Can I wear a menstrual cup before my period starts?

Menstrual cups are an amazingly affordable, eco-friendly, and comfortable period solution. But can you put in a menstrual cup before your period starts?

The short answer is yes – you can indeed insert a menstrual cup in advance of your period.

However, you may find that cups are less comfortable to use when you’re not menstruating. In this blog, we’ll cover the pros and cons of inserting a menstrual cup before menstruation.

Can I start using a menstrual cup ahead of my period?

If you know your period is about to begin, you may want to insert your cup in advance. In fact, using a menstrual cup before your period is pretty common, to avoid accidents or leaks when your period unexpectedly shows up.

If you’re wearing a menstrual cup in anticipation of your period, just make sure you sterilize your cup and wash your hands before you insert it.

I’ve never used a cup before. Can I start testing my menstrual cup before my actual period?

This is a common question – since cups take a bit of practice to get used to, some users like the idea of a menstrual cup trial run before periods begin.

In principle, there is nothing wrong with experimenting with a menstrual cup before your period. You can certainly practice the different folds, such as the C-fold, 7-fold and punch-down fold, and get used to the feel of the cup.

When it comes to actual menstrual cup insertion into the vagina, please bear in mind that when you are not on your period you are less lubricated. This means inserting your cup will be a bit more difficult compared to when you are menstruating.

One tip for pre-period use is to lubricate your cup with clean water, so that it glides in smoothly.

We would suggest experimenting inserting a few times, but if you begin to feel sore or uncomfortable then please wait until your period begins. The natural lubrication of your period flow makes it easier to comfortably insert a cup.

What is the perfect menstrual cup insertion timing?

As with any period product, the perfect timing to start using a cup is… exactly when your period begins! However, we know this may not be possible, especially if you are out of the house or at work.

Some people prefer to wait until they are spotting or can see the first evidence of period flow before inserting their cup.

Others prefer to preemptively wear their cup a few hours before they think they’ll start menstruating. However, this can prove tricky if you have irregular periods or an unexpectedly early period.

If you’re thinking of wearing a menstrual cup before your flow begins, remember that the 12-hour rule still applies – you must remove your cup and wash it every 12 hours, whether you’ve started your period or not.

Can I wear a menstrual cup for discharge?

Discharge refers to secretions from your vaginal canal that are not related to period flow – such as the cervical mucus that is present throughout your menstrual cycle.

Menstrual cups are meant to collect menstrual flow only, and should not be used to collect discharge.

It’s normal to experience heavier discharge at certain times of the cycle (for example, during ovulation). We advise using external products such as liners or period underwear to collect discharge and avoid using insertable products such as tampons or cups.

In summary, it’s fine to wear a menstrual cup in anticipation of your period or if you’re trying out a menstrual cup for the first time – but please don’t routinely use it when you’re not menstruating.

What are some menstrual cups tips for before my period starts?

When it comes to menstrual cup usage before your period starts, following these tips can ensure you are comfortable:

  • Sterilize your cup before using it by boiling it in a pan of water
  • Wait for your cup to completely cool before inserting
  • Lubricate your cup with clean water to make it easy to insert
  • Angle your cup towards your tailbone
  • Insert gently and don’t force your cup in if it feels painful or uncomfortable

Frequently asked questions

Why do some people say menstrual cups are bad?

When it comes to menstrual cups and periods in general, there are a lot of myths floating around. The truth is that menstrual cups are an extremely safe method of period management.

Check out this video to see a gynecologist’s opinion on menstrual cups. 

How to insert a menstrual cup without pain?

To comfortably insert a menstrual cup, it’s important to be calm. Lubricate the cup with water, fold into a small shape and hold it firmly. Gently glide it into your vagina, angling it towards your tailbone.

Once it’s completely inside, you can let go – it will pop open and make a leak-proof seal.

If you’re interested in how to insert a menstrual cup for beginners, read our detailed step-by-step guide to perfect menstrual cup insertion.

Do menstrual cups hurt for virgins?

“Virgin” is a socially constructed term that is used to refer to people who have not had penetrative sex. It’s important to distinguish being a virgin from having your hymen intact.

The hymen is a thin membrane that covers the entrance to the vagina – some people are born without a hymen, while for others, the hymen can wear away naturally with time or when something is inserted into the vagina.

If your hymen is intact, then inserting anything for the first time – whether a finger, a tampon or a menstrual cup – may cause some discomfort. This is completely natural, and using a menstrual cup does not mean you are no longer a virgin.

Learn more by reading the blog about why virginity is not a barrier for using a menstrual cup

It’s important to be gentle with your body and to use a cup when you are confident it is the right period solution for you.