Menstrual Cup How To – Tips for Beginners + What to Consider When Getting Your First Cup.
I remember the first time I tried a reusable menstrual cup. I had so many worries! Would it get lost? What if it got stuck? I pictured myself at the ER having a brand new intern fish it out with tools generally used for pap smears. Or kitchen tongs.
The first time I wore a reusable menstrual cup was to go swimming! I admit I should have tried it a few times at home but the cups arrived in the mail and I needed to get in the water. I repeatedly checked behind me for a trail of blood. Luckily, I left the water blood-free and went on to start this website!
Here are some must-read menstrual cup tips for beginners:
Trying something new like a reusable menstrual cup can be scary. Especially if you are not familiar with your vagina and anatomy. Many new menstrual cup users fear that the cup will get lost or stuck. Relax and remember that many menstruators use cups all over the world and that they have been around since 1937! (1).
Menstrual cup how to tip #1 – Measure your cervix
Vaginas, like people, are all different lengths. Some are shorter and some are longer. Your cup should fit the length of your vagina comfortably.
This is really the best place to start. Many brands offer two sizes, a small typically for persons who have not given birth and/or are under 30 and a size 2 for persons over 30 and/or have given birth.
However, these style choices have nothing to do with length. If a cup is too long for your vagina and sticks out or is uncomfortable or is too short and hard to remove…size small or large really doesn’t matter.
It’s often a good idea to trim your nails ahead of time or be careful with acrylics.
Menstrual cup how to tip #2 – It can’t get lost
This was one of my biggest fears. That the cup would go up and I wouldn’t be able to find it!
Remember, your vagina has an end. Well, in fact it has two ends. One end is at your vulva on the outside of your body and the other is where it meets your cervix. Unless you are dilated, as in labor, the cup can’t go up into your uterus and make it’s way to a kidney or some other vital organ.
The vagina is your cup’s home.
Menstrual cup how to tip #3 – Getting Stuck
In addition to getting lost, one of my biggest fears was that it would get stuck and I’d have some intern removing it at the local ER. This nightmare definitely had kitchen tongs in it.
When a menstrual cup gets “stuck” this typically means that you haven’t broken the seal. The seal is made with the rim of the cup and your vaginal walls. If done properly, and they do take practice, this prevents menstrual blood from leaking down the sides.
Often, a cup will have a good seal and if you tug on the stem it will feel stuck. Simply pinch the bottom of the cup to break the seal and un-stick your cup.
This information was not in the brochure with my first cup and I tugged and tugged… ouch. I thought I damaged my cervix!
Did your cup go too high? You can push down like you’re trying to push it out to grasp at the base easier. I have a high cervix and I can position most cups low enough to grab, but some super sleek cups like my XO Flo like to sneak up on their own.
Menstrual cup how to tip #4 – How to insert it
When I held my first menstrual cup in my hand I thought…no way. How is this ever going to fit? I mean… I’ve had 4 babies but I don’t have a gaping vagina tunnel.
Finding the right menstrual cup fold will be key. Take a look at the pamphlet, try a few folds out before you insert your cup and figure out what looks good to you.
Remember, your fold doesn’t have to be a technical fold. If you can fold the cup so that it goes in and opens well, then it’s the best fold for you.
When I fold my menstrual cup, even the size 2 Yuuki seen here, the tip is as small if not smaller than a tampon and silicone is soft, not dry like a tampon and easy to insert.
I’m not going to lie, there is a learning curve here. You start inserting the cup and walk your fingers down to the base.
As the cup goes in it should open up. If you have a hard time inserting you can try some silicone safe lubricant. Relax, try squatting down to insert, lift a leg or even do a “dry run” during a non-period time just to get comfortable handling, inserting and removing your cup.
Run your finger around the cup to feel if it’s open all the way and to make sure it’s angled right and that your cervix is aiming inside. This is something that you just get better at over time.
Is your cup leaking? Read about menstrual cup leaks here.
Menstrual cup how to tip #5 – Brand matters…but what if you’re broke?
Keep in mind that a reusable menstrual cup can last a really long time. While spending $25-$40 per cup can seem like a lot of money up front, the cup pays for itself over time. I’ve talked to many menstruators who have had their cups for 8-10 years!
I often read “well, I want to give one a try so I’m buying a cheapie.” In my opinion, this is the wrong way to go. Many menstrual cup users report having a bad experience with off-brand cups and they are not made with the same care, materials and certifications as many reputable brands.
While I write this, I understand that it may just not be in the budget to purchase an expensive cup. I’ve been there. We have gone through phases where I was reusing coffee grounds and the bank account never seemed to make it over $10.
You can purchase reusable menstrual cups on the swap. You can often get a new or used but sterilized cup at a great price! I have a BST thread in my chat group on Facebook.
Ask for a cup as a gift! I’ve given cups as gifts and, if you’re not comfortable asking directly for a cup, you can buy many cups on Amazon. Getting an Amazon GC as a gift is a great way to get a cup!
Enter giveaways! I try to host many…but there are other bloggers and brands that host them too. Enter ALL the giveaways. No, really.
Like the cup in these photos I took with our magnolia flowers? These flowers are here for maybe 4 days a year and they’re gorgeous! Read my full review of the Lunette brand here. The banner at the top of this website has a link right to their shop.
(Pinterest image below)
Anything you would add? Comment below!