Have you been thinking about switching to a zero-waste period? Or maybe you’re tired of pads and tampons, changing them all the time and want to forget that you’re on your period altogether (at least for a few hours). Or maybe you’ve already made the purchase and learned how to use a menstrual cup but still have a few burning questions in your mind. Too embarrassed to ask someone you know questions like "can I pee with a menstrual cup in?" or "can I poop while wearing a menstrual cup?" or even "why does my menstrual cup make me feel like I have to pee?".
Well, you're in the right place because there are no silly questions here. We want to make sure that all of your queries and concerns get addressed.
Want to make a difference? Your purchase of a Ruby Cup includes the donation of a menstrual cup to someone without safe access to menstrual products. Shop Ruby Cup now.
The not-so-obvious facts
We get it - questions about periods, bodily fluids and human anatomy can feel embarrassing at first. Maybe it’s just because you haven't really gotten to know your parts yet? The beauty of recognizing and being able to name each of the parts and what they're responsible for helps you appreciate your body for the amazing things that it can do! The more you love and accept yourself, the more comfortable you'll feel in your body. And the more comfortable you feel, the more confidence you'll have.
So let’s start with a trip down to vulva town to really understand what’s going on with your body every day (and when you menstruate). Then it will also be easier to understand that you can definitely pee and poop normally while wearing a menstrual cup.
Anatomy of a vulva
First things first - what is a vulva? How is it different from the vagina? To put it simply, the vulva makes up the external parts of your genitals, while the vagina is the internal canal that leads towards the cervix and uterus.
The parts of the vulva include:
- Vaginal opening
- Urethral opening
Right behind the vulva, you find:
Let’s go through them one by one.
At the top of the vulva, we have the clitoris and the clitoral hood. If you have a clitoris, consider yourself a very lucky person. This organ is packed with millions of nerve endings and the only use it has is to allow you to experience sexual pleasure. Wow!
Below the clitoris, we have the labia. The word labia means lips in Latin. They are, essentially, your vulva lips. The labia majora are usually fleshy and covered with pubic hair and are located around the exterior of your vaginal opening. The labia minora are the inner lips that start from the clitoris and end beneath the vaginal opening. Labia vary from person to person and come in all sizes, shapes and colors.
The urethra and bladder
After the clitoris, we have the first exit hole - the urethra. Located above the vaginal opening, the urethra is the tube that releases urine from the bladder. Although it may seem like urine comes from the vaginal opening, the urethra is actually a separate channel that allows for urine to pass through.
The vaginal opening and vagina
Next comes the vaginal opening. The vagina is the tube-like structure of the anatomy that releases the menstrual flow (which consists of the lining of the uterus, menstrual fluid and others), where sexual intercourse can take place and is the passageway for the baby during childbirth. The vagina is where you place your period cup to collect your menstrual fluid during your period.
The vagina is connected to the cervix, which acts as the divider between the vagina and the uterus. The uterus is a muscular organ where a fetus grows during pregnancy. The uterus prepares a cushy lining each month for a possible fetus. If insemination doesn’t take place (meaning there is no sperm to fertilize the egg), this lining gets released, resulting in what you know as menstruation.
The anus and rectum
The third exit hole is the anus. The anus is the opening for the rectum and releases bowel movements (poop).
Now that you understand all the parts a bit better and what they do, let’s get to those pee and poop questions…
Can you pee with a menstrual cup in?
Yup, you certainly can pee with a menstrual cup in! Now you know that urine exits from the bladder through the urethra, and menstrual blood (plus mucus, secretions and the uterine lining) exits through the vagina. So even if your period cup is placed in the vaginal canal to catch your menses, you should be able to pee without a problem.
What happens if issues arise? We've heard some people say that their menstrual cup "makes me feel like I have to pee". How you insert and position your menstrual cup is one of the biggest factors in wearing a period cup comfortably. If you want to read more about where your menstrual cup should sit in the vagina, our article goes through all this here.
Can you poop with a menstrual cup in?
Yes, you can poop with a menstrual cup, there’s no need to remove it when you go. Now that you know that poop comes out of the rectum through the anal opening, you'll recognize that the two exits are independent of each other, although they can affect each other in some ways.
As for poop on your period in general - have you noticed that you tend to go more often or even experience diarrhea while on your period? There’s a reason for this. Every month before your period is about to begin, prostaglandins (chemicals that produce hormone-like effects) are released in the uterus causing the muscles and blood vessels to contract. This effect aids in the shedding of the lining of the uterus, often causing painful cramps. Prostaglandins can have a similar impact on your bowel movements as well, meaning more trips to the toilet and even looser stool.. Isn’t the human body just magical?
Why does my menstrual cup make me feel like I have to pee?
The thing is that if it's placed too low, there's the chance that it can either press against the urethra (which you know shares the same wall as the vagina) or the bladder, making you feel like you have to pee. This slight pressure on the urethra might even make your urine stream slower or make it feel difficult to pee. If this happens or if your period cup makes you feel like you have to pee, try squatting down (or find another comfortable position) to readjust the cup. It might just need to be pushed further up or sit lower down in the vagina.
If this doesn’t work, it may be the material that’s too hard. Try opting for a softer cup like Ruby Cup, which is soft and made from medical-grade silicone, but also durable enough to stay in place. Are you sure your period cup is the right size for you? If it’s too large, it may also cause more of that pressure on the urethra or bladder we mentioned earlier.
One more thing to keep in mind is whether the cup has a protruding rim or if it’s smooth like some other cups. A protruding rim on a cup that is firm (or perhaps too large) can also put pressure on your urethra or bladder, causing that “I have to pee” feeling.
If you are new to period cups, it’s only natural to have a lot of questions. If you have questions that you haven’t found an answer to, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org - we are here for you!
Now that we’ve answered all your menstrual cup questions surrounding pee and poop, do you feel ready to make the switch? Check out our recommended period cups for beginners if you’re still on the fence, or see how much the pros of using a cup outweigh the cons!
Want to experience a freer, more carefree period while making a difference? Each Ruby Cup you purchase makes it possible for us to donate a menstrual cup to someone without safe access to menstrual products. Check out Ruby Cup.