5 simple steps to safely remove your menstrual cup
By Stephanie Taylor, Managing Director of Kegel8
More and more women are making the switch from sanitary pads and tampons to menstrual cups. Whether it be for comfort, sustainability or affordability reasons, menstrual cups are certainly having their moment.
Menstrual cups sit just inside the vagina and collect the blood lost during your period for up to 12 hours. They sit much lower than a tampon and can contribute to better vagina health, reducing your risk of getting bacterial infections and Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
But trying new period products can be daunting and it can take practice to build confidence. Stories of women who have had bad experiences shouldn’t put you off finding what works best for you.
Intimate health expert Stephanie Taylor of Kegel8 gives her top tips on how to safely and comfortably remove a menstrual cup…
1. Do a few trial runs
You’re not going to be a pro straight away, so before your period comes, practice inserting and removing your new menstrual cup. This way, you know what to expect and will feel more in control of the cup when it’s full.
If needed, trim the stem so that it sits about 1.5cm above the entrance of your vagina. Only trim the stem when the cup is not in use and cut off small bits at a time so you can still easily locate and grip it.
2. Relax and take it slow
Like when inserting your menstrual cup, being relaxed can make all the difference when removing it. The vaginal canal is full of muscles, so if you’re feeling tense your muscles may contract involuntarily, making removal far harder.
Take deep breaths to steady and lower your heart rate. It’s ok to stop and try again later if you just can’t quite get it right the first time around.
3. Find your favourite position
There is no “best” position to remove your cup. Again, it’s all about personal preference and trying different ways.
Most women find removing it while sitting over the toilet with their legs spread wide the easiest and cleanest way of removing a cup. Some prefer to deep squat on the floor to open the vagina further. Others find that lying down on a towel allows them to relax and ease the cup out comfortably.
No position is right or wrong! Just bear in mind that your cup can retain more liquid than three super tampons so once it’s nearly out, keep it upright to avoid spills.
4. Always release the seal
Menstrual cups are held firmly in place by suction. This air needs to be released before you start pulling the cup.
Most women use their thumb and finger to softly squeeze the base of the cup (just above the stem) and release the seal. You can then wiggle the cup from side to side while gently pulling down.
Try not to use your pelvic floor muscles to push the device out. This can be damaging to your vaginal health, even possibly resulting in prolapse.
5. Keep it clean
Regularly cleaning and storing your menstrual cup properly will ensure that it gives you extended protection.
Always wash your hands before removing your cup. Once you’ve removed it, tip the fluid down the toilet, flush and transfer it to the sink for a clean with a special cleaning spray or mild soap and hot water.
It is likely that you will get menstrual fluid on your fingers when removing your cup, but not too much more than when removing a tampon, so be sure to wash your hands properly too.
Rinse thoroughly to remove any soap or cleaner residue as this can cause irritation. For a more thorough clean, add your cup to a saucepan of boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes.
If it is not possible to clean your cup, it’s safe to reinsert it without washing as long as your hands are fully clean.