Using Your Menstrual Cup for the First Time
If you’re new to using menstrual cups to manage your period then I’ve got a few tips to help you get started smoothly and successfully. Many women try a menstrual cup once and are subsequently put off because they have issues with discomfort, problems inserting or removing it or leaking while using their menstrual cup.
There is a learning curve with using a menstrual cup for the first few times but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it a comfortable and convenient way to manage your menstrual cycle each month.
Here are a few tips for using your menstrual cup the first few times:
Make sure you’re using the right menstrual cup!
Picking the right cup to get start is absolutely crucial to your success. You need a cup that is the right size, shape and capacity for your body and cycle. Use this guide to find the right menstrual cup. If you’re unsure, I would advise choosing a softer, smaller cup to get started with ease. You can always go larger if you find yourself emptying it more often than every 12 hours.
Practice during your period
Don’t try and do a “dry run” with your cup before you have your period. It doesn’t feel great and you’ll have no indication that your cup is properly inserted and won’t leak. Try once your period starts.
Start out in the shower
Give yourself time to warm up and relax in a hot shower. Squat or put a leg up and have a go at inserting your menstrual cup for the first time. It might take a few goes and it might be a bit messy but doing it in the shower takes care of that problem.
Experiment with different folds
There are quite a few ways to fold your menstrual cup to insert it but the most common are the C fold and the punch down fold. It might take you a couple of tries to master each fold and figure out one works best for your bod. You can read more about the different folds here and get directions on how to use them. I find it easiest to slide a finger up along side the cup as it goes in to make sure I’ve got the angle right and to stop the fold popping open to soon.
Make sure you have a good seal
Once you’ve inserted your cup you need to make sure you have a good seal to prevent it leaking. Fold it, insert it and then make sure your cup has popped open and formed a seal inside your vagina. You should be able to feel the cup pop open and into place. You may need to wiggle it into place a little. Give the stem a very gentle tug to make sure it’s in place. If it easily starts to move down your vagina when you tug it, there is no seal. Try turning it around a little until it slips into place. If it doesn’t work, take it out and try again, maybe even using a different fold style. If it has sealed properly you shouldn’t be able to pull it out when you give it a gentle tug. If you get a good seal, your cup won’t leak (unless it’s full to the brim!).
Practice removing and emptying your cup
Again, I recommend doing your removals in the shower. At least for the first few times. You can’t always use a shower when you’re out and about but, to start with, it’s the best place to practice. Squat and insert your thumb and index finger in to reach your menstrual cup. You might be able to reach the stem or the base of the cup but if you can’t you’ll need to move your cup down a bit using your vaginal muscles. Just bear down and push the cup down your vagina, similar to pooping. Do this with your fingers still inside yourself and you’ll soon feel the cup. Pinch the base or run a finger up the side to release the seal and the pull the cup out. It takes a few goes to get used to it so practice in the shower!
Wear back up protection
Just while you’re getting used to using your menstrual cup for the first few times, I would recommend wearing some back up protection. If you haven’t quite got your cup inserted right you could leak. Likewise, if it’s not inserted right and you’re feeling really uncomfortable, you want to be able to whip it out. I would suggest using a panty liner or pad or wearing a pair of menstrual panties just until you get used to your cup and are sure you won’t leak. Read our guide to buying the best menstrual panties here.