If you’ve done research into menstrual cups on YouTube, you’ve probably run into some first-person accounts of cup usage gone wrong — it can be hard to resist the pull of witnessing someone else’s harrowing experience from the comfort of your couch! And truly, it’s not a fun time to be wearing something internally that you can’t easily remove. Thankfully, it’s a rare occurrence to have a menstrual cup get stuck, and it certainly can’t get lost up there. If you’re worried about removing a hard-to-reach menstrual cup and want to know the steps to take in case it happens to you, read on for some tips to help avoid this situation altogether.
Keep in mind that these tips are easily read and remembered, but it’s unlikely you’d have any real trouble getting started with your new menstrual cup. Odds are you’ll forget you were ever apprehensive after your first cycle or two. But if there are a few kinks left to work out or you’re naturally curious, we’re here to help!
Menstrual cup companies typically list the measurements of their products on their websites; you can find the measurements of XO Flo and XO Flo Mini here. It’s not because vaginal canals come in measurable sizes (please: no rulers!), but because after using our first cup we either landed on a match the first time around, or we know what sizing adjustments we might make with the next cup. Maybe the cup was too long, so we look for something shorter in length. Another way we can use cup measurements to our advantage is if we’re armed with knowledge of our cervix height during cycle time. We’ve got a vintage video all about finding your cervix for more information, but simply put you’ll want to use a finger to find its depth and position (such as set off-center, three knuckles in). For many people the cervix lowers during their cycle, so it’s best to check during that time.
Why might knowing cervix position help ensure a menstrual cup is easy to remove? Well, if you use a cup that’s too short and also situated high up within the body, it’ll be a difficult reach come removal. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to remove, but it might require some digital yoga.
“Stuck” can mean a cup that’s settled into place higher than you can easily reach the base to break the seal, or a cup that shifted position to create a seal that’s not between the vaginal walls. It’s not common to have a cup tilt sideways, but if it’s an ill-fitting cup the vaginal canal might not naturally keep it in place. For tips on how to remove a cup that’s hard to reach, check out this blog post!
If you did everything within your power to pick the right size and shape for your body, but you still get a stuck cup, do your best to stay calm. The internal pelvic muscles are susceptible to tension in the body, just like our shoulders and jaw respond to stress, so if you’re stressed out then your muscles are going to be even less cooperative! A tip I like to employ is focusing on keeping my jaw relaxed so that I’m focused elsewhere and my pelvic floor can relax on its own. Getting in the shower or a warm bath can help as well. When the pelvic floor muscles are tense, your cup is less likely to be moved from its new hiding spot.
The next thing to consider with a stuck cup is finding a way to break the seal created between the cup walls/vaginal canal. Introducing air alongside the cup is how we remove it in normal situations by pinching the base, but if you can’t reach the base, try using a single finger to press gently against the rear vaginal opening from inside where anatomically it’s more flexible (this would be the side closest to the tailbone, not against the pubic bone). Using the longest finger you’ve got, slide it upwards as if you were trying to put it between the cup and vaginal wall, pressing against the vaginal wall to expand the interior space. This should help introduce air alongside the cup, allowing you to bear down with the pelvic floor and shift it downwards.
If nothing else works, then you can simply wait a little bit — as the flow continues to collect in the basin of the cup, it’ll grow heavier and shift down. Additionally, if it reaches the anti-suction holes, then it’ll start to leak from there, breaking the seal enough all on its own that you may be able to bear down and reach the cup.
If all else has failed you, never use anything other than fingers to attempt to remove your menstrual cup. OBGYNs have the necessary training and equipment to safely remove objects from vaginas, and trust me, they’re seen it all before.
I hope this has been helpful in your journey to menstrual cup mastery! If you still have questions, the GladRags crew is always around to answer. Until next time, happy bleeding, fellow menstruators!