hands demonstrating how to fold a menstrual cup

 

Wondering how to fold a menstrual cup? This is one of the most common questions we get asked. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of 7 folds to try.

If you’ve decided to make the switch to a menstrual cup, you are probably now looking for advice on how to fold the cup. Alternatively, you could be looking to make the switch but seeking more information on how to fold a menstrual cup and insert it. Either way, we’ve got you covered. Read on to discover 7 different cup folds to try.

 

How does a cup work?

First things first, a menstrual cup is a reusable alternative to a tampon. This means the cup can be reused each period and can last for many years, eliminating the amount of waste produced during your period. The cup is inserted like a tampon, but it collects the menstrual blood as opposed to absorbing it.

 

How do you insert the cup?

Unlike tampons, the cup needs to be folded before insertion. There are SO many different cup folds, but ultimately, it’s about finding one that works for you. You may find the most popular fold too wide. Or you may find the fold that works for your friend, may be too tricky for you.

Our resident consultant gynaecologist, Anne Henderson, explains that “the reason there is such a wide range of folds is due to the fact that every woman’s anatomy is different, as is her previous gynaecological and sexual history, and of course, whether she has given birth vaginally or not.” To help you out, we’ve put together a list of 7 different folds.

First things first, it’s important to keep relaxed. Adopt a position that is most comfortable for you. This could be standing with one leg propped on the toilet seat or squatting over the toilet. Now choose your fold…

 

‘C’ or ‘U’ fold

This fold is one of the most well-known. However, a lot of people find the cup too wide to insert still and can, therefore, find insertion difficult.

– Hold the cup with both hands just underneath the rim, so your thumbs are closest to you

– Push the sides together to flatten the cup

– Fold the cup in half length-ways to create the ‘U’ or ‘C’ shape

    

 

Punchdown fold

This fold has one of the smallest insertion points. If you are finding insertion difficult, then this fold could be for you. This is also very quick to do and isn’t fiddly, so is great if you are in a rush.

– Use one hand to hold the cup at the base

– Place your index finger of the opposite hand on the top of the cup rim

– Use this finger to push the rim down inside of the base

– Using your left hand, push the sides together and hold firmly

      

 

7 fold

This fold is smaller than the well-known C fold and it also releases a lot easier than any of the other folds when it is inside you. If this is where you are struggling, then this fold could be for you.

– Hold the cup with both hands just underneath the rim

– Push the sides together to flatten the cup

– Take the right corner of the cup and fold it down towards the stem.

     

 

Double 7 fold

This is the same method as the previous fold, but has a slightly wider insertion point.

– Hold the cup with both hands just underneath the rim

– Push the sides together to flatten the cup

– Take the right corner of the cup and fold it down towards the stem.

– Hold the cup in this position, turn the cup then fold the other corner down towards the stem.

          

 

S fold

This one can be a bit more tricky to fold (and is also quite difficult to describe!), so probably isn’t the best if you are in a rush or getting used to a menstrual cup. It also isn’t as small as other folds, so some people struggle with insertion.

– Hold the cup with both hands just underneath the rim

– Push the sides together to flatten the cup

– Push one corner away from you and simultaneously pull the other one towards you into a fold to form an ‘S’ shape

    

 

Labia fold

This is quite similar to the punch down fold but is a little bit more fiddly so may not be best if it is your first time folding a cup. It does, however, have a small insertion point when folded correctly.

– Hold the cup in one hand

– Using the thumb and index finger on the opposite hand, pinch together a small bit of the corner of the cup

– Push this down towards the middle of the opposite side (similarly to the punch down)

– Squeeze the sides together to hold it in place

     

 

Origami fold

This isn’t as complex as the name makes it sound! It is a bit more tricky to hold into place, so may not be advisable for beginners. However, it does release very easily which is great and has a small insertion point.

– Use one hand to hold the cup at the base

– Place your index finger of the opposite hand on the top of the cup rim

– Use this finger to push the rim down inside of the base (about halfway)

– Take the right corner of the cup and fold it down towards the base of the left side

       

 

You’ve chosen your fold, now what?

Once you have got your cup into the desired fold, it’s important to hold it together firmly. Part the labial lips and slowly insert the cup like you would a tampon. It’s important to note that a cup sits slightly lower than a tampon. You want to angle the cup back towards your tailbone as opposed to straight upwards. Try to keep hold of the cup whilst you insert it to avoid it popping open too early.

Once you have inserted the cup, it should pop open. To check the cup is positioned correctly, lightly hold the stem of the cup and try turning it 360 degrees. A correctly positioned cup will turn easily in each direction. To check it has opened enough to create the ‘seal’, gently circle your finger around the base of the cup. It will feel completely round if it has opened properly. If you are still struggling, try tilting it back towards your tailbone and squeezing the bottom of the cup to prompt it to open. If this still doesn’t help, it could be a sizing issue.

 

Tips from our resident gynaecologist

 

Don’t rush

When using a menstrual cup for the first time, it is ideal to set aside sufficient time when you are feeling relaxed. You want to have enough time to explore the various insertion techniques without pressure. In addition to the fold techniques, there are different positions which women can adopt for insertion. Some women stand with one foot raised e.g. on the toilet seat or edge of the bath, some squat and some find insertion easiest lying on the bed.

 

Use a lubricant

Use a vaginal lubricant/moisturiser such as the YES range which is organic and paraben free. The water-based lubricant is slightly less slippery than the oil-based one, but either will aid insertion and removal.

 

Experiment

You may wish to experiment with various techniques before choosing the one you find most comfortable with but do this when you have sufficient time to try these out.  It is never a good idea to practice a new fold when you are in a rush or stressed!

 

Recommended folds

Beginners may find the “Punchdown fold” or the “C fold” the easiest to try, particularly the “Punchdown” which has a smaller insertion point. The “Labia fold” also has a small insertion point but is less straightforward than the “Punchdown” and may take more time to master.

Younger women or women who are having difficulty inserting the cup should also try the “7 fold” which is easier than some of the others.

 

Relax

Insertion and removal should never be painful and if you experience pain at any stage then stop and try again later when you are more relaxed.

We hope this blog has helped you on your switch journey! For more information on things such as cleaning the cup and finding the right size, check out this blog here. You can also read a switch story from a cup user here. What fold do you use? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @totmorganic.