How Often To Empty Your Menstrual Cup
One joy of using period cups is the freedom they give you for life. Freedom from changing pads or tampons all day every day. A cup is one of the most life changing menstrual products I've ever used.
How Often Should I Empty My Menstrual Cup?
Some menstrual cup brands and regulatory bodies recommend the maximum wear time before emptying your cup is 8 hours. In general across menstrual cup users the consensus is you should empty every 10-12 hours as an absolute maximum.
If your periods are heavy or the first few days are heavy than you will need to empty your menstrual cup more frequently to prevent leaks of menstrual blood.
Menstrual cups offer the freedom to not worry about having to change pads or tampons at work or at school. In the morning, when I come home and before bed are my usual times to empty and rinse my cup.
Menstrual cup capacity
Menstrual cups come in different sizes and capacities so you may want to have a larger capacity for the first few heavier flow days. Check our Cup Comparison Chart to compare.
Menstrual cups compared to tampons
Menstrual cups hold more than a tampon so you will change less than you would if you used tampons.
When you first get started to help give you a change frequency guide you can compare the capacity of your menstrual cup against the capacity of your usual tampons.
If your period cup holds double then your change time of your cup should be double that of changing a tampon.
I never used tampons so the first day I used a cup I checked it at lunchtime and then mid afternoon as I would a normal disposable pad, I quickly discovered I really didn't need to empty at these times.
Am I a heavy bleeder?
People often think they are heavy bleeders based on the blood they see on disposable pads. This can be deceptive and appears more due to the way menstrual fluid soaks into the disposable pad.
We see the same with disposable nappies, the crystals puff up as they absorb the urine making the nappy feel heavier than a cloth nappy which absorbed the same amount of urine would feel (if you didn't know our sister website is www.thenappyady.co.uk).
As a new cup user you'll find by your next period and within a couple of periods of using a period cup you will soon know exactly what your menstrual cup change frequency looks like for your menstrual flow.
One things for certain once you change you'll never want to go back to anything else. Menstrual Cups are LIFE CHANGING!
Menstrual Cup Users Changing Frequency Examples
Here's some real life examples of menstrual cup changing frequency!
I consider myself to have average periods for a woman in her early 40's. The first few days are heavier but I definitely don't get flooding.
After about 6-8 hours I know my cup needs to be emptied as I feel a heaviness in my vagina, I can't feel my menstrual cup but I have a heavy sensation.
As soon as I empty my menstrual cup this heaviness goes so I've learnt that feeling is a sign I need to change it.
I usually change my menstrual cup first thing in the morning, mid afternoon when I get some from work around 3pm, then again at bedtime around 10pm.
Day 2 or 3 onwards I'll change in the morning and then late evening before Bed. This largely means I never have to empty my menstrual cup when out and about.
Heavy Period & Heavy Flow
While I'm currently lucky with my “average” periods I have several friends who are not! They suffer with serious flooding on day 1. Cups however have also improved their monthly cycle.
One friend would normally have to change every single hour even when using heavy maxi/postpartum pads and high absorbency tampons.
Using a large capacity menstrual cup, alongside the same heavy duty pads and period underwear helped reduce her changing rate from every hour to every 90-120mins and removed the worry and risk of leaking.
Her heavy flow still led to incredibly frequent compared to my “average” period however 90-120mins meant it was possible to leave the house, run errands, works without the constant worry of leaking through trousers.
Day 2 she found decreased dramatically and she'd check lunch, afternoon when having a wee and then would move to just morning and bedtime.
How to change your cup when away from home
It's a common worry and concern for how you change your menstrual cup if you have to use a public toilet and you're not in the privacy of your own home. Here's some tips.
Take bottled water into the toilet with you. This can just be tap water in a reusable bottle.
Put some toilet paper in the toilet bowl before you empty out your cup. Pouring the blood onto the toilet paper helps prevent the blood marking the toilet or sinking to the bottom and not fully flushing.
Rinse or wash your menstrual cup out with the clean water from your bottle (tip one).
Wipe the cup with some a tissue if needed.
Then you're done and reinsert
Instructions on how to completely clean your up at the end of your cycle.
At the end of your menstrual cycle you can then do a through clean and sanitise. You can either place your cup in boiling water, sterilise it in the microwave in a special cleaning pot or soak in milton. This not only gives your cup a deep clean but also helps to remove any stains or slight discolouration from use in your cycle - blood is a strong colour! Read our guide for full details on how to clean your menstrual cup
Written by Wendy Top Cat @ The Period Lady