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Do menstrual cups leak?

Do menstrual cups leak?

Period leakage is up there on the list of things that can destroy your day as easily as your favorite underwear. So “Will my menstrual cup leak?” is a valid fear for the uninitiated. But when inserted correctly, menstrual cup leaks are not something to worry about. And once you join the cup club, you’ll be in for good.

Thankfully there have been some innovations in the period space since we nervously learned how to use tampons in middle school. As with anything new, it can take a few tries to get the hang of a menstrual cup, and a bit of leakage may be part of the learning process. This is why wearing a liner helps for cup newbies. Your friends who already use a menstrual cup have probably told you it’s worth that initial awkwardness: once it’s in there right you don’t have to touch it for up to 12 hours. And the less we have to think about our periods, the better.

How to fix and prevent menstrual cup leaks

Menstrual cups work by creating a barrier in your vagina and collecting period blood. (Here’s a video for you visual learners out there). LOLA’s menstrual cup comes in two sizes to allow for the right fit depending on your flow, age, and whether you’ve given birth vaginally. When inserted correctly, you shouldn’t feel a thing.

The most important step for preventing menstrual cup leaks is getting your insertion fold down pat. There are many folding techniques – the taco, the punchdown, the 7-fold, etc. – and because every body is different you’ll need to experiment to figure out the best one for you.

If you’re new to the cup club and find that your menstrual cup leaks, here are some likely causes and how to fix them: 

  1. You’re wearing the wrong size. Check out the fit guide to make sure you’re working with the right cup size.
  2. The cup is creased or not fully open. A waterproof seal needs to be created to avoid menstrual cup leaks. To get the cup to pop open completely try rotating it, or use your finger to gently push on one side. Some women find that using a different insertion fold makes all the difference. Tip: To check if the cup is fully sealed, pull down a little on the stem. If it’s inserted correctly, you’ll feel a slight pull from the suction.
  3. Heavy flow. If you’re in the early days of your period, your cup may runneth over due to heavy bleeding. Just clean it out a little more often on these days.
  4. Incorrect placement. It’s a Goldilocks situation — too high in your vagina and your cervix may sit in the cup; too low and the cup can’t get proper suction. First timers often try to put the cup up as high as a tampon, but slightly lower is usually ideal. You may also have to get acquainted with the direction of your vaginal passage and try inserting the cup more horizontally than vertically into your body.
  5. You pooped. Just as a bowel movement can move a tampon, it can also dislodge your menstrual cup. Check the seal after you go to the bathroom to be sure.
  6. Strong pelvic floor muscles. First, congrats on keeping up with those kegels. Those powerful pelvic floor muscles may be squeezing the sides of your cup, breaking the seal and causing menstrual cup leaks. If that’s the case, you may need a cup made of a firmer material, or you may need to wear a liner.

If you still have questions about using a menstrual cup and preventing leaks, LOLA has resources to help. Check out this FAQ on the most common menstrual cup questions or get personalized help from a real member of the LOLA team by texting our Cup Club Hotline.