The Ultimate Menstrual Cup FAQ’s!

Diva cup small

So menstrual cups can be a bit confusing sometimes.

There’s usually ALOT of questions to ask before most people take the plunge and buy one!

I’m here to help you!

If you have any questions that aren’t covered below, please check out the Got a Question? page and ask away! Myself and others in the M.C.A Community are more than happy to help 🙂

What is a Menstrual Cup?

A menstrual cup is a cup shaped device made of medical grade silicone that is inserted into the vagina to capture blood that flows during your period.
To insert a menstrual cup, you squash the sides and put it in like a tampon. It opens up inside you, creating a seal around the vaginal wall so that it can capture blood, with almost no risk of leakage.

How do menstrual cups work?

You need to squash the sides of a menstrual cup together, and then insert it in the same way as a tampon. Once inside, it will open back into a cup shape and you turn it one full rotation to seal it in position. To remove the blood, you simply pull out the cup and empty it. To insert a menstrual cup, you squash the sides and put it in like a tampon. It opens up inside you, creating a seal around the vaginal wall so that it can capture blood, with almost no risk of leakage!

What size menstrual cup should I get?!

Menstrual cups usually come in small and large sizes. Manufacturers recommend that women and girls under 30 use the small cup. They recommend that over-30s and women who have had children (who often have stretched out vaginal muscles), use the large cup. Some are designed specifically for post-partum women. If you have a low cervix, you may need a smaller size. Remember, these are generic guidelines and you might have to try different sizes and makes to find your ideal fit.

Do menstrual cups hurt?

Menstrual cups are extremely soft and once inside the vagina, you should not be able to feel them at all. Many women even notice that using a cup reduces menstrual cramps. If you experience pain, your cup is likely wrongly inserted and is touching your cervix, which can be resolved through practice.

Can a menstrual cup hold more than a tampon?

A tampon holds around 8 grams of blood, whereas one menstrual cup can hold 28 grams at one time. While this means you needn’t change it so often, when properly inserted you cannot feel it. Therefore, you must be more mindful of the fact that it’s in there, and empty it regularly. Some women empty their menstrual cups every 12 hours, as the risk of toxic shock syndrome is far less and the cup holds so much. We recommend that you monitor your blood flow and clean out your cup at regular intervals.

Do menstrual cups stretch you out?

Menstrual cups are made of soft, squidgy silicone (yes, just like those ice cube trays), and you will need to fold the cup to insert it. It cannot stretch you out as stretching requires pressure. Rather, it will reopen to its natural shape inside your vagina, where the strong muscles will hold it in position.

Which is the menstrual cup with longest stem?

The Keeper menstrual cup has the longest stem, measuring 1 full inch, while the Fleurcup is a close second with a stem of 0.91 inches, but most stems are around this length. This should not be the main deciding factor when choosing a cup, because with practice all menstrual cups become easy to insert and remove, and many women even find that they prefer a cup without a stem.

Which menstrual cup is right for me?

As the popularity of menstrual cups increases, more brands are coming onto the market, and we recommend that you try a few because our bodies are all different, and one cup might suit you more than another. Your healthcare practitioner can also help you to make a decision, and it’s worth considering that cups come in different shapes and sizes, while some are designed specifically for after you’ve had a baby. Lunette and Diva Cup are the two most popular brands, and you may wish to consider these first, although we recommend that you do your research before making a purchase. Menstrual cups are money saving, environmentally friendly and comfortable, meaning that more brands are producing them. Some are designed for before or after pregnancy, and sizes and stem shapes vary.

The Diva Cup, Lunette and Mooncup are the best known menstrual cup brands, but we recommend that you talk to a healthcare professional and consider different sizes and makes, so that you find the best menstrual cup for you.

Read more: Diva Cup Review

Are menstrual cups comfortable?

Menstrual cups are soft, and users typically report that although inserting and removing them is a learning process, once they are inside, they cannot be felt. This, coupled with the fact that cramps are often reduced while wearing them, makes them a comfortable option for most women. Of course, each woman’s body is different, meaning that you may need to try a few different menstrual cups and then make a decision as to whether or not this method is right for you.

Do menstrual cups leak?

Menstrual cups hold more blood than most women produce in one day of their period, and are highly unlikely to leak. Female athletes are even impressed by how mess free they are. Leaks can of course happen, meaning some women do wear a panty liner with their cup, but if your cycle was heavy, you would probably have to leave the cup in for a whole day to run that risk. If your cup leaks regularly, then you may need to check that it is properly inserted, as the vacuum created by the cup and your vaginal wall should prevent leakages. Alternatively, your cup could be the wrong size, and you may need to look for something better fitting.

Are menstrual cups messy?

Menstrual cups are made of medical grade silicone, and because they are so much less likely to leak, they are one of the cleanest forms of feminine hygiene. You simply pour away the blood, give your cup a quick rinse and reinsert it for a mess free period.

Do menstrual cups cause cramps?

Menstrual cups are not known to cause cramps, and many women say that their cramps lessen or even stop when they start using one.

How long do menstrual cups last?

Menstrual cups are said to last for 10 years. Some brands recommend you replace your cup annually for hygiene purposes, but many women use the same one for even longer than a decade, sterilising it with a disinfectant from time to time to keep it really clean.

Can Menstrual Cups Cause TSS?

TSS (toxic shock syndrome) is extremely rare and most adults are immune to it, but you should take precautions by always using clean sanitary products. Tampons increase the risk of TSS because the synthetic fibres encourage bacterial growth, while menstrual cups are made of inert silicone where bacteria cannot breed. Still, it is important to regularly empty and wash your cup. If you have previously had TSS, you should avoid using internal menstrual products and consider cloth pads as a great eco-friendly alternative.

Can I use a menstrual cup with a IUD?

You can use a menstrual cup with an IUD, but if you have a low cervix, there may not be space for both. If you wish to use the two together, then seek your doctor’s advice. If you use both devices, then after your period you should check that you can feel the strings of the IUD. If not, your IUD may have moved, and you must use alternative forms of contraception and visit your doctor.

Are menstrual cups better than tampons?

Menstrual cups and tampons are both inserted into the vagina, but tampons are super-absorbent meaning they can be drying. Disposable tampons are also typically made of non-biodegradable rayon, causing an environmental risk. They can irritate and encourage bacterial growth, possibly leading to toxic shock syndrome. Menstrual cups hold menstrual blood inside the body, meaning that there is still a risk of TSS, but this is far lower. They are also reusable, making them environmentally friendly.

Are menstrual cups safe?

Because menstrual cups are made of inert, medical grade silicone, they will not cause irritation or toxicity. They are soft and easy to insert into and remove from the vagina, and the risk of toxic shock syndrome is far less than with tampons, making them one of the safest feminine hygiene options.

What is the menstrual cup with a ring stem?

A ring stem is a stem which curves round to form a circular shape at the bottom. Some women, particularly beginners, find this assists in insertion and removal of their menstrual cup, while others prefer cups with no stem at all.

Do menstrual cups cause endometriosis?

There is a lot of concern surrounding menstrual products, because some, such as tampons, carry the risk of illnesses like toxic shock syndrome. With menstrual cups, the blood remains inside the body for some time, but the risk of TSS is far lower, and they will certainly not cause endometriosis.

What is the best Menstrual Cup for a heavy flow?

Because the smallest menstrual cups hold around 28 grams of blood, this form of feminine hygiene is excellent for women and girls with heavy periods. You will need to ensure that your menstrual cup is a good fit for your body, and this may mean trying more than one cup, although a health practitioner can also give you advice.

Do menstrual cups make your period shorter?

Using a menstrual cup will not affect either the length or the heaviness of your period.

Can I have sex with a menstrual cup in?

Most menstrual cups sit low down in the vaginal canal like tampons, which means that it would not be possible to have sex while one was inserted. However, there is a brand called Softcup which sits higher up, just under the cervix. Intercourse is possible with this inserted, and the blood that flows during your period stays inside the cup.

Can a menstrual cup cause a prolapse?!

Prolapses are caused by a severe weakening of the pelvic muscles, meaning they can no longer hold the internal organs in place. This is caused by extreme trauma, and a menstrual cup certainly cannot cause a prolapse. However, if you have experienced organ prolapse and are thinking of using a cup, you must speak with a medical practitioner.