Learning to insert and remove your menstrual cup can take some practice. If you’ve just enjoyed hours of period bliss while wearing your cup but your cup feels stuck when it comes time to remove, don’t panic! Here are five steps to follow if your menstrual cup is stuck.
It might sound cliche (and make you want to roll your eyes), but it really is the most important thing to do in this situation. The tenser you are mentally and physically, the more your muscles will hold onto your cup. Remember, removing your menstrual cup is likely to be the most challenging aspect of learning to use it and it will take time to get the knack. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and relax the jaw - this will help relax the rest of your body including your pelvic floor and vaginal muscles.
2. Locate your JuJu cup
The next step is to locate your cup by inserting a finger or two and finding the stem. DO NOT try and remove your cup by pulling it out using the stem - this will actually increase the suction seal between your menstrual cup and the vaginal wall. Suction like this can cause discomfort and potential injury. It will also weaken the stem of your JuJu cup over time, which can lead it to break.
If you can’t feel your cup, chances are it has moved higher up in the vaginal canal. This can happen if you have a high cervix, which is why we recommend a longer cup like JuJu Model 3, which is easier to reach when you have a high cervix. To bring your cup lower down and within reach, try squatting down (which shortens the vaginal canal), or bearing down gently to move it lower.
Your cup might also move higher after you’ve been sleeping, in which case it’s best to wait half an hour for gravity to do its thing before attempting to remove your cup after waking.
It is also worth trying a couple of different positions; legs slightly apart, one leg up or squatting, to find out which position works best for you. Some people also find sitting on the toilet with the tailbone tucked under (or forward and upward) helps shorten the vaginal canal and makes your cup easier to reach.
3. Break the seal
To stay leak-free, your menstrual cup has formed a seal with your vaginal walls. It’s important to break this seal before attempting to remove it. If you don’t, you’ll create a stronger (and possibly painful) suction and it will be very difficult to remove your cup.
With your thumb and index finger, firmly squeeze or pinch the base of your cup (where the stem meets the bottom of the cup). This will release the suction seal. If you can’t reach the base with two fingers, simply insert one finger alongside the cup and press inwards as close to the rim as possible to break the seal.
4. Wiggle it down
Once the seal is broken, you should be able to remove your menstrual cup easily. Whilst still squeezing the base of the cup slowly move it down the vaginal canal to the vaginal opening. You can bear down gently to help move your cup down the vaginal canal.
5. The final exit
When the base of the cup is near the vaginal opening, use one of the following methods;
- Tilt the cup and take out the top edge of the rim, then tilt it upright and remover the bottom edge, or
- Use the 'hot dog in a bun method' which involves folding the cup into a c-shape or u-shape before removing it. This is the preferred method if you have a smaller vaginal opening.
Many people find removal easier to do in the shower where possible as not only are you relaxed but also less worried about spilling the contents of the cup.
Extra tips and advice
By positioning your JuJu lower, just inside the vaginal opening when inserting, rather than higher in the vaginal canal may make removal easier too. To ensure the cup forms a suction seal with the vaginal walls rather than the cervix (this can happen if the cup is opened to high in the vaginal canal), allow the cup to open just inside the vaginal opening, with the stem still protruding, then gently slide it into position.
If you’re still struggling to remove your menstrual cup after trying these tips, give yourself a 15-minute break, breathe, relax, and try again. While it is very rare, if you aren’t able to remove your menstrual cup at home please visit your local emergency department for assistance.