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Menstrual Cup Pain: Is It Normal & What Can You Do About It?

First, let’s clear the air: you shouldn’t experience pain when using a menstrual cup. In fact, most find they’re more comfortable to wear than tampons once you get used to them. Yet some people do report pain when inserting, removing, or wearing their cup.

You might not want to talk about it, thinking it’s normal or just “a bit of discomfort”, but it’s not the norm.

While menstrual cup pain is uncommon, it’s not unheard of and, from listening to the experiences of our users, we have a good idea of why you may be in pain. In this article, we’ll share techniques and methods that you can adopt to get rid of this pain and discomfort—so we can get you enjoying more comfortable periods. 

We always recommend that you should make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing pain, but this article will help you to understand some common causes. Let’s get started.

 

 

Seeking 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.

 

What causes menstrual cup pain?

As mentioned, you shouldn’t be experiencing any persistent pain or discomfort while wearing a menstrual cup. If you do, you need to contact your health provider to check for potential medical issues. Wearing a menstrual cup doesn’t cause pain in itself. 

Many menstrual cup users say they don’t even feel their cup when it’s in. They’ve mastered how to insert and remove their cup to the extent they sometimes report forgetting they’re on their period altogether!

 

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If you’re one of the few people experiencing pain or discomfort, it could be due to a few reasons, which we’ll walk you through. Keep in mind, there’s no research to support that the following issues cause pain, so we’re speaking from our experience of talking to thousands of people who use Ruby Cup.

You might feel pain when wearing your menstrual cup if: 

  • The cup is too firm and it’s exerting force on your vaginal wall.
  • The cup is touching or even suctioning to your cervix.
  • The cup is too big or too long for you.
  • The cup is sitting too high up and is pushing against your vaginal wall/cervix.

 

Technique also plays a role in how your cup will finally sit. Insertion and removal of the cup can be a trying feat for many new users. We’ll get to a guide of that below but first, we’ll go over some other common reasons for discomfort. 

People who haven’t experienced sexual intercourse, used vibrators, or worn tampons may also experience discomfort inserting a cup. It’s also possible that the muscles along the walls of the vaginal canal will tighten if you’re nervous, causing slight pain.

There’s no need to feel apprehensive about wearing a menstrual cup, and you’ve come to the right place if you do. Ruby Cup is on a mission to provide in-depth guides and how-to’s with answers to frequently asked questions about menstrual cups, and why they are the best period product to choose. 

 

Is it discomfort or is it pain?

It’s difficult to define whether you’re feeling discomfort or pain. Pain thresholds differ with some people preferring to “walk it off”, whereas others prefer to find a remedy immediately. 

There’s no definite chart outlining where discomfort ends and pain begins, but there are methods that you can adopt to ensure that you’re comfortable wearing your menstrual cup.

  • It could also be that your menstrual cup is too big. There are different sizes available you should explore before deciding to stop wearing a menstrual cup due to discomfort. 
  • Your insertion technique might not be adapted to your body. There exist three main techniques, that we cover later, which are easily manipulated with a softer cup. 
  • The stem of your cup could be sticking out. This regularly happens when your cup is the correct size but your cervix is low, for example. A quick trim of the stem will fix that right up. 
  • Perhaps you aren’t pushing your cup up far enough. No two vaginal canals are the same. When first wearing your menstrual cup we advise playing around with the height position you are most comfortable with, along with folding methods.

  • Not knowing how to remove a menstrual cup may also cause pain. More on this below.

It’s important to not confuse pain and discomfort and react according to your body. It could be dangerous if you’re in pain and you ignore it. As always, if in doubt make an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your menstrual cup use. 

Check out our menstrual cup sizing guide to find out which cup size will suit you the best. 

 

Should inserting a menstrual cup hurt?

No, it shouldn’t hurt while you insert your menstrual cup. 

But, some first-time users experience a bit of pain while exploring the different insertion techniques available. It takes time to find the correct folding method to suit you and to get used to inserting a menstrual cup. Choosing a softer cup will help you manipulate the different folding methods, and is better for a lower cervix. 

 

4 Tips to avoid menstrual cup pain during insertion

  1. Use a folding method that has a smaller insertion surface. At Ruby Cup, we recommend the punch-down fold if your vaginal canal tenses during insertion.


    Fold your cup by punching down one side to create a smaller insertion surface.


  2. Spread some water-based lube around the rim of your menstrual cup. This will ease the insertion process for you. The silicone in silicone-based lubricants will affect the medical-grade silicone of the menstrual cup so choose a water-based lubricant. 
  3. Find the best position to insert your cup. Some people insert it while sitting on the toilet, some people with one leg up, others squatting, and some even reported succeeding with inserting their menstrual cup while in the shower. Similar to how you would have inserted your tampon. 
  4. Relax. By relaxing you’ll loosen the muscles of your vaginal canal facilitating a smoother insertion. It’s OK to feel nervous the first couple of times. Just remember you’re making a planet-friendly choice, and if you choose Ruby Cup your actions are helping to eliminate period poverty worldwide. 

 

Should taking out a menstrual cup hurt?

No, it shouldn’t hurt to remove your menstrual cup. The only time it’ll hurt while you remove your menstrual cup is if you don’t break the seal first. 

 

How to avoid menstrual cup pain during removal

The most important factor to consider is to pinch the base on your cup to break the suction. Once the suction releases you can continue by pulling the stem. Some menstrual cups, like Ruby Cup, are designed with perforated holes to help break the seal. 

Whatever the situation, you shouldn’t begin by pulling on the stem before the seal is broken. If your cup has moved up while wearing it, and you’re having difficulties reaching the base, then do a very low squat to reach it or try a different position.

It’s not uncommon for new users to experience difficulties in removing their menstrual cup. There’s no need to panic. Relax, ease your muscles, and try again later. Menstrual cups can't get lost inside your vagina.

As always, seek assistance from your healthcare provider if needed.

 

Menstrual cups and cramps

Cramps are one of the most abhorred side effects of menstruation. Cramping occurs when your uterus contracts to shed your uterine lining, which is your menstrual blood. Your uterus begins contracting a couple of days before your period begins, and continues for one or two more days in the beginning, on average. For many, it’s the knock on the door that their periods are coming.

People who experience heavy periods may feel more cramps or those who suffer from conditions like endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). 

Endometriosis symptoms can be heightened while menstruating causing severe cramps. People with PCOS can experience irregular periods but cramping can occur without the presence of blood. 

 

Do menstrual cups reduce period cramps?

Some menstrual cup users have reported feeling fewer cramps while wearing a cup, but it’s not scientifically proven. It’s down to personal experience and your unique body functions.

 

 

 … or do they make them worse?

We would love to straight-up say ‘no’ but there’s no scientific evidence to prove that menstrual cups reduce cramps. Still, we haven’t had any of our thousands of customers tell us their cramps got worse, only how their cramps have lessened since starting to use a Ruby Cup and how their periods with tampons were worse.

 

 

 

People have also reported how choosing an IUD as a birth control contraceptive helped reduce cramps, most notably the hormone-coated IUD. Still, this is down to personal choice and is not backed scientifically. 

If you have an IUD or are considering getting one then read our guide on how to use a menstrual cup with an IUD. Also, speak with your gynecologist about what will work best for you.

 

No pain? Yes, please!

Wearing your menstrual cup, inserting it, and removing it shouldn’t be a painful experience. It can take some getting used to. Practice and try different techniques until you’re 100% comfortable. 

Remember that you’re not alone in your efforts to reduce period product waste by choosing a sustainable and planet-friendly alternative. There’s plenty of resources available online to help you get through the heaviest of periods while using a menstrual cup.  

Choosing to use a menstrual cup will save up to 3,000 tampons from going to the dump throughout an average lifetime of menstruation. This is a perfect eco-friendly solution for your menstrual flow.

And always, reach out to your healthcare professional for medical advice if you’re in any doubt. 

 

Seeking 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. 

 

 

FAQs about menstrual cup pain

Why is my menstrual cup hurting me?

Don’t brush off any pain you experience while wearing a menstrual cup. You shouldn’t feel pain with just the cup alone. Speak with your doctor as you may have an underlying health condition.

Stop using your menstrual cup until the issue is resolved. In most cases, it is due to the size of your cup so check our menstrual cup sizing guide to be sure. 

Do menstrual cups give you cramps?

It’s not scientifically proven but according to our customers, menstrual cups tend to alleviate cramps rather than cause them. 

Can menstrual cups cause pelvic pain?

Incorrectly wearing your menstrual cup can cause some pain. When the cup is inserted too high up it sucks to the cervix. A menstrual cup should be set in place by creating suction using your vaginal canal walls. 

How can I lessen the pain of menstrual cup removal?

People may feel pain when removing their menstrual cup. To stop this ensure to first pinch the base of your cup to break the seal, then pull the stem to remove your cup.  Experiment with different folds when inserting to ensure your cup is sitting well for easier removal. 

We advise you to choose a cup that has perforated holes to help break the suction on removal.