How to Remove a Menstrual Cup Safely with No Mess
We know choosing a menstrual cup can be difficult with so many great options out there, and we know inserting a cup for the first time can get quite tricky too. But what about when it's time to remove the cup? How difficult can this be?
You might be asking for Diva Cup removal tips, whether there's a magical easiest menstrual cup to remove, whether removing a menstrual cup hurts, or how to break the seal on a menstrual cup. But never fear, because we know the first time you use a cup will be a bit scary. Therefore, we have compiled a bunch of helpful tips on how to remove a menstrual cup without mess and no fuss!
Wash Your Hands
It really goes without saying, but always make sure your hands and fingers are clean before inserting or removing your cup. Personal hygiene will greatly minimize any risk of infection. You will be putting your fingers 'up there' so you can't be too squeamish. A good idea is to know your body before trying a menstrual cup for the first time, by measuring your cervix.
Tip: Dry your hands before removing the cup, so your hands won't be so slippery. You might also want to have some clean toilet paper ready in your other hand to catch any residue blood when you remove the cup!
Bear Down or 'Push'
Sometimes your menstrual cup can move up your vaginal canal. Don't be alarmed! This is completely normal, and it's almost like your body is sucking it up to the correct spot to where it should sit. It does mean, however, that removal might be a bit more difficult because you will need to reach up further to remove the cup. The easiest way to push the cup down is to bear down, or use your stomach muscles to push your insides, similar to when you need to pee or do a bowel movement. Try to reach the stem, and keep pushing until you feel the base of the cup.
Tip: If you need to pee or poop, then do this before trying to remove the cup!
Relaxing your body, your muscles, and your mind will help you remove the cup. If your body is tense, then the vagina muscles will contract and you won't be able to move the cup. Don't stress if you can't reach up to the stem of the cup. The first time I tried removing the cup was a panicked 30 minutes where I thought I had 'lost' the cup inside my body. This was terrifying, and after half crying, and some furious googling, I realized it was a common occurrence for first time users. No need to panic if you can't remove menstrual cups right away!
If you feel yourself starting to freak out, then stop, and take a few calming breaths. There usually isn't any urgency to remove the cup so go and do something else to get your mind off it for a while.
Tip: It's always best to try a 'dry run' with your menstrual cup before you start your period. The best time to try inserting and removing your cup is during a shower. Taking a warm shower will relax you, and help you figure out the best way to insert and remove cup
If you still can't find the stem or the base of the cup, then try squatting down, or lifting one leg onto the toilet or bathtub. This position will shorten the vagina, making it easier to locate the cup. It might also help to look for the shortest menstrual cup if you feel that you might have a low cervix.
Tip: Once in the squatting position, try to bear down or push again. You should be able to feel the stem at this point.
Change your Position
If squatting down or lifting your leg isn't helping, then feel free to change positions. One position we tried that definitely helped was laying down. You can lay either on your bed, or the floor, and bring your legs up to a stirrup position. Just like you're riding an imaginary horse upside down! Once in this position, try to push (like giving birth), until you feel the stem or the base of the cup. At this point, you might want to stand up and get vertical!
Locate the Stem or Base
Once you have located the stem with your finger, keep pushing down, until you can get two fingers around the base, wiggling it from side to side to help it move down.
Breaking the Seal
When you can reach the base of the cup, use your fingers to pinch or squeeze the cup as far up as you can reach. This will break the seal or suction on the menstrual cup and make it much easier to pull out. You might but not always, hear a small 'whoosh' sound or even feel the air escape. Some women can even feel this menstrual cup pressure. When this happens you can tilt the cup slightly and pull it completely out.
Tip: If the pinch and squeeze doesn't work for you, possibly if your cup is quite firm, then you can also slide one finger up to the rim of the cup and push in to break the seal.
Hold it Vertically
Your vaginal canal isn't completely straight and vertical, so you might need to wiggle or tilt the cup slightly as you move it down and out. Just before the rim comes out, make sure the cup is vertical over a safe place. Remember, blood is liquid, and the laws of gravity will spill it! Carefully hold the cup and when safe to do so, pour it down the toilet!
Tip: If possible, the shower is a perfect place to tip your cup out and rinse it. In a public toilet, you might want to bring in a bottle of water to rinse the cup. Alternatively, you can pee on it, but this is not necessary. Just make sure you clean the cup completely at least once a day, easier when you're at home!
Read Using a Menstrual Cup in a Public Bathroom for more information on how to remove and clean your cup discreetly!
Is There An Easiest Menstrual Cup to Remove?
Most menstrual cups have rounded rims which make the cup easier to remove. You can also look for cups with a stem rather than a ball on the base. Sometimes this is easier to locate. Menstrual cups that have no protruding designs or logos, and are completely smooth on the outside, might also make a difference if you are very sensitive, but this will make a very minimal difference.
Below we have compiled the smoothest cups with stems (that can be cut to size) currently on the market!
- More of a V-shaped cup, rather than a bell shape. once the seal is loose, the cup is much easier to slide out.
- Very smooth outside, which also makes cleaning a breeze.
- Larger air holes than other cups which make breaking the seal easier
- Smooth, rounded rim, with no obvious seam. This makes it slide out easier.
- Air holes are uniquely angled, and created during the moulding process, rather than drilled in during post-production. This creates a smoother finish that you can't feel.
- Unique slanted design with no obvious rim.
- Some women claim the odd design makes it very easy to pinch and break the seal before removal.
- Long cup and stem design which is perfect for those with a high cervix
- Soft material with no ridges on the cup, but ridges on the stem for ease of removal.
Should Removing A Menstrual Cup Hurt?
No, removing your cup should never be painful.
It might be uncomfortable or cause a bit of discomfort when trying to wiggle the cup out, or your vulva (the opening of the vagina) may feel discomfort once it's popped out, but there should not be pain after removal.
If you do experience a lot of pain while trying to remove the cup, then remember to relax, have a shower, and try the removal tips out again.
If pain persists, always go and see your doctor.
The Bottom Line
Using a menstrual cup for the first time can be a daunting process. There's definitely some ick-factor and a huge learning curve to make the transition to using a menstrual cup easy and mess-free. Comfort is very important when figuring out the best menstrual cup for you, so take note of your cervix height, and whether you prefer softer or firmer cups. By finding the best cup for your body and your needs, means you will actually use your cup rather than forgetting it in the bathroom cupboard. Now that you know how to remove a menstrual cup, use it more often and be patient with using it. You will, over time, find the easiest way to insert and remove your cup!