Troubleshooting Tips: What to Try If You Can't Get Your Menstrual Cup to Open
Menstrual cups are a popular period care product that offers numerous benefits, like comfort and reduced waste however some people face challenges getting their menstrual cup to open properly.
You will know if your cup has not opened correctly if you experience leaking during your cycle. When a menstrual cup opens it forms a suction seal with the vaginal wall, ensuring a leak-free period so it is an essential part of using a menstrual cup successfully.
To check if your menstrual cup has opened correctly, run your index finger around the rim of the cup once it is inserted. If you feel any indents in the circumference of the cup, it has not opened correctly.
If you're experiencing difficulty getting your menstrual cup to open, try the tips below;
- Relax: The first step is to relax your body and mind. Stress and tension can make insertion more difficult. Find a comfortable position, take deep breaths, and remind yourself that it may take a few tries before getting it right. Give yourself enough time and space to practice without feeling rushed.
- Do a Dry Run: A "dry run" involves practice inserting and removing your menstrual cup before your cycle starts. It can help to do this in the shower as you are likely to be relaxed and shower water provides additional lubrication. Doing a few practice runs will ensure you feel confident with insertion and removal techniques when you do have your period.
- Cold Water Rinse: Run your cup under cold water before inserting it. This will make the silicone firmer and ensure the cup pops open more forcefully.
- Try Different Folding Techniques: Experiment with various folding techniques to find the one that works best for you. Popular folds include the "C-fold," "Punch-down fold," "7-fold," or "Origami fold." Different folds alter the cup's shape and size, which can affect how it opens inside the vagina. Don't be afraid to try multiple folds until you find the one that suits your body. Feedback from users indicates that the ‘punch-down’ fold tends to open well for many cup users when others have failed.
- Insert the Cup Low: Sometimes, the position of the cup inside the vagina can hinder its ability to open fully (particularly if placed beside, rather than beneath the cervix). To ensure the correct position, allow the cup to open just inside the vaginal opening then gently slide it up into position. Allowing it to open low makes it easier to check if it has opened correctly and will ensure the cup is placed beneath the cervix.
- Use the Pelvic Floor Muscles: Once the menstrual cup is in place, try a few kegel muscle squeezes. Contracting and releasing the pelvic floor muscles is often all it takes to get the cup to unfold.
- Adjust the Cup's Position: If the cup is not opening on its own, you can try assisting it with your fingers. Use the index finger and thumb to rotate your cup. You can also tilt the cup slightly and gently slide it up and down the vaginal canal to encourage it to open. Be patient and experiment with one adjustment at a time. Often one small adjustment will do the trick.
- Assist the Cup's Opening: If adjusting the cup still didn't work, run your index finger around the circumference of the cup to identify where the cup is indented then push the rim of the cup on the opposite side of the cup. You can also gently press on the cup's base. These actions can help the cup unfold and create a proper seal against the vaginal walls.
- Use a Water-Based Lubricant: A lack of lubrication can make insertion and cup opening more challenging. Consider applying a water-based lubricant to the cup and the entrance of your vagina. Lubricant will help the cup glide smoothly, making it easier for the cup to open once inside. Avoid using oil-based lubricants, as they can damage the silicone material of the cup.
- Try Different Cup Sizes or Brands: Every person's anatomy is unique, and what works for someone else may not work for you. If you've tried multiple techniques and are still struggling, it might be worth considering a different cup size or brand. Cups come in various sizes, shapes, and firmness levels, so exploring other options could make a significant difference in your experience. If you feel the cup may be too big, opt for a smaller diameter cup. If you believe the cup is too soft and this is the reason it will not unfold, opt for a firmer cup. We have compiled a menstrual cup comparison chart that may assist you in choosing a cup.
- Seek Advice or Consult a Professional: If you have exhausted all the troubleshooting tips and are still unable to get your menstrual cup to open, it may be beneficial to consult with a healthcare professional. There are several anatomical reasons why a cup may not be working for you including having;
- a strong pelvic floor/vaginal wall muscles
- a tilted or retroverted uterus
- a low cervix or shorter vaginal canal
- pelvic organ prolapse
Getting a menstrual cup to open inside the vagina may require some trial and error. Remember to relax, try different folding techniques, and adjust the cup's position as needed. Assisting the cups opening with your fingers and using a water-based lubricant can also be helpful.
Many people who have difficulty using a menstrual cup have found success with using a menstrual disc so this is another reusable period care option to explore.
With patience, you'll find the technique that works best for you.