How To Make Friends With Your Menstrual Cup


So… this is noooot a topic I really want to be known for, which is why I haven’t written on it before now.

…But I’m doing it now because a.) I’ve seen a number of articles from ladies who just couldn’t get along with their menstrual cup and gave up, and b.) the Diva Cup gave me fits at first too, so I know how they feel.

Image shows two hands holding a menstrual cup, with text that reads "How to Make Friends with your Menstrual Cup (Yes, I'm going there)"

When I first got a Diva cup, it was solely because I wanted to stop buying paper products, both for sustainability and because of the chemicals, as well as because I didn’t want to wash cloth pads – even though I know quite a few people who love their cloth menstrual products.

I knew it was a risk because I’m an avid hater of tampons – can’t stand the things – and wasn’t sure the menstrual cup would be any better.

It was a risk, but one that paid off, and now, I LOVE mine; I’m glad I stuck with it, and I don’t want to see other gals give up on something that will truly make their monthly visit from ol’ aunt Flo a better experience.

So here it is.

Before you get started, the most important thing to know is which cup is right for you. I chose the Diva Cup brand and have been super happy with it. I’d love to try all the brands to know how they compare, but I also want to retire sometime before I die too, so I guess I’ll just save my money – for now. 😉

After you get your Diva or another menstrual cup, the next thing you need to know is how to insert it. I recommend reading up on it here. 

So, with the basics out of the way, here we go:

How To Make Friends With Your Menstrual Cup

Image shows a hand holding a folded purple menstrual cup

Get comfortable with yourself

You need to know your anatomy and how everything works down there. If you’ve had a couple of babies, this probably won’t be a problem for you, but if you’re a gal who hasn’t, then chances are, you need to get more comfortable with yourself because, um, you’re going to be inserting a menstrual cup and you can follow instructions all day long, but without knowing which direction things need to go, and what you’re fitting the cup over, it won’t do you much good.

Practice makes perfect

When I first started using the Diva cup, I was surprised to find that it would leak if it wasn’t inserted exactly the right way – and I only managed to get it right about 50% of the time. Bummer. Worse than that, I managed to (I think) bruise my cervix a time or two, and that really hurt, plus, sometimes the stem would chafe when I went running. (sorry for the TMI, but they’re just body parts ya know.)

To say it was no fun is an understatement, and I truly wanted to give up for a while. I think the only reason I didn’t was sheer determination and *really* not wanting to buy (or wash) sanitary pads on a regular basis.

Because you’re only using the menstrual cup 3-5 days out of the month, it might take several months to finally get the hang of using it comfortably – it did for me – but if you keep practicing, you will get the hang of it. So don’t give up!

Image shows a hand holding a pink menstrual cup with text that reads "How to make friends with your menstrual cup (yes, I'm going there)"

Get some pantyliners

I know the whole point of using a Diva cup, aside from sustainability, is so you don’t have to buy chemical-filled paper products anymore, but take it from me, while you’re still getting the hang of it, wearing a pantyliner to protect your clothes against accidents will save a lot of hassle!

Trim the stem

For some gals, that stem is really pesky. For a while, I thought I would have to trim mine, but after I finally got consistent with putting the cup in correctly, I changed my mind.

Not everyone has that experience, though – after all, everyone is built differently – and I’ve heard a lot of ladies like to take a pair of scissors to the stem, whose sole purpose is to provide an easy grip for removal. In other words, it’s not necessary, so if it bothers you, trim it away! I recommend trimming only a little at a time and leaving as much as you can because it really does make the cup easier to insert and remove.

Rinse and insert your menstrual cup while showering

This makes the whole process easier and less messy, plus it ensures that you’re all clean “down there,” which cuts down on leaking (though it’s not really leaking, just draining of discharge that was in your vaginal barrel before the cup was inserted – remember, the cup is only catching what’s coming directly from your cervix.

Make sure you’re really clean before and after insertion to prevent leaking

See the paragraph above.

Remove and rinse cup frequently

The directions that come with the Diva Cup say that you should remove and rinse twice per day – once in the morning and once in the evening. However, you may need to rinse more often on your heaviest days.

You’ll know your cup is too full when it starts leaking. Personally, I do a midday rinse on the first day or two of my cycle just for good measure because waiting until it spills over cramps my laundry style.

Of course, a midday rinse means you may find yourself having to use a public bathroom. Not the funnest thing in the world. You’d think that as a stay/work-at-home mom, I’d be able to avoid that, but unfortunately, during a few of my travels, I haven’t, so here’s my advice:

Image shows a blue and white "amily restroom" sign

Use the family bathroom when you can

Some stores, schools, and most airports have a family bathroom – usually situated between the men’s and women’s bathrooms. It’s one room with a toilet and sink all to yourself, and gives you privacy for your private chores.

If you can’t avoid using a public restroom, here’s what I do: remove, empty (carefully, so it doesn’t splash), re-insert, and wipe hands downs with toilet paper the best you can (or wet wipes if I have the foresight to bring them). Then, of course, you can go out and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

The obvious drawback is that you don’t get to rinse your cup, but don’t worry! It’s not a tampon, so toxic shock syndrome isn’t really a thing.

Conclusion: Don’t give up! I promise if you stick with it, you’ll get good at it and LOVE it! In fact, you’ll forget you are on your period half the time. It doesn’t get much better than that!

P.S. These are pictures of generic menstrual cups from a stock photo site because, apparently, I’m not okay with taking pictures of my personal cup. 

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  1. Great post! I’ve been using cloth pads for the past 5 years and recently got a menstrual cup that I will be attempting to use…soon… Thanks for all these tips! :]

  2. love this article! I’m 23 and have been using a diva cup since I was 16. One trick I learned that has made it so that I NEVER have leaks anymore is to make sure the cup is positioned entirely over your cervix, with your cervix sitting just inside the cup. I don’t know why I never thought of that before, I was getting so frustrated with leaking cause I was just popping it in there without positioning at all. your cervix moves around a bit during your cycle, so it’s important to find it before you try inserting the cup! during my period, my cervix is deep in my vaginal vault was hard to find at first.

    unlike with tampons, you can practice inserting your cup when you’re not on your period, but you’ll probably need some water based lubricant to get it in comfortably. Everyone should feel more comfortable discussing these things; they’re a part of our lives every month!

  3. I looked into the cup & cloth pads because I developed an allergy to disposables. I’m glad I did. I love my cup! I have a small bottle I use to take into the stall when me when I need to rinse my cup when I’m in public. It’s one of those from the beauty supply store for mixing hair color. I just fill it with water from the tap and grab some paper towels and usually go into the handicap stall since it is usually larger so my purse isn’t hitting me in the head. I put the, now, empty bottle into a zip bag in my purse so water doesn’t get every where. The single bath rooms with a sink are best. But a squirt bottle works in a pinch.

  4. I have been wanting to try one of these for the longest time but couldn’t really bring myself to. Your post made me laugh and gave me the courage to finally get one. Thank you for the honesty!

  5. Thanks for writing this. I am utterly intimidated by mine. The instructions suggest I lie on the floor in the same position as in everyone’s favorite GYN stirrups. Okay, right off the bat, we have a problem. I don’t even want to strip down and lie on my *own* bathroom floor.

    Also, the instructions suggest a couple of ways of folding it to insert it, and I can’t seem to get it to stay folded so it pops open way before it gets anywhere near where it’s supposed to go.

    Then, I’m concerned that the stem will be slippery and hard to grasp. So the mental image here is me lying on a bathroom floor on my back with my knees hiked up around my ears scrabbling for a slippery stem to remove a cup full of menstrual blood – and somehow not spilling it all over myself or the floor.

    Or, alternately, kneeling on the floor and still unable to grasp the thing. I bought it because everyone I know who has it rhapsodizes about it, but I can’t bring myself to even try it.

    1. Hi Michelle, glad you enjoyed it! Yeah… lying on the floor is a no go lol. One foot up on the tub, maybe, kind of like when you’re using a tampon. I haven’t had an issue with a slippery stem because all the slippery stuff is inside, but if you have any concerns at all, I highly recommend taking in out/putting it in, in the shower. No worries about spills that way!

  6. I didn’t want to say anything online either..I use eve or eva not sure which.. But it seems like my cramp are much worse. What’s your take on that?

    1. I don’t have cramps since having kids (weird, but I’m incredibly thankful for it!), so I can’t really speak to that I will say though, that I have terrible cervical pain if I jam the cup of there wrong. I’m not sure what happens, but ouch!

      On the other hand, paper pads make me hurt too, presumably from all the chemicals in the paper (I tend to be pretty sensitive to chemicals). So it was a trade off until I figured out how to get it in without bruising myself (let it start unfolding before it gets too high).

      Sorry I can’t be much help!

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