How to Use a Menstrual Cup: A quick start guide

Jul 222014

How do you use a menstrual cup?A menstrual cup might seem like a big change from disposable period protection, but it’s not as complicated as it looks (and it has way more benefits!). Just like the first time you used a tampon, it just takes a bit of practice and then you’ll be a pro in no time.

What is a menstrual cup?

A Menstrual cup is a flexible, medical-grade silicone cup that is worn inside the vagina and collects your flow during your period. There are many compelling reasons to make the switch to the cup – and once you do you’ll never go back to pads and tampons.

Inserting Your Cup

1) Start at home: Inserting your cup for the first time can be a bit of an adventure– one you probably don’t want to have in a public restroom or your boyfriend’s house. So the first few times you might want to stay closer to home – both for comfort’s sake and in case you need to make adjustments throughout the day.

2) Clean Up: Before you handle your cup or touch your genitals at all, be sure to wash your hands. You don’t want to introduce new bacteria into your vagina – it has its own healthy balance to maintain. It’s a good idea to boil your cup for about 5 minutes before each period, just to be sure it’s completely clean and hygienic. (Check out our article on menstrual cup cleaning and care for lots more information about looking after your cup.)

3) Assume the position: Most women find it helpful to sit on the toilet with their legs apart – similar to when you insert a tampon. You can also squat down in a shower or tub, or put one leg up on the edge of the tub – it all depends on what’s comfortable for you. Just take your time to find the right position – we’ve all done it so don’t worry about looking silly the first few times. You’re the only one who’ll see it!

4) Relax: The most important thing to remember is to RELAX. If you’re too nervous then your vaginal muscles will tighten, making it uncomfortable or even impossible to insert your cup. It might help to take a little time to get to know your body. Find your vaginal opening and insert a finger to locate your cervix (where your vagina ends and your uterus begins, it feels like the tip of your nose). Knowing your anatomy will make it easier to position the cup correctly – and  getting comfortable with your body is generally important to help you recognize possible health issues early on.

5) Try out the folds: There’s more than one way to fold a menstrual cup – and each woman has her own preferences. Depending on the style of cup you have and your own anatomy it might take a few tests to find the best one for you, but there are a lot of different options.

6) Insert at an angle: Once you have your cup folded, hold it with one hand (with the stem pointing down), and insert it towards the small of your back, not straight up.

7) Make sure it’s open: You can squeeze the base (not the stem!) and pull down lightly or rotate the cup 360 degrees – which can both help open the cup and create a seal that keeps the cup from leaking. You can also run your finger around between the cup and the wall of your vagina, making sure that the cup is not still folded.

8) Check the stem: The stem of your cup should not stick out from the vulva and once you insert it you shouldn’t be able to feel it at all. If it pokes you, take the cup out and try another fold or insert it at a different angle. If you’re still uncomfortable, it might be a good idea to trim the stem down – just be careful to leave enough to help you out during removal!

9) Enjoy your day! You can leave your cup in for up to 12 hours depending upon your flow (much longer than tampons).

Removing Your Cup

1) RELAX! Noticing a theme here? Just like for insertion your body should be calm and relaxed when removing your cup – you’ll get used to it, don’t worry. You can use your vaginal muscles (those ever important pelvic floor muscles!) to push the cup down until you can grip the stem. It feels a little like a bowel movement, but don’t strain or you might hurt your muscles. 

2) Break the seal: Once you can grip the stem, use it to gently pull the cup down until you can squeeze the base, which breaks the seal and allows you to remove the cup easily.

3) Gently pull it out: Once the seal is broken, continue to squeeze the base and use it to wiggle the cup out. It’s best to hold it by the base rather than the stem when pulling it out, because using the stem can hurt as well as create a mess, since the cup won’t be supported when it comes out.

Once you’ve got the cup out, just empty your fluid into the toilet, rinse the cup out, and reinsert for up to 12 more hours of protection. It might be different from anything you’ve used before, but it will make your periods easier than they’ve ever been. Just remember that practice makes perfect, and like all menstrual care products, it might take you a few periods to get the hang of it.
Lily Cup Compact - The World's First Collapsible Menstrual Cup

Please note that advice offered by Intimina may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.


Dealing with Ouch Au Naturel – 5 Natural Remedies for Relieving Cramps

Are period cramps cramping your style? While reaching for a painkiller like ibuprofen can offer quick and efficient relief, you may have reasons to pass on the pills and be looking for natural remedies. (Certain painkillers, like Tylenol and Advil, can be rough on your liver and stomach (respectively) if taken in excess, but do [...]

Read more »


Irregular Periods & Ovulation: What You Need to Know

If you’re trying to conceive but wonder if your irregular periods will make it difficult, we have good news – irregular menstruation does not always mean you’re not ovulating regularly! While the average period comes every 28 days and lasts about 5, there is plenty of variation within this range that counts as ‘normal.’ When [...]

Read more »


8 Reasons Your Period Might Be Late – Other Than Pregnancy

If babies aren’t on the agenda, missing a period can be an incredibly stressful experience. We know, we know: it’s easier said than done, but try not to panic. First things first: could you just be late, as opposed to skipping a period altogether? Bear in mind that very few women have a textbook 28-day [...]

Read more »


Five Foods to Cut Down During Your Period

We all experience periods differently. For some they’re no big deal; for others they’re an inconvenience; and for an unlucky few, debilitating. But no matter whether your go-to tonic is a hot water bottle, a painkiller, or just a couple of days lying low, what you eat can and does affect how you feel during [...]

Read more »


Flash Flood: Why is My Period Suddenly Heavier than Normal?

We like to think that, no matter how light and short or long and disastrously heavy our periods are, they at least follow a familiar pattern. It can be quite disconcerting then, when our previously steady cycles deviate significantly from the norm. To put your mind at ease, here are the basics of heavy bleeding, [...]

Read more »


3 Step Guide to Cleaning Your Lily Cup in a Public Restroom

When introducing women to the idea of menstrual cups, often the first question that comes up is, “But how do you clean it in a public bathroom?!” We get it, the “Remove, Rinse, Reinsert” mantra of using your cup relies heavily on the middle part and without (private) access to a sink, one would think [...]

Read more »


How to Deal If Your Menstrual Cup Gets Stuck

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 [...]

Read more »


5 Signs That You’re About to Get Your First Period – You Ready?

Fun fact, the first period a girl has is called her menarche (say MEN-ar-kee), kind of like anarchy… Which is sort of how your first period can feel. Your body is being overthrown by hormones that are going to take charge of you, changing your body and the way you feel. People react to this [...]

Read more »

how to remove period stains

Top 5 Period Stain Cleaning Hacks (That Actually Work)

Show me someone who menstruates, and I’ll show you someone who has woken up to a murder scene beneath the sheets – no horse’s heads involved. Let’s face facts, period stains are part and parcel of menstruating and can happen to menstruators young and old alike. Whether you miscalculated Aunt Flo’s arrival, she sprung upon [...]

Read more »

Period Blood Colour

Is Your Period Blood a Weird Color? It Happens! (And Here’s Why)

So, you have just found period blood that’s not quite… blood-colored. You probably want to know what on earth is going on, so first step – don’t panic! Period blood is not the same as blood from a paper cut. It can get all mixed up with other bodily fluids, air and chemicals in your [...]

Read more »

  • Sign Up. It's Rewarding!
  • Join our newsletter list today.
  • Enjoy 10% off your first order.
  • *Email address
  • *Birthday
  • *Required field
     For first-time subscribers only. Terms & Conditions
INTIMINA uses cookies to improve our service to the customer. By continuing to browse our site, you agree to our use of cookies detailed here.   ACCEPT