Menstrual cups are an Eco-friendly, pocket –friendly alternative to sanitary pads & vaginal tampons for period management and while they have been around since 1930’s, their use has been popularised only in the recent few years.
So, what is a menstrual cup?
Well, a menstrual cup is a small, cup shaped device made of soft silicone that is inserted into the vagina to collect the blood during your periods.
Is it similar to a vaginal tampon?
Well, Yes & No.
Similar to a tampon, a menstrual cup is inserted into the vagina during the periods & needs to be removed once it is full. But a tampon works by absorbing the blood flowing out of the cervix while a menstrual cup collects the blood which can then be washed out once the cup is removed.
So, can a menstrual cup get stuck inside the vagina?
Like all new things, menstrual cup insertion & removal from the vagina needs a little patience and practice. Once you get used to the process, sliding in & out of the menstrual cup is a pretty simple manoeuvre.
However, sometimes the menstrual cup removal may become slightly tricky, especially for new users.
Relax, the most important thing to remember, if your menstrual cup feels stuck or lost, is that your vagina is a close-ended tunnel that ends at the base of the cervix. So, the menstrual cup will not just wander away into your body even if moves slightly higher. It is always possible to remove it.
What to do if the menstrual cup gets stuck inside you
Relax and Breathe,
Don’t panic, consider the options calmly. There are a few possibilities that might have happened
- The cup may have moved up towards the cervix due to suction or body movements.
- The cup might be dislocated & fixed at an oblique angle during insertion so you might not be able to feel its stem for removal.
- The vacuum & suction might be too strong making it difficult to pull the cup out. This can happen especially if the cup is a larger size than what is required for you.
So, in all situations, the prerequisite for removing the cup is to relax. You can try the following to remove the menstrual cup if it feels stuck or lost inside the vagina
1. Wash your hands- Obviously to avoid introducing any germs into the vagina.
Breathe deep & relax- If you’re tense, your pelvic floor muscles also tighten making it difficult to locate & remove the menstrual cup.
2. Get into a squatting position- It relaxes the pelvic muscles, makes your vaginal canal shorter & wider, and lowers down the pelvic floor slightly, thus making it easier for you to reach in & grab the base of the cup.
3. Locate the menstrual cup- Gently introduce one or two fingers into your vagina and feel inside to locate the base/stem of the cup.
4. Release the suction- Once you have located the base, pinch it slightly to release the negative pressure inside the cup.
5. Pull it out slowly & gently- After releasing the suction, you need to hold onto the stem and pull it out gently to bring the cup out.
However, if you are not able to release the suction by pinching the base or if you are not able to locate the base, you can try the following
7. Reach up into the vagina to break the seal- Gently slide your finger upwards along the vaginal wall to locate the edge of the cup & wriggle up to insert the finger between the cup & vaginal wall. Next, move your finger sideways to break the suction pressure of the cup inside the vagina. If the cup has dislocated & stuck sideways, try to gently nudge it into a straight position with the base pointing towards the vaginal opening.
You can then locate the base/stem of the cup & gently pull it out.
You can also try folding it inside by gently pressing on the rim to bend it inwards so that it becomes narrower & easier to remove.
8. Take a break- In the unusual circumstance when the above techniques fail to remove the cup, don’t stress too much. Relax & take a break for some time. Gather your wits & your energy and try again after some time when you feel ready to attempt it again.
9. Change the position- So, you can try getting into a different position like sitting on a toilet seat or propping up one leg on a footstool and pushing down slightly. This works to move your pelvic floor muscles which may shift the stuck menstrual cup slightly & make it easier for you to remove it.
10. If all else fails... Well, if nothing works, you may need to ask a friend/partner to help remove the cup but the best option is to meet a gynecologist or a trained nurse who can easily remove the menstrual cup stuck inside the vagina.
Finally, follow the following tips to make sure the cup doesn’t get stuck again
- Choose the right size for yourself.
- Read the instruction manual & understand how to insert & remove the cup properly.
- Avoid any vaginal manipulation or intercourse after the cup is inserted.
- Try different folds to insert & remove the cup to find out what works best for you.
- Don’t insert the cup too high, it needs to be placed slightly lower down in the vagina at a place where it is comfortably fit.
Remember that it is a very normal incident to happen & there is nothing embarrassing or shameful about it if the menstrual cup gets stuck in the vagina. It can be removed and once you are familiar with the right technique for insertion & removal, such incidents become very rare.
The first menstrual cup was patented in 1937 by an American actress Leona Chalmers.
For more information on Menstrual Health & Hygiene, please check our other videos.
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