8 Common Reasons for Menstrual Cup Leakage – and How to Prevent It

Jessica Lubahn 9 min read

8 Common Reasons for Menstrual Cup Leakage – and How to Prevent It

You use a menstrual cup. After all, there are a lot of pros. 

Using menstrual cups is:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Cost-effective; and
  • Safer than tampons

However, you notice you experience occasional leakage with your period cup — definitely not ideal. The last thing you want is to end up embarrassed and annoyed after leaking while wearing a new pair of jeans or overnight onto your sheets.

At the same time, you’re not wild about the idea of going back to using tampons or pads.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to.

There’s a way to use period cups and minimize leaks.

Read on to learn common reasons for menstrual cup leakage and how to prevent it.


Table of Contents

Is It Normal for Menstrual Cups to Leak?

Even when you do everything right, menstrual cup leakage is common. In fact, it’s completely normal.

That’s why you need a backup plan. 

Have you ever heard of period underwear?

If you haven’t, you’ll want to know all about it. It’s a game-changer.

ONDRwear is designed to give you extra protection so that if your menstrual cup does leak, you won’t find yourself in an uncomfortable or embarrassing situation. 

Keep reading to learn more.

Why Is My Period Cup Leaking? 8 Common Causes of Menstrual Cup Leakage

First things, first.

Why is your period cup leaking?

It could be a number of reasons, such as:

  1. You’re using the wrong size
  2. You aren’t emptying it frequently enough
  3. It isn’t correctly positioned
  4. It isn’t fully opened and sealed
  5. The air holes are clogged
  6. Your pelvic floor muscles are too strong
  7. Your pelvic floor muscles are too weak
  8. You pooped while your period cup was full

Let’s get into it so you can figure out what might be happening with yours.

Reason #1: You’re Using the Wrong Size

Using a cup that’s either too big or too small is one of the most common reasons for leakage.

Menstrual cups come in multiple sizes. It all depends on the brand of period cup you’re using.

Make sure to do your research and ensure you’re purchasing and using the correct size for your body.

Reason #2: You Aren’t Emptying It Frequently Enough

If you have a heavy flow, you may need to empty your period cup more frequently than recommended.

Maybe that’s possible. But maybe it isn’t always possible

Perhaps you empty your period cup frequently throughout the day, but you experience leaking while you’re fast asleep. 

It’s definitely frustrating. You think to yourself, “Why does my menstrual cup leak at night?”

Most likely it needs to be emptied during that extended period of shut-eye. But do you really want to sacrifice quality sleep? Let’s be honest — likely not.

That’s where period underwear, like ONDRwear, comes in. 

This leak-proof underwear looks just like regular underwear (it comes in multiple styles, too!) but is specially designed to absorb blood. Think of it like a pad that's built right into the underwear — but way more comfortable than a typical pantyliner.

You can use this leak-proof underwear on its own. Or, you can use it with a period cup, especially if you’re experiencing leaking.

Day or night, ONDRwear gives you the extra protection you need to keep your clothing, pajamas, and your sheets dry and stain-free.

Reason #3: It Isn’t Correctly Positioned

Positioning is hugely important when it comes to menstrual cups. A common cause for leakage is when the cup is sitting either too high or too low.

First things, first.

Find your cervix. This is essential because the cup needs to be placed a few inches below the cervix.

If you’ve inserted the cup correctly, you shouldn’t be able to feel it.

Reason #4: It Isn’t Fully Opened and Sealed

It’s super important that once inserted, your menstrual cup opens fully and creates a secure seal against the walls of your cervix. After all, that seal is what prevents leaks. 

Each brand has specific step-by-step instructions for period cup usage to ensure proper placement and seal. Make sure to read and follow the guidance.

How Do I Know If My Menstrual Cup Is Sealed?

This is a common question. To put it simply, if the cup is properly sealed, you will be able to feel the pressure created by the suction and it will be difficult to remove without breaking the seal. 

Some doctors recommend rotating the cup 360 degrees once it is in the proper position to ensure an effective seal.

Reason #5: The Air Holes Are Clogged

Most period cups have tiny air holes just below the rim of the cup. The number of holes varies by brand, and isn’t incredibly important. It is important to know if those air holes are clogged.

That’s because if the air holes are clogged, the pressure can’t release properly, and the cup will leak. 

This can be remedied by making sure your menstrual cup is cleaned and rinsed regularly.

Reason #6: Your Pelvic Floor Muscles Are Too Strong

If your pelvic floor muscles are exceptionally strong, it’s possible that they will squeeze the period cup, causing overflow.

Reason #7: Your Pelvic Floor Muscles Are Too Weak

Again, this comes down to the positioning of the menstrual cup.

It may be that your pelvic floor muscles are too weak, allowing the cup to slide down and out of place, causing leakage.

Talk to your doctor about exercises to improve pelvic floor strength.

Reason #8: Poop. It Happens

Apologies if this is TMI (too much information), but it has to be said: leakage can happen when you’re going #2.

Here’s the thing — when you poop, you often bear down. That can put pressure on your menstrual cup. If your cup is full or relatively full when this happens, it may lead to an overflow.

So, to prevent this, empty the cup before doing your business.

What to Do If a Menstrual Cup Is Leaking – 4 Tips to Reduce Leakage

If your menstrual cup is leaking, it’s not ideal. But there are things you can do.

Read on to learn about a few things you can do to reduce leaking, including:

  • Making sure your cup is the correct size for you
  • Taking the time to ensure proper insertion and seal
  • Keeping your menstrual cup empty and clean
  • Using period-proof panties

Tip #1: Make Sure Your Cup Is the Right Size

Most brands of menstrual cups come in multiple sizes. You’ll want to make sure you have the right size for you. 

Some factors to consider, include: 

  • Your age
  • The length of your cervix
  • Your typical menstruation flow (heavy, light, etc.)
  • Flexibility/firmness of the cup
  • Cup capacity
  • The strength of your pelvic floor muscles
  • Whether or not you’ve given birth vaginally

Make sure you’re purchasing the correct size menstrual cup, according to the specific brand you’re using. Most period cup brands have sizing information available on their websites.

Tip #2: Take the Time to Ensure Proper Insertion and Seal

When it comes to menstrual cups performing as they are intended to, proper insertion and ensuring an effective seal is essential.

If you’re new to using a menstrual cup, there’s definitely a learning curve.

While you may be able to slap on a maxi-pad or insert a tampon in a couple of seconds, it's important to take the time to learn how to properly use a period cup. Think back on that first time you used a tampon, it probably took you a minute (or more) those first few times.

Use the instructions. They are there for a reason. After that, take the time to ensure the cup is unfolded and sealed to the walls of the cervix.

Tip #3: Keep Your Menstrual Cup Empty and Clean

Depending on your flow, menstrual cups are designed to hold between 1-2 ounces of liquid. Again, depending on your flow you’ll want to empty that menstrual cup every 6-12 hours to keep it working effectively. 

This simple action can help prevent leakage.

Tip #4: Use Period-Proof Panties

So, let’s be real. Even if you:

  • Use the correct cup size
  • Take the time to ensure it’s properly inserted and sealed; and
  • Keep the cup empty and clean

Leaks can still happen

It’s not ideal, but you can avoid embarrassing leaks by having a backup plan — a good backup plan.

That’s where period-proof panties come in.

This is your best line of defense when period cups leak.

This is why you need ONDRwear.

Tired of Dealing With Period Cup Leaking? ONDRwear Has a Solution

If you're over period cup leaking, you owe it to yourself to give ONDRwear a try. 

ONDRwear was created by mother and Urologist, Dr Jessica Lubahn, MD. 

After witnessing first-hand the embarrassment and frustration her patients experienced from urinary leakage, she decided to create a solution.

Not only is ONDRwear comfy and stylish, it’s easy to care for. Just toss them in the washer — on cold, with mild detergent — and lay them flat to dry. Avoid using fabric softeners, bleach, ironing, or other high temperatures.

Eco-friendly (just like your period cup) and sustainable, ONDRwear is plant-based. And made from Beachwood fiber and algae, making it naturally ...

  • Odor-free; and
  • Antimicrobial

And get this: 

Designed to hold a 1/4 cup of liquid (trust us, that’s a lot), ONDRwear underwear will keep you feeling dry,comfortable, and leak-free — even if your period cup can’t cut it.

We're so confident in our leak-proof underwear technology for period leaks (or bladder leaks) that we offer our PP (Perfect Pair) guarantee:

If you don’t love your first pair of ONDRwear, we’ll send you a different size — or similarly priced style — free of charge. Plus, you can keep your first pair.

So, what are you waiting for? Your next cycle is just around the corner.  


The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.