This article was medically fact-checked by Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr. Shree Datta.
Is your menstrual cup having so much fun inside your vagina that it doesn’t want to come out? This is certainly one way to look at it! In the rare cases when a menstrual cup is inserted incorrectly, such a strong suction is created that makes it a little more tricky to remove.
If you’ve found yourself in this particular situation and have tried multiple times to remove it with no success, you’re probably starting to consider moving into your bathroom to live out the rest of your days. Don’t. Here is how to calmly remove your cup when it’s being particularly stubborn (of course, after giving your hands a good wash!):
Your vaginal canal is not an endless nor even a cavernous space; it’s actually pretty narrow with a comforting dead end at your cervix. Meaning? It is impossible for your cup to be swallowed up by your body or to get lost in there, so stop worrying! Once it’s in, there’s only one place for it to go – out. Chill and stop tensing those muscles – this will only make removal more difficult.
2. Try Removing As Normal
If you’re new to menstrual cups, it’s natural to jump the gun and conclude that your cup is gone, gone forever when a little difficulty arises. Honing your removal skills can take a few cycles so be patient and follow the steps in our article, “Removing Your Menstrual Cup 101.”
After breaking the seal, squeeze the base of the cup and pull out gently with a firm and consistent pressure. It’s a little different from pulling out a tampon and will take about 5 seconds longer – so don’t let go!
If sitting isn’t working particularly well for your removal, you can even try hitching a leg up on the toilet or side of the tub to relax the vaginal opening.
3. Exploration Stations
Still no luck? It’s time to survey the situation up there so that you can have a better plan of attack. Wash your hands and insert one or two fingers into the vagina. Take your time to locate your cup; is it far up the vaginal canal? Has it suctioned onto your cervix? Is it at an odd angle?
4. If Necessary, Take a Break
If you’ve been rummaging around in there for a while and your vagina’s starting to feel a little stressed and swollen – take a break. No need to panic! The stress of the unknown while climbing the learning curve is something we’ve felt while using every period product for the first time. Most menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicone, which is designed to be worn inside the body for long periods of time so a little longer won’t hurt. Take a bath to relax your muscles if they feel strained or use a cold compress on your lady bits if swollen.
5. Break’s Over – Now Break the Seal!
Now that you and your vag have composed yourselves, it’s time to remove that bad boy. Essentially, you must break the airtight seal your menstrual cup has created in order to remove it.
It may help to strip down any tight clothes you have on, so that you have space to get into a comfortable position, preferably squatting – as this shortens the length of the vaginal canal.
Insert a clean finger and thumb into the vagina and feel for the base of the cup. Using your pelvic floor muscles, bear down so that the cup is easier to reach. Firmly squeeze the body of the cup between your finger and thumb (several times) to try break the rim’s seal and then gently pull outwards.
If this doesn’t work, run your finger up to the rim and press inwards to allow air between the cup’s rim and the surface it has suctioned onto, then pull out gently.
After successfully freeing your vagina of any stressful suction, give your cup a proper rinse to keep it clean. Don’t forget to wash your hands before and after!
The final step in this menstrual cup removal saga? Pat yourself on the back, pop the bubbly and brush up on how to insert your cup properly! Always make sure you’ve enough air above your cup when inserting and if your cup has air holes, that they are clean and have a clear airway.
For rookies and pros alike, a little how-to-use refresher is always handy, so if you’re in need of a recap, check out our Quick Start Guide to Using a Menstrual Cup.
If you have a problem with choosing your new period cup, check this out: Which menstrual cup to choose
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Facts checked by:
Dr. Shree Datta
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
Lane Baumeister is an internationally-based Canadian writer with several years’ experience creating educational and entertaining articles that discuss intimate health and sexual well-being. When not waxing profound about menstruation, she devotes herself to enjoying extremely good food and equally bad movies.