Do Menstrual Cups Leak?
According to studies, more than 50% of people regularly experience leakage when wearing tampons. This is especially true on days with really heavy flow days where you might not get a chance to change your tampon frequently enough.
Sanitary pads are even worse because we’ve all had experiences of them shifting around, especially when we’re sleeping or playing sports. The disposable ones do a slightly better job at containing things than the reusable ones. But of course, the disposables aren’t great for the environment.
A common question from women is whether or not menstrual cups will leak in the same way that tampons and pads often do.
The quick summary: yes, menstrual cups do sometimes leak. It’s sometimes because they’re full. But most often it’s because they’re not inserted correctly.
We’ll give you some tips and tricks to make sure that your menstrual cup, including the Diva Cup doesn’t leak.
Top 5 Reasons Why Menstrual Cups Leak
Here are a few of the most common reasons why your menstrual cup is leaking:
- It’s not sealed to your vaginal canal walls (turn it a full rotation to help it seal)
- Your menstrual cup is full (empty, and reinsert it)
- The Cup is not under your cervix, it’s above or below (point the cup towards your tailbone)
- Your menstrual cup is too high in your vaginal canal (keep it low so that it doesn’t leak)
- You have the wrong size menstrual cup (try a bigger, or smaller one)
Hopefully these quick tips solve your menstrual cup leakage problem. Or keep reading for the more detailed explanation.
Do Menstrual Cups Leak? Common Problems
Although there is a bit of a learning curve with using menstrual cups, once you get the hang of inserting it correctly, you can get a good night’s sleep, run a marathon, hike a mountain, have a long date with no worries. Your menstrual cup will have you covered.
It takes most people 3-5 cycles to really get the hang of inserting and removing their menstrual cup, so don’t give up too soon. It will leak at the beginning! Wear a pad and keep on trying.
If you continue to have leaking with your menstrual cup, then you might have one of the following problems.
Do menstrual cups leak? Not usually, if you solve these few common problems.
Menstrual Cup = Too High in the Vaginal Canal
Our first tip is related to the positioning of your cup and the fact that it may be sitting in the wrong place.
You might be wearing your menstrual cup too high in your vaginal canal, which can cause it not to seal properly. The stem on your menstrual cup should be just at the entrance to the vagina, but not outside of it.
When you insert your menstrual cup, just push it in gently. It should be as low as possible, as long as it’s not uncomfortable.
Menstrual Cup = Not Fully Opened
Another problem is that the period cup may not be fully opened once it’s inside of you. Your cup will not seal to your vaginal canal walls if it doesn’t open completely, which will almost always result in some serious leaking.
Here’s how you prevent this problem:
The way to ensure your menstrual cup is sealed is to run your finger around the base of the cup and make sure that it’s not folded. You can also turn the cup in a complete circle one way, and then the other in order to ensure that it’s fully opened.
Menstrual Cup = Too Big, or Too Small
Another reason that menstrual cups leak is because you have the wrong size cup. Think about it this way.
If you have a cup that is too big for you, even if it tries to pop open inside you, it just doesn’t have room to seal correctly. There will still be folds and ripples because there just isn’t room for it.
If you have a cup that is too small, it’ll fully open. However, it won’t touch your vaginal canal walls completely on all sides. It’ll slide around, and never really seal. You’ll need to get a larger one.
Do menstrual cups leak? Not if you have the right size!
Menstrual Cup = Full
Have your emptied your menstrual cup lately? If not, this could certainly be part of the leaking problem you’re experiencing.
Sure, many companies will say that you can use your period cup all day, or all night because there’s a lower risk of TSS. This means you only need to empty and clean it every 12 hours.
However, capacity matters too. If you have a very heavy period then you’ll have to empty your cup much sooner than the recommended time. For example, it can easily fill up in at little as 3-4 hours on the day of your heaviest flow.
You’ll know that this is the problem if it doesn’t leak for the first few hours, but then you notice spotting later on.
Menstrual Cup Keeps Leaking = Because of Bowel Movements
When you take a poop, the movements may cause your menstrual cup to shift around a little bit. However, not to worry! Your cup will NOT pop out of you like tampons.
If you find that your menstrual cup is leaking after you go to the bathroom, not to worry. It’s likely for this reason.
Menstrual Cup Leaking = Your Cup is too Soft
If you have strong pelvic floor muscles, a soft menstrual cup may not work that well for you. Your muscles can squeeze the cup, and break the seal (the same thing you’d do before you remove your cup).
In this case, you might want to try a firmer menstrual cup.
Menstrual Cup Leaking = Not Under your Cervix
When you insert your menstrual cup, remember to point it back towards your tailbone, and not up towards the sky. For most people, this will ensure that your period cup is under your cervix, not behind, or in front of it.
Another problem is that the opening to your cervix may be pointed to side. For some women, this makes it impossible to use a cup, but check with your gynaecologist to be sure.
Do you use an IUD?
One potential reason why your menstrual cup leaks is that your IUD strings may be interfering with the suction around the rim. In order for a cup to not leak, it needs to be sealed well to the walls of your vagina. Too long of strings may prevent this from happening.
A solution is to ask your doctor to trim the strings as short as possible.
The Most Important Tip: Don’t Give Up too Soon!
It takes most people a few cycles before they really get the hang of it and are able to get through an entire period without leaking, so don’t give up too early. Y
ou will figure out how they work, and you should also be able to find the period cup that works for your body shape.
It’s really quite rare for someone to get the hang of using a period cup the first couple of cycles. It takes a while to figure out where your cervix is and the correct cup positioning.
You can put on a pad, relax, and don’t worry about it! You WILL eventually figure it out.
How to Insert a Menstrual Cup
Correctly inserting your menstrual cup can go a long way towards ensuring that it doesn’t leak. Here are some key things to remember:
Some people can actually hear their cup “pop” inside of them. This is especially true for the firmer cups. If you do hear this, your menstrual cup shouldn’t leak, as long as it’s positioned below your cervix, and not behind it for example.
If you don’t hear the pop, you may have to grab the base of the cup and move it around a little bit.
Or, you can twist it one direction, then the other.
After doing these two things, your cup should now be fully opened and it won’t leak.
And always remember to point your cup back towards your tailbone, instead of “up.” This will position it correctly under your cervix.
Menstrual Cup Won’t Open? Try a Different Fold
Despite trying these things just mentioned (wiggling the cup, and twisting it), some people find that their menstrual cup never really fully opens inside of them.
Before giving up, or buying a new cup, try a different fold. Some folds work better for some cups than other, due to the stiffness of it.
Here are some options for menstrual cup folds:
Menstrual Cups Hold a Lot of Fluid
The good news is that menstrual cups are much more reliable than pads or tampons. This is because they hold a significant amount of fluid. Jumbo tampons hold around 12 ml of menstrual fluid while some of the biggest menstrual cups can hold 37 ml.
Using a menstrual cup, you can get away with emptying it every 12 hours for normal flow. This is reduced to perhaps every 8-10 hours for the heaviest flow days.
Unlike tampons, on the nights of your heaviest flow, you should be able to get away with emptying it right before you go to bed and then once you get up in the morning. For extra security, pair it with a reusable organic cotton pad.
In general, if your menstrual cup leaks and you empty it regularly, it’s probably not because it’s full. It’s more likely related to insertion difficulties.
Of course, checking if your cup is full should be the first step if your menstrual cup is leaking.
Some People: Put the Cup Right Below your Cervix
Okay, so you’ve tried all the traditional advice about putting your menstrual cup low in your vaginal canal. For some people, particularly those with a very low cervix, this may not work well for you. You’ll often find that the stem is sticking out of the opening of your vagina and it’s super uncomfortable.
If you’re tried everything else, but find that your menstrual cup still leaks, this may be a last resort option.
Find your cervix. It’s a donut shaped hole at the end of your vaginal canal. It’s the point where you can’t reach any further. It might be soft, or firm, depending on where you are in your cycle.
Then, put the cup right below that. Your cervix can almost be “inside” your cup. For some people, this was the miracle they needed in order to get their menstrual cup to stop leaking!
Try Another Menstrual Cup?
If the one menstrual cup you’ve tried leaks, try it for a few cycles. There is a learning curve to using them. I know you may feel discouraged but keep working at it. It’s worth it because they’re so much better for our health.
If it still doesn’t work after 3-4 cycles?
Try another one because they are designed differently and certain ones will fit certain body types. The best place to start is with our menstrual cup quiz.
There are 5 simple questions that will only take a minute or two of your time. At the end, you’ll get a recommendation for the best menstrual cup for your body type. Check it out here:
Do menstrual cups leak? Not if you have the right one!
My Lunette Cup is Leaking!
The Lunette Cup is a popular menstrual cup that is made in Finland. The company has been around for years, and they have some great advice about what to do if your menstrual cup is leaking. Check out the short video below:
Should I use Backup for a Menstrual Cup?
Okay, so no matter what you do, your menstrual cup is leaking a little bit. As long as it’s just a bit, most people find that it’s not a big deal.
The solution is to use some backup, in the form of period panties, reusable cloth pads or disposable pantyliners.
Do Menstrual Cups Leak? Have your Say!
Do menstrual cups leak? Let us know about your experience with menstrual cups, including the Diva Cup.
Are there any tips or tricks to share with us in order to not get your cup to leak?