

Wanting to try this. Nervous that I won't get the 'right brand/right fit'. Are there different styles/brands that are for certain situations... Like, high vs low cervix, a pull string or stem vs no stem, clotting vs no clotting,etc? Is there an inexpensive type that I can try before investing into a 'nice' one.... To make sure I am even comfortable using the cup method?

Lindsey G.

Monday 17th of July 2017

There are quite a few different brands, but honestly they all pretty much work the same way. I would probably recommend going with a more "known" brand as your first one. The Diva Cup, Sckoon, and Lunette are my top 3 I always recommend. I think the Diva and Lunette are easiest for a first cup.

Maris

Monday 7th of November 2016

I'm sure you've gotten this question before, but come the time of cup replacement what's the best, green way to dispose of them? I'm hoping into the landfill isn't the only option :(

Lindsey G.

Thursday 10th of November 2016

That's actually a GREAT question, Maris, and one of I've never even thought of or had before. Since it's so few... I think most manufacturers say replace after a year because they have to say that, but a cup can definitely last longer. So I've simply thrown away, but that's only been 1 since my beginning journey with a cup. I'll try to look into the options! Thank you so much for the question!

Jackie B

Friday 12th of February 2016

Lots of useful information about menstrual cups, thank you. They're kind of hard to get the hang of at first, but once you do, you'll never go back.