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Where Should a Menstrual Cup Sit & How to Insert It

You're frustrated, tired of struggling, and about to give up. Menstrual cups are great when you hear about them and when you're researching how to use a menstrual cup online. But when you use them for the first time, they can seem anything but simple. How do you insert a menstrual cup? And, once it's in, where should a menstrual cup sit in the vagina?

You're not alone. We understand your concerns because we went through the same learning curve with menstrual cup placement and insertion. Everyone does. Yet as menstrual cup experts, we're certain you can overcome these initial setbacks because we're going to show you how. All you need is practical tips and our expert guidance to become a master at inserting and placing your menstrual cup. Ready? Let's dive in.

Want a zero-waste and fuss-free period? For every Ruby Cup purchased, we donate another one to a person without access to safe menstrual products. Get your Ruby Cup now.

 

Where should a menstrual cup sit?

You may wonder how far to insert a menstrual cup or how deep a menstrual cup should go. A menstrual cup should sit in your vaginal canal below the cervix. Placing your menstrual cup too high like a tampon will cause your cup to shift around in the wider part of your vagina, known as the vaginal fornix. This may be why your menstrual cup is leaking.

 

Ruby Cup image of a menstrual cup sitting in the vaginal fornix.

 

But menstrual cups also leak when they sit too low. So where should a menstrual cup sit? It depends on your vagina and cervix. Before inserting a menstrual cup for the first time, understand where your cervix is and if you have a high or low cervix. Use our cervix measuring guide to find out:

 

cervix measuring guide

 

Once you locate your cervix (many people say it feels like the tip of a nose), you'll understand where to place your cup. If you have a low cervix, the stem of your cup may stick out. If so, maybe your menstrual cup is too big or too long, so you may want to trim the cup's stem.  

Yet, if you're a beginner menstrual cup user, wait before cutting the stem. You may only need a bit of practice to insert your cup correctly, without needing to change sizes or shorten the stem. 

 

How to insert a menstrual cup

Preparation is key when you insert a menstrual cup for the first time. And using these tips before menstrual cup insertion will help you feel less awkward and improve the learning curve. 

Step 1: Wash your hands

Wash your hands well because you're going to insert your fingers into your vagina as well as your menstrual cup. Follow correct hygiene practices to prevent the spread of germs, which cause infections. 

If you have long fingernails, use a nail brush to remove the hard-to-clean area under your nails.

Step 2: Clean the cup

Is it the first time using a new menstrual cup? If so, boil your period cup in water for a few minutes to sterilize it. Try our medical-grade silicone Ruby Sterilizer, which you can use wherever you go because it's discreet, practical, and collapsible. Just place your cup inside, fill the sterilizer with water, and pop it into a microwave or a conventional oven for a few minutes.

 

ruby cup sterilizer

If you already started using your cup and have your period, just rinse your cup under clean running water. No soap is necessary, but if you want to wash away any stains or hard-to-remove residue, choose a scent-free pH-neutral soap and rinse thoroughly. 

After your period, sterilize your menstrual cup again, then store it in a cotton bag or a breathable container until your next menstruation. 

Step 3: Find a comfortable position

Before you insert your menstrual cup, find a comfortable position. Yes, you can remain seated on the toilet, but different positions may help you insert your cup, especially the first time. 

For example, you can stand up and rest a foot against the toilet, a chair, or the side of a bathtub. This position will widen your vaginal opening, making it easier to insert your menstrual cup.

 

04 Ruby Cup image of a woman standing up to insert a menstrual cup

 

Or you can try squatting down, which will roll your pelvis forward, shorten your vaginal canal, and bring your cervix closer. After you insert the cup and stand up, your vaginal canal will lengthen, pulling your cup up into your body.  

Also, you can experiment with these positions in the shower for a less stressful and mess-free period cup insertion.

Step 4: Fold the cup

When you saw your menstrual cup for the first time, you probably wondered how it could fit inside your vagina. The answer is in the fold. So let's look at the most common folds:

  • C-fold: Fold your menstrual cup in half so the rim of the cup looks like the letter C. This is the easiest fold and requires only one hand. 

 

c fold

 

  • 7-fold: Squeeze the sides of the cup together so the lips touch, then fold one edge of your menstrual cup toward the bottom of your cup, creating a 7-shape. This creates a smaller insertion point than the C-fold.

 

7 fold

 

  • Punch-down fold: Punch down one side of the cup, then squeeze the sides together. This creates the smallest insertion point and is great for beginners.

 

Related post: The 7 Best Menstrual Cups for Beginners in 2022

 

punch fold

 

Experiment with each fold to find the perfect one for you and your body type. Just because one fold works for one person doesn't mean it's the right fold for you. 

Plus, choosing the right firmness will also make folding and inserting your cup easier, like Ruby Cup's soft medical-grade silicone is medium firmness, not too hard or too soft. 

 

Step 5: Insert the cup into your vagina

Yes, we've finally arrived. You're going to learn how to put a menstrual cup in. 

First, relax both in body and mind. If you tense up now, you might also tighten your pelvic floor muscles, which will interfere with inserting your menstrual cup. Take a few deep breaths before you begin. And remember, very few people can insert their cup perfectly the first time. With practice, you'll get it right.

Get in position, prepare your fold, spread your labia (the vaginal lips) with your free hand, and insert your cup until it's completely inside, even the stem of the cup. Go with the natural shape of your vagina and aim your menstrual cup horizontally and back toward your tailbone, not up like a tampon. 

 

05 Ruby Cup drawing of a menstrual cup  placement within the vagina

 

If you find menstrual cup insertion difficult, try another position or different folding, or put a bit of water-based lubricant on the rim of your cup to help it slide in better. Trouble with long fingernails? Before ditching the menstrual cup or cutting your nails, use these tips to insert a menstrual cup with long fingernails:

  • For newly trimmed fingernails, make sure you file the edges smooth before inserting your menstrual cup. 
  • To avoid scratching yourself when you insert your menstrual cup, hold the cup with your nails pointing toward the cup, not toward your vaginal wall.  
  • If you have gem, crystal, or rhinestone applications, wear nail caps. 

Remember to adjust your menstrual cup's placement based on your body type. Keep a finger inserted to check if your menstrual cup sits below your cervix. Everyone's body is different and with practice, you'll know if your cup needs to be placed a little higher or a little lower. 

 

Step 6: Check if the cup is open and sealed

Well done. You've inserted your menstrual cup, and you're almost finished. Here's how to check if your cup is open and sealed to avoid your cup slipping down, falling out, or leaking. 

 

 

 

  • Circle the cup with the tip of your index finger. If you feel creases or folds, it hasn't popped open. 
  • To open your cup, rotate it until you hear or feel it pop open. You can also tilt the cup from side to side to help tough folds unfurl.
  • For long fingernails, keep your nails flush with the side of the cup before running a finger around the base of the cup or rotating the cup. This way, only the rounded part of your fingernail will touch your vagina and not the edge.
  • To check if your cup has a suction seal, grip the cup's stem and give it a gentle tug. If you feel resistance, then hooray, that's the suction pulling it back.  

Sometimes, no matter what you do, you can't get your menstrual cup to open or seal. And that's normal the first few times. Just remove your cup, take a brief break, and reinsert. 

If you find your cup is too high, no worries. A menstrual cup can't get lost in your vagina. And now that you're mastering menstrual cup insertion, check out our guide on how to remove a menstrual cup to become a pro.  

 

Quick tips for inserting a menstrual cup the first time

Using and inserting a menstrual cup for the first time can daunt anyone at any age. So here are our quick tips to help ease the tension and transform your jitters into joy:

 

Ruby Cup image of a happy girl holding two menstrual cups

 

  • Slow down and don't rush. Grab your agenda and schedule time for putting in a menstrual cup because it's an important step. Take as much time as you need to relax, practice, and experiment.
  • Choose a quiet time of day without disturbances. Turn your first-time menstrual cup insertion into self-care time. Shut off your phone and tell people you're not available.   
  • Create a stress-free moment and make period cup insertion fun. For example, call a friend for moral support. Or have a menstrual-cup slumber party because who says you have to be alone your first time? Invite others to join the menstrual cup revolution. 
  • Fumbling with the folds? Then squeeze your cup like a stress toy to release the tension creeping up on you. Playing with your menstrual cup will help you get used to its texture and flexibility. And don't worry—Ruby Cup's medium-firm silicone won't lose its shape. 
  • Turn on relaxing music. Create a soothing environment where you can practice the folds and various positions. And keep a water-based lube handy in case you need it.   
  • Grab a glass of wine or your favorite drink and celebrate. Your eco-friendly choice of a reusable menstrual cup is saving the planet. While you're at it, toast to saving your vagina from harmful toxins, too. All Ruby Cups are hypoallergenic, vegan, and bleach-free. 
  • Is your menstrual cup inserted, opened, and sealed? Then rejoice and share the news. Text your friends, call your mom, snap a photo of your happy face and share the news on Instagram, tagging us with #rubycup. Let the world discover the freedom of using a menstrual cup. 

 

Putting in a menstrual cup is easy—you just need a little practice

Anything worthwhile is going to take time and effort. When you're learning how to use a period cup, go easy on yourself, and don't expect to turn into a menstrual cup pro on the first try. If you do, great. But if you don't, that's fine. Most people practice for 2 or 3 menstrual cycles before they don't have to think about how to insert their menstrual cup or where should a menstrual cup sit. Just look at what our customers are saying:

 

ruby cup reviews

 

But you're making a smart choice because you're producing less waste and protecting the environment. You're making a healthy and body-friendly decision and you're embracing all the freedom that comes from using a menstrual cup. So even if you're struggling right now, be proud of yourself for taking the first step toward a healthier lifestyle for you and the planet. 

 

FAQs about inserting a menstrual cup

If you're still asking how to insert a menstrual cup and where should a menstrual cup sit, we've got you covered. Let's allay your fears and answer your most common questions. 

How far up should a menstrual cup be?

A menstrual cup should sit lower than a tampon, right below the cervix. If you place a menstrual cup too high, it may shift in the wider area below the cervix known as the vaginal fornix. This is one cause of menstrual cup leakage. 

Can you insert a menstrual cup too far?

Your menstrual cup can't get lost because your cervix will block it. Position your cup below the cervix, not next to it. If it's next to your cervix, it may shift to one side and leak. Insert a finger to first understand where your cervix is, then you'll identify where to position your cup. 

How do I know if my menstrual cup is inserted correctly?

Run a finger around your inserted period cup to see if there are creases, which show your cup hasn't opened. Rotate the cup to open it. Also, gently pull on the cup's stem. If there's resistance, your cup has suction. A correctly inserted menstrual cup won't leak menstrual blood or slide down.

Should I feel my menstrual cup when I sit down?

If you can feel your menstrual cup when you sit, it could be the stem. Either you positioned your cup too low or, if you have a short vagina, your cup could be too long. Buy a cup with a trimmable stem, like Ruby Cup.

How do I make sure my menstrual cup is not leaking?

After period cup insertion, check if your menstrual cup is open, sealed, and in the right position:

  • Swipe a finger around the base of the cup. If you find creases, it hasn't opened. Rotate the cup to open it. 
  • Gently tug on the stem. If there's resistance, your cup has a seal.
  • Check that your cup sits below your cervix.

How do I know if my menstrual cup fits?

You will know your menstrual cup fits because it won't slide down or leak, and it should fit completely inside you. Always consult a size guide before buying a menstrual cup. When in doubt, try two different sizes. You can find discounted offers for two different sizes, like Ruby Cup's Duo-Pack

Related Post: Your Menstrual Cup Keeps Sliding Down? Here’s What to Do

 

ruby cup duo pack

Should my menstrual cup stem stick out?

The entire menstrual cup, including the stem, should stay inside the vagina. If the cup's stem sticks out, remove the cup and try trimming the stem. Or you may need a smaller or shorter-sized cup. Use our menstrual cup sizing guide to discover the right menstrual cup for you. 

Can I insert a menstrual cup if I have long nails?

You can insert a menstrual cup with long nails as long as you take some precautions first. Point long fingernails toward the walls of your cup, instead of toward your vagina. File down the edges of your nails so they're smoother. And if you use applications like rhinestones, use nail caps to insert your menstrual cup. 

 

Want a zero-waste and fuss-free period? For every Ruby Cup purchased, we donate another one to a person without access to safe menstrual products. Get your Ruby Cup now.