How to use a menstrual cup in 6 easy steps

Learn how to fold it, insert it, remove it and clean it properly. The concept is the same no matter what menstrual cup brand you are using.

1 Wash your hands

First, wash your hands with a mild, un-perfumed soap and water like you would do before inserting a tampon without applicator. When using the cup for the first time, you can lubricate it with water or a water-based lubricant to aid insertion.

2Flatten your cup

Flatten your menstrual cup as illustrated between your thumb and your other fingers to prepare for the fold (step 3).

3Fold your cup

Once your menstrual cup is flattened, fold it in half with your other hand so that the rim makes a “C”. Hold the cup firmly with the hand you are the most comfortable with. The folded part should face toward the inside of your hand as illustrated. There are several ways to fold your cup. Hold the cup firmly in its folded position and prepare for step 4.

4 Prepare to insert

Spreading your legs, gently separate your labia with your free hand. Guide your folded cup rim first with the rounded end of the “U” shape facing you toward your vagina as illustrated. You can insert the cup while sitting, standing or squatting; spreading your legs will facilitate insertion.

5 Insert the cup

Once you inserted the rim of the menstrual cup, the cup will start unfolding itself inside the vagina. Rotate it sideways to will help spring open to create an airtight seal that stops leaks. All you need to do is to push it slightly with your finger until the whole cup is inside including the stem. It shouldn’t sit too high, the bottom of your cup should be about half a finger away from the entry. Unlike a tampon, the cup is positioned in the lower part of vagina, but beyond the pelvic bone.

6 Rotate your cup

Lightly pinch the base of the cup (not the stem) and gently try to give it one full rotation in either direction. Doing so helps to avoid leaks by ensuring that the cup has opened fully. The cup should rotate easily when properly open. As an extra measure, though one that is usually unnecessary, you can check that it is fully opened by sliding a finger up next to the cup and feeling all the way around it.

See the different ways to fold your cup

The different ways to fold your menstrual cup before insertion

See the C, Punch down and 7 fold

Because a video speaks a thousand words. C fold and the Punch down fold are the most commonly used way to fold your cup before inserting it. It’s up to you to experiment what works best for you.

How long can I keep it in?

Menstrual cups can be worn up to 8 hours depending on your flow. You can stop worrying about whether you have enough tampons to last through the day. But, if you have a heavy period, you might want to empty it more often to prevent leakage. You can sleep with your cup safely. It is only a recommendation, you can wear it less or a bit more within reason without any issues.

My tip: I personally play it on the safe side emptying it more often regardless of my flow. For example let’s say you wake up at 7am, empty it, rinse it and reinsert. around 2pm (8h later) after lunch I do the same and then before I go to bed in my shower. I know that way it’s never full and it is completely safe. If you have a very heavy flow you may have to empty it more often.

How to remove your cup

To remove the cup, first wash your hands in clean water and relax your muscles. Spreading your legs, gently separate your labia with your non-dominant hand. As if having a bowel movement, bear down lightly with your internal muscles. Doing so can help lower the cup, making it easier to grasp. Break the seal by squeezing the bottom part of the cup until you feel or hear the suction release. Now gently rock the cup from side to side while pulling down.

My Tip: Be sure not to pull it out by the stem alone, this will cause the contents to spill and may be uncomfortable. Always pull the cup out while pinching the ridged bottom of the cup. Tip the contents into the lavatory, the toilet, bathtub, in the nature, anywhere you see fit.

Read the article How to use the stem during menstrual cup removal

Rinse & Reuse your cup

Wash the menstrual cup carefully in warm water and soap to clean it sufficiently before reinsertion. Use mild soap for washing (intimate soap is ideal). The cup should first be rinsed in cold water, so that menstrual blood does not stain the cup or make it develop an odor. When water is not available, it is okay to wipe the cup with toilet paper and/or a disinfecting wipe. You can give it a proper wash the next time.

How to sanitize your cup

You need to sterilise your cup only once per cycle, at the end or at the beginning. While you are having your period you can simply rinse your cup with water and mild soap when available. You do not need to sterilize it every time you reinsert it. The material of the cup has natural antibacterial properties, as long as your hands are clean it is perfectly safe.

Read the article: How to clean your menstrual cup

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Feel free to ask your questions or feedback about menstrual cup on our Facebook group @thecupclub, I answer all your questions personally and you can share with other cup users. Don't be shy :-)

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