Your period already goes out of its way to cause you discomfort, so the last thing you want is your menstrual cup causing cramps, too. After all, many women rely on this trusted little cup to help them during that time of the month — not to stimulate even more pain.
But sometimes, cramps are an unwanted issue many women are all too familiar with, especially when inserting their menstrual cup for the first time. Whether they can’t seem to get this product into a comfortable position or feel tense while using it throughout the day, the possibility of cramping exists.
Menstrual cup causing cramps? Finding relief is easier than you think. Superstitious beliefs about menstruation would lead you to believe that cramping is always just a part of having your period — but this is not entirely true.
When you use your trusted menstrual cup to provide you with some much-needed assistance during that time of the month, you should count on it to bring you an added sense of relief and comfort, too.
The Menstrual Cup vs. Tampon Debate
Perhaps you’re a swimmer, or just don’t like the diaper-y feeling of pads. For one reason or another, maybe you’ve ruled out pads, so that leaves you with two different period-protection options for the most part — tampons or menstrual cups. Both items are inserted into your body to absorb your menstrual flow, but they work differently and offer their own unique benefits.
Often, choosing the ideal product for your needs is merely a matter of preference. But for many, menstrual cups offer more benefits and perks.
For starters, you’re likely to ask yourself, “Why do my tampons give me cramps?” when on your period. Unlike menstrual cups, tampons can expand and touch an already sensitive cervix. The absorbent fabric in tampons also causes them to cause a “tugging” effect on a woman’s vaginal walls, worsening cramps.
If you’ve ever heard of toxic shock syndrome, you’d know that this fatal condition typically occurs for women who use tampons during their period. But because a menstrual cup doesn’t absorb your blood and instead collects it, you don’t have to worry about putting yourself at risk for toxic shock syndrome.
In fact, menstrual cups reduce your risk of developing other health complications, too. Pads and tampons are sometimes crafted or packaged in dangerous chemicals that increase your chances of developing embryotic or ovarian-related problems.
You also don’t have to worry about leaving your menstrual cup in too long, as they often only need to be changed about twice per day. This adds up to fewer bucks spent on period-related products, which is pretty much a win-win situation!
4 Reasons Your Menstrual Cup Doesn’t Feel Right
So, you’ve chosen a menstrual cup over tampons, pads and other period-protection products that’re currently on the market. But despite your initial excitement over this holy-grail product, you can’t seem to shake the feeling that your menstrual cup simply isn’t providing you with the level of comfort that it should.
If your menstrual cup is causing cramps or general discomfort, it’s important to discover any insertion or product-related issues that are the root cause of your problem. Some of the most common causes of menstrual cup cramping are:
- Your cup is too big
- Your cup is too long
- The material is wrong
- Your body is adjusting
Let’s dig deeper into these common causes of menstrual cup cramps and the simple ways to fix them below.
Reason #1: Your Cup is Too Big
You’re not a one-size-fits-all type of woman — and neither is your cervix. So if you’re feeling unwanted cramping that seems to stem from another cause beyond just your period, the size of your menstrual cup may be to blame.
You want to purchase a cup that’s fits perfectly inside of your vaginal canal, providing you just enough space for it to perform its necessary job without provoking any unwanted discomfort in the process.
If you’ve never given birth, for instance, you may need a smaller cup. Since women with children are likely to have a widened vaginal canal wall, they tend to tolerate larger menstrual cups with ease.
You may be asking yourself, “But can’t my menstrual cup get lost into my vagina if I purchase one that’s a size too small?” Fortunately, it’s anatomically impossible to lose any feminine hygiene product — be it a compact tampon or a larger menstrual cup.
Since your cervix offers a barrier that separates the uterus from the vagina, you’ll be able to check losing your menstrual cup in your body off of your list of worries.
Reason #2: Your Cup is Too Long
When it comes to your menstrual cup, sizing is crucial. You may have found the perfect general size for your body, but is it just the right length, too?
If your menstrual cup is causing cramps, consider checking the position of your cervix to certify whether or not you have a low cervix. Since women with a low cervix are more likely to feel the friction of any inserted object, a simple fix is often to purchase a menstrual cup in a smaller size.
A simple rule-of-thumb to follow is that a menstrual cup that causes the stem to jut out of your body is too long. If this is your issue, purchasing one in a smaller size is a quick and easy fix.
Reason #3: The Material is Wrong
When it comes to your menstrual cup, quality matters. So, if you’re experiencing discomfort that doesn’t seem related to sizing issues, it may be that the material of your menstrual cup is to blame.
Feel your menstrual cup and note if the exterior feels stiff or smooth. If your menstrual cup is causing cramps and notice you that the material feels stiff or abrasive, it’s best to find an alternative option instead.
If you’re looking for a replacement cup, choose a product that advertises a low or medium level of firmness. A soft menstrual cup is likely to resolve any prior cramps you were experiencing before.
Reason #4: Your Body Is Adjusting
Sometimes, your cup won’t be the source of your discomfort. Is this your first time using a menstrual cup? If so, your menstrual cup may be causing cramps simply because your body is trying to adapt to the new object that’s laying inside of it.
If you’re used to pads or tampons, switching over to a menstrual cup may take to adjust to — especially when considering the size difference between these different feminine hygiene products.
So if you’re experiencing cramps, give your body a chance to adapt to this new change. Gradually, many women find that they get used to their menstrual cup and discomfort virtually disappears.
Finding Your Perfect Fit
A menstrual cup seems perfect, but sometimes first-time users experience unwanted feelings of pain. If you’re feeling discomfort when using these period products for the first time, changing your product until you find the right fit may do the trick.
When it comes to women’s products, no item is one-size-fits-all — menstrual cups included. For women with a low cervix, a more extended menstrual cup will not be the ideal choice and is likely to cause irritation.
To check your cervix length or position, you’ll want to get into a comfortable position first. When you feel inside of your vaginal area, your cervix will feel like a firm yet circular dimple. When you better understand the shape of your body, you’re in a better position — quite literally — to purchase the products correctly fitted for you.
Putting Your Menstrual Cup in Properly
If you bought the right sized menstrual cup and still can’t shake off a general feeling of discomfort in your lower abdominal area, your issue may center around improper use.
You know you put a menstrual cup in properly when you can’t feel it. A menstrual cup causing cramps means you may be consciously aware that it’s there with every step you take, and this means it’s time to read a few directions that can help you install your menstrual cup with ease.
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to squeeze the sides of your cup together into a “U” shape and firmly hold the rim before insertion. Make sure to relax your vaginal muscles before you insert the menstrual cup so that you don’t feel any tightness that leads to unnecessary pain.
Remember that a menstrual cup causing cramps is never a good sign and may be an indication that you’re merely installing your cup improperly.
Menstrual Cup Causing Cramps Still?
If you’ve purchased the right size menstrual cup and took the proper measures to ensure flawless insertion, it may be that it’s not your menstrual cup causing cramps after all.
Pain or discomfort in the ovaries or lower abdomen signifies potential problems of the female reproductive system that shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, there are a myriad of issues that may be at play when it comes to the signs and symptoms in your reproductive organs telling you something’s wrong.
Do you have lower abdominal pain after sex, abnormal discharge, irregular periods or severe cramping during your period? If so, that’s a likely indication that there’s an issue with your hormones or uterus — not your menstrual cup.
Whenever you have any doubts about health issues, be sure to get in touch with a gynecologist who can evaluate your condition. Once your body is in optimal working shape, you’ll find that using a menstrual cup with ease is much simpler, too.