What if a menstrual cup overflows?

Menstrual cup - the 20 most important questions

Menstrual cup: reduces the "period waste"

Women bleed once a month - menstruation lasts an average of five to seven days. To catch the menstrual blood, most women use sanitary towels or tampons, hygiene products that end up in the trash after use. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland alone, approx. 75,000 - 125,000 tons of waste are produced annually, which are only caused by monthly hygiene products.

Menstrual cups have many advantages

It has long been possible to collect the menstrual blood more sustainably: With menstrual cups, which have experienced a real hype in recent years. Rightly, because the small silicone cup has a number of advantages: It does not affect the vaginal flora as much as tampons, it is cheaper in the long term and causes less waste because the cup can be reused.

The invention of the menstrual cup is old

It is unbelievable that the small silicone cup was invented almost a century ago. The American Leona Chalmers registered one of the first patents for it in 1935, but tampons initially caught on, the cups were forgotten until their advantages became more interesting and they came more into focus in recent years.

Menstrual cup - we answer all questions

Despite the convincing advantages, there are still many questions and uncertainties about the menstrual cups; it is initially a challenge to try the small cup. We answer the most important questions about the menstrual cup.

Question 1: Which model suits me?

It depends on the age, the period length and whether you have already given birth to children. Another decision-making aid is the position of the cervix, which can be felt with the finger. If you have to insert the finger all the way in to reach the cervix, it is better to choose a larger cup, if you only have to insert the finger about halfway, it is better to choose a smaller size. There are usually 2-3 different sizes, depending on the manufacturer.

Question 2: How many milliliters of fluid can a menstrual cup hold?

It depends on the brand and model size. Menstrual cups can hold a lot more blood than tampons. On average, they hold between 25 and 40 ml of liquid. Incidentally, women lose around 60 ml of blood during the entire period, i.e. only around 2 cup fillings.

Question 3: How do I insert the mug?

There are several folding techniques for correct insertion:

  • C-fold: Press the cup flat and fold it in half.
  • 7-fold: Pull the cup in half. Then fold one of the corners towards the stem.
  • Punchdown folding: Use your thumb to push the rim of the menstrual cup down and in at one point. With the punchdown fold, a lot of air remains inside the cup, which allows it to unfold well after it has been inserted, and this fold also reduces the size of the cup.

Place the cup so that it is about 1-2 cm inside the vagina. Pay attention to hygiene: Wash your hands before and after inserting the menstrual cup.

Question 4: Can I use the cup if I have my period for the first time?

Anatomically it is possible, but handling the menstrual cups requires a little experience and trial and error. If it doesn't work right away, try again after a while. The longer you have your period, the better your body and vagina will feel.

Question 5: Are there days when I shouldn't be using the mug?

The menstrual cup should not be used in the first few weeks after giving birth. First, all injuries must be healed. There can also be problems if you have weak pelvic floor muscles. To strengthen the pelvic floor, there are special exercises that you can use to train the pelvic floor. Anyone who has a medical problem in the vagina should only use a menstrual cup after consulting a doctor.

Question 6: Can the material damage my vagina or can I be allergic to it?

Most menstrual cups are made of medical grade silicone, which is considered to be low in allergies and harmless to health. However, there are cups that are made of latex. Women with latex allergies should of course avoid these cups.

Question 7: Is it bad if the material changes color?

As a material, silicone absorbs dyes. Discoloration can occur especially in cups that are transparent. But that doesn’t change their function. Those who are bothered by the discoloration can use the following home remedies:

  • Place the cup in a bowl with 400 ml of water, add a tablespoon of baking powder and leave in this mixture for 24 hours.
  • This also works with tooth cleaning tablets or citric acid (one tablespoon in 400 ml of water).

Question 8: Why are there different material thicknesses?

Soft cups are easier to fold and they are a little easier to insert. Menstrual cups made of a harder material are an advantage if you have a strong pelvic floor; soft cups would then be pressed in too quickly.

Question 9: Can the cup slip out?

Normally, the cup shouldn't slip out; the negative pressure in the vagina makes it sit tight and doesn't move. If it does slip out, then the size of the menstrual cup is not the right size for you or your pelvic floor is not strong enough. In this case, pelvic floor exercises may help. It is best to find out about the sizes in advance. If you are unsure, consult a cup finder.

Question 10: How can I remove the menstrual cup?

To do this, grasp the base of the menstrual cup with two fingers, press it together, tilt the cup slightly so that the negative pressure is released and carefully pull it out.

Important: Don't just pull the stick without releasing the vacuum. That could feel uncomfortable.

Question 11: How can I properly clean the menstrual cup?

At home: Pour the blood into the toilet, rinse the cup under tap water and insert it again.

On road: If there is no sink nearby, you can use a bottle of drinking water to rinse out or simply wipe the cup with toilet paper.

Before wearing for the first time and after each menstruation: The cup should be cleaned thoroughly once. Simply cook in a small saucepan for about 10-20 minutes. Tip: A small dash of vinegar prevents limescale build-up on the cup

It can also be cleaned in the microwave. It is best to place it in a sterile cup, the cup should be completely covered with water. Then cook at 1,000 watts for about 2-3 minutes.

Question 12: Can it happen that blood overflows when emptying?

Usually not, unless the cup is overfilled. If you are still unsure, you can practice removing the cup in the shower.

Question 13: What can I do if it doesn't unfold?

If the cup does not pop open, it is not seated properly and does not create a vacuum. Change the position a little or pull it out and start again. Inserting the cup requires a little practice, after a few times it will certainly work without any problems.

Question 14: Can the cup get stuck?

The cup can usually be easily detached and pulled out by pressing in the bottom. If that doesn't work right away, it's important to stay calm. Squat down and try to use your pelvic floor muscles to push the cup forward. If it doesn't come off, reach deep into your vagina until you feel the rim of the cup and push it in to release the vacuum, then pull it out.

Question 15: Can the cup overflow in the vagina?

Usually the cup is absolutely tight and nothing overflows. If you know your periods are particularly heavy, switch them out sooner. If you are unsure at first, you can also use a bandage.

You can find more information here:

  • Exchange with other women in the Facebook group about the menstrual cup.
  • A lot of information is also available on the Strawberry Week website.

Question 16: Do I feel the cup while moving or sitting?

If the cup is correctly positioned, you shouldn't feel it, whether you're sitting, standing, or walking. If you feel it anyway, you should reposition it again.

Question 17: Does the cup have to be exchanged regularly?

Usually a menstrual cup can be used for several years. The life of a cup depends on several factors, such as: B. The pH of the vagina and how to care for it.

Question 18: Can I also use the cup with the spiral?

If you have an IUD, you can use the cup as normal. However, the cup is not a contraceptive.

Question 19: Do I have to remove the cup before sex?

Definitely! The menstrual cup is not a contraceptive and must be removed.

Question 20: Can I go to the toilet normally with a menstrual cup?

You can just keep the cup inside and go to the toilet completely relaxed. Due to the negative pressure, the cup remains in the vagina and only loosens when you release the negative pressure by pushing it in. After a bowel movement, you should check the cup if necessary.