This post and the photos within it may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a commission at no extra charge to you.
How to insert a menstrual cup for beginners?
Perhaps one of the first questions that will pop into your head when buying yourself a menstrual cup.
While it can feel douting at first, I’ve been using a menstrual cup for a couple of years, so I can only say it is one of the best things you can do for your body (+ the planet) for many reasons!
In this article, I want to present the most beginner-friendly step-by-step guide on inserting your menstrual cup, including many helpful tips (+FAQ) for newbies.
Let’s jump right in!
How to insert a menstrual cup: Step-by-step beginners guide
Step 1: Sterilize the cup & wash your hands.
First, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for sterilizing your cup. Usually, you should put it in boiling water for 3-5 minutes.
Additionally, you should ALWAYS handle your menstrual cup with clean hands. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before. This helps ensure proper hygiene and reduces the risk of infections or irritations.
After sterilizing the cup in boiling water, pour most of the water out, and fill the pot with cold water so you can grab the cup without burning your hands. Wash the cup with some fragrance-free soap and water.
Step 2: Relax and find a comfortable position.
When inserting a menstrual cup, there are several positions you can try; you can stand with one leg raised, squatting, or sitting on the toilet.
The most important thing is to relax your body & muscles to make insertion easier. Here are some common positions for inserting a menstrual cup:
- Squatting: Squatting can provide a more direct and comfortable insertion angle. You can squat down with your knees bent, keeping your feet flat on the floor.
- Sitting on the toilet: Sitting on the toilet with your legs apart can be a convenient and comfortable position for insertion. Make sure to lean slightly forward.
- Sitting with one leg up on the toilet seat (my preferred option): While sitting, put one leg on the seat, and open your knees wide. This position is similar to squatting, but it is easiest. It provides a wider opening to the vaginal canal and a direct, comfortable insertion angle.
- Standing: Stand with one leg raised on a toilet seat or bathtub ledge while keeping your body relaxed.
- Lying down: Some people find lying down on their back with their knees bent and legs apart (‘happy baby’ pose) a comfortable position for inserting the menstrual cup. I never tried it because other options are more straightforward, but it might work for you.
Remember, our bodies are different, so what works best for me might not work for you, and the opposite. The important thing is to keep trying until you find the easiest option for you.
Step 3: Fold the menstrual cup.
There are only so many best folds to put a menstrual cup in. Like the previous step, try a few different ones and find the easiest one. Here are two standard beginner-friendly techniques:
C-Fold (my preferred option): It creates a compact shape that is easy to insert.
- Press the sides of the cup together to form a tight “C” shape.
- Hold the folded sides firmly to maintain the fold.
- This fold makes the cup narrow and smaller for easier insertion.
Punch-Down Fold: It allows for a more gradual insertion.
- Press the cup’s rim down with your finger to create a smaller, pointed shape.
- Hold the folded rim firmly to maintain the fold.
- This fold reduces the overall size of the cup, making it easier to insert.
Step 4: Use lube.
Using lube can help greatly and provide smoother insertion, especially if you experience discomfort or dryness. Water can be a simple lubricant, so you only need to wet the cup before insertion.
Aloe vera gel is another option; use 100% natural, pure, and organic aloe vera gel without any added fragrances. Choose water-based, fragrance-free products instead of oil-based options.
Step 5: Slowly and gradually insert the folded cup.
Hold the folded cup with one hand, ensuring the rim faces upward. Ensure you have a firm grip on the cup to prevent it from unfolding prematurely.
Slowly and steadily, insert the folded cup at a slight angle, aiming towards your tailbone. The cup should sit low in the vaginal canal, below the cervix.
Push the cup in until the stem or base of the cup is just inside the vaginal opening. The cup should not be inserted too high, as it may cause discomfort, but the stem should also not pop out inside.
Step 6: Once the cup is almost fully inserted, let it pop open inside.
To ensure it opens fully, you can rotate it slightly or give it a gentle pull. This helps the cup create a proper seal against the vaginal walls. It should feel round or somewhat oval, indicating a good seal.
If the cup feels flat or has folded, it may not be fully open, and you may need to adjust it. Otherwise, there might be leaks.
Step 7: Check and adjust if needed.
If the cup is comfortable and properly sealed, it shouldn’t leak. However, you may need to adjust its position if it feels uncomfortable or leaks.
You can check if the cup is adequately open by running a finger around the base. You can use your finger to push against the vaginal wall to help the cup fully unfold. Once open, you can gently push the cup up towards the cervix.
Gently slide a finger up the side of the cup to break the seal and reposition it. Pushing the cup slightly lower or higher or rotating it can help improve the fit.
Is it difficult to insert a menstrual cup the first time?
There is a learning curve, and while it might be challenging the first time, it gets easier with practice. The essential part is to be relaxed and patient and try different folding techniques and inserting positions until you find the easiest.
Why am I not able to insert a menstrual cup?
If you find it super hard to put your menstrual cup in, it might be because you are not relaxed, your muscles are tight, it is too dry, or you use a folding that doesn’t work well for you, or even the position of your body.
Try to take a few deep breaths to relax, and then add a bit of water-based lubricant. Fold the cup and try to find the easiest position to insert it.
What are the tricks for inserting a menstrual cup?
Here are some things that helped me in the beginning and might help you, too:
- You can take a warm shower and try to insert the cup. The warm water will help you relax your muscles and lubricate the area naturally.
- If you find the stem of your cup is uncomfortable or sticking out, trim it gradually. Trim small increments over multiple cycles. Just be careful not to cut it too short, as it can make the removal more challenging.
- Explore different angles of insertion to find what works best for you. Some find that inserting the cup horizontally or angling it slightly towards their back gives them better results.
- Use relaxation techniques, like deep breathing or meditation, before and during insertion. Relaxing your mind and body can help reduce any tension or anxiety hindering the process.
How do you relax before inserting a menstrual cup?
Before inserting your cup, you can take a few minutes to relax. You can do that with slow, deep breaths through the nose or mouth. Just ensure you have privacy to release any tension fully.
Then, give yourself enough time to insert the menstrual cup without feeling rushed or pressured. Feeling rushed can increase tension and make the process more difficult.
First time using a cup. Is it always so difficult to insert?
No! If it was hard to insert the first time, know that it is mainly because of a lack of familiarity and a matter of practice. Using a menstrual cup is a new experience, and it can take time to become comfortable with the process.
It’s common to feel unsure or nervous when you try it for the first time. Like almost anything new, there is a learning curve, and you will need to figure out the best folding technique, angle, and position that works best for your body.
It may take a few cycles to find your preferred method. However, if you still find it unbelievably hard to insert after a few cycles, it might be that the menstrual cup you got is not the right one for you.
It may be the wrong cup size or incorrect firmness for your body. In that case, while a bit annoying, try a different cup size or a cup with a softer or firmer material.
Or you can even try out this menstrual cup insert tool. I never tried it, and I can’t say how helpful it is, but I found it while browsing the web, so I decided to share this option with you.
It’s normal to take a few cycles to become comfortable using a menstrual cup.
As you become more experienced, you’ll likely find the insertion process easier and quicker. And don’t get discouraged if it takes time and practice to find what works best for you. Persistence, patience, and experimentation are key.
If you have other concerns about removing a menstrual cup (without making a mess), knowing if it is inside right, sterilizing it in various situations, and other relevant questions, check my Sustainable period category that covers that + more. 🙂
Let me know if you have any other questions about inserting your menstrual cup and if you have any other additional tips that I’ve missed!