Aug 8, 2016

20 Secrets of the Mysterious Menstrual Cup

So, you've taken the menstrual cup plunge.

You spent hours reading blog posts about why they're the best thing ever. You measured your cervix (how that'd go for you? #awkwardlifemoment) and determined what size you need. You picked a company, held your breath, and ordered your first cup. Then your little box of joy, containing the supposed cure for all that ails you during menstruation, arrived!

And you stared at it like, "WTF!?"

I know. My dear friend Overthrow Martha first introduced me to the wonderful vampire wine goblet that you shove up your vagina back in 2014, but it took me over almost two years to move from, "This sounds really gross" to "I'm intrigued" to finally "I'm getting one of these things!"

And once I got it in the mail? I didn't know what to do with it! I mean... it was hard enough figuring out how to put a tampon in the first time. My first menstrual cup was 100x more intimidating!

Many months and menstrual cycles later, I've learned a LOT. And I've learned it all the hard way.

Fortunately, I'm willing willing to share my tips and tricks with you!

20 Secrets of the Mysterious Menstrual Cup | Hot Pink Crunch
(pelvi menstrual cup pictured)

20 Things You Need to Know About Menstrual Cups

Here are twenty real things you need to know about using menstrual cups before you stick that first cup up your baby maker.

Hopefully, this will spare you at least ten hours of tears and frustration. No using every expletive in your arsenal because you can't get the cup in no matter which way you fold it. No total meltdown because it's migrated so far up your hoo-ha you think you may need a trip to the ER to get it out or at least a set of thongs.

1) Your first cup might not be “the one”

Menstrual cups are a bit of an investment, so obviously you want your first cup to be “the one”. Unfortunately, that’s just not how life works.

On the bright side, it’s a whole let better than dating. There are a couple of great posts and videos on how to stop swiping left and find the right cup for you:

Even after doing your research, you may need to break up with your first cup after a few cycles when you realize it’s just not working out and no, it’s not you, it’s the cup.

2) Size can be deceiving

It may look big, but just remember that there are other, much larger things that use your vagina. For example, babies. They use your vag as a pathway to freedom and they have giant, bowling ball sized heads!

Also, penises.

3) There are multiple ways to fold the cup before shoving it up your hoo-ha

The directions I got in my cup box only spoke about and diagrammed the “c-fold” method. This did not work for me at all.

Check here for a video on some other ways to fold your cup. I like the punch fold the best myself. It’s the only one that doesn’t seem like you have to learn some major origami skills first.

4) When they say it’s firm and will just “pop” open, they really mean it

I thought a firmer cup would be fantastic. The idea that, as long as I managed to get it inside me, it’d just pop open and magically adjust itself into place was fantastic.

Except I didn’t factor the fact that “firm” meant “harder to fold and shove inside you” and “pops open before you get it inside and freaking hurts!”

Be careful about that popping action. Keep your hold on that thing until you get it inside you.

5) Lube yourself NOT the cup

When I was first having trouble getting the cup in, I thought to myself: “This would be a lot easier if my vag wasn’t as dry as the desert. I know! I’ll cover it with coconut oil so it goes in easier.” Smart, right?

Except I couldn’t keep a hold on the darn thing because it was so slippery. Lesson learned: apply coconut oil to yourself not the cup.

6) Is it in yet?

Even after a few months, it can take me an attempt or two to get the cup inside me and then in the position I want it in.

If you get it in and then instantly feel the need to pee, pull that sucker out and try again. It’s pushing against your bladder. You will absolutely be uncomfortable all day.

7) The cup can move!

Even if you don’t shove it way up there, it can move. It’s like your prom date: you tell it to stay put and it tries to sneak past and move on into third base.

I actually thought my vagina was trying to eat it. I put the cup in and the next second? It’s just gone!

But the reality is that the cup just wants to explore! It’s just a curious little thing. There is no need to panic. Even though it might feel like it’s lost in some black hole that exists beyond your cervix, it can’t actually get lost up there for good, right? RIGHT!?

8) You can circumcise your cup

You can trim the “tail” off your cup.. but maybe you shouldn’t

I found the tail to be incredibly uncomfortable the first time I had my menstrual cup in. Since I had seen people talk about cutting it off to make it more comfortable, I took that baby out and snipped away!

Only this made it ridiculously hard to get the cup out. There was nothing to grab onto and pull! There is a reason that tampons have strings and men are physically attached to their penises. These are disaster prevention mechanisms!

I wish I had given my menstrual cup and its tail another try before performing a circumcision on it.

9) It can feel like it’s impossible to get out

My sister and I both experienced this dilemma: first, there is elation that you got it in! SUCCESS! I am the smartest woman in the world!

Then you wake up the next morning and the cup is jammed so far up there, you’re wondering if it has decided to make a permanent home in your womb and you have no clue how to get it out.

This is especially true if you (like me) went and cut the tail off completely!


10) You absolutely need to relax your muscles

If you start to panic about getting the cup out, your body is absolutely going to clench up, grow some teeth, and keep a death hold on that thing.


Maybe go have a cup of wine or something. Chill out. Remind yourself that it’s gotta come out sometime. It’s you or the cup, and let’s be honest? You’re more stubborn than it is. You can wait. No big deal. You’ve got all the time in the world!

Tips and Tricks for Using Menstrual Cups | Hot Pink Crunch

11) Give birth to a bouncing baby menstrual cup

If you are still having trouble getting it out after relaxing, you’re going to have to perform an emergency birthing session of your new silicone baby.

Yeah. It sounds weird. I know. But the first time I used a cup and then couldn’t figure out how to get it out, I contacted the ladies of my awesome FB group for suggestions. The lovely Mountain Mama made a great point: our muscles down there are strong enough to push out a ten pound baby, so they are certainly strong enough to push a little silicone cup out.

Now, I’ve never birthed no babies, but I gave it a try with the cup. Totally worked. I was so proud!

12) Always poop first

Before you try taking your menstrual cup out, you should poop and fart first. If you need to engage your uterine muscles to push the cup out? It kinda sorta totally activates your butt muscles too. You could push a surprise poop out along with your cup if you don’t go #2 first.

This is especially problematic if you decide to squat in your bathtub to get your cup out. Picture it: poop everywhere

13) No need for the karma sutra here (but do lose your clothes)

There are a lot of positions to take when it comes to inserting/removing menstrual cups. Some people prefer squatting in the bathtub with one leg up on the side of the tub (looking at you Overthrow Martha). I prefer sitting on the toilet, my butt scooted pretty far back, and my right leg raised like I’m doing some kind of yoga move.

I also find it pretty helpful to take my pants off to give my legs maximum flexibility. Actually, I'll be honest: I like taking my underpants off too.

Find your comfortable position and keep it. No need to get fancy and try new things. Don’t worry, your menstrual cup won’t leave you if you’re unwilling to experiment.

14) Try the pinch and pull method

If you just yank it right out when you get a hold of it? It might hurt a little. You had to fold it to get it in there, what makes you think you don't need to fold it to pull it out?

These things are small but they’re not that small! And you may be pretty dry down there. You gotta be gentle with yourself!

To minimize and prevent pain, pull the cup out slowly and pinch the top closed if you can. This will prevent spilling and make it more comfortable.

15) It looks like stabby snot

After you take your cup out, you need to empty it into the toilet. The first time I did this, I was surprised and a bit horrified.

It looked like I stabbed someone and then they snot on me.

Real blood is all thin and runny (at least it is in the movies). Menstrual fluid looks like blood and snot mixed together.

Welcome to womanhood! Isn’t it beautiful?

16) Toilets are dangerous

Your cup may fall into the toilet. It happens. If you poop before trying to take the cup out? Flush.

17) A steamy shower is just the thing

If you can, take it out while you’re in the shower. It’s a much cleaner process this way; you can clean yourself and the cup while it's out; and you won’t have to use up a whole roll of toilet paper either.

Be warned: It’ll look like the stabbing scene from Psycho when you dump it out.

18) You will be grossed out

You will be grossed out so many times.

You’ll be grossed out when you realize you have to clean this thing out in your bathroom sink (yeah, the one you brush your teeth over) and can’t just throw it away like a tampon.

You’ll be grossed out when you realize there is no applicator, which means you have to have your fingers inside yourself at some point to readjust the cup and pull it out.

You’ll be grossed out when you empty the cup and totally get some bloodsnot on the toilet seat.

It’s okay to be grossed out. It’s okay to run water over it even after it looks clean. It’s okay to use up a whole roll of toilet paper. It’s okay to wash your hands four times during the whole removal/reinsertion process. It’s even okay to say, “Ew ew ew ew eeeeewwwww!” the entire time.

19) You’re going to want to give up

Not only are you going to be grossed out, but you’re going to be uncomfortable too.

You’re going to want to go back to your familiar comfort zone of tampons and diapers.

You’re going to wonder why you spent $30+ on a silicone wine goblet sized for guinea pigs.

20) Don’t give up!

The important thing is to try it again (and again). Trust me. Once you figure this out, you’ll be singing my praises and bowing down to me, “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!” because they really are as amazing as everyone says.

If I can do it--with my abhorrence of anything ick, my insistence on not calling sex organs by their proper names 99% of the time, and my inability to figure out where the heck my pelvic wall was inside my vag--then you totally got this!

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