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October 25, 2020
As your period phone-a-friends and curbers (is that a word?) of all kinds of period drama, we’re here to help - whatever your period drama may be!
Now first things first – we don’t want to alarm you – not everyone who uses a menstrual cup will experience it getting or feeling 'stuck', BUT it is super common and can happen even to the most experienced cup user. If you are a cup or tampon user, you will likely know that your cup can't get 'lost' inside you - IT LITERALLY HAS NOWHERE TO GO. Your vagina is not a bottomless pit– there is only so far a cup, or a tampon, can go.
This handy step-by-step guide will help guide you through what to do if you're ever faced with a sticky (or maybe, a little too sucky) cup situation. Let's dive in - but first up, a few of your most FAQs.
The most likely culprits of a cup getting stuck, or you having trouble removing it, are that it's either sitting too high or even sideways in the vagina and you're unable to easily reach it, or the suction seal is super strong when you inserted it and you're having trouble releasing it. The good (great) news is that it's really got nowhere to go. The only way is out! Read on to find out how.
Pinch the base of your cup to release the suction seal and you should be able to easily and painlessly guide your cup out. If the base of your cup is hard to reach, insert your index finger and feel for the top rim of the cup - gently press on it to allow air to flow between the rim and the vaginal wall. You should then be able to wriggle the cup out.
Remember: menstrual cups stay in place by forming a suction seal on the inner walls of the vagina, and the only way to remove them is to 'break' the seal by allowing air back in.
Removing your cup shouldn't hurt if the suction seal has been broken - it should then easily and painlessly wriggle out. If you feel resistance or discomfort when trying to remove your cup, then the seal hasn't been broken.
If you’re still having no luck, try this handy little guide, below, to help you remove a stuck cup.
Obvs. You’re going to have to reach in there at some point and you want clean hands and nails doing it. Our vaginas are precious! We don’t want to invite in any unwanted bacteria.
Just like when you first inserted it. If you’re tense, your pelvic floor muscles will tense up, too, making removal that much more difficult. Take a few deep breaths and find a comfortable position. Squatting (in the shower is good because spills) is a tried-and-tested position because it helps open-up the pelvis and makes the vaginal canal shorter, often helping your cup lower itself a little.
We know – it’s in your vagina – but where exactly? With a clean finger (index finger usually works best), reach in and locate it’s whereabouts. Can you feel the toggle, or stem at the base of the cup? Is the cup facing the right way (as in, with the toggle angled towards the opening of the vagina)? If your cup is at an angle, or is somehow sitting sideways, use your finger to slightly guide it so that it’s sitting upright. This will make removal easier. Note to self: Don’t pull on the toggle! This will not release the suction.
Also known as ‘kegels’ – we’ve talked about these a bit on the blog and even on the podcast but for those who are unfamiliar with them, here’s a quick 101: your pelvic floor muscles are the ones that keep everything inside you in place (your bladder, uterus and bowels). Pelvic floor exercises are when you contract and release those muscles (feels a bit like holding in a wee, then letting it out) repeatedly, which helps strengthen them. We recommend doing 10 of these at least once a day (as a very general rule of thumb – please see a doc if you have more specific concerns, like incontinence, bladder control issues or anything else that might impact your pelvic area).
Ok so back to it…
Doing the ‘release’ part of the pelvic floor exercise can help push your menstrual cup down the vagina and towards the vaginal canal. As you push downwards, reach into your vagina with your thumb and index finger, and see if you can grab at the base (just above the toggle/stem), just enough to pinch it slightly and release the suction seal. If you’re able to reach it and release the suction, you should easily be able to slide it out.
Still no luck? Onto step 5…
Insert your index finger again and attempt to break the seal of the cup by running your finger around the sides, or by pushing down on the rim, if you can reach it. If the cup is fully ‘open’ and you feel like it might be too big to remove, try folding it whilst inside you (pushing down on the rim, similar to the punch down fold, might help).
If that doesn’t work…
Got the sweats? Feeling a little hyped (in a stressed way?). It might be time to take a little breather, Moxette. Step away, make a cup of tea and take 5 to re-group. Then come back to it with a clear head (and clean hands) and try again.
If you’re STILL not having any luck...
... like sitting on the toilet, or propping one leg up on the toilet whilst standing. Changing angles can help change the position of your cup, making it easy to reach.
And if all else fails…
It might be time to phone a friend/partner to help give you a hand (make sure they wash their hands first, too!) or visit a health professional like a doctor or a gyno, who should easily be able to get your cup out for you. THERE IS NO SHAME or embarrassment in asking for help or seeking medical attention. It happens to the best of us.
Whatever you do, PLEASE REMEMBER: To never leave your Cup in for more than 8 hours at a time – so make sure you can remove or have it removed within that window.
Inserting and removing your cup will get easier as you get used to it. Here are some top tips to help reduce the likelihood of it getting your period cup stuck the next time…
If you're still having trouble or need more advice, please phone a (trusted) friend or adult, or consult your Doctor. Remember to never leave your menstrual cup in for more than eight (8) hours at a time and always read and keep the instructions for use in pack.
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