5 reasons your menstrual cup is leaking and what to do about it

PMS Leaking Woman experiencing troubles

A leaking menstrual cup can happen to two types of people: either you have just started to use a menstrual cup or you’ve already been using it successfully and suddenly encounter leaks.

In both cases you’ll find yourself staring at your stained underwear, fairly annoyed and frustrated thinking: “Why, why, why is my menstrual cup leaking?”

But here’s the good news: just because your menstrual cup leaked once, doesn’t mean it will do it again. There are a couple of reasons why your menstrual cup is leaking – and all of them can be solved.

The key to stop your menstrual cup from leaking is to know why it is leaking and what you can do about it. We also asked menstrual cup experts Kim and Amanda for some input. Here it is:

The 5 reasons your menstrual cup is leaking and what to do about it

1. Your Ruby Cup didn’t open properly

This is one of the main reasons for a menstrual cup to start leaking. The menstrual cup will only work if it is able to “pop” open fully after insertion. That’s when the suction is formed and the menstrual fluid will stay inside the cup.

Illustration of how to insert the Ruby Cup

Solution:

A good trick to get the menstrual cup to pop open easily is to rotate it and slightly move it from left to right while slowly pulling downward. And then do the test! Once inserted, carefully try to pull the Ruby Cup downward – if the suction has formed, you will literally feel it. It will only move a little before you’ll feel the pressure of the suction – and without breaking the seal, it will be very hard to remove.

Tip 1: You can run your finger around the edge to see if there might still be a small crease, hindering the vacuum to form.

Tip 2: Try a different fold. I found that my Ruby Cup never opens up when I use the c-fold, but I have a 99% chance that it opens up almost immediately when I use the Punch-down Fold.

2. Your Ruby Cup is leaking because it’s full

Illustration of how to take out a full Ruby Cup

If you have a very heavy period, you’re Ruby Cup might be overflowing, causing the dreaded leak. Especially during the heavy days, you might not be able to go for the full 12 hours without having to empty it. But the Ruby Cup Medium has triple the capacity when compared to an ultra tampon (34ml vs. 10ml), so it will still keep your panties blood stain free for way longer.


Solution: Try a menstrual cup with more capacity or empty more frequently if possible. If you have a busy day, you can also use some period underwear for back-up.

3. The cervix dips into the Ruby Cup

Illustration of hand emptying out the Ruby Cup

During menstruation, your estrogen levels drop sometimes causing your cervix to move position. Also, your cervix opens lightly or swells to permit the uterus lining and mucus to flow out easily. It’s common that during that time it might tilt a little to one side or move downwards in the vagina.

If that happens, the cervix might dip into the cup, taking away capacity and filling it up faster. Just imagine dropping a pebble in an already full glass of water.  The outcome: overflowing even though the cup was technically not full.

Same thing if you have a high cervix. Once inserted, Ruby Cup can travel up because of the high position of the cervix. This again can make the cervix dip into the cup, taking away capacity and causing overflowing earlier than expected.

Solution: One thing you can do is try a menstrual cup with more capacity. Also, during heavy days, try to remember to empty your Ruby Cup more frequently than the 12 hours it should normally last you.

4. Tilted cervix

This is the reason why you sometimes experience leaks, even though your cup doesn’t seem to be full or have anything in it at all. Due to the angle of your cervix, you might have to check that your cervix is actually inside the Ruby Cup. It can happen that the Ruby Cup may open next to the cervix instead of around it, letting the blood flow past the cup freely instead of getting collected inside it.

Solution: Run your finger around your cup and try to feel if the cervix is outside of it. If so, take the cup out and re-insert it

5. You have strong pelvic floor muscles

Strong pelvic floor muscles are important and something you should aim for. But – if they’re too strong, they can also squeeze the walls of the menstrual cup, pinching it as you do before removing it. This can cause the seal to break and the Ruby Cup to overflow (if it is already pretty full).

Solution: Try a menstrual cup that is a bit firmer. In terms of firmness, Ruby Cup is in the medium range, making it an all-rounder for most vaginas and an easy menstrual cup for first-time users. But if you have very strong pelvic floor muscles you might be better off with a firmer menstrual cup. Check out some menstrual cup groups online to get more information on other, firmer menstrual cups to try . Have a look the comparison chart from Put A Cup In It for more insights.

Understanding even better

A while back I experienced some severe leakage and was minor paranoid about more leaks. So sometimes, when I just saw the slightest sign of a blood stain in my underwear, I panicked. Without reason, though. Because keep in mind that during heavy days, when you empty and reinsert the cup, there might be leftover blood that together with the leftover drops of water from the freshly rinsed cup can end up in your underwear looking like a leak. Kim from Put A Cup In It refers to them as “wiping leaks”.

If things are still unclear, this video will cancel all doubts. It demonstrates how the menstrual cup acts inside your vagina. It’s very eye opening and helps to understand why your menstrual cup might leak:

So for the next time, before you panic, remember to take the time when you insert your menstrual cup and check for all the potential reasons your menstrual cup could leak.

Here’s a quick checklist you should keep in mind to prevent your menstrual cup from leaking:

  1. After inserting the menstrual cup, give it a little twist and wiggle.
  2. Check if it popped open: do the test by pulling it down to see if the suction was formed
  3. If you’re facing difficulties inserting the menstrual cup, try a different fold (Punchdown vs. C-Fold)
  4. Empty it more often, especially if you have a heavy flow.


Do you have any great tips? Let us know in the comments below! Happy leak-free periods!

You might also be interested in:

How to manage your period at a festival    early first period effects on young girls

how to clean holes in menstrual cup   Distributing Menstrual Cups in Rural Kenya