TRIM THE STEM.
We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share their best tips for how to use a menstrual cup, and oh my god, they're about to change your life.
@plannedparenthood / Via Instagram: @plannedparenthood
First of all, don't be discouraged if it takes you several periods to really ~master~ your technique.
"Honestly, the first and most important thing to remember when dealing with a menstrual cup is simply to be patient! It's easy to get frustrated and give up on the cup if it doesn't work for you the way you expected the very first time, but give yourself the time to learn how the cup works with your particular body and shape."
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Leave yourself loooots of time to put it in the first time you try it.
"DO NOT attempt to put it in the first time when you have somewhere to be. Bonus if it's a day you're just at home. If there's any mishaps you don't have to deal with them in public or even worse, at work."
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To get the right fit, be ready to get up in your own business.
"I insert it, then feel all the way around the edge of the cup and make any adjustments to make sure it's covering my cervix, then twist it around a bit to make sure it's sealed. I'm making it sound harder than it is — this takes like 10 seconds — but you have to be prepared for a lot of self-intimacy."
Not all cups are created equal, so do your research and try out different brands.
"Take a quiz to find a cup that will work for you. I used a Diva Cup initially and it didn't work for me at all. Years later I found and took this quiz; it recommended the Lena Sensitive Small, which worked for me immediately."
Relax when you're putting it in.
"Things will go so much better if you're relaxed. It can be really frustrating in the beginning, but it will not work if you arent relaxed and patient with yourself."
And DON'T PANIC when you can't get it out.
"When it gets stuck the first time (it will) don't panic!! Get in the shower, and reach in with a finger and break the seal by pushing on the cup near the rim. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T JUST PULL IT OUT. THE SUCTION WILL HURT LIKE HELL."
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The sizing guidelines aren't always correct, so try different ones if something doesn't feel right.
"The sizing isn't 100% fool-proof. I'm 37 years old, no kids. I wear the smaller size, even though I should wear the larger by their guideline. If you're having leaks throughout the day, you might need to try the other size."
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When you're a beginner, try going into a full squat to insert it.
"I found it helped me relax and open up my pelvis so I could slide that puppy in."
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Or try with your foot on the toilet.
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Just accept you're gonna get your hands a little bloody.
"Yes, you're going to get your hands a bit dirty, just like you do when you use a pad or a tampon, or wipe pee or poop. Just wash your hands well afterwards."
Run warm water over it before you insert it.
Or use coconut oil to lubricate the cup.
Until you get comfortable taking it out, squat over an old towel or the toilet when you do it. Because spillage.
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Remove and insert it in the shower to make washing it out and cleanup a lot easier.
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Try different folding methods for insertion.
"Once you figure out the right technique for folding it, it's a piece of cake. I tried several different types of folds before I found one that allowed me to comfortably insert the cup as well as allowed the cup to open/seal properly once inserted."
When it's suctioned or "sealed" properly, you'll probably ~feel it~.
"SUCTION IS ESSENTIAL. It can be three feet up there but if it didn’t make that suction pop sound/feeling, you are gonna end up with a leakage."
SBT / Via Twitter: @brilho_luanS
To get that seal, try inserting it slightly more than you think you need to, then pull it down.
Or insert it, twist it, and push gently.
"It took me about three months to perfect a seal."
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If you have trouble twisting it once it's inserted, try putting your finger around the edge of the rim to create the seal.
Test the seal by giving it a tug or bearing down with your pelvic muscles. If it moves easily, it WILL LEAK.
"If it stays put you're golden."
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If you feel like you have a UTI, it's probably not inserted high enough.
"My second time inserting it after the first dump, I stood up and felt like I had to pee but couldn’t get anything out. Fast forward four hours of me grimacing around my house, I finally took it out and tried again. Turns out it was pressing against my urethra so hard that my urine couldn’t get down the tube!"
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To take it out, give it a gentle squeeze and a light twist.
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Whatever removal method you try, make SURE to break the seal somehow, whether by squeezing it or sticking your finger around the rim.
"The first time I didn’t pinch hard enough and it felt like I was ripping my insides out!"
If it hurts or is uncomfortable, take it out and re-insert it.
"Of course you're going to feel it and be aware that it's there, but if there is any pain or discomfort, it's probably not in right and is gonna leak. Take it out and try again."
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If you're inserting it correctly but still feeling discomfort, try trimming the stem.
"Best decision I made and you definitely will be able to still take it out with no problem."
Keep a pack of flushable wipes or a bottle of water with you to make cleaning the cup and your hands a lot easier.
"Public restrooms are usually not Diva Cup friendly so help yourself out and plan ahead!"
Leaks are gonna happen as you get used to it, so wear a liner until you feel confident.
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Or double up with menstrual underwear if you're nervous.
"Invest in a couple pairs of menstrual underwear. I tried them on their own and they didn’t work with my body, but they work GREAT as backup for my cup on really heavy days or days when I seriously can’t have a leak. Much comfier than a back up pad."
Sarah Burton / Buzzfeed / Via buzzfeed.com
Things like jumping, sneezing and pooping might cause slippage, so don’t be afraid to readjust it when you go to the bathroom.
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Don't leave it in too long because it WILL start to smell.
"DONT TRY TO LEAVE IT IN FOR MORE THAN 24 HOURS. IT SMELLS AWFUL! But some vinegar and a good boil should take care of that for you!"
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Trim your nails.
"I learned my lesson the first few times when I scratched the inside of my vagina."
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Or, if you don't want to, try wrapping a bit of toilet paper around your fingers.
"I wish I knew that having long and/or pointy nails can be dangerous when trying to pull it out! I suffered through lots of pinching and stabbing until I realized that wrapping a piece of toilet paper around my fingers gave me the grip and protection I needed."
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Consider taking it out before pooping because, well, pushing.
—Bianca Barrera, Facebook
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Watch YouTube tutorials on how to insert and remove it.
"Watching tutorials on how to get it up there was so much more helpful than the instructions it came with."
Eventually you might get a feel for how full it is.
"Your vagina is pretty smart and once you get used to the feel of the cup you can actually feel it's weight. I've overflowed mine before unfortunately so I can tell when it gets heavy and is getting close. It might take a little while to notice but once you get a feel for how much is in there you don't have to check it like pads or replace it like tampons."
Lastly, smile because you may never go back to your tampon or pad ways.
"I promise you, the investment and cleaning will be so worth it! I am never going back to tampons or pads again."