“Will a menstrual cup stretch my vagina?” Absolutely not! If you’ve stopped yourself from buying a menstrual cup because you’ve asked yourself this very same question (and more), we’re here to dispel any myths you may have. Here are 11 reasons why we’re moving over to the menstrual cup.
Considering switching to a menstrual cup? Menstrual cups have been on the market for decades, but there are still so many myths surrounding whether they’re easier and more hygienic than tampons or pads. They’re safe, reusable, economical and environmentally-friendly, but many women are still a little scared to take the plunge.
So if you’ve found yourself pondering over tampons, pads or cups, here we separate fact from fiction. These are most common questions and menstrual cup myths debunked. And yes, you’ll be pleased to hear that one of them is: NO, a menstrual cup will NOT stretch your vagina.
#1 Are my periods too heavy for a menstrual cup?
The DivaCup, for example, holds 30-32ml of menstrual blood (you can choose different models depending on the size of your vagina and period flow)— the average tampon holds about 5ml, so it’s designed to cope with heavier flows. You can wear your cup for up to 8-12 hours (depending on the cup you choose), so if you suffer with heavier periods, it’s advised to empty it more regularly to avoid any unwanted leaks.
#2 Will a menstrual cup stretch my vagina?
When your vagina is relaxed and empty, the vaginal walls will bend and move to create space. When you insert the cup the muscles will flex and tighten, then when you remove it the vagina will return to its compressed state. Don’t forget it’s fully equipped to push out a baby, so it can definitely withstand a teeny, tiny menstrual cup!
#3 Will my menstrual cup leak when I exercise?
If you’re wearing the correct size cup, you should be able to work out without having to worry about any embarrassing leaks. If you were hoping this would get you out of going to the gym, we’re sorry to disappoint.
#4 I won’t be able to pee or poo wearing a menstrual cup
You can easily pee with a menstrual cup, but number twos are a little trickier. The cup’s suction will stop it from falling down the toilet, but as you exert more pressure to push out your stool, it could cause the cup to shift making it slightly more uncomfortable. You might prefer to remove the cup, clean it, then put it back once you’ve finished.
#5 I can’t use a public toilet with a menstrual cup
Given that you need to empty your cup and wash it out in the sink, a pubic toilet situation could prove slightly problematic. Generally, you only need to empty every 8-12 hours, so in theory you could use the toilet without having to empty your cup at all. If you do need to empty it out, just empty into the toilet and wipe your cup with a tissue. Once it’s clean, pop it back in. Just make sure to remove when you get home and clean throughly with soap and water.
#6 I can’t use a menstrual cup if I have an IUD
A menstrual cup is worn at the base of the vagina away from the cervix, so it shouldn’t interfere with an IUD. Having said that, you have to be careful with the way you position your cup to make sure it’s in the right place, as there is a possibility that that the IUD can dislodge, particularly if it’s been fitted recently. If you have any concerns at all, contact your doctor.
#7 I’m a virgin, so I can’t use a menstrual cup
Another complete myth. Your vagina does not undergo a complete transformation after you have sex, it’s still the same organ. If you’ve never used tampons or masturbated at all, it might just take a bit longer to get the hang of inserting your cup. If you use your fingers to find the opening of your vagina and explore this area, it won’t take you too long to master.
#8 Will wearing a menstrual cup make me smell?
Usually, your period will only develop an odour when it’s exposed to air, so you shouldn’t experience the same smell that you find with tampons and pads. You can, however, develop an odour if you wear your cup for longer than the recommended 8-12 hours without removing or cleaning. Just make sure you empty and clean your cup regularly, that way you won’t be presented with any unpleasant aromas.
#9 Can I get thrush or BV from wearing a menstrual cup?
It’s very rare to get an infection from a menstrual cup. However, there is a risk that your hands could contaminate the cup with bacteria and increase your chances of developing a yeast infection or bacteria vaginosis. You can reduce the risk by washing your hands thoroughly with warm water and antibacterial soap. Be sure to wash the cup thoroughly after use, too.
#10 If I have an infection, will wearing a menstrual cup make it worse?
If you have a vaginal infection like thrush or BV, it won’t make the infection any worse, but it’s advised to replace it with a new one, to avoid transferring any nasty bacteria that could cause the infection to resurface. It’s also worth noting that you shouldn’t wear your cup at the same time as using a topical cream, as it could compromise the silicone and ruin it. If you’re worried about infection, chat to your doctor or healthcare provider for further advice.
#11 Will my menstrual cup will get lost inside me?
The cup could potentially get lost inside your vagina if the stem is hard to find. Having said that, it’s impossible form the cup to pass through your cervix, so it can never truly get lost inside you. If you find it hard to pull out, try squatting whilst removing, that way you’re putting pressure on the vagina to help push the cup out. If that still doesn’t help, leave a little more time for the cup to fill up with blood — this weighs it down causing it to move further down you vaginal canal to where you can reach it.
Loved our foolproof guide to menstrual cups? We've got plenty more women's health advice on our Health & Wellness Edit, guaranteed to give your body a well-deserved boost. Suffer with dry skin? Here's how to give your skin a hit of hydration, plus a deep cleansing skincare routine to prep your skin ready for summer. And if you have any burning vagina health questions we've got you covered.