How Often To Empty Your Menstrual Cup

1 commentFriday, 5 February 2021

How Often To Empty Your Menstrual Cup

How Often Should I Empty My Menstrual Cup?
Some menstrual cup brands recommend the maximum wear time before emptying is 8 hours. In general across the cup using community 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 more frequently to prevent leaks. Cups come in different sizes and capacities so you may want to have a larger capacity for the first few heavier days. Check our Cup Comparison Chart to compare.

A menstrual cup holds 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 cup against the capacity of your usual tampons. If your 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 disposable pad, I quickly discovered I really didn’t need to empty at these times.

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 it 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 Within a couple of periods using a cup you will soon know exactly what your change frequency looks like. One things for certain once you change you’ll never want to go back to anything else. Cups are LIFE CHANGING!

Here's some real life examples of cup changing frequency!

What My Average Cup Using Day Looks Like
I consider myself to have average periods for a woman in her early 40’s. The first few days 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 cup but I have a heavy sensation. As soon as I empty my cup this heaviness goes so I’ve learnt that feeling is a sign I need to change it. I usually change my 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 cup when out and about.

Those with Heavy Flooding Periods
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 she would expect within that hour. Using a large capacity cup, alongside the same heavy duty pads helped reduce her changing rate from every hour to every 90-120mins and removed the risk of leaking. It was still 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.

Written by Wendy Top Cat @ The Period Lady

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