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Removing a menstrual cup: Are menstrual cups messy?

TOTM's reusable zero-waste menstrual cup, organic cotton liner and organic cotton light flow pads box on pink background

In this blog, we are giving you lots of tips for removal. We will also be answering the recurring question, ‘are menstrual cups messy?’

Curious about making the switch to a menstrual cup? We often get told by people the idea of removing and emptying the cup puts them off. Trust us, it’s not as daunting as it seems!

If you are used to using disposable period care products, you may have a lot of questions when it comes to reusables such as the menstrual cup. Unlike a tampon, the cup collects your menstrual flow. This often prompts people to wonder how you remove it without making a mess. Let’s find out if menstrual cups are messy…

First things first…

Like most things, the cup takes a bit of getting used to. Inserting and removing the cup becomes easier with practice. It’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong technique, only what suits you best. But here are some of our top tips for a non-messy removal:

Adopt a comfortable position

It’s so important to ensure you feel comfortable and relaxed. If you panic and tense up, your vaginal muscles will ‘clench’ around the cup and make it harder to remove. The more you relax, the easier the cup will slip out. We would suggest removing it over the toilet in case some blood does spill out. The longer you leave the cup in, the fuller it will get and the more likely it is that you will have some blood spill as you are removing it.

Release the seal

In order for the cup to remove easily, you will need to release the seal. It is not advised to do this by tugging on the stem. This is because it will be a lot more uncomfortable for you. It is also more likely that the contents of the cup will spill out, as your grip on the cup will not be as firm.

Using your thumb and index finger, gently squeeze the cup where the base meets the stem. You will then hear or feel the seal release and the cup will be ready to remove.

Slow and steady

Taking your time and going as slow as possible will allow you to remove the cup without it being ‘messy’. Once the seal has released, hold on to the base and gently slide the cup out. Use your pelvic muscles to help lower the cup and push it out. To help prevent the contents spilling out, tilt the cup slightly so one half of the rim comes out first then tilt the other way to remove the other half.

Once the cup is out, slowly tip the blood into the toilet. It is likely that you may get a bit of blood on your fingers, but this is expected. This process of emptying the cup will help you get to know your flow and body much better, which is one of the biggest positives of the menstrual cup.

Gynaecologist tips

If you find the cup has moved up and you cannot see the stem, do not panic. You can use your vaginal muscles to help push the cup back down so you can get hold of the stem.

Our resident consultant gynaecologist, Ms Anne Henderson, recommends “bearing down to dislodge the cup. This helps it move further down the vagina.  If you are still unable to reach the edge of the cup to pinch and break the seal, then resting a foot on the edge of the bath or toilet seat can help. Once the seal is broken the cup should slip down quite easily, particularly when there is menstrual blood present which can act as a lubricant.”

Another tip

If leaking when using the cup worries you, wear it alongside a pad or liner for the first few times. The more you get used to the cup, the less you will leak.

We hope this blog has answered any questions you may have about removing the menstrual cup. These tips can help ensure using a cup isn’t messy. Do you have any tips? Let us know in the comments below. If you have questions about inserting and folding the cup, check out this blog here. Wondering whether you can use a cup with a heavy flow? Find out here.

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