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First time experiences using a menstrual cup: does it hurt and is it messy?

August 18, 2019 0 Comments

First time experiences using a menstrual cup: does it hurt and is it messy?

Danielle gets the low down on first time menstrual cup encounters - on surfing the crimson wave the new way

Image sourced: @conceivedinbrooklyn

Using a menstrual cup seems way too scary to some people when they first hear about them. 

“Does it hurt? I mean, it’s massive!”

“Isn’t it messy to pull out? I don’t want to get blood everywhere.”

“How the f*** do you get it in!?”

Those questions are real ones that I had asked of me when I first started talking about my experiences using a menstrual cup. In fact, the last question, the one about how the hell to get it in, is one I asked myself when I first brought my Wā Cup home. I wasn’t too worried about any potential mess, because I’d already planned to do my first change in the shower, and I figured I’d get the hang of it eventually. But tampons had been notoriously difficult for me to use and to be completely honest, I was a bit afraid. I didn’t want it to hurt. 

I really didn’t want it to hurt. 

But instead of the awkward, painful experience I’d anticipated, I found my first go to be easy, mess-free, and most importantly, pain-free. Honestly, it was a bit of a let-down – in the best way possible of course! I’d worked myself up for an unpleasant experience and had instead found it to be nothing like I’d expected - it was truly great! I was hooked! 

This got me thinking – did everyone have the same experience as me? Mine was pretty golden, but what about other people who’d given it a go? To write this post, I put the question to a number of menstruating pals. What was your first experience like? Spare me no detail, I said! (And they didn’t.) Did it go well? Was it messy? Are you scared off after a bad experience? Or do you use a cup regularly now?

Here are the responses I got (edited a little for clarity): 

  • I found it super intimidating and scary to use at first so I practiced in the shower but gave up on it for a few months… and found it super easy and straightforward when I tried again. Huge fan of the tulip/punchdown fold method – wish someone had told me about that, and also about breaking the seal before removing, but you live and learn… I found the stem a bit annoying but once I cut it off I was really happy and totally converted for life!* 
  • *that was the OG Wā Cup with a longer stem - the design is now changed for better experiences, first time!

  • It was easy for me. I researched all the different folds etc before I put it in and watched videos so I knew basically what I was doing – I use a tulip fold. Squatting made it easier the first few times. No problems with leaking or taking it out. Never going back.

  • I leaked really bad the first time because I didn’t get the seal right!! I think the one I got was too small so I got a bigger one and that seemed to fix it. I got the hang of it in the end but def had some struggles to start with lol. You should get the size the company recommends. I got a mini one but I should have gotten the next size up that they recommended. 

  • Yeah so I got blood everywhere the first time I took it out... I’m clumsy and I didn’t know how to get it out. I got it all over the toilet seat and the floor. But the second time after I looked online for help I removed the seal first and pulled it out really slowly and it was ok.

  • I leaked a little bit but I read online that some people flip theirs inside out so I tried that and it worked!

  • I had a really good straightforward first time using it but I didn’t want to go and sterilise it in the kitchen because I was embarrassed. I ended up not sterilising it for ages and I knew it was bad but I live with 4 people and I didn’t want someone walking in on me doing it. But I got a new flatmate after awhile who uses one and she would sterilise it in front of everyone so I think I’ll start using mine again and try to sterilise it when she’s doing it at the same time, just so I’m not embarrassed.

  • I made sure I was relaxed and not in a rush the first time, and I used lube and put it in in the shower. It was easy. I didn’t leak and wore it for eight hours the first time. Amazing! 
  • Those were the honest personal responses I received, and you can find hundreds of videos and blog posts online with other peoples’ stories.

    Looking at theses, it seems that initial insertion and getting the seal right are the most common difficulties people face. Personally I use the tulip/punchdown fold, but I highly recommend researching all the different kinds of folds and practicing them with your cup before you try to insert it. There are a bunch on the Wā Collective Insta Highlights, FYI. 


    Get familiar with your cup before you use it – learn how it bends, the shapes you can fold it into, how it feels in your hands. Once it starts to feel more like a friend and less like a scary new invader, I think you might find it easier to insert! And you get the seal right by giving the cup a good twist once it’s up in the correct position. Nothing could be easier!

    And on that note, it’s funny, because a folded cup is a bit bigger than a tampon, so you might think that it would be difficult to insert, right? Because it’s bigger? But in my experience, the opposite is true, especially with a bit of lube or wetting it with water. I don’t have any hard evidence to back up my claim, but I think it’s because a cup is made of flexible soft silicone, rather than being an inflexible dry bullet of cotton*. So it moulds to your body better, and it’s smoother as well. So after the initial glide in, moving it up into the correct position is much easier. 

    So that’s the story of my, and some of my pals’, first times using a menstrual cup. Some messy, others perfect. But one message shines through: persist. Your first experience might be like mine, or it might be like my pal’s where she got blood all over her flat bathroom (RIP bathroom floor). But the similarity between both of our experiences? We both love our cups and have no issues using them now! 


    Danielle xx 

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