Menstrual cups are reusable products made of silicone or rubber. Because they are flexible, they are inserted like a tampon. However, they collect rather than absorb blood. Menstrual cups work by creating a seal (slight suction) and catching your menstrual fluid. The cup sits directly below the cervix and is held in place by the pelvic floor muscles. When inserted correctly, they don’t leak, and you won’t even notice it’s there.
See our menstrual cup diagram.
• The uterus is the reproductive organ that creates and sheds a lining that is your period.
• The cervix is like the ceiling of your vagina. The cup can’t go further than this upper limit.
• The vagina is the internal tunnel where menstrual fluid flows from to your external vulva.
It's not as complicated as you might think. Just fold it, insert it (up to 12 hours), pull it out, and wash it. You'll get the hang of it in no time. Check out our menstrual cup instructions below!
1. Clean your cup
Before you use your menstrual cup for the first time and after the end of every period you should sanitize your cup.
2. Wash your hands
Wash hands with soap and water.
3. Fold your cup
Fold the top rim of your menstrual cup in half hotdog style, creating a tight C.
Sit on the toilet, squat, or stand with one leg on the bathtub. Locate your vaginal opening, and slowly insert your menstrual cup. As you insert the menstrual cup, try to maintain the folded position of the menstrual cup. When you can’t hold it folded any longer, it will “pop” open.
Twist to ensure proper positioning – if the cup isn’t fully open, you can turn it more or run a finger alongside the rim to help it open. Give a *little* tug to ensure you have a proper seal.
6. Wash Your Hands & Remove
Pinch the base of the cup (not the stem) to break the suction seal. Then you can empty the cup and clean it to reinsert.
1. Wash your hands
2. Sit or Squat–sit on the toilet or stand with one leg on the bathtub
5. Check: Twist to ensure proper positioning – if the cup isn’t fully open, you can turn it more or run a finger alongside the rim to help it open. Give a *little* tug to ensure you have a proper seal.
More on our Insertion & Removal page
1. Wash your hands
Wash your hands with soap and water
Pinch the base of the cup (not the stem) to break the suction seal. Some people will even push the rim of the cup inward to release the suction.
3. Bear down
If you’re having trouble, remember your menstrual cup is held in place by the pelvic floor muscles. Using your pelvic floor muscles, bear down on the cup.
4. Empty & Clean
Then you can empty the cup and clean your cup to reinsert.
More on our Insertion & Removal page
Menstrual cup brands determine their sizing by the diameter. However, you may also have to factor in a low cervix and opt for a shorter cup.
1. Measure while on your period
(the cervix moves down during your cycle)
2. Insert a finger and feel for your cervix
(It’s at the upper end of your vagina)
3. Measure the length of the finger that fits inside
If you don’t have a ruler, the first joint of an index finger is about 1 inch long, the knuckle or second joint is X, and the whole finger is about 4.5 inches.
4. Use that measurement in our quiz
Most menstrual cups are designed to last up to 10 years, averaging one-tenth the cost of traditional products, and replacing 3,000 tampons.
Some women are born with a tilted uterus (about 25%). It can be tiled forward, toward the stomach, or backward, toward the rectum. In most cases, a titled uterus won’t affect using a menstrual cup. But there are a few things that may be helpful:
1. Opt for a softer, shorter cup
As someone with a tilted uterus, you may need to wear your cup lower. You may find a softer material more comfortable when wearing your cup lower in the vaginal canal. Because you’re wearing it lower, you may also need a shorter cup (or one marketed for those with a low cervix).
2. Trim the stem
Because your cup needs to sit a little lower in your vaginal canal, you might also need to trim the stem of your cup.
Menstrual Cups collect, rather than absorb blood making them ideal for swimming. No more itchy tampons full of pool water, worrying about a rogue string or removing a swollen tampon after swimming. Menstrual cups work by creating a seal (slight suction) and catching your menstrual fluid. When inserted correctly, they don’t leak and you won’t even notice it’s there.
You can pee or poop with a cup in, although straining while pooping could cause the cup to move down the vaginal canal. There are 3 holes in the vulvovaginal area, in order:
The urethra is where urine leaves the body. It is the first, very small hole.;
2. Vaginal Opening
The opening between the urethra and anus is where you insert the cup and where the menstrual fluid comes from during your period.
The last stop is the anus (butt hole). Feces is released through the anus.
Menstrual cups have many benefits. They are:
• Cost-effective, designed to last up to 10 years and averaging one-tenth the cost of traditional products.
• Environmentally friendly, replacing 3,000 tampons the equivalent of 12,000 plastic bags.
• Convenient, because they are reusable (no more emergency trips to the store) and they can be worn up to 12 hours, requiring less frequent changes.
• More hygienic, preventing infections and unwanted odors
• Safer, because they do not contain harmful chemicals and reduce instances of toxic shock
We've had a lot of people ask, can you use a menstrual cup if you're a virgin? Anything inserted in the vagina could stretch or tear the hymen. But the fact that your hymen could stretch or tear when using a cup does not cause you to lose your virginity.
Virginity has a complicated history, but the absence or breaking of the hymen does not mean you aren’t a virgin. It’s possible never to have had penetrative sex or inserted anything into the vagina and have no hymen. The vagina starts as a solid tube in the fetus and gradually becomes hollow from top to bottom. The vaginal opening may leave remnants which are the hymen. It can be ring-shaped, crescent-shaped, have holes, or even be absent altogether.
Because they can be worn up to 12 hours, sleeping with a menstrual cup is a great option. You don’t have to worry about making abstract art on your sheets because of shifting pads or tampons left in for too long. When inserted correctly, cups are comfortable and leak-proof. If you’re having trouble with leaks or picking out your first cup try our quiz.