10 Tips for menstrual cup beginners
A step-by-step guide for first-time menstrual cup users to help get you started.
Once you’ve purchased a JuJu cup, you will want to know how to make the move to using your menstrual cup as easy as possible. If you are transitioning to the menstrual cup from tampons, it will be easier for you to get a hang of using the JuJu cup than if you are a pad user.
A menstrual cup is worn completely internally and may cause the hymen to tear or cause some discomfort on first use in younger or non-sexually active people. Read more on Adolescents and Menstrual Cups or using a menstrual cup as a virgin if this applies to you.
The instructions accompanying your JuJu cup contain all pertinent information relating to your menstrual cup. Please read the user guide thoroughly and ensure you have read the 'Warnings and Precautions' section prior to using your cup.
It’s important to remember all our bodies are different. Some people are able to make the switch easily on their first day, whilst for others, it may take more time. These tips will ensure that you make a smooth transition.
1. Good hygiene is paramount
It is important to maintain good hand hygiene. Always wash your hands thoroughly with a mild soap and warm water before inserting or removing your cup to avoid the transfer of bacteria or viruses to the vagina, vulva and urinary tract. Also disinfected your cup prior to using it for the first time and at the end of each cycle.
2. Try to relax
To insert a menstrual cup successfully, you need to relax your pelvic muscles. Tense muscles can make it difficult or painful to insert a menstrual cup. Ensure you are in a comfortable environment when using your cup for the first time to remove any extra anxiety. The shower is also a great place to practice inserting and removing your JuJu cup as you are likely to be more relaxed. If you suffer from vaginismus, you may find the use of a menstrual cup difficult to use and we suggest you speak to your health care practitioner for a treatment plan which will make a menstrual cup easier to use over time.
3. Practice makes perfect
Before your cycle beings, practice inserting and then removing your cup a couple of times a week in the shower. This is called doing a ‘dry run’ and will make the transition to using a cup easier when you do use a menstrual cup during your period.
4. Lubricate the Rim
Use a pH-balanced organic water-based lubricant to help with insertion. Alternately, many people find that running their cup under water prior to inserting it provides enough lubrication to aid with insertion.
5. Experiment with folds
It may take a couple of attempts before your are comfortable with inserting your cup. There are different ways to fold a menstrual cup. One fold may work much better for you than another so experiment with different menstrual cup folding methods until you find the one that works best for you.
6. Find a comfortable position
For some people, this may be; standing, standing with one leg raised, squatting or sitting on the toilet with the pelvis tilted forward and the tailbone tucked under.
7. Insert the cup
Menstrual cups should be inserted at a 45-degree angle (the natural angle of the vaginal canal), backwards towards the tailbone and not straight up. Allow your cup to open just inside the vaginal opening, with the stem still protruding, then place your index finger on the base of the cup and gently slide it into position. It’s important to allow the cup to open low in the vagina as this ensures a suction seal is formed with the vaginal walls and not onto the cervix. Your cup should sit lower that a tampon but it is not unusual for it to travel and sit higher if you have a long vaginal canal or high cervix. If you find your cup sits low and the stem protrudes, you can trim the menstrual cup stem, node by node, until you find the length that works best for you.
8. Check the seal
To prevent leaking, ensure the cup is securely in place. Once you have inserted the cup, you may feel a popping sensation, which indicates the cup has opened. You can also perform a physical exam to check if the cup has opened by inserting your index finger only, up beside the cup and then running it around the circumference of the cup. If you feel any ‘dents’ in the cup, the cup has not fully opened and you will need to reinsert it or try doing a few Kegel or pelvic floor squeezes which may help the cup open. Some people also like to give their cup a little twist to ensure a seal has been formed after it is inserted whilst others find they are unable to turn the cup once it is inserted.
9. Have a backup plan
It’s a good idea to use your cup in conjunction with a pantie liner or reusable cloth pad when you first start using a cup in case you do experience leaking. As you become more confident with the use of your cup you will no longer need a pad.
10. Be kind to yourself
It can take some people some time to master using a menstrual cup. If you are getting frustrated with inserting of removing your cup, it will only become more challenging. Take a break from it for a day or two and try again when you are in a better frame of mind.
If you have followed all the tips above and experiencing leaking, you may not have selected the correct size. If your cup is too small, it may not form a good seal with the vaginal walls and will leak. If a cup is too big, it may not open correctly and cause leaking or discomfort.
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a very dangerous, life threatening bacterial infection linked to the use of tampons. Be vigilant and look out for any signs and symptoms of TSS. If you have previously suffered from TSS, it is recommended that you do not use internal sanitary products unless under the direction of your medical practitioner.
See our Menstrual Cup Removal Tips for First Time Users for more information.
Rinse and dry your JuJu cup before putting it back in its own carry-bag until your next period. Always store JuJu cup in a ventilated area; never keep in a plastic bag or airtight container as moisture cannot evaporate without airflow and your cup will not dry. This can cause bacteria and other nasties to grow on your cup.