Menstrual Cups: 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know


This month marks my (gets out the calculator)… 260th period.

Ah, 260 weeks of inconveniences, awkward moments, leaks, embarrassments, and rushing to find a bathroom. 56 of those weeks were post-baby, which equated to heavier periods, more leaks, more ruined sheets, and more misery.

Over the last few months, I was waking up to awful morning leaks while racing a 4-year-old to the bathroom — a 4-year-old who likes to hold the toilet hostage for 20 minutes at a time. I knew I needed a better solution. To be blunt, pulling my screaming child off the toilet and dealing with an all-out temper tantrum, while cleaning up a Carrie-style bloodbath was no longer an option.

Then I remembered that, last year, one of our amazing writers, Meredith (@meredithtested), wrote about her journey into the world of menstrual cups and reusable cloth pads.

The Blossom Cup is just one of the many menstrual cups available.

I was skeptical if menstrual cups would work for me, so I picked up one of the cheapest ones I could find – the Blossom Cup, for about $15. Like Meredith mentioned in her post, it takes a few periods to get the hang of it, but it is 100% worth the learning curve.

If you are new to menstrual cups, I hope this list is helpful! If you have questions, just ask! I’ll Google anything I don’t know. Haha!

  1. They Come in a Wide Variety of Sizes, Shapes, Lengths, etc.!
    Try not to get overwhelmed with the varieties. Just pick one and jump on the cup train! Generally, they say that if you haven’t had a baby, use the small or medium size cup. If you have had a baby, try the large. If you start with one that’s more affordable, you could buy 2 sizes to see which works best for you. There are also a number of folding methods to try, to make inserting them easier.
  2. You Can Trim the Stem!
    Most menstrual cups come with a stem to remove them more easily. You’ll know right away if the stem won’t work for you – it will be very uncomfortable. You can trim the stem with scissors, just be careful not to cut into the cup. You can leave a smaller stem or no stem at all.
  3. Menstrual Cups Shouldn’t Require a Trip to the ER.
    There have been a few posts floating around social media, horror stories about women ending up in the ER to get their cups removed. I had a bit of a panic attack too after the first morning using my cup. When you sleep and relax your muscles, the cup will probably move inside a bit further than you first placed it. I could barely feel the bottom of the cup. Remember that you can use your muscles to push the cup down for easy removal.
  4. It’s Supposed to Suction to Your Cervix.
    Ok, not exactly, but I’ve read some articles saying that the cup (horrifyingly) suctioned to a poor, unassuming cervix. The cup is supposed to create suction up there – that’s normal. It helps it stay in place and prevent leaks.

    menstrual cup insertion diagram
  5. You Can Wear It For Up to 12 Hours!
    Yep, you only have to change your cup every 8-12 hours. I tend to change mine once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once before bed (I’m up at 7am, in bed by 11pm). This also means that you probably won’t have to change it in a public restroom (whew)!
  6. You Can Go to the Bathroom With It In (#1 & 2)!
    This absolutely blew my mind, ladies. I mean, I understood anatomy, but it seemed too good to be true. Bowel movements may cause slight discomfort and cause your cup to move down. If you’re worried about it falling out, just hold some toilet paper there while you go. After you go, push it back into place. Easy peasy!
  7. You May Need to Prevent Spillage.
    You have to pinch the cup slightly to release the seal. Then, when you remove the cup, let it open while it is still over the toilet. Dump in the toilet or sink, and have some toilet paper ready to wipe up if needed. I promise it’s still less clean-up than the usual period horrors.
  8. Intimacy is A-OK!
    Though you shouldn’t have sex with your cup in place, you can definitely get more intimate with a cup than you can with other forms of period protection.
  9. You Might Have to Pee More.
    The cup can sometimes press against your bladder slightly, which might make you have to pee more than usual. You can try adjusting it to a more comfortable position if needed.
  10. Coughing, Sneezing, and Menstrual Cups Don’t Mix.
    Some women don’t seem to have a problem with this, but others do (I Googled). Usually at night, it’s fine, but while up and about during the day, cough and sneezing fits can cause the cup to shift and move down. I’ve never had it pop out and fly across the room… but it does create discomfort as it shifts.
  11. BONUS.
    One more thing you might not know about menstrual cups? The Internet is FULL of info, folding techniques, Q&As, etc. YouTube was my favorite resource. Women everywhere share openly about the love of their menstrual cups, best practices, and more!


  1. I came across this by googling “period cup sneezing” because mine actually did fly out of me with a sneeze (it hadn’t suctioned in yet I had just put it in) and I wanted to see if it had happened to anyone else so, just Incase it has, you aren’t alone

    • I came across this article with a similar google search. Mine was full and I was about to go empty it. So,.be
      careful during cold and flu season I guess. Other than that, best decision ever.

  2. Best thing ever! I could never get tampons in right and when I did they leaked. Pads Irritate my skin and I get sore so I decided to give this a try. I’m on my second day and I love it. It’s so easy and cleaner I don’t mind my period so much now. I wish I would have tried one sooner.

  3. diva user for 10 years here! I was in pre-term labor for 20 weeks, and carried my daughter SUPER low, so I had horrible pain with tampons after she was born, and I was changing pads more regularly than diapers, so I tried the Diva–it’s AWESOME! I have heavy, heavy periods requiring super plus tampons being changed every hour or two. The first day or two of my period, I have to empty three times (when I wake up, sometime during the day and at bedtime) the rest of the time I empty morning and evening. I always see ‘but what if you have to empty it in public??!” on posts, but in 10 years I’ve had to do that ONCE. with tampons, any solid matter/clots actual either don’t stick to the tampon (leaking!) or suction up to it and block any liquid from emptying (leaking!) and that’s just not an option with cups. Also, because it’s all held internally, you feel the smallest leak and can deal with it immediately.
    Give it a shot!

  4. Great post, Gretchen. I didn’t know about some of these! Thank you for mentioning my post – I love that we’re talking more and more about this great option for women! The biggest thing I (still) can’t get over is how much more clean and how much less I have to “deal” with my period after switching to a cup. Now if only I could go back in time and give one to myself in high school 🙂

  5. I’ve used Instead menstrual cup for over 6 years. It’s a disposable cup. I wash it out with hot soapy water and re-use it for the length of my period (sometimes 2). The cool thing about Instead is you CAN use it during sex.

  6. Diva cup user for 8-9 years. I’ve purchased two.(online, but places like City Market or natural food stores tend to sell them) One smaller before babies, one larger after babies. The size difference is a smidge. So, that’s $70.00 in 2 years. How much do you think pads and tampons cost for 8 years ? You can swim with it in. It’s not drying. It’s not irritating. There’s no weird period smell. You don’t have to ask someone for a feminine product, cause it’s already with you, just dump-wash-insert. Super great for travel. Deal with it 2-3 times in a 12 hour time frame. No waste in septic tanks or landfills! You might feel like you’re 13 (or 11, 12…) dealing with the awkwardness of it all over again. It’s a game changer, but the learning curve is so worth it. I hope more women give it a try!


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