How to Stop Your Menstrual Cup Leaking

7 min read

This article was medically fact-checked by Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr. Shree Datta.

Let’s face it, there is nothing quite as annoying as a leaking menstrual cup. Leaks usually occur to newbies during their first few cycles as they get to know their body and their cup, but they can also happen (on very rare occasions) to us cup veterans too. Thankfully, menstrual cup leaks are super easy to troubleshoot, and once you’ve figured out why they occur and how to fix them – you’re set!

The 2 most common reasons your cup might be leaking are: that it hasn’t opened up properly or that it is positioned incorrectly. Not to fret! There are several practical, easy solutions to get your cup working for you leak-free, every time.

The first step is to get acquainted with your vagina so that you can visualize what you’re doing during insertion. You can check out our article on the female internal anatomy here and a detailed guide to your cervix here. Also make sure you do not have any cuts, infections, or urinary problems while using menstrual cups. Now that you’re all clued up on your lady parts, let’s see why your cup may be leaking…

1. Your cup isn’t fully open:

The most common reason for leaks is that the cup edges are still slightly folded and have not opened fully to form a seal with the vaginal walls. This is especially common with new cup users and generally just takes a little bit of practice to get the perfect insertion method down. If on first insertion your cup hasn’t opened up, here are our top tried and tested tips for getting it to pop…

Keep it Clean

Before your hands go anywhere near your nether regions, be sure to give them a proper washing to avoid introducing bacteria into your vulva and vagina.

Chill out girl!

Relax! A tight, tensed vagina is not going to be the most accommodating space for a menstrual cup and may prevent it from opening up properly. Sit, stand or squat in a position that’s comfortable for you and ideally one that opens up your vagina – one leg up on the tub is a firm fave among seasoned cup users.

Try a different fold

Next, it’s important to try out different cup folding and insertion methods to see which one works best for you (see our top folds here). We generally recommend the “half-v”, aka “punch-down” fold as it makes the cup a) more rigid, b) much smaller, and c) gives it a pointed tip for easier insertion.

Insert high!

Insert your cup higher in the vaginal canal but low enough so that you can still reach the base – you can press your finger (or thumb) on the bottom of the cup to move it higher up. Then, squeeze or press on the body or the rim of the cup a few times to help the cup pop open and form that all important seal.

Gently wiggle

This is a great little trick for getting even the most stubborn folds to pop open – once you’ve inserted your cup (high) into the vagina, gently pull or wiggle the stem downwards. You may actually feel the cup softly opening up inside as you pull it down. If you pull the cup too far down so that the stem is now sticking out, simply use your finger – or thumb – on the side or rim of the cup to push it back up higher.

Final check!

To make sure your cup has fully opened, run your finger around the cup’s body to check for any folded edges or bulges. If you pull on the cup and it doesn’t move – your seal has formed and you’re good to go! You can also clench your pelvic floor muscles to ensure the cup is correctly located. You shouldn’t be able to feel if it’s in the right place, even if mentally you keep thinking about how it’s inside of you. You’ll get used to it.

2. Your cup is positioned incorrectly ie. it’s not under your cervix

Contrary to popular belief, the cervix is not necessarily located at the top of our vaginal canal and can actually be positioned at an angle or to the side. It can also move higher and lower in the vaginal canal throughout our menstrual cycle, depending on our levels of estrogen. If the rim of your cup is not below the cervix, menstrual fluid will flow down the sides of your cup and ultimately cause leaks. So, first things first…

Locate your cervix!

As your cervix height can change throughout your cycle, it’s important to check the position during the times you’re going to use your cup – ie. your period. To do so, simply place a clean finger into your vagina and feel for a slightly firmer area of tissue – it should feel a bit like the tip of your nose. Ta da! Say hello to your cervix!

Position your cup under the cervix

Once you’ve determined where your cervix has set up camp for your period, you will know where your cup needs to be. But remember that your cervix may continue to move throughout your period so it’s handy to check its position throughout your cycle your first few times with a cup. You can wear your cup high or low in the vagina – whatever works for you!

how to stop menstrual cup from leaking
Positioning your cup correctly

Angle your cup

The vaginal canal is not vertical, but angled towards the back of the body. To make sure your cup is positioned correctly, angle it towards your tailbone using your thumb on its base to tilt it in the right direction.

Make sure your cervix is not inside your cup

During your period, estrogen levels cause your cervix to lower and become more firm. If you position your cup so that it is directly on your cervix it can do two things. Firstly, it’s a bit like putting a pebble into a glass of water where the cervix takes up capacity and raises the level of fluid inside which can potentially cause leaks. Secondly, if you have a sensitive cervix the cup’s suction could cause cramping or discomfort – so make sure to try out different positions to find the right one for your body.

3. Other issues

Your menstrual cup is full

This one should be pretty self-explanatory! If your menstrual cup is full – you may experience a little leakage. Most women will not need to change their cup more than once every 8 hours, but if you have a very heavy flow you may want to change it a little more regularly or consider purchasing a higher capacity cup (like Lily Cup for example) for total peace of mind.

Your cup does not fit

When purchasing a menstrual cup it’s important to consider the company’s size guide as a cup that is too small is not going to seal properly and a cup that is too big will be difficult to open up. INTIMINA recommends that women who have not given birth or who have given birth via C-section choose Lily Cup size A and women who have given birth vaginally or who have a weak pelvic floor choose size B. You should also check your cervix height before choosing a cup as some are longer than others.

There you have it! Everything you need to know about why your cup might be leaking and exactly how to fix it. Next time you go to insert your cup, visualize what you are doing and follow some of these useful tips so you form that all-important seal, exactly where it needs to be.

If you have a problem with choosing your new period cup, check this outWhich menstrual cup to choose

Facts checked by:

Dr. Shree Datta

Dr. Laurie Mintz, Ph.D.

Dr. Shree Datta is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in London, specialising in women’s health including all menstrual problems such as fibroids and endometriosis. Dr. Shree is a keen advocate for patient choice, having written numerous articles and books to promote patient and clinician information. Her vision resonates with INTIMINA, with the common goals of demystifying periods and delivering the best possible care to her patients

Medical | LinkedIn | Twitter

Written by:

22 thoughts on “How to Stop Your Menstrual Cup Leaking

  • Hi,

    I’m feeling very let down by this product. I lost my mooncup which has always worked perfectly well for years. I went to the Planet Organic shop on Essex road to replace it, and they recommended a Lily cup, saying it was a better product. I went for the larger size, and used it the same way as the moon cup, however I’ve been besieged by leaks! I had an embarrassment at work last yesterday when my cup leaked, soiled underwear in the evening resulting in a couple of changes and having to rinse and soak underwear to remove blood stains.. all this whilst I’m supposed to be looking after my toddler. Then last night I had a leak in the night.. I haven’t slept. I’m furious. This product doesn’t work and I’m not using it anymore. Will buy a moon cup that I know works. I want my £25 back please. I notice the material of the Lily cup is softer. I wonder if this is the problem??

    • If you’re leaking each time you use the cup there’s a good likelihood the cup isn’t opening fully once inserted and therefore you don’t have a seal to keep the liquid in.
      I know that this can be frustrating, but I hope you won’t give up on the cup just yet. It took me around 3 cycles to feel like I wasn’t leaking every time I used my first cup. It depends on your body and it can take some time to get used to it and figure out exactly what works. It will be totally worth it once you get the hang of it.
      Since the cup is made out of extremely soft and flexible silicone it can be a bit of a challenge to find the right method to get it open at first. I recommend inserting the cup a bit higher than it needs to be at first, and then squeezing or pressing the body of the cup a few times to try and get the rim to pop open. Make sure the cup is completely open and the rim is not indented at all. You can do this by running the rim of your finger around the cup. Then you can use the stem or base to pull it down – which can help more stubborn folds to open and form a seal.
      Hope this helps, please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any other questions.

  • Mine seems to go in fine and forms a seal (it’s never leaked and theres definitely suction when I try to remove it) but it then slides down as I’m moving around. What am I doing wrong? It’s my first cup and I’ve tried all of the recommended insertion methods.

  • Hello,

    I have been using the lily cup for around 5-6 months now and was pretty sure I was finally getting the hang of it. However, my last couple of cycles I have NOT been able to get it to work! I have no trouble getting it situated properly inside, and generally no trouble getting it to open as well. What happens is a few seconds/minutes after it’s inside and open, the suction will change (which I can always feel, sometimes it’s a bit painful), the seal breaks, and the cup begins to leak. It feels to me like the walls of the cup have collapsed in on themselves when I go to remove it after this happens.

    I’m really upset that I can’t get it to work any longer because for the first 3-4 months or so the lily cup was AMAZING and worked really well for me.

    Please let me know if you have any idea what might be happening!

    Thank you!

    • Hi Sad,

      please contact our customer care for more info. They will lead you through the process step by step, and help you with everything.

      Best regards,

  • Hi! This guide was pretty useful, and indeed it took me some months to get used to Lilycup, but I was eventually able to let the cup open properly. However, in the last couple of months it’s again a bit of a issue, and I’m struggling to understand why. Can it depend on the fact that I started training 3/4 times a week and this changed my pelvic floor? Shall I buy a new cup? Thanks!

    • Hi Effe,

      I think it will be best to talk to our customer care agents, they will help you with this. They will contact you via e-mail.

      Let us know if you have more questions.

      Best regards,

  • I’m new to the menstrual cups, and after much research , I decided to purchase a lily cup. its the smaller size and I can get it all the way in , but when I try to open it it won’t open fully (I’ve tried all the techniques , different folds, pinching, etc) and I can’t fit a finger in as well to open it that way , I think my vagina is to small, any suggestions? I really want it to work!

    • Hi there,

      I’m very sorry to hear you experienced issues with using your Lily Cup One! I recommend inserting the cup a bit higher than it needs to be at first. You can use your finger on the rim of the cup to push it further into your vagina. Then squeeze or press the body of the cup a few times (as high on the body as you can reach) to try and get the rim to pop open and form a seal. If the cup still doesn’t open you can slide your finger up to the rim of the cup and press inwards. Then you can use the base of the cup to pull it down – which can help more stubborn folds to open fully and form a seal.

      If you need any further assistance or have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Customer Care!

      Kind regards,

  • I’ve been reading tons of the articles from your site and they’re all well written and very helpful. I just bought the Ziggy cup and am having a hard time figuring it out, especially for leaks. The information on most of the site is aimed mainly at cups rather than discs. I’m wondering about suggestions for leaking with the Ziggy disc. It’s really not used the same way as a cup. The instructions that came with it were 9-ish pages of teeny tiny writing that was all disclaimers in other languages and info about other products with a whole 1 sentence for how to use the very confusing disc. I also seem to have a very high cervix, so positioning and getting it out are stressful. More help with the Ziggy “cup” specifically would be much appreciated!

    • Hi Steph! I’m so sorry that you have been frustrated with Ziggy (and with trying to read our tiny instruction pamphlet!). We created this video on YouTube about Ziggy, but there are also several other menstrual product reviewers with videos (like this one) which might help you out!

    • Hi Kat,

      Please contact our customer care, they will lead you through the process step by step.

      Best regards,

  • Bro someone help me please. i have been using a menstrual cup for over two years, but i still get leaks. i have read so many articles about it and tried everything. the only thing i havent tried is a larger size, but they seem to be recommended for women who have given birth (which i havent). im so frustrated because i just assume that all cups leak every now and then since i have tried all the tips and tricks without success. any other wisdom that might help?

    • Hi Ruth! Leaks can indeed happen if a cup is too small, and while the size recommendations we make are somewhat arranged based on history of pregnancy, everyone’s body is a little bit different. So it may be that your body just works better with a bigger cup. However, I would suggest exhausting YouTube for their tips (like this video), as often a visual demonstration can be so much more helpful!

  • Is there anyone I can talk to regarding leaks? Been using mine for months now and while some have been due to my period going hey-wire (common problem solved by gp) I recently started on birth control meaning my periods are lighter but…

    I only had one cycle of no leaks and now leaked twice. Not good considering 1 the cup wasn’t full on both occasions 2 I’m a competitive swimmer who wants to rely on this product when restrictions ease.

    • Thanks for reaching out. That definitely sounds frustrating. Have you tried alternate folding techniques? Some tend to work with one anatomy over another. You can see them demonstrated with gifs here. Let us know if that helps!

  • i am using a menstrual cup for about 4 cylces and it leaks after some times and sometine it stop leaking. I dont know what is happng to me. I have low cervix and my cup strat to leak after sometime i use it and it feels like coming out im so deppressed and also i can feel the stem but it only leak after sometime i need your hepl please.
    hope you will ryply.
    thnakyou

  • I think the Lily cup may be too soft for me? This is my first time using a menstrual cup and I can get it to open fine but I can’t get it to go up higher into my vaginal canal; the stem is always at my entrance. I try to push it up but the cup just collapses on itself. My cervix is extremely high throughout my cycle so that’s not the issue, but I can’t push the cup up.

    • Hi A.

      please write to our customer care, they will have proper advice for you and will help you to solve this problem.

      The satisfaction of all our customers is very important to us. 🙂

      Have a great day

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • SUBSCRIBE TO BLOG NEWSLETTER TO RECEIVE 20% OFF!

  • Recommended
    News Flash: Up to 20% Off Intimina Flash Sale Is #GOALS
    Menstrual Cup Cleaning and Care
    What to Do If You Drop Your Menstrual Cup in the Toilet
  • SUBSCRIBE TO BLOG NEWSLETTER TO RECEIVE 20% OFF!