I’ve been using a period cup for almost 6 months now! It took me at least the last 5 years of hearing about them, and how amazing they are, for me to finally pick one up and give it a go, and I had a fairly steep learning curve with it – it wasn’t till month three or four that I really felt confident using it, but was it worth it? YES. A resounding Yes! I don’t buy pads or tampons anymore, I have less cramps and less bloating (no clue the science on that one!), and I feel generally less gross on my period now. Bonus? My kiddos think it’s magical and amazing, and I kinda agree.
*some affiliate links included! This help me pay to host and run my site, thanks!*
I opened up my IG and FB to any questions you had about using a period cup. I answered to the best of my abilities, with my short experience of using the Diva Cup, and I outsourced to learn more about other cups on the market and what might help/work better for different bodies. If you have any other questions, ask me here or or FB or IG and I’ll happily add them to the post and answer them! If you have any more awesome tips or ticks, add them to the comments so everyone can benefit!
Also, are you currently on your flow? Want a nice juicy yoga practice to help with all those feelings? I popped my 25min Yoga Video for your period onto the end of this post. Enjoy!
What even is a period cup?
Essentially – it’s a soft little, silicone tapered cup (holds about 2-3oz) that you fold gently and insert into your vagina, it opens up, you spin it (to seal) around your cervix and leave it in for around 12 hours. It collects all the blood and then you just pour it out. For many people it helps to eliminate cramps and bloating (magic! i don’t know why that happens?!) and is a really no-muss way to have a period. It is also less money, less of a carbon footprint/better for our planet, and easier on your body that having a tampon in.
Finding the right “fit”! I currently have one and it fits weird still, even after lots of trying.
My experience is that sometime the BRAND can be the wrong fit. There are softer and firmer, larger and smaller cups, and what the box says will work for you, won’t always be correct. Vaginas are like snowflakes! No two the same. In my experience the lunette is much softer and gentler, so if you are highly sensitive, smaller pelvis, or never had a baby it might be a better bet. The diva cup is sturdier and firmer, so if you feel like your body expels cups, or has a slightly weaker pelvic floor it may be a better bet! Both also have two sizes, one for people who’ve given birth and one for those who haven’t. It *can* be that you won’t fit into the category they think you should be! So sometimes it can mean that you have the wrong cup, not that you are doing it wrong.
What do you do in public? (rinse? water bottle?) (quick tip! baby wipes!)
I got this question at least ten times! I’m going to give you some tips (some I use and some I’ll use now after other people sent me these ideas!) but I want to start with. . . I’ve had to do this twice in 6 mo. So I rarely even had to use these tips because you can leave them in for 12 hours so it’s been a non-issue. I put it in in the morning before we leave for the day and I’m home within 12 hours nearly every.single.time. That said, I just pour it out into the toilet and then rinse it off with a waterbottle (I always have a water bottle) and reinsert it right then. I don’t leave the stall. Another person recommended having some (sensitive/unscented) baby wipes with you to wipe it out and that seems brilliant to me!
Does yours affect either of your other elimination tasks?
Nope! Surprisingly. The basic answer is that because these are all three using different holes it’s no big deal. But I think the real reason it’s a non-issue is that when I put in my cup I bare down hard and then once it’s in I kegal it up and in (told you we were getting real here!) so it’s pretty firmly in place.
Does it hurt and is it easy to take back out?
The first two months it was uncomfortable to put it, and finding my groove with it was. . . werid. But never painful. Taking it out was easy, and even more doable than I’d expected. I thought it would be awkward, difficult, painful, and/ or messy. Thankfully, it was none of those things! Totally doable, just had a learning curve.
Can it get stuck?
Yes. It can get suctioned in too tightly around your cervix and then be stuck/hard to get out. This is rare, but happens. Usually you just have a partner/friend take it out for you if this happens (or, that’s what the stories I’ve read say they did). It doesn’t sound common, but can happen. More commonly it migrates/falls out.
How does doing yoga (or maybe more specifically headstands/inversions) affect things?
It should be a nonissue because it can’t really fall… up? And the danger of your blood flowing the wrong direction isn’t really possible because your body seals up relatively tightly. However, most practitioners and teachers recommend not dong any inversions during your period anyway. But if you do, it’s not a problem with your cup. I’ve done lots of yoga with my cup in and haven’t experienced any shifting/falling/discomfort with it in typical asana practice (or running, workout videos, or jumping!)
How do you know what size to get?
Most brands just have two sizes, one for people who have had a baby or are over 30 and one for people who have not had a baby. So it’s pretty straightforward. That said, know thyself! If you think you’d be better off with a smaller size, even if you’ve given birth, go for it – you know your body better than anyone else.
Do you need a pad + cup on heavy days? Does it overflow?
Nope! It holds quite a lot of blood. You may want to change it earlier (6-8 hours) on your heaviest flow days, but it holds a lot of liquid and I’ve never had any issue with it overflowing/not containing everything.
Tilted cervix… how?
Ah, I have a super tilted cervix and it did make my learning curve even steeper on finding the most comfortable fit. For me it meant needing to have a good idea of where my cervix was when I was inserting the cup, so I had a better idea of where to… aim? You get the idea. The more times I did it the easier it became and the more natural it felt. Having a tilted cervix may make finding the right spot and fit a little more difficult, but it shouldn’t make it impossible by any means.
Have you ever accidentally dumped it?
No! It comes out shockingly steady and just full. And? feels weirdly satisfying. The container has a good lip on the top so it’s pretty easy to keep from spilling it, and when you slide it out it’s upright and pretty easy to keep that way.
I feel the stem pushing? still uncomfortable? different brand? should I be more than a year PP? i’ve used it for awhile and can always feel it? like a pressure making it feel like I have to pee? how can I remedy that?
So a few things! One, I think that different brands work better for different bodies. The lunette is a lot softer and a little smaller (both sizes) and it might be a better fit for you than Diva Cup if you have found discomfort or pressure from the size of this cup. Also, if you are using the disposable cups, those ones are HUGE in comparison to both the Diva Cup and the Lunette. Another idea is to try out the smaller size Diva, the one for women who haven’t given birth. There won’t be a one-size fits all, so it very well could be that your body will do better with a smaller cup. If you are using the smaller diva and still feeling pressure I would think about giving the Lunette a try, but first really trouble shooting your placement. It shouldn’t cause any pressure or pain on your ureter, so making sure that you have your cup in deeply and securely enough will also help.
How do you put it in? fingers all up in there?
Hah, YUP. I use the U fold (yes, I YouTube’d all the different ways to fold my cup before I started, haha) and I hold it with my pointer and middle finger (together) and thumb. I insert it as deeply as I comfortably can and then release it to let it open up. Then I use just my middle and pointer (on opposing sides of the cup) to spin it into place. I try to get one full circle to secure it, but don’t always. The first few months were rough, and I had to take it out/try again a few times. But once I found my cervix it stopped feeling so overwhelming. It also got me over some SERIOUS body hangups I have had. So, weirdly enough, after I figured out the learning curve it was pretty healing.
Will it fall out? if I sneeze? my pelvic floor is weak.
I feel you! And no! If it doesn’t have a solid seal it may move down a little and you’ll want to head to the bathroom to give it a nudge back up and a fresh spin, but otherwise it won’t fall out.
It gives me cramps when in? is this the wrong size?
Yes, probably! Or wrong brand. If it’s hurting, I’d try a smaller or softer cup.
Why does it leak? pop open? (uses lunette)
Not a good seal! It shouldn’t leak or open if it’s gotten a nice amount suction. It could be that you need a larger cup (to fit better around cervix) or one that fits firmer (Diva). But first I’d just really focus on getting it in and up high enough, and spun in a full circle. The Lunette cup sits tighter and higher on the cervix, so it may be a better fit.
I’m nervous! I feel like I did before the first time I used a tampon!
I KNOW. It’s terrifying at first! I watched so many YouTube videos about how to put it in, how to fold it, and all the success (and horror, because I’m dumb) stories. Then? I just went for it. And it wasn’t great. But also wasn’t that bad. It took a few months, but I felt less and less freaked out each time. It was worth it!
How messy is it to take out? Is it bloody on the outside? will I have to hobble to sink all bloody?
Not very messy at all. It contains all of the blood, so when you pull it out there isn’t any blood on the outside or on your vulva. So it isn’t messy, but will be wet and you’ll want to wash your hands before and after. But you can take it out, pour it out, and rinse or wipe (water bottle or baby wipes) before you reinsert it.
How much is in the cup when you take it out?
Depends on the day! On my heaviest day it’s about 3/4 full after about 10ish hours. On all the rest of the days it’s only about 1/4 or less full after 12 hours. The average menstruating person loses about 2-3oz of blood during their period. I KNOW IT FEELS LIKE CUPS FULL. But it’s really not as much as you’d imagine. So the cup has no problem holding it for most people. And honestly, it is ridiculously satisfying to pull it out and have it nearly full, can’t explain that one. But, there you go.
How do you get it out? Does it hurt to pull it out?
When you reach in (again, I use my pointer and middle) you give it a gentle squeeze around the top to release the suction and then just pull down slow and steady and it comes right out. It’s not super complicated but kind of a weird sensation. It doesn’t hurt, but it doest feel really strange and totally different than anything you likely do on a regular basis. But not painful.
Does it hurt to put it in when you have cramps?
Honestly, it doesn’t feel great to do it when you’re in the throws of your worst cramps. But it takes less than a couple minutes once you know what you’re doing and for some people (me! and lots of other women who messaged me on IG!) it helps to alleviate those cramps!
Do you keep a clean one with you for switching?
I don’t, I just rinse mine out or wash it at home between uses and then at the end of my period I sterilize it in boiling water. But some day soon I want to pick up a second one so I can swap out and sanitize more easily. But it’s for sure not a necessity.
READER TIPS (and check the comments for more, ya’ll are brilliant!)
If the fit still feels uncomfortable, or you can feel it too much; You can try either flipping your cup inside out (what?! So smart!) or just trimming the stem a little bit. Neither will ruin the integrity of the cup, but both can make it more comfortable for your specific body. Also a friend wrote me explaining that the Lunette sits a lot higher on the cervix with a longer stem, so it may be more comfortable for those who’ve tried the Diva to no avail.
Want something to help with cramps or just get you in tune with your bod on your flow? Give this a go!