Menstrual Cups: How to Use Them, Choosing Your Size, and More

Marie-Claire De Villiers
By Marie-Claire De Villiers
Romi Hector
Edited by Romi Hector

Published May 26, 2022.

Young woman in all white clothing holding menstrual cup and giving thumbs up

At the moment, there are a lot of discussions about the benefits and dangers of menstrual cups. There seems to be a considerable interest—and rightly so! While some women report finding period cups messy and uncomfortable, many find them completely comfortable and appreciate the cost savings and positive effect on the environment. Here's our guide to choosing the right one for you because you have enough to worry about during your period.

How Do You Use a Menstrual Cup?

Before Inserting a Menstrual Cup

Before inserting a menstrual cup, you'll want to consider several factors, such as if you are allergic to latex or feel comfortable handling blood, along with several other factors. Make sure to consult your doctor.

Inserting a Menstrual Cup

  • Wash your hands well with soap and water
  • Slather some lube onto the rim
  • Fold the period cup in half with the rim facing up
  • Insert it gently with the rim going in first
  • If it feels as though it's hitting your cervix, it's too far up. It should be slightly away from your cervix and feel comfortable.
  • Once it's in, rotate it, and it will open to create an air-tight seal

If it's not comfortable, take it out and try again. If that doesn't help, speak to your doctor for more tips on insertion or another size or brand. Don't force it. You should be able to jump around comfortably.

Removing a Menstrual Cup

Remove your period cup after 6-12 hours, depending on your flow. Make sure to remove and clean it within 12 hours maximum.

To remove:

  • Wash your hands well with soap and water
  • Use a little lube on your fingers to make the removal more comfortable
  • Insert two fingers and pull the stem gently until you can feel the base
  • Pinch the base and pull down
  • Empty into the toilet

Caring for a Menstrual Cup Between Uses

Always wash and wipe clean before re-use and empty at least twice every day. Disposable cups should be thrown away after one use.

How to Choose the Correct Size for a Menstrual Cup

Discuss options with your doctor. Considering the length of your cervix, the heaviness of your flow, your age, and the strength of your cervix muscles will help in figuring out which period cup will work best in your unique body. Women who haven't given birth vaginally generally need smaller period cups.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Do Menstrual Cups Cost?

Menstrual cups cost between $20 and $40 and last roughly six months. Compared with the usual $100 minimum cost of tampons or pads, this is a significant saving.

Can You Still Pee With a Menstrual Cup?

Yes. The urethra, from which you urinate, and the vagina, which will be holding the cup, are two different holes. Peeing will not interfere with the menstrual cup at all.

Can You Still Have Sex When Using a Menstrual Cup?

Maybe, depending on the brand. The soft, disposable cups won't be felt by a partner during penetrative sex and will also prevent any leaks. Some brands of cups need to be removed.

How Painful Is It to Use Menstrual Cups?

They shouldn't be painful. However, if pain occurs, this may be due to the cup being the wrong size, folding against itself, or inserting it too high, causing pressure on your cervix. It may be slightly painful when inserted or removed if there isn't enough lubrication. Take a look at our article on removing a menstrual cup without pain. It may take a little practice, adjustment, and trying out different sizes or brands to find the right fit for you.

It should also be noted that some women may have an allergic reaction, and the cup may cause an increased chance of infection if it is not changed regularly.