Leaks. This just might be the greatest fear that lurks in the mind of the Pixie Cup user wannabe. What if my cup leaks? What can I do then?
Menstrual cups offer countless benefits over disposable menstrual products. Not only can they be worn for up to 12 hours at a time and reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins, they also save you money and reduce waste. Many cup users also report positive side effects such as shorter periods and less cramping. But menstrual cups can take some getting used to, and if you’re a new user, it’s not uncommon to experience some menstrual cup leaking.
We hear from many women who are frustrated that their menstrual cup is leaking, even if it’s only been in for a few hours. They often think this means that menstrual cups just don’t work for them or won’t provide the hassle-free, leak-proof solution they’re looking for.
Before you read any further, we want you to know one thing. It may take a little time to get used to your cup and learn how to use it. Sometimes leaks will happen during that adjustment time, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the wrong cup or that you can’t use cups. It’s simply a learning period.
Factors such as how you fold or insert your cup, the position of your cervix, and where your cup sits in the vaginal canal can all affect how well it works. So, give yourself and your cup a little grace and keep trying until you find a leak-free system that works for you! We can promise that it will be 100% worth it.
That said, there are sometimes specific factors that may contribute to menstrual cup leaking. Take a look at these 10 reasons for menstrual cup leaks and learn how to fix them.
10 reasons for menstrual cup leaks
1. Your cup is positioned incorrectly
Improper insertion is the most common cause of menstrual cup leaking. The vaginal canal isn’t straight up and down; it’s angled toward the back. So as you insert your cup, make sure you direct it back toward the rear instead of straight up. It may also help to change your position while you insert the cup. Some women find it easier to squat, or stand with one leg on the toilet seat. Whichever position you choose, make sure your muscles are as relaxed, because tense muscles will make inserting your cup much harder.
2. Your cup didn’t open fully
After your cup is inserted, slide your finger around the rim of the cup to make sure that it’s popped open. If you feel a fold or dip in the cup, this means it didn’t fully open. Simply twist the cup clockwise or counterclockwise and the cup should pop open. If that doesn’t work, you can try sliding the cup up and down a little bit as well, or use a different fold. Sometimes the the punch down fold doesn’t work as well as the C fold or 7 fold. Learn more about folds.
3. Your cup is the wrong size
If your cup is too small for you, it might not create a tight seal and instead slide down in your vaginal canal. This could allow fluid to leak around the edge of the cup. Another less common option is sometimes the cup could be too big, and not completely unfolding. We have several different cup sizes to make sure you have options!
4. You aren’t using lubricant
If you’re having trouble with leaks, a little water-based lubricant could go a long way! A smooth insertion will help your cup open easier. We created a Pixie Cup Lubricant that is perfect for your cup! It’s hypoallergenic, made with simple ingredients, and specifically formulated so it won’t cause any damage to your silicone cup.
5. You need to insert your cup dry
If lubrication doesn’t help, maybe you have the opposite problem! Some women find that inserting their cup dry creates a more secure seal. Make sure your cup is nice and dry before inserting, and see if that takes care of leaks.
6. You’re not emptying your cup enough
We often hear from women who say their menstrual cup is leaking after only a few hours. You might be thinking, It hasn’t been 12 hours yet, and my cup is overflowing! Is something wrong?
Not at all! Your cup is safe for use for up to 12 hours, but sometimes — on your heavier days or if you have a heavier period — it might be necessary to empty it more often. This is completely normal. Just like tampons, a menstrual cup can last for different periods of time for different people. If you find that you’re having to empty your menstrual cup often, try a larger size, like our Pixie Cup XL.
7. You have strong pelvic floor muscles
While strong pelvic floor muscles offer many health benefits, they can also squeeze your cup, causing a half-full cup to overflow. If this is you, just change your cup just a little more often on your heavy flow days.
8. The air holes are blocked
The air holes around the rim of your cup are there to create a good seal, so if these are blocked, it’s possible that you could experience some leaks. If your cup is leaking, check and make sure the air holes are clean before inserting your cup. Our post about getting rid of the menstrual cup smell contains some tips for removing the buildup from air holes … check it out!
9. You have residual fluid on your vaginal walls
Sometimes you might think your cup is leaking, but it’s really just a bit of residual fluid from your vaginal walls. This is more likely to happen on the heavier days of your period. Just grab a wipe and clean out the extra residue so that it doesn’t leak out after you insert your cup.
10. Your cervix is tilted
For most people, the cervix is usually positioned centrally, which allows all fluid to flow directly into the cup. Your cervix does move during menstruation, however, and if your cervix is tilted or positioned against the wall of your vagina, this could cause the fluid to run down the vaginal wall. The same thing can happen if you have a tilted or retroverted uterus.
If you think your cervix isn’t lined up with the cup or it’s touching the rim after inserting, take your cup out and reinsert it. It also might help to let your cup sit below your cervix, or to open the cup lower in the vagina to catch the extra flow.
Clearly, there are a lot of factors that affect how well your menstrual cup works. This may all seem overwhelming, but don’t get discouraged! After a few cycles with your menstrual cup, it will all become second nature, and you’ll never want to go back to pads and tampons! We’ve helped many cup users find the perfect fit, so if you’ve tried these suggestions and you’re still experiencing leaks, get in touch!
Has this ever happened to you? You’re planning an expedition into the wilderness … But as you sketch out the perfect weekend full of adventure, you suddenly panic, realizing that you picked the dreaded period week. Can you really go camping on your period, or should you reschedule your trip?
Don’t worry — it is possible to go hiking, backpacking, or camping on your period. And once you’ve done it, you’ll realize it’s not that big a deal. But first, make sure you read over this blog post because there is a right way and a wrong way to deal with your period in the wilderness.
With a little advanced preparation, you’ll be ready to head out for adventure at any time of the month!
How to prepare for camping on your period
The most important thing for a camping trip while on your period is to be prepared and pack everything you need. When you are planning your trip, take the time to think through what you might need on the trail. After all, this is your one opportunity to grab what you need before you are roughin’ it in the wilderness!
One of the best options for camping on your period is a menstrual cup. If you’ve never used one, now may be the perfect time to switch! Many women find that menstrual cups are ideal for camping, because they’re reusable, create less waste, and don’t need to be changed every few hours like pads and tampons.
Menstrual cups are flexible silicone or rubber cups that are worn inside the vagina to collect menstrual fluid. Depending on your flow and other factors such as the size of the cup, a menstrual cup can be worn for up to 12 hours. Then, you simply remove your cup, empty the contents, clean the cup, and re-insert it.
You’ll never have to worry about running out of tampons, or forgetting to bring enough pads for your travels! Menstrual cups are durable and accessible. You only need one, and you can reuse it over and over!
2. Menstrual cups are waste-free
If you know anything about camping in the wilderness, you probably are aware of the phrase “Leave No Trace.” The Leave No Trace principles are to keep nature thriving and care for the earth, as well as to be considerate of others who come behind you. One of the principles of Leave No Trace is to dispose of all waste properly. In many cases, this means packing it out with you.
When you camp on your period with a menstrual cup, you avoid the question of “bury it or pack it out?” Nobody wants to lug a ziplock bag of used period waste around. With your menstrual cup, you only have to bury the contents!
3. Menstrual cups give you a lot more time for adventure
A regular tampon holds about 5ml of blood, while the small Pixie Cup Luxe holds 20ml, and the large size holds 25ml! You can wear a menstrual cup for up to 12 hours, so you don’t have to take time away from your adventures to change your pad or tampon.
Cons of using menstrual cups while camping
1. Menstrual cups require some practice
If you aren’t used to using a menstrual cup, you may not want to use it for the first time on a camping trip. If your cup isn’t properly inserted, you may experience some leaks.
If possible, plan ahead and use your cup for a few cycles before your camping trip so you can get used to it. It’s also important to choose the right cup for your body. Every body is different, which is why we’ve designed the Pixie Cup in several different styles and sizes. Learn more about choosing the right cup for your body.
If you’re worried about leaks, you can bring along some thin reusable pads such as our Pixie Pads, which won’t take up much room in your pack.
2. Menstrual cups require sanitary conditions
You’ll want to make sure your hands are clean and sanitized before removing or inserting your menstrual cup. We make this easier with products such as our Pixie Cup Wash and Pixie Cup Wipes.
How to use a menstrual cup when camping
So, how do you use a menstrual cup while camping? As it turns out, the technique is pretty simple!
Step 1: Make sure you sanitize
This is absolutely essential, girls! You’ll want to make sure your cup is well-sanitized with boiling water before you head out on your adventure, and make sure your hands are clean and sanitized before you remove your cup to empty it. Do not forget this step! You can sanitize your hands with some water from your water bottle and a little soap, or with some Pixie Wash and water.
Step 2: Bury the contents
When you empty your cup, empty the contents in a 6-8 inch cathole that is at least 200 feet from a water source. The easiest way to do this is to bring a small trowel with you. Simply empty the fluid from your cup into the hole, and use water from your bottle to rinse your cup. When you are finished, replace extra dirt in the hole, and disguise the area with leaves or brush. Make sure you wash or sanitize your hands when you’re finished!
Step 3: Boil your cup after your period
If your camping trip lasts longer than your period, make sure you sanitize your cup thoroughly with boiling water (be careful!) before packing it away.
Using pads and tampons when camping
If pads and tampons are what you’re used to, or you haven’t gotten the hang of using a menstrual cup, you can continue to use pads and tampons when camping. But you’ll need to make sure to follow backcountry guidelines and dispose of your waste properly.
How to camp with pads and tampons
Make sure you bring enough supplies to cover your entire period. Just like when you’re at home, you may want to bring supplies in different sizes and absorbencies.
Be prepared to pack out your waste. Tampons and pads should not be buried, as they don’t decompose quickly, and animals could dig them up. If you’re using pads and tampons when camping, bring a designated waste bag to keep them in until you reach an area with a proper trash receptacle.
Additional menstrual supplies for camping
Whether you’re using a menstrual cup or disposable products, we recommend bringing plenty of hand sanitizer and extra water for washing your hands. If you’re using a menstrual cup, bring a small bar of unscented soap or container of Pixie Cup Wash, and moistened paper towels or Pixie Wipes to give your cup a quick cleaning during the trek.
You may also want to bring along a few medical gloves to use when removing and inserting your menstrual cup, especially if your camping conditions will make it hard to wash your hands. These will create extra waste, so only use them if absolutely necessary, and put them in your waste bag to pack out with you.
Bonus Tip: Bring essential oils and pain reliever.
As we all know, periods are more than just a pain in the you-know-where to clean up… they are also literally painful sometimes. Make sure you pack some pain reliever, or a few drops of peppermint essential oil (diluted with a carrier oil like coconut oil) in a travel container, to ease bloating and cramping.
We hope this helps you feel equipped to have a fantastic trip! Curious about menstrual cups? Sign up for our newsletter and receive 10% off your first order! Plus, you’ll be the first to know about contests, giveaways, and special promotions!
This content was originally written on April 22, 2019, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
This question is very common, so don’t feel alone if you’re hesitant about using a menstrual cup as a virgin!
There are only two things that could cause a virgin to experience difficulty using a menstrual cup.
Your own comfortability.
First, you 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, make sure to take time to relax. Take it slow and give yourself some grace to figure it out! We believe in you, and we wholeheartedly recommend a menstrual cup to every girl because it truly is a life-changer! Imagine swimming, riding a bike, and running without fear of leaks and stains!
First of all, your body is more resilient and strong 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 we women ever achieve a vaginal birth?
That being said, if you have 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 and apply a little lubricant (we sell a really smooth Pixie Cup Lube that is AMAZING) to help you experience a comfortable insertion.
We also recommend that you start with the “Punch Down Fold.” For this fold, place your index finger on the top of the rim and press inwards to the base of the cup forming a triangle.
One of the most frequently asked questions we get from new cup users is, “Can my cup get stuck up there?” If you are concerned about that possibility, check out our blog post on menstrual cup removal, HERE!
There are two more things you need to know if you are considering a menstrual cup as a virgin:
Your hymen may stretch.
First, we need to address what your hymen is NOT. It is not a film deep inside your vaginal canal that stretches across the opening and must be broken during sexual intercourse. Your hymen is an outer layer that partially covers your vaginal canal and it can be stretched by doing all kinds of things including something as simple as riding a bike. Your vaginal canal itself does not stretch, but the hymen could.
You cannot lose your virginity to a menstrual cup.
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 fact has nothing to do with a menstrual cup, or your hymen for that matter. 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.
Ah, freedom! You can almost feel the ocean waves lapping around your menstrual flowin’ body as you dive through the water in your WHITE swimsuit. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel like anything is possible at all times?
Reading the hundreds of reviews from girls who found period freedom through using a Pixie Cup can get you almost hitting that “checkout” button, but something is holding you back. You feel unprepared, and a little unsure! What if you need a different size cup? What if the cup isn’t as easy to insert as you thought it would be! What if you need to clean it someday? (THAT is definitely going to need to happen.)
This Kit was designed to meet every period need that you might have! From cleaning to insertion, public bathrooms to home storage, heavy flow to those lighters days, we have you covered!
Here’s what is included:
The Pixie Cup, in TWO sizes! (with two super cute, storage bags included!)
We all have heavier period days and lighter period days… it’s nice to have a cup for both times! The Pixie Cup Combo Pack includes a Small cup and a Large cup, so you have the option to go with the flow!
Pixie Cup Wash
The Pixie Menstrual Cup Wash has an all-natural, refreshing citrus scent and is designed to keep stains and odors from your Pixie Cup. It is made from 100% all natural plant-based and organically sourced ingredients to protect the material on your silicone menstrual cup as well as leave your sensitive skin clean, soft and well nourished.
Pixie Cup Lube
This is one of the best-kept secrets of pro menstrual cup users! When your Pixie Cup is dry, this gentle, hypogenic lubricant makes insertion painless and gentle. The lube is water-based and fragrance-free, making it safe for your sensitive skin and ideal for everyone from beginner to experienced users.
Pixie Cup Cup
This “cup for your cup” has so many different uses! You can slip it inside your purse for quick cleaning in a public restroom, use it to boil water in the microwave for deep cleaning of your cup, or even just use it as an adorable storage accessory!
Pixie Cup Wipes
These handy little wipes are the perfect size to keep in your purse for public bathroom emergencies, or for cleaning at any time! They are cute, too, and they camouflage as a hand wipe so you don’t need to stuff them up your sleeve on a bathroom run! ????
Here’s the MOST exciting thing about the Pixie Cup Kit. It is the PERFECT gift for a friend who is just starting to consider using a Pixie Cup! Whether it is her birthday, Christmas, or just for fun, this kit will have her feeling prepared for her new journey in the menstrual cup world! She will always be so thankful that you gave her the encouragement to give period freedom a try.
What is your favorite item in the Pixie Cup Kit? Let us know in the comments!
The idea of “period freedom like never before” lifts the hopes and perks the ears of every woman. Wouldn’t all of us love the opportunity to live life without fear of leaks or being caught off-guard by Aunt Flo?
If a menstrual cup truly does provide period freedom, why doesn’t every woman own a menstrual cup?
There are so many answers to this question, and we are doing our best to answer all of them, week by week, right here on our blog! Today, the question we are addressing – one that holds some women back from trying a Pixie Cup – is this: Will I be able to feel my Pixie Cup?
We understand why women ask this question. After all, it’s really hard to imagine how a “cup” can fit inside our bodies without us even noticing it.
The answer to this question is, you should not be able to feel your Pixie Cup while it is inside your vagina. That being said, some women may feel some slight discomfort when first using the Pixie Cup, so we will address why that is and how it can be fixed in a few simple steps.
First, you may notice the stem of your menstrual cup if you have a low cervix. If you can feel the stem inside, or if it is not completely inside your vagina, you can remove your cup and trim the stem a little with some scissors, and file the ends down with a nail file if they feel sharp. Start by trimming less at first, so you don’t accidentally cut off too much. If your cup is still bothering you, let us know. We will help you to find a cup size that is a better fit for you.
Second, it is possible that you could feel some pressure on your cervix. This occurs when the rim of the cup seals around the cervix instead of within the vaginal walls. If you notice this pressure, be sure to insert your cup a little lower in your vagina so your cup can seal within the walls of your vaginal canal. If your cup continually moves up toward your cervix, let us know. You might be a better fit with a larger Pixie Cup size.
Have you noticed any discomfort with your menstrual cup? Share your tips and tricks for Pixie Cup use in the comments!