Before I begin writing on the topic today, I have a confession to make. When I first heard about menstrual cups, my first thought was a ceremonial relic for a female witchy type initiation (please don’t ask me how I came to that conclusion).
Thankfully, I got an education on it and here we are today. Given the unique design of menstrual cups and how it works when compared to tampons and sanitary pads, it is easy to become a little concerned.
Questions like, how do you get “it” in and what are the best menstrual cup folds to use arise.
To answer these questions, you may need to do some experimenting.
Every vagina has its own tune (so to speak). Since this is not a one size fits all type of product, you have to try out the different techniques until you find “the one” for you.
And that is what I am here to help you do. With the basic information I had, I dug around the internet for more details and I will try to recap everything I learned in this article. In a few short minutes, I will share a bit on the following:
- How to use menstrual cups
- Types of menstrual cup folds
- Factors to consider before committing to a brand
- FAQs about menstrual cup folds
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- How to Use Menstrual Cups
- Types of Menstrual Cup Folds
- Factors To Consider Before Committing To A Brand
- Faqs About Menstrual Cup Folds
How to Use Menstrual Cups
If you are reading this article, I am going to assume that you already know what menstrual cups are and you have either tried one of the best menstrual cups out there or you are strongly considering it.
Shaped like a bell that functions as a cup, the menstrual cup is folded and inserted into the vagina manually.
Once it is inside, it opens up and props itself against the walls of your vagina. It then acts as a barrier between the bloody fluid and the vagina opening by trapping blood in it.
When the cup is full, which should be in about 6 to 12 hours, you gently tug at the tapered handle and pull it out. Empty the contents, clean and repeat the process.
It is an easy, safe and cost-effective way to handle your monthlies. However, if menstrual cups are not used correctly, it could be an uncomfortable experience. There are situations where the menstrual cup stays folded inside.
It is possible that things like the length of your cervix or your pelvic floor muscle strength may leave the menstrual cup still folded inside the vagina after insertion.
However, the type of menstrual cup fold used can play a role in this. There are different menstrual cup folding methods and together we are going to be looking at 7 of them.
Types of Menstrual Cup Folds
Good menstrual cup folds are meant to ease the insertion process without compromising the ability of the menstrual cup to open fully when it is inside.
Whether you are a novice, a virgin or a girl with a short cervix, there is something for you on this list.
Menstrual cup folds for virgins tend to be the smallest menstrual cup folds. The cup is delicately folded into multiple layers to accommodate a very tight squeeze.
On the other hand, menstrual cup folds for beginners don’t require much technique. It is a type of menstrual cup fold that opens easily when it is inserted just as easily as it closes (or folds). I decided to start with the easy stuff and then build up on that.
The C Fold
The menstrual cup C fold is the best menstrual cup fold for the novice. It is also referred to as the menstrual cup U fold. Whatever alphabet you choose at the end of the day is dependent on your point of view.
But, if you are looking for one of the menstrual cup folds that open easily once inserted, this is it.
To make this fold, use your fingers to press the tip of the cup together to form a straight line. Applying pressure on the middle of this line with your thumb(s), you use your other fingers to pull the opposing ends together to form the U or C shape. And voila, you are good to go.
It is important to note here that while this technique is easy, the wide point of insertion might make it difficult to push it in all the way inside. If this is you, don’t fret. Every other menstrual cup fold technique has a variation that er…accommodates your needs.
The S Fold
This is a slight deviation from the C fold. It is one of the small menstrual cup fold techniques that is easy enough for a novice to do and yet small enough for those who have difficulty inserting the C fold.
For the menstrual cup S fold, start by making the tip of the cup into a straight line. Using the index and thumb of both hands, apply pressure a third of the line and push in opposite directions and then merge at the center. This would form an S shape.
The entry point of this fold may still prove somewhat difficult to insert for some people. But next to the C fold, this is one of the easiest folds (yet).
The Labia Fold
With the menstrual cup labial fold, you have a smaller entry point which almost any vagina shape can accommodate.
Admittedly, it is a little tricky for a beginner to master at the first try but this is one of the menstrual cup easy open folds. Get it right and immediately after insertion, it pops open in place.
The labia fold is aptly named after the female labia for which it resembles. It is a fold within a fold.
To create it, pinch what you estimate to be a third of the tip of the cup. Maintaining your finger grip, push inwards toward the base of the cup and then squeeze the folds that form on either side together.
While the insertion point of the cup makes an easy entrance, it can be difficult to maintain a grip as you push farther inside. Plus, the larger base felt a little uncomfortable for me.
The 7 Fold
If you have trouble with some of the other menstrual cup insertion folds, the triangle fold or the menstrual cup sevenfold is easily one of the most used techniques by women. It is also easy enough for a beginner to learn.
Simply make a straight line with the lips of the cup by pressing together. Pull down one side until it forms the number 7. The other end will be your entry point.
If you want it a little smaller, pull that side all the way down to the base of the cup to create a triangle shape.
On my first try, the cup didn’t immediately pop into place. But the problem could be my overzealous folding style (I was still a newbie) or the menstrual cup brand I was using at that time.
Either way, it didn’t happen after that and the menstrual cup 7 fold remains my favorite folding technique.
The Punch Down Fold
Despite the violent image the name given to this folding technique inspires, the menstrual cup punch down fold is easy to create and super easy to insert.
The insertion point for this fold is one of the smallest when compared to other folds. However, things can be a bit iffy when you get to the mid-point where it is bigger.
The punch fold or menstrual cup shell fold as I am told it is sometimes called only requires you to “punch down” with your thumb on one side of the cup, fold in and you are ready to insert.
The key to maneuvering the hurdles that this folding technique presents is to get the entry point of the cup all the way in and when you start experiencing difficulty inserting the cup, release your grip on the fold.
The cup should pop open. Then, you can use one finger to push the cup all the way in.
The Tulip Fold
The menstrual cup tulip fold method is a derivative of the seven-fold. I guess this would explain the nickname, the double seven-fold.
If you have mastered all five cup fold techniques before this one, this should be an easy breeze for you.
Personally, I haven’t tried the tulip fold so I can’t share what my experience was like. But I did talk to a few girlfriends and they swear that this is one of the best menstrual cup easy open folds.
You just insert it and the stuff quickly pops into place without prodding.
To make a tulip fold, press the rim of the cup together just like you would a 7 fold. Then pull one corner of the cup towards the base of the cup. Unlike the seven that means going all the way down, stop halfway and hold down.
Do the same to the other side and hold at the center. The pointy tip at the top is your insertion point.
The Diamond Fold
Doing the diamond fold without a visual guide can feel like you have taken on a DIY project [which this sort of is].
It is a little complicated for a beginner. The diamond fold technique may be favored more by women who have given birth.
First, fold the cup in half by pressing down the rim.
Next, pull down one end of the rim towards the pointy end of the cup. With one finger holding it down, pull the outer corners to the center. If you succeeded in doing this correctly, your cup should be shaped like a diamond.
For younger women, you can segue into the menstrual cup half diamond fold by simply placing your finger on the center of the diamond and then folding it into two. It has a smaller entry point and it keeps the cup compact from top to bottom making it super easy to insert.
There are several menstrual cup folding techniques I didn’t mention in this article. It is not an oversight. I am still working my way through the list. It is important to experiment and find the one that makes insertion easy and lets the cup pop open once inserted.
My army of friends (my two BFFs) and I are really working hard at this. So, expect additions in the article on this subject soon!
We have talked about finding the right cup fold technique. But what about the right cup? We already know that one of the biggest differences between sanitary pads, tampons, and menstrual cups is the fact that one size doesn’t quite fit all.
So, how can you tell which menstrual cup brand is right for you?
Factors To Consider Before Committing To A Brand
The best person that can help you with this is your gynecologist.
But it doesn’t mean you can’t simply walk up to a shelf in a store and swipe the first one your hand touches and put it straight into your basket.
Speaking from personal experience, you get more comfortable if you ask a few questions first before sticking to a brand.
Questions like how high (or low) your cervix is, how heavy (or light) your flow is. If you have given birth (vaginally) or not, how old you are, if you are sexually active or not are some of the primary questions to answer in order to find the right fit.
I am told that even the strength of your vaginal muscles should be considered. By the way, some good old fashioned kegel exercises can help with this.
Want to make it more effective? Read my article on some of the best electric kegel exercisers, and why you should opt to invest in one.
The next thing to consider would be the flexibility and firmness of the cup. There might also be an issue with the material used in making the cup.
A lot of menstrual cups are made from silicone, but you can find a few brands made from latex. This gives you options (especially, if you are allergic to one or the other).
That said, let us get on to the FAQ section of this article.
Faqs About Menstrual Cup Folds
I should point out here that I am not an expert on this subject. However, I have fumbled my way through a few cups to gather enough experience that I would say qualifies me as “I know some stuff” on the subject.
(raise your hands if you have no idea what that last sentence meant)
Anyway, here are a few of the most common questions.
Q: Can All Folding Methods be Used on All Menstrual Cups?
Let me put it this way. Most cups can be used for all folding methods. I saw this video that illustrates about 9 folding techniques using just that particular brand.
So yes, if the cup is flexible enough, you shouldn’t have a problem.
Q: Should You Avoid Some Menstrual Cup Folds if You are a Virgin?
The whole idea of menstrual cup insertion folds is to make the insertion process easier.
For virgins, I would say, the smaller the insertion point, the easier it would be.
Small menstrual cup folds like the labia fold or the punch down fold give you small insertion point. I would recommend using a cup fold technique that also gives you an even mid-point. You want the cup to slide in all the way easily.
Q: What is The Best Menstrual Cup Fold?
This is a tricky question. The various menstrual cup folds are ways to get the cup inside you easier. It is hard to say that this specific fold is the best because it is a personal preference type of thing. My vagina needs are different from yours.
So, the menstrual cup folds that best meets my needs is what I would call the best. As I mentioned earlier, experiment and find what works for you.
If you use menstrual cups, I would love to hear what works best for you. It could be one of the techniques I listed or maybe something else entirely. Let me know.
And if you have questions, go ahead and ask them. I will do my best to answer.
If you haven’t used a menstrual cup yet, this is the best time to try this experience. With lots of brands and unique designs, there are plenty of reasons why you should.
Don’t forget to share your own experiences!