Is PMS all in your head? Are periods shameful? Is period blood dirty? So many questions surround something so normal as menstruation. We tackle 7 common period myths we are asked frequently in hopes of helping you live free and empowered! #breakthestigma
First of all, it’s important to understand that a woman’s menstrual cycle is not the same as her period. The actual time that a woman bleeds is known as menstruation, but her menstrual cycle is the entire time from one period starting to the next. I didn’t know this until recently, and as a menstruating human, it goes to show there is a lot of ignorance and misinformation around the issue!
Although it’s assumed that a woman’s menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, that’s only an average number and everyone is unique.
Some women’s cycles are much longer, from 29 to 35 days, while others can be shorter. So many factors can change this. From woman to woman, but also from month to month. Things like stress, travel, weight fluctuation, stress, hormone changes, emotions, stress, birth control, medication (and did I mention stress?) can all affect when a woman’s period occurs.
There’s a very real physical change in a woman’s body during this time. In the days leading up to a woman’s period beginning — this time has coined us the phrase “PMSing” — her levels of estrogen plummet, while her levels of progesterone sharply increase. Talk about an imbalance for a bit!
Estrogen is linked to serotonin, the “happy hormone,” and progesterone is linked to the part of the brain that causes fear, anxiety, and depression. The effects of hormones on mood are complicated, and while progesterone may depress some emotions, it has a mood-balancing effect.
During that time of the month we are tired and most likely overwhelmed. It’s super easy to dismiss what’s happening if we have an excuse like it’s “just hormones,” but mood changes caused by hormones are still real. It may happen on a more monthly basis for us, but it doesn’t invalidate our feelings.
From the killer team of girls at the University of Texas, The Chatty Gal, “Contrary to that belief, the blood you menstruate is just as “clean” as the venous blood that comes from every other part of the body and it’s harmless as long as you don’t have any bloodborne diseases.”
It doesn’t mean conditions are less than ideal down there.
We’re taught that periods are dirty. (and grated they are messy, but not dirty) Period blood actually isn’t rejected body fluids or the body’s way of flushing out toxins. Think of it as an evolved vaginal secretion — there’s some blood, uterine tissue, mucus lining, and bacteria. It’s super important to keep up your water intake during your period as well. This helps flush everything that is happening during your period.
Here’s another to include in our common period myths! If you feel like exercising, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. It’s actually a great way of controlling PMS symptoms and menstrual cramps because it increases the supply of oxygen to your muscles. Because exercise gives you a natural endorphin high, it can elevate your mood and actually make you feel better. One of the main benefits of exercise while menstruating is the endorphin release and workout “high.” Since endorphins are a natural painkiller, when they release during exercise, you may feel relief from uncomfortable periods. Here at Pixie Cup we love living free and pursuing whatever we love to do. We’re all about being outdoors and being active every day of the month. A menstrual cup is a great way of continuing your exercise and be active during your period. Because it can safely hold period blood for up to 12 hours, there is no hassle like you’d have with a tampon.
Another big one among common period myths is that girls who haven’t had sex will find wearing tampons or a menstrual cup painful. This isn’t true, although levels of comfort depend on the person and general anatomy. For example, we recommend a young customer who might be apprehensive to try our Pixie Cup Luxe Small. We have other helpful products like our Pixie Cup Lube to help things be as smooth and comfortable as possible. Another concern is that tampons or period cups can somehow “take away your virginity.” This myth has deep roots tied to all sorts of cultural upbringing and traditions.
This is a common period myth, especially when we’re trying to justify how we are feeling. Wrong! Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms are related to the way your hormones change through your monthly cycle. Symptoms can be emotional (like irritability, depression or fatigue, and physical (cramps or headaches). Check out the facts on PMS and get some tips for minimizing the very real symptoms of PMS. Take this time during the month to really log your symptoms
As a menstruating woman, I feel this one hard. Unfortunately, we have a long history of embarrassment to overcome. Whether that be cultural or otherwise. Hiding my period was what I was taught to do from the age of 12 when I first started my period. I even had separate waste cans for me to conceal any sort of evidence (or smell) that I was on my menses. I fell into the habit of apologizing for what my body did naturally, opting out of social events and beach days regularly. I’m so sorry if this is something you carry with you. Here at Pixie Cup, it’s our mission to break that shame and have a #lifechangingperiod. As we do that, we’re face to face every day with the cultural and mental boundaries that have been ingrained in us. Change starts with us! I know for myself, I’m daily striving towards that freedom, conquering that mental mountain. You can bet my daughter won’t be taught the same hiding techniques I was. Take space for you, embrace what your body does as an amazing thing. We’re right here with you.
For more information on using a menstrual cup, please contact us! We love to talk about all things period and love normalizing the conversation. If you’re interested in trying a Pixie Cup, head over to our store and get 10% off your first purchase.
One of the questions we hear quite often from women all over the world is, “can a virgin use a menstrual cup?”
The short answer is, yes! You can start using a menstrual cup as soon as you get your period, no matter how old you are or whether or not you’ve had sex.
That said, we understand that many people who are virgins often have concerns about using a menstrual cup or other menstrual products designed to be worn inside the vagina. So don’t feel alone if you’re hesitant about using a menstrual cup as a virgin!
Let’s take a closer look at the concept of virginity and some of the questions we receive about using a menstrual cup as a virgin.
Understanding the concept of virginity
To start with, let’s make sure we have a shared understanding of what it means to be a virgin. By definition, a virgin is someone who has never had sexual intercourse. Conversations about virginity often refer to the hymen — a small piece of skin inside the opening of the vagina. The hymen is a very misunderstood part of the body. Many cultures view the hymen as an indication of virginity and believe that it remains “intact” until a person has sexual intercourse.
Contrary to popular belief, however, the hymen doesn’t fully cover the vagina, and it doesn’t break or “pop.” The hymen naturally stretches and wears down over time, and may become stretched long before your first sexual experience. As you may know, many different activities can stretch the hymen, such as bike riding, yoga, dancing, or gymnastics. Some women are even born without hymens. So it’s important to not place too much significance on the state of your hymen.
Will a menstrual cup take away your virginity?
Your virginity is not based on a thin piece of skin, it is a simple fact about your life experience. You are a virgin if you have not had sexual intercourse, and that doesn’t change if you use a menstrual product such as a menstrual cup or a tampon. Using a menstrual cup doesn’t take away your virginity, and it does not say anything about your value as a person.
For some people, and in many cultures, virginity is an important concept. Some people may feel like they can’t use the menstrual products they want because they are afraid it will take away their virginity, or that they will be judged for using these types of products. Women all over the world struggle with the question of whether or not it is acceptable in their religion or culture to use a menstrual cup.
We deeply desire for each woman to have the freedom and the right to use a menstrual cup and experience the joy and ease that it can bring to her life. We need to be the voice that tells the world that the value of a woman is not determined by the state of her hymen, but by the existence of her soul.
Does using a menstrual cup break the hymen?
As mentioned above, the hymen doesn’t actually break; it stretches. And yes, using a menstrual cup can stretch the hymen. But again, the hymen can be stretched by all sorts of activities, including something as simple as riding a bike. The cup won’t stretch your vaginal canal itself, but it may stretch your hymen.
Are menstrual cups hard to use for a virgin?
Menstrual cups take a little getting used to for anyone. So, don’t get discouraged if it all seems confusing! We’ve noticed two things that could cause someone to experience difficulty using a menstrual cup as a virgin: your own level of comfort, and your flexibility.
Your level of comfort
Using a menstrual cup requires getting up close and personal with your body. You’ll need to assess your own mind and see if you feel comfortable with the thought of using an internal period product. If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with your vagina and have never used a tampon, getting comfortable with a cup may take a little more time and effort. But we believe it’s worth it! Using a menstrual cup helps many people gain a greater understanding of how their bodies work, which can be incredibly empowering.
Take it slow and give yourself some grace to figure it out. It often takes people a few cycles to really get the hang of it. We believe in you, and we wholeheartedly recommend a menstrual cup to everyone who menstruates because it truly is a life-changer! Imagine 12 hours of leak-free protection and no more worrying about soaking through pads at night! Not to mention swimming, backpacking, and all of your other favorite activities without fear of leaks or stains.
The vaginal muscle of virgins or young girls can be more tense, which may make inserting a menstrual cup more difficult in the beginning. But don’t worry! Your body is stronger and more resilient than you could imagine. Your vaginal canal was created to expand when needed, and then return to its normal state, without stretching out. Otherwise, how could women ever give birth vaginally?
If you’ve never used a tampon or inserted anything into your vaginal canal, it could feel a bit uncomfortable at first. We advise you to start with a smaller cup. We have two small cups: our regular Pixie Cup small, and the Pixie Cup Luxe small. What’s the difference? The Luxe is a softer and more flexible material, which some people find more comfortable. However, some people prefer the more rigid material of our regular cup because they find that it pops open more easily. It’s really a matter of personal preference.
We also recommend that you start with the punch-down fold. There are different ways to fold your cup so that you can insert it, and your preferred method may change over time. But the punch-down fold is a great one to start with. Place your index finger on the top of the rim and press inwards to the base of the cup, forming a triangle. This gives you a small point of insertion. You may also want to use a little lubricant to help make things a little more comfortable. (We sell a really smooth Pixie Cup Lube that is AMAZING).
If properly inserted, a menstrual cup should not hurt. In fact, most menstrual cup users say that they can’t even feel their cup once it’s in, and they even forget they’re on their period! If your cup hurts or feels uncomfortable, there could be a few different reasons. Your cup may not be inserted properly, or you may need a different size. Try taking your cup out and reinserting it. Make sure you run a finger around the top to check for folds. If you continue to have trouble getting your cup in comfortably, try a different cup or a smaller size. We offer a 100% happiness guarantee, so if your cup doesn’t work for any reason, let us know! We’ll help you find one that does.
Can you practice using a menstrual cup when you’re not on your period?
Yes! You can absolutely practice using your cup before your period starts. In fact, we often recommend this to new cup users. If you practice using your cup when you’re not on your period, you’ll be much less nervous when it comes time to use it. If possible, practice inserting your cup when you’re not feeling rushed and you have some privacy. Because wearing a menstrual cup is not associated with toxic shock syndrome, you can leave it in for a while if you want to see how it feels, but don’t leave it in for longer than 12 hours.
Removing your cup properly is also important. Your cup forms a seal inside the vagina, which you must break before you can remove it. Don’t simply grab the bottom and try to pull it out! Read our menstrual cup instructions for more info. Finally, make sure you always properly clean and sanitize your cup after use, even if you’re just practicing.
Can my cup get stuck up there?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions we hear from new cup users. Don’t worry! There’s only so far your cup can go before it hits your cervix. It cannot migrate into your uterus or get lost inside your body. However, there may be times when your cup forms a tight seal up against your cervix, and it’s hard to remove. If that happens, don’t panic! It’s important to always remove your cup correctly by first breaking the seal. Pinching the base of the cup often does the trick, but if that doesn’t work, you can insert one finger alongside the cup and push the rim in. Read our blog on menstrual cup removal tips for more info.
If you’ve had your period for a number of years or even if you’ve given birth, blood clotting during your period is old hat! If you’re just starting your period, you need to know you’re normal, blood clots during your period are normal and you are PERFECT! We’re answering the common questions regarding clotting while menstruating for anyone who’s ever wondered or is curious.
What are blood clots during your period?
As you may know, during your period you shed the lining of your uterus because you had an egg that wasn’t fertilized and your body is ridding itself of that to make everything new and ready for the next ovulation. Crazy, right? During this time, it’s super common to see blood of almost all kinds: bright red, dark red, brown, and even different consistencies like water-like, thick and then clots. This wide variation is most present during your heaviest days (usually day 1-3).
IMPORTANT: You are normal and all the things stated are a normal part of your period!
What causes blood clots in periods?
So, you know when we get a cut and it starts to scab? Our body immediately releases “procoagulants” which starts the clotting process. This is our body’s way of trying to stop the bleeding or stop us from bleeding too much. Well, during our period we shed the lining of our uterus, it’s not a cut, but the clotting is still our body’s mechanism to regulate the blood loss. (Your body is amazing!)
When we see small clotting during our period, “anticoagulants” are also released, forming a balancing act that ensures the blood is thinned out enough. During the heaviest phase of your period, the anticoagulants can be get lost by your flow, so they don’t have time to kick in and break down the clots before they are released from the body.
That is why during the first few days of your period when your flow is at its heaviest, is the highest chance of seeing clots. Some women experience clotting the first few days of their period when it’s the heaviest and others experience it right up until the end of the menstrual phase. Don’t worry either way! Your body is doing what it’s comfortable with.
When should I be concerned about blood clots during my period?
As we’ve mentioned, clotting is a perfectly normal part of the menstrual process. If you notice significant changes or any of these following symptoms, it’s best to consult your physician in case there is any sort of medical condition that is lurking.
If your clotting is grey-ish
You experience periods that are longer than 7 days
The clots are consistently larger than a nickel
You pass a lot of clotting in a short period of time
Excessive bleeding where you have to change your menstrual cup, tampon or pad every couple of hours.
Is my period blood normal?
Like every menstruating human, we are unique! This means our periods aren’t the same either. There are definite things to watch out for like we mentioned above, but in general, your period is fine. If you notice your period is bright red, it means your body is expelling it quicker. If you notice that your discharge is brown or darker, it just means it’s been ready to come out for a little while. One hint to help this is to keep incredibly hydrated during your period. Your vagina and uterus thrive off of water. Do you know when you’re thirsty? And your mouth is dry? Your uterus and vagina are similar because they too are always creating fluids. They need water to function properly and to continuously create a flushed and happy environment.
How can I better manage my period?
Take it from us! Periods are messy no matter what, however, if you find that seeing clots on your menstrual pads is disturbing to you or you’d rather not, we highly recommend a menstrual cup. Have you ever tried one? A menstrual cup is a small cup with a stem that is made of medical-grade silicone. It’s inserted in the vagina and collects menses safely for up to 12 hours. Imagine the period freedom, right? Not having to change your pad or tampon only but a couple of times a day? Crazy! Once you master a menstrual cup and how your body works with it, you’ll find immense freedom in it. And if the natural clotting bothers you, you just dump, wash and go!
If you’ve ever used a tampon, you’ve probably heard and feared the words toxic shock syndrome, or TSS. Every tampon box contains a warning that wearing a tampon for too long or using the wrong absorbency can increase the risk of this serious health condition.
One of the questions we often hear is, “Can menstrual cups cause TSS?” It’s important for anyone who menstruates to understand what TSS is, why it’s connected to menstrual products, and how to use your menstrual products safely.
What is toxic shock syndrome?
Most people don’t realize that toxic shock syndrome is not strictly associated with menstruation! TSS is a complication caused by a bacterial infection, which can affect anyone. According to WebMD, TSS “can happen to men and women who have been exposed to staph bacteria while recovering from surgery, a burn, an open wound, or the use of a prosthetic device.”
TSS is a medical emergency that can lead to death. If caught early, TSS can be treated, but symptoms often mimic the flu, and those who have TSS may not seek help right away.
What causes TSS?
The main cause of TSS is an overgrowth of Staphylococcus aureus, or staph bacteria. Staph bacteria is normally present in the vagina, along with other naturally occurring bacteria, but doesn’t usually cause an infection. In order for an infection such as TSS to occur, two things need to happen. First, the bacteria need an environment that allows them to grow rapidly. Second, the bacteria must then enter the bloodstream.
Menstrual fluid is one such environment in which rapid bacterial growth can occur. If tampons are left in for too long, the bacteria can grow to dangerous levels. This is why tampons — or any menstrual product used internally — should never be left in for longer than recommended.
How do the bacteria then enter the bloodstream? This can happen a few different ways. The insertion or removal of a dry tampon can scrape the inside of the vagina, causing small abrasions that could allow the entrance of bad bacteria into the bloodstream. Using a super-absorbent tampon, especially when your flow is light, can cause vaginal dryness, which can also make small tears more likely.
In the 1970s, a particular brand of super-absorbent tampons was linked to several deaths from TSS. That brand was later taken off the market, but cases of TSS do still occur today. While the number of reported cases of TSS from tampon use has declined considerably since the 1980s, the risk still exists, especially for anyone who uses tampons improperly.
More than one third of TSS cases happen in women under the age of 19, and up to 30% of people who get TSS will get it again.
If you are menstruating and you experience a high fever and vomiting, seek medical help right away, especially if you have been using tampons. If you are using a tampon and you become ill, remove it immediately.
Are menstrual cups dangerous?
Everyone once in a while, a new article pops up claiming that menstrual cups can cause TSS or are otherwise unsafe. However, research overwhelmingly shows that menstrual cups are very safe when used properly. A comprehensive review of 43 different menstrual cup studies found that not only did menstrual cups leak less than pads and tampons, but menstrual cups also posed no increased health risks and had no negative impact on vaginal bacteria.
The study found five reported cases of TSS from menstrual cup use, but it’s unclear whether the cups were used properly.
A 2018 study conducted in France sparked a slew of negative press after claiming that menstrual cups were more likely to increase production of the bacteria that causes TSS. But the study wasn’t actually conducted on humans. The researchers had placed menstrual products inside plastic bags, which is clearly a different environment than inside the vaginal canal.
It’s also important to remember that menstrual cups have been increasing in popularity over the past decade. If menstrual cups were more likely to lead to TSS, we would be hearing of far more reported cases linked to menstrual cup use. That simply hasn’t happened.
Can menstrual cups cause TSS?
The simple answer is yes, menstrual cups can cause TSS if used improperly or left in for too long. The truth is, anything left in the body for too long can encourage the growth of bacteria. If you were to leave your menstrual cup in for an extended period of time (we recommend changing and rinsing your cup every 12 hours), bacteria could begin to grow in the fluid that is trapped inside your cup. If that bacteria is then able to enter your body, that could potentially be very dangerous.
However, in order for that to happen, you would have to leave your cup in for a very long time. Of the known cases of TSS linked to a menstrual cup, at least 2 occurred because the menstrual cup was inserted and not emptied or cleaned for more than 7 days.
TSS with a menstrual cup is unlikely because…
The silicone will not break down or leave pieces behind. Tampons are especially dangerous because pieces of the tampon can break away and get stuck inside the vaginal canal. These tiny fragments can be imperceptible and become a feeding ground for staph bacteria. Your menstrual cup will not break apart and is always removed in its entirety, leaving no particles to feed bacteria.
The menstrual cup is gentle and easy to insert and remove, so it’s not likely to cause tears in the sensitive skin of the vaginal canal.
How can I avoid TSS with a menstrual cup?
First, just your decision to use a menstrual cup in the first place significantly decreases your risk of toxic shock syndrome! That being said, you still need to be careful to make sure your vaginal canal is kept free of bad bacteria overgrowth.
With any menstrual product used internally, the important thing is to follow the instructions, keep it clean, don’t leave it in for longer than recommended, and use a trusted brand.
Follow these tips to stay healthy while using a menstrual cup:
Keep your Pixie Cup clean and sanitized
We can’t stress this enough! Cleaning your menstrual cup properly is probably the most important thing you can learn in your menstrual cup journey.
To keep your cup in the best shape, rinse and wash your cup – preferably with a gentle, natural soap or Pixie Cup Wash – at least once every twelve hours. Make sure you sanitize your cup by boiling or steaming it before and after each cycle.
Empty your Pixie Cup often
We get it… your Pixie Cup is so comfortable that it can be easy to forget you’re wearing it! We are guilty, too! If you know you are prone to forgetting, set a timer on your phone, or leave your Pixie Cup Wash out on the bathroom counter to remind you. It’s important to remove and clean your cup at least twice each day, even on your lighter flow days.
If you can’t get to a bathroom or otherwise can’t remove your cup within 12 hours, don’t freak out! It’s something that’s happened to many menstrual cup users without any harmful effects. Just don’t make a habit out of it!
We hope this blog post helps you feel more comfortable about using menstrual cups safely. If you have any more questions at all, drop them in the comments or send us a message. Our mission is to help every menstruating human live free. We are here to help you achieve success with your menstrual cup… every single time.
Please note: This blog post is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of your doctor. You should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to your health and particularly with respect to anything related to menstruation and vaginal health. If you have any concerns about using a Pixie Cup, consult your doctor before use. If you have any gynecological conditions, please talk to your physician.
This content was originally written on July 29, 2019, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
One of the most common questions we receive about menstrual cups is, “Can you sleep with a menstrual cup?”
The short answer is, yes! Not only is it perfectly safe to sleep with a menstrual cup, you will also probably wake up to fewer leaks and less mess! Gone are the days of having to wash your underwear in the sink or getting unsightly mattress stains because your pad shifted or bunched up during the night or just wasn’t big enough. *insert wild cheering*
Menstrual cups can be safely worn for up to 12 hours, so there’s no reason they can’t be left in overnight. That said, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of leaking during the night, especially if you have a heavy flow.
Everyone is different, so don’t assume that what works for your friend will work for you. Some people find that a cup made from a more rigid material will pop open more easily. If you have a tilted uterus or a low cervix, you may find that a smaller cup made of a more flexible material works best for you. If this all sounds confusing, don’t worry! We have a handy guide to help you find the best menstrual cup for your body.
2. Take size into consideration
If you know you have a heavy flow, you may want to choose a larger menstrual cup, especially to wear at night. Our largest cup is our Pixie Cup XL, which holds 35ml of fluid. That’s the equivalent of 7 tampons! With that much capacity, you can rest and sleep undisturbed without worrying about getting up in the middle of the night to empty your cup. You can also wear a smaller cup during the day and a larger one at night if you’re worried about leaks.
3. Empty your cup before bed
You should empty and clean your menstrual cup at least every 12 hours — possibly more often if you have a heavy flow. We recommend emptying your cup right before bed so you can sleep as long as possible without needing to remove your cup.
4. Use a little extra protection
Some of us have such a heavy flow that it’s near impossible to avoid leaks overnight. If this is you, it might be a good idea to invest in a pair of period underwear or some reusable Pixie Pads to guarantee that you don’t wake up to a mess.
5. Ease your cramps with essential oils
Sometimes it isn’t the flow so much as those darn cramps that wake you up in the middle of the night. Try easing your cramps with a little essential oil blend on your stomach before bed. Many women also find that when they stop using tampons and switch to a menstrual cup, their menstrual cramps improve.
6. Get a good night’s sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for your overall health and wellbeing. It’s common to have difficulty sleeping during your period. Worrying about leaks is just one of the things that can interfere with sleep during menstruation. Fluctuating hormones and changes in body temperature can also make it hard to sleep through the night. If this sounds like you, check out our blog on how to sleep better on your period.
We hope these tips are helpful to you as you transition into using a menstrual cup! If you still have questions about sleeping with a menstrual cup, let us know! We absolutely love hearing from you. We will answer your questions to the best of our abilities. And don’t forget, we offer a 100% Happiness Guarantee and we stick by it. If you purchase a Pixie Cup and aren’t completely satisfied, we’ll help you find one that works or give you a refund.
This content was originally written on February 25, 2019, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
“Help, I think my menstrual cup is stuck!” If you’re experiencing menstrual cup removal stress, don’t panic! Take a deep breath and relax. We’re here to help.
It’s important to remember that your menstrual cup can only go so far before it reaches your cervix, and guess what? That’s the end of the tunnel. There’s nowhere else for it to go. Your menstrual cup can’t migrate into your uterus or get “lost” inside you.
That said, sometimes it can be hard to get a grip on your cup or break the seal. This can happen if the cup migrates further up in the vaginal canal, or if it forms a seal right up against your cervix.
If this happens to you, you may be tempted to call your doctor or head to the emergency room. Before you do, try our tips for removing a stuck menstrual cup.
1. Relax and breathe
It can be scary and frustrating when you can’t get your cup out, especially if this has never happened to you before. However, many menstrual cup users have experienced this at one time or another, and have gone on to use their cup happily for many years.
The best thing you can do right now is relax. That may feel impossible if you’ve been fighting with a stuck cup, but take a moment to just breathe. If you’re too tense, all of your muscles will be contracted, and it will make it harder for your cup to come out.
If you need to step away for a few minutes and regroup, go ahead. Do some breathing exercises, make a cup of tea, or do whatever else you need to calm down. It’s okay if your cup has already been in for 12 hours. Nothing bad is going to happen if you need to wait a little longer.
2. DO NOT use a spoon or other item for menstrual cup removal
You may have heard of something known as the “menstrual cup stuck spoon trick.” However tempting it might be to use tweezers or a spoon or something else to help you reach your cup, don’t do it! We do not recommend inserting anything into your vagina that isn’t made to go there. The vaginal canal is a sensitive area, and you don’t want to risk injuring yourself or causing infection. Plus, it simply isn’t necessary. You can break the seal on your cup just as easily with your finger if you do it correctly.
3. Take a squat
When you’re ready to try again, it may be helpful to get into a squatting position. Get as low as you can to the ground. This will allow you to reach further into your vaginal canal. You can also lift one foot up onto the edge of the toilet or bathtub.
Before you get started, make sure your hands are clean and dry. The drier your hands are, the easier it will be to get a grip on the cup. If the base of the cup is close to the vaginal opening, you could even use a little bit of toilet paper to dry it off.
4. Don’t bear down
You may have read some advice to bear down when you’re trying to get your cup out, but we don’t recommend this. Bearing down when under stress is not good for all the organs and muscles in the pelvic region.
When you have a bowel movement or are giving birth, your muscles work together naturally, and are not being forced. Some reports indicate that improper removal of a menstrual cup could be linked to prolapse of the pelvic muscles, although this has not been proven.
5. Gently break the seal
For proper menstrual cup removal, you need to break the seal that it formed when you inserted it. DO NOT yank on your cup and attempt to pull it straight out. Pulling on a sealed cup will strain the pelvic muscles.
There are two ways to break the seal:
Pinch the base of the cup. Grab the cup as far up as possible and pinch it. You may want to squeeze it for a few seconds to allow the seal to release. If you can’t quite get a hold of the cup, grab the stem and wiggle the cup back and forth a bit (don’t pull) until you’re able to grab the base. Listen for the sound of air leaking, which means the seal is broken.
If that doesn’t work, try inserting one finger up along the side of your menstrual cup and feel for the rim of the cup. Gently push in the rim, similar to the process used for the punch-down fold, until you hear the seal break. This can allow some fluid to leak out, so it’s best to do this when sitting on the toilet or squatting in the shower.
Once the seal is broken, tip the cup a little bit to allow more air into the vagina, and try wiggling your cup out or removing it at an angle.
If that doesn’t work, try a different position. Sometimes changing position can make all the difference. If you’ve been squatting, try putting one foot up on the edge of the bathtub instead.
Still having menstrual cup removal issues?
If you’ve tried all these steps — and made sure to relax and breathe — and you still can’t get your cup out, it may be time to call your doctor. Remember that not all gynecologists are familiar with menstrual cups, and you may need to tell your doctor not to attempt to pull it straight out. Also, don’t let your doctor throw your cup away! There’s no reason it can’t be sanitized and reused.
If you frequently have trouble getting your cup out, it could mean that your cup is the wrong size. If you have a higher cervix but are using a shorter cup, the cup may migrate further up in the vagina and be hard to reach.
Measuring your cervix can help you choose the right cup for you. We also created this cervix ruler to help you feel more confident in your decision and knowing your body!
We also offer a 100% Happiness Guarantee. If you buy a Pixie Cup and it isn’t the right size or it otherwise doesn’t work for you, we’ll work with you to find one that works or refund your money! We want everyone to experience true period freedom, and your happiness is our priority.
Check out our different menstrual cups and menstrual cup accessories in our store.
This content was originally written on February 19, 2019, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.