Why is My Menstrual Cup Leaking?
I have tested many menstrual cups and even with my experience, there is a learning curve with each cup and brand. Menstrual cup leaks are often related to adjustments that can be made during insertion and wear. However, every so often menstrual cup leaks are because the cup just isn’t right for the user.
Read about common reasons menstrual cups leak below.
Menstrual cup leaks can be small or large. Leaks can happen right away or after the cup is worn for a while. The fear of menstrual cup leaks can be stressful, however, one great way to relieve stress is by wearing a reusable panty liner or pad with your cup. Many menstrual cup users wear period panties with their menstrual cup to catch small leaks and as a backup.
1.The cup didn’t open all the way
Finding the right menstrual cup fold can take time. How you fold the cup often decides how easily it opens once it enters your vagina. Trying a new fold, or allowing the cup to open a bit later can be helpful.
I often check to see that my cup has opened by running a finger around the top if possible, I can’t quite reach my cervix but I can tell that it’s open. Some users can feel their cervix and make sure it’s angled inside of the cup.
If I feel dents or folds in the cup, I’ve found that it’s not open all the way.
Turning the cup after inserting works for some, there are times when it has to be taken out and put back in. I have luck with the punch down fold for many cups, even those on the soft side.
2. The cup is overflowing
A menstrual cup doesn’t have to be full to the top to overflow. You may reach the cup’s capacity a bit sooner and your “full” cup level may be different from another person’s.
Try emptying the cup sooner, especially on heavy days. Using a timer may be helpful.
Eventually, you may be able to tell when you have a full-cup feeling and know when it’s time to empty. Most cups have a large size that goes up to around 30 mls however, you may find that using a high capacity menstrual cup is better on heavy days.
3. It’s leftover blood from when your cycle started or you emptied the cup
If my cycle starts before I use a cup or if I use a pad for a day or two and then start using cup…leftover blood is already in my vaginal canal that comes out. I use a pantyliner or pad with my cup for this.
When you change your cup, some blood can get in the vaginal canal and it can come out over time. Typically, this isn’t a ton of blood but can be enough to stain your underwear. While not a true leak, this reamining menstrual blood can have cup users wondering if they’ve started leaking.
Using a reusable liner or period panties are great solutions for this.
4. The angle isn’t right
When you first insert a cup, the angle typically goes towards your back and then angles up towards your cervix. However, each person’s anatomy is different and finding the right angle will be trial and error.
How do you tell what angle your cup is at? After I insert my cup, I reach in with a finger to find the stem. If the cup is angled incorrectly, I can feel that it’s pointed towards the side or too far in one direction or the other.
Sometimes I can just point the stem in the right direction. Sometimes, the cup needs to come out and be reinserted. Because the cup makes a seal with your vaginal walls, having a poor angle can mean that it’s not sealed all the way around and it can leak.
5. It’s just the wrong cup for you.
Most menstrual cup brands have two sizes. Typically, they recommend the larger size for persons over 30 or persons who have given birth. Often, the larger cup is softer than the smaller. However, this does not mean that the smaller cup isn’t better for some persons who have had babies or that the larger cup isn’t great for persons under 30.
The firmness of a cup matters. A more firm cup like the Lunette cup or the MeLuna sport (which also comes in low-cervix cups) is often recommended for someone with stronger pelvic floor muscles. However, I am over 30 and have had 4 babies and adore the lunette size 2. For me, they pop open easily and stay put even if I’m active.
A softer cup such as the Yuuki rainbow or the LaliCup is often recommended for someone with a less-strong pelvic floor, for someone who has given birth and/or is over 30 or just by personal preference. A soft cup may also be useful for someone who feels irritated by a more firm cup and I also prefer a soft cup when I’m not running or being active.
6. It’s too big or too small.
While the length of menstrual cup varies greatly the diameter may seem less obvious. However, if you find that your menstrual cup is open but doesn’t stay in place…it may be too small. Switching to a larger diameter cup may fit your anatomy better.
If you find that it opens but doesn’t want to unfold or position correctly, it may be too large.
7. It’s way too soft for you.
A menstrual cup that is too soft may not open all the way or open easily or it may open but get squished by your vagina muscle or pelvic floor as you move about and leak menstrual fluid. This happened for me with the Super Jennie and even though I don’t have a pelvic floor of steel…it’s just too soft to stay open.
(Pinterest image below)