Menstrual cup leaks suck and nothing is more frustrating than finding yourself with a ruined pair of underwear… or worse.
Equally frustrating is not knowing why the cup is leaking and how to fix it. We receive a staggering number of messages asking for help troubleshooting leaks. The thing about leaking cups is that the cause can be hard to pinpoint or be from multiple causes, making this particular issue impossible to address succinctly. This video embedded below will address different leaks and possible solutions.
General Menstrual Cup Leak Tips
If you’re just getting started with your menstrual cup leaks are sometimes part of the learning curve. This video is for those who have been trying for more than a few cycles and still can’t stop the leaks. If you’re new to the cup and having leaks our best advice is to try other menstrual cup folds and different positions of insertion and give yourself time to work the kinks out. Leaks aren’t uncommon in the first 2-3 cycles as you get to know your cup and your body. As you’re learning it’s best to use backup protection like period underwear or liners. We promise– for most these annoying leaks are fixed with practice!
Cause 1: The cup isn’t open all the way
Since you fold the cup to insert it stands to reason that if the cup doesn’t open fully, there will be leaks. Since you can’t see what’s happening inside the best way to figure out if the cup is open is to run a finger around the cup to feel for any dents, but even this isn’t always a good indicator. If you’re finding that your cup isn’t opening you can try these options:
Insert a finger and push against the vaginal wall to give the rim space to unfold
If neither option works, you may just need a firmer cup or a smaller diameter cup. Firmer cups have an easier time opening inside without as much digital assistance as some softer cups. If you believe it’s an issue of the cup being too wide, then you will want to look into a narrower diameter cup.
Cause 2: The cup isn’t sitting under the cervix
Because every body is different the angle that you insert your cup can make or break how leak free your experience is, especially for those with a tilted cervix. In some cases the cup angle and the cervix don’t play well, meaning some or none of the flow is collected by the cup. Extremely tilted cervixes can be bypassed completely so if your cup is empty when you remove it and you experience huge leaks this is a likely culprit.
To solve this first locate your cervix if you can reach it, then when inserting your cup be sure you keep the placement in mind and the cup is sealed to the vaginal walls and below the cervix (or if you have a lower cervix, be sure that it’s dipping inside the cup.)
Related: How to Find and Measure Your Cervix
Cause 3: Overflowing your cup
If you have a very heavy flow there is a possibility your leaks are caused by your cup running over… once the cup is full the blood will find a way to bypass the seal. Even though the ads for cups show liquid building inside a tube above the rim, this isn’t how to really works in a squishy vagina and also, the idea of that space filling infinitely and backflowing does make us giggle a bit (and the idea sparked a very time consuming gag, seen below). If you find your cup can’t keep up with your heavy flow there are brands that make what are considered “high capacity.” Average cups hold about 30 ml but there are cups that can hold 40-50 ml and this can make all the difference for someone racing to dump their cup before springing a leak.
Related: High Capacity Menstrual Cups
Cause 4: Low Cervix Capacity
If you have a low cervix that dips into your cup it can mean you have less capacity, and if so, may overfill and leak. Same ideas apply to our last tip except you also have to work around having a low cervix which reduces your options of cups significantly. The Merula One Size is the highest capacity cup for a low cervix, and the hard to find new higher capacity Formoonsa may be an option. Otherwise, depending on how low your cervix is, a higher capacity reusable disc could also be used. A heavy flow and a low cervix is the worst possible combo for cup users. It just plain sucks but there are some who have found a way to make it work.
Cause 5: No reason for leaking leaks
The leaks that happen despite all of your best efforts and troubleshooting are by far the most frustrating leaks. You’ve checked everything and still you find yourself needing back up.
These mystery leaks are hard to pinpoint but here are a few ideas for addressing the invisible problem.
Try beating your period. Insert your cup before your period begins. If you track your cycles and have a regular period this is pretty easy. If you’re like me and guess when you’re going to start you may have mixed success. By inserting the cup before your period ever begins you catch every drop and never allow the vaginal walls to get coated with menstrual blood. For some reason this has helped prevent leaks.
Try “bearing down” with your vaginal muscles while inserting the cup. Once the cup is placed comfortably as high as it can go, release your muscles and this can help the cup stay in place and seal for a better result. This tip also helps it stay in place for those who find the cup slips down during wear. It’s a two-fer.
Try another cup or product. While this isn’t our favorite advice to give sometimes you can troubleshoot your cup to perfection and it’s not working for a mysterious reason even when all signs indicate it should be working for you. Some people just aren’t made to work with cups no matter what they try. Reusable Menstrual Discs are a possible solution, I happen to have a leak free and comfortable experience with the Nixit and Lumma Unique discs. You can also try cups with a more unique shape- the Femmycycle has a unique rim that has been a lifesaver for some cup users who had no success with bullet shaped cups. Investing in multiple products can be frustrating- we do have a Buy/Sell/Trade for our group members if you’re comfortable with that concept which allows you to try other reusable products for less than retail or trade.
You can use our many resources, such as our comparison chart, to help find a cup that fits you perfectly. Our menstrual cup quiz is helpful but if your result isn’t perfect those resources can help narrow your options down even further.
We also encourage those struggling with menstrual cup leaks to seek help in our private group, this is precisely what it was designed for since we can’t address each and every message we get asking for help. Click this link and answer all three questions to join or search Put A Cup In It Community on Facebook.