Your menstrual cup is leaking?! I know these things are adorable, but they can be frustrating too! Here’s my guide to getting that thing to stop leaking once and for all.
It seems that many of you liked my post about the menstrual cup which is great because menstrual cups are amazing.
They can feel intimidating at first—but they’re totally worth it for three badass reasons:
- You’re using a healthy alternative to tampons.
- You’re not supporting animal testing.
- And, you’re getting more in touch with your body.
Honestly, it took quite a while for me to get the hang of mine (I’m talking years). For a while, I thought I just wasn’t ever going to get it.
During this time I compiled a list that I keep in my bathroom with the cup for when I have trouble with it (which isn’t often at all now).
I’d like to share this list of twelve items with my fellow females in case some of you are having trouble like I was. Here’s what to do if your menstrual cup is leaking!
1. Check the Seal
When your menstrual cup is leaking, that means the seal has not been created properly.
There needs to be a seal created between the lip of the cup and your vaginal wall. When this seal is created, your menstrual cup should not move easily (you can usually test the seal by grabbing the stem and giving it a good tug to see if it readily moves) and it should not leak. No matter what.
The only way the seal can get messed up once created is by pooing (sorry, people who poo with their menstrual cup in) and pinching the base of the cup. The latter is the action you will do when you are ready to remove the menstrual cup/empty it to break the seal.
But how do we create the seal?
2. Find the Right Fold
There are SO many different folds out there! The “C” fold is supposed to be the most popular, but I’ve found that many women don’t like this fold. I myself don’t like it anymore. I use the “7” fold and the “punch-down” fold. I like the 7 fold better. It’s easy to find out how to do these folds; Google them!
Fold preference really just depends on what works for you. Some women prefer different folds based on their size, or comfort, or what creates the seal best. For me, it’s all about creating the seal. What’s the point of using the bleeding thing if your menstrual cup is leaking?!
Other folds include the origami fold, squiggle fold, diamond fold, and the labia fold. Experiment and find which one is for you!
3. WHERE’S MY CERVIX?!
I promise it’s not that hard, but you really do need to find your cervix if your menstrual cup is leaking.
Supposedly it feels firm and squishy, like the tip of your nose (and yeah, it actually does feel like that). Some women have higher cervixes, some have lower. The cervix is the entrance to your womb, so it’s in your vagina. Stick your finger up there and find it.
It took me a little while to realize that my cervix was actually angled a little to the left, and this has made a huge difference in helping my menstrual cup not to leak. Some women need longer stems on their cups and some need shorter, just depending on where your cervix is. Some women cut off the stem of their menstrual cup because they don’t need it. It’s all about your body and what works for you. But you do need to know where it is.
The menstrual cup should sit just below your cervix. If it’s in too high, this messes up the flow and your menstrual cup won’t work like it’s supposed to. If it’s too low, the seal won’t work.
And, here’s the killer—your cervix can actually move during menstruation. So you won’t just have to find it once but several times during your period. Get to know its position during your cycle!
4. Rotate the Cup
After you do your cute little fold and your menstrual cup pops open inside you, some women suggest giving the cup one full rotation to create the seal (and then pull down slightly) if your menstrual cup is leaking.
5. Pull the Cup Down
Some people suggest pulling the cup down (especially after rotating) to allow it to settle into its best position after it pops open inside you. I’ve found this to be very helpful when creating my seal!
Just pull it down maybe an inch or so, don’t pull the thing out. The pull is more like a gentle but firm tug to make sure the cup is in place.
6. Consider the Material of the Cup
Most cups are made out of silicone. Mine is made out of silicone as well.
So the deal with silicone is that it can be rather soft. This is cool because it makes the cup moldable to your unique vaginal wall in order to create the seal. It’s not cool because its softness can prevent your menstrual cup from properly popping open when it’s inside of you due to its softness.
So what to do? If your menstrual cup is leaking, take it out. Then, before insertion, run the menstrual cup under cold water to help firm up the silicone molecules. It’s actually not too bad inserting a cold cup, and you do need to insert it right after you run it under cold water.
This is a good thing to try if you have tight muscles down there and are having problems with getting your cup to open all the way.
How do you know if your menstrual cup is open all the way?
7. Feel That It’s Open
Running your finger along the edge of the menstrual cup can help you know if your cup is properly open. If your menstrual cup is leaking, chances are it didn’t pop open right. If you feel that it’s not properly open, this is a good time to do the rotation. Or…
8. Do Kegels
You smart ladies all know what these are right? If you don’t, I suggest you get your butt over to Google right now and find out. You need to be doing these, especially if you like to run and/or have children so that your vagina doesn’t fall out (this can happen!).
Kegels are basically just exercises that you do to strengthen your muscles down there. They are very simple. All you do is act like you are holding your pee. So for example, when you pee, just stop peeing. In the middle of it. Do this two times or so and you’re good to go. Eventually, you can learn to do them without peeing.
How can they help you when your menstrual cup is leaking?
They can help you by creating the seal (and, as we’ve discussed, the seal is critical). If you fold your cup and insert it and it doesn’t pop open all the way, or even if it does, you can do kegels to help create the seal. It does feel a little weird doing these exercises while the cup is inside of you (it basically feels like you are trying to push the menstrual cup out of you), but I’ve found that they really help when creating the seal or if you’re having problems with your cup opening all the way.
Kegels also help when you are trying to get the menstrual cup out. If you have it in there good, it might be hard to get out depending on its position. This is where the “pushing it out” feeling comes in handy.
9. Open Your Mouth
This is a weird one, but it works—keeping your mouth open while inserting/getting your cup in properly can help relax your muscles down there, therefore allowing the cup to open naturally and situate itself in the proper position. This one has helped me a lot!
Just as the size and fold of your cup matters as well as the position of your cervix, so does the position YOU are in when inserting your menstrual cup.
I’ve found that different cups come with different instructions for insertion. Some women insert the cup while sitting on the toilet, others while standing, some while squatting.
I’m here to tell you that if your menstrual cup is leaking, you might want to consider changing your position when you insert the cup. In my personal experience, squatting works the best. I never insert my cup any other way.
I started squatting to check my cervix when I started using the fertility awareness method, and I’ve found that this is just a way better position to find my cervix and insert the cup.
Every woman is different so find what works for you, but definitely give squatting a try if your menstrual cup is leaking!
11. Get the Right Size
There are different sizes and shapes of the cups. You need to pick the one that is best for you.
The guidelines that the menstrual cup websites have for sizes seem to be accurate. Mostly I feel that it is personal preference about which cup works best for you, and unfortunately, sometimes this just has to happen with trial and error. Reading reviews is helpful also! If you’re not sure about the size, contact the company and talk to them about it.
12. Contact the Company
If you’ve literally tried everything and your cup is still leaking—don’t give up! Contact the company that made your cup. Tell them what’s going on. They will help you!
I finally had to do this when I was on my fourth menstrual cup, the Lunette, and broke down and contacted the company. I should have done this sooner, because four menstrual cups later… seriously?!
The customer care people at Lunette were incredibly nice, understanding, and kept working with me and asking questions until we had the problem figured out (it was a combination of my cervix being to the left and the cup being too small… those sizes aren’t for everyone! Just because you’re 25 and haven’t given birth vaginally doesn’t mean you need the bigger size and vice versa. These are just guidelines. You’ll only know by trial and error which cup works for you!)
So What Works for Me?
After trying The Keeper and The Lady Cup (both sizes), I use the larger size of the Lunette and have been very successful with this cup.
Here’s my routine for inserting my cup without leaking:
- Wash my hands and my cup with Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, rinsing thoroughly
- Check where my cervix is
- Fold the cup (I use the “7” fold)
- Open my mouth
- Insert the cup angled back towards my rectum but also towards my cervix (my cervix is angled to the left)
- Let the cup go (I can usually hear it “pop” open; this sound can help you know if the seal is there)
- Rotate the cup
- Pull the cup down
- Do 2-3 kegels
- Give it another tug to make sure it’s good
I know it sounds confusing and complicated… trust me, one day, you’ll find what works for you!
Bottom line: if your menstrual cup is leaking, it’s not working. I hope this list helps. If you’re still confused, there’s this great video by this British girl (woman? She looks so young!) that will give you some more visual help. She is really awesome!
Good luck! 🙂