How to Insert Your Menstrual Cup

Menstrual cups are a safe, simple and environmentally friendly way to deal with your monthly period (i.e. aunt flow, arts and crafts week, or whatever you like to call it). A menstrual cup is a bell-shaped cup, typically made of silicone that you insert into your vagina prior to menstruation.

You can keep a menstrual cup in for up to 12 hours at a time without issue depending on the volume of your flow and comfort level. As such they can be a convenient alternative to expensive and wasteful tampons and pads for many women. They are also reusable, making them friendly for your wallet as well as the environment.

Inserting a menstrual cup can be tricky at first, but don't let the learning curve discourage you. With some practice and experimentation, inserting the cup will be quick and easy. And before you know it you'll be a pro in controlling your flow!

Getting Ready for Insertion

When it comes to using a menstrual cup, cleanliness is key. Before you insert your menstrual cup, thoroughly wash your hands, including under the nail beds in order to avoid transferring any bacteria or dirt from your hands to your cup. Your menstrual cup should also be clean and sanitized. If this is your first time using a new cup, you may want to boil it for a few minutes before you use it. Prior to insertion it is a good idea to wash the cup with a mild soap, being sure to give it a thorough rinsing before letting it air dry. Once your hands and cup are clean, you are ready to go.

Find a Comfortable Position

Inserting your cup might seem odd, especially the first time, but finding a comfortable position can help you get the cup into proper position with ease. This may be similar to the position you use for inserting a tampon, if you use one, or you may prefer something different. Every woman's body is unique. Below are a few options commonly employed by those women who use menstrual cups…

Possible positions include:

  • Sitting on the toilet.
  • Hovering over the toilet.
  • Propping up a foot on the toilet or tub.
  • Squatting.

If you feel overwhelmed or challenged, relax. Take a deep breath and try to relax your muscles as much as possible to help glide the cup into position.

Menstrual Cup Folds

Thankfully, you don't need to just push the cup into your vagina. To insert the cup, you must first fold it. Folding the cup makes it easier to insert without causing discomfort. There are lots of different folding options out there to try.

Here are a few of the most popular:

  • C-Fold/U-Fold: This fold is named for the shape of the cup after it's folded. It will look like the letter C or letter U. To make the fold, first pinch the sides of your cup together. Then fold the cup in half so that it looks like a C or U.
  • Punchdown Fold: Use your index finger to push one side of the cup down to the bottom of the cup. Pinch the sides together and insert.
  • 7 Fold: Pinch the sides of the cup together. Fold one corner down toward the center of the cup. The rim should now be shaped like the number seven.

Insert the Cup

To insert the cup, open your labia with one hand and insert the cup with the other. If insertion is difficult, wet the cup using water or a water-based lubricant (do not use a silicone-based lubricant, as this can degrade the cup). You should insert the cup at an angle, aiming for your tailbone. Once the cup is in, release the cup.

To ensure the cup is properly sealed, rotate the cup 360 degrees. If the cup is inserted correctly, you shouldn't feel it, and it should be completely inside the vagina. The stem will usually be completely inside your vagina, although if you have a low cervix it may poke out a little. You can carefully trim the stem if needed.

Gently pull on the cup. If there is resistance, it has a proper seal. If it moves easily, you may need to reinsert the cup. You may also want to feel around the rim to make sure the cup has completely opened.

Closing Thoughts

That's all there is to it. See, inserting a menstrual cup isn't hard at all. And once you've had a chance to do it a few times it'll be second nature to you. Best of all, you'll save money on buying all those tampons and pads each month.