Switching to the cup almost a year ago was one of my best menstrual decisions yet. I love having fewer interactions with my nemesis, the bathroom trash can. However, like Hannah Montana says, nobody is perfect -- and that includes your sustainable silicone period cup. Cup leakage is never fun (it can happen to the best of us!), and there are a variety of different reasons why it might happen. You can avoid the frustration of most leaks by using a backup like liners or period underwear, but below are the 7 most common reasons why your cup might be leaking, and how to solve ‘em.
Crease in the cup / It didn’t open properly
The number one reason why your cup might be leaking is because it hasn’t completely unfolded. When your cup is inserted, it should “pop open” so that it suctions to the walls of your vagina. If the cup doesn’t fully expand, there will be a crease that causes it to leak. To check this, you can feel around the base of the cup with your finger to see if there are any creases -- if there is one, this is likely the case! A lot of users find that the punch down fold works better than the C fold where creases were the culprits of leakage. Try using the punch down folding method the next time you insert your cup to see whether it works better for you!
The holes around the rim of the cup are clogged
Another reason why your cup might be leaking is because the holes around the rim are clogged. The holes are there for a reason: When the cup fills up with blood, the air-pressure inside the cup increases and is released through the holes. If the holes are clogged, the pressure cannot be released and the blood finds another way to flow: around the cup. The holes on our period cup are slightly larger to try and mitigate this, but leakage due to the holes being clogged can happen if you have a super heavy flow at any point during your cycle. To avoid this, try to empty the cup more often during the first few days of your period/whenever your flow is heavier, and make sure the holes are clear before inserting. You can clean the holes with a sterilized pin or toothpick, but a pretty entertaining technique is to fill the cup with water up to the rim, place your hand on the rim and press the cup -- the water will woosh out through the holes and clean them! Yay.
Overflowing / Heavy flow
It’s possible that your cup is leaking because it’s overflowing. Although our period cups are meant to hold between 20ML (size 1) to 29ML (size 2) of blood, everyone’s flow is different -- if you find that your flow is super heavy on the first few days, you can empty your cup more frequently until it feels like it has started to slow down. We recommend checking every 3-4 hours if this is the case so you don’t have any surprise leaks!
Placement in vagina
The placement of your cup in the vagina is another common culprit, and one that I have personally experienced. The cup does sit lower down than tampons, but It’s possible that your cup is sitting too low in your vaginal canal, which is affecting its ability to properly suction. To place it a bit higher, try inserting your cup while leaning forwards, and think about inserting it so that it is pointing forwards instead of upwards. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to find a way to insert it that works best for your body, so be patient with yourself if you don’t get it perfect right away.
Poop. It’s every 5 year old’s favorite topic, and it’s also a reason why you might be experiencing leakage. When you #2, your muscles put pressure on your cup (you might be familiar if you’ve ever popped/pooped out a tampon), which makes it *feel* like it’s going to come out, but because of the suction to your vaginal walls it will not. However, if your cup is full when these muscles are contracting, you might experience what is called a “fake leak”, which causes overflowing due to the pressure from your bowel movement. These fake leaks are typically limited to a few drops, but to avoid them you can wear some period undies or a liner.
Pelvic floor muscles are strong 💪
It’s possible that your pelvic floor muscles are super strong! If you’re a pro at doing kegels and know your full bladder is no match for your pelvic floor strength, it’s possible that these muscles are also squeezing the walls of your cup (like you do when you take it out) so that it creases and then begins to leak. If this is the case, arm yourself with some backup like period underwear or liners.
It might be the wrong size
Last but not least, it’s possible that your cup just isn’t the right fit! We want you to have that Cinderella moment -- if you notice that your cup is leaking on all sides and find that you have to dig to take it out, it’s possible that you should make the switch to a size 2. Or if you find that your size 2 won’t fully open no matter the fold, you may have to downsize. Our customer experience team can assist in this process, just send them a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org :)
The period cup isn’t for everyone! If you read through this list of leakage culprits and haven’t found a solution that resonates with you, it’s possible that the cup just isn’t your cup of tea (pun intended). We offer a money-back guarantee if our period cup doesn’t work out, and also sell 100% organic cotton pads and tampons, not too bad of an alternative!