If you’re interested in using a menstrual cup, talk with your gynecologist. Although you can buy any of the brands online or in most stores, you’ll first have to find out what size you need. Most menstrual cup brands sell small and large versions.
To figure out the right menstrual cup size for you, you and your doctor should consider:
- your age
- length of your cervix
- whether or not you have a heavy flow
- firmness and flexibility of the cup
- cup capacity
- strength of your pelvic floor muscles
- if you’ve given birth vaginally
Smaller menstrual cups are usually recommended for women younger than 30 years old who haven’t delivered vaginally. Larger sizes are often recommended for women who are over 30 years old, have given birth vaginally, or have a heavier period.
Before You Put In Your Menstrual Cup
When you use a menstrual cup for the first time, it may feel uncomfortable. But “greasing” your cup can help make the process smooth. Before you put in your cup, lubricate the rim with water or a water-based lube (lubricant). A wet menstrual cup is much easier to insert.
How to Put In Your Menstrual Cup
There are two main parts of a menstrual cup: the cup and a thin stem at the bottom to make removal easier.
Before using a cup for the first time, it is important to read the directions on the packaging carefully and wash or sterilize it accordingly.
It is best to wash the hands well with soap and water before inserting or removing a menstrual cup.
To insert it, fold the top of the cup and push it into the vagina, aiming it toward the lower back. Some people find insertion easier when they are squatting. Others prefer to be standing, sometimes with one foot raised, on the edge of the bathtub, for example.
Folding the cup correctly can seem complicated at first, but there are several methods to try. Some of the more popular folds include:
- C-fold or U-fold: Press the sides of the cup together so that from the top it resembles a long oval. Fold the cup in half, so it looks like the letters C or U.
- Punch-down fold: Put a finger on the top rim of the cup and push it into the center of the cup (near the base), forming a triangle.
- 7-fold: Press the sides of the cup together so that from the top it resembles a long oval. Fold one side down diagonally, so it looks like the number 7.
Once the rim of the cup is in, continue to push the cup into the vagina until the entire cup and stem are inside.
The cup should “pop” open, preventing any menstrual blood from leaking. To ensure this, hold the cup by the base (not the stem) and turn it one full circle, or 360 degrees.
Some people run their finger along the rim of the cup to ensure that it is in the right place and has opened correctly.
When it is in the right place, most people cannot feel it and can forget that it is there.