Menstrual Cup FAQ

Menstrual cups are one of the most convenient and economical forms of menstrual protection around! If you're just beginning to learn about menstrual cups, this is a great place to start.

Here at GladRags, we have our own menstrual cup, XO Flo! It comes in two sizes: XO Flo and XO Flo Mini.

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Why use a menstrual cup?

Using a menstrual cup instead of disposable period products is great for your body, your budget, and the environment!

How do menstrual cups work?

 A menstrual cup sits in the vaginal canal to catch menstrual flow. To do this, it’s inserted into the vaginal canal via the vaginal opening and placed beneath the cervix (where menstrual flow comes out).

To insert a menstrual cup, it needs to be folded. Once inserted all the way, it will pop open. The opened rim will form a seal against the vaginal walls, keeping the cup in place and preventing leaks.

Menstrual flow will collect inside the cup. When it’s time to empty the cup, it needs to be removed. Removal involves pinching the cup’s base to break the seal, and then pulling the cup all the way out.

What makes XO Flo different from other cups?

  • XO Flo's patented design features were developed to make insertion, removal, and wear more comfortable. (You can view XO Flo's patents here.)
  • Some menstrual cups feature a thick rim to help hold the cup open once it's been inserted. XO Flo features a slim, comfortable rim and inner support rings which serve the same purpose.
  • XO Flo (38 ml capacity) and XO Flo Mini (31 ml) hold more fluid than most other cups due to their rounded shape and high, angled release holes. A super tampon holds up to just 12 ml of fluid!
  • XO Flo’s soft beaded stem is designed to be both trimmable and comfortable when left untrimmed.

What is XO Flo made of?

XO Flo is made of 100% medical-grade silicone, which is smooth, flexible, and body-safe.

Which XO Flo size should you choose?

Generally those with heavier flow, higher cervix and those who have given birth will prefer XO Flo.

Those with lighter flow, low cervix, a sensitive bladder, or who haven’t given birth will generally prefer XO Flo Mini.

These are general guidelines to help you choose, but we are always happy to answer any other specific questions you may have when it comes to size selection! You can also find exact sizing measurements of both XO Flo and Mini in our Size Chart (if you have prior cup experience, you might find it helpful to compare measurements for the best fit).

How do you get started with XO Flo?

It's a good idea to try your new menstrual cup on a low-pressure day, where you have nothing going on that would interfere with getting the hang of it! Some people catch on right away, while plenty of others need a bit more practice - both are normal. When you're ready to start using your cup, we recommend reading our guide to getting started with XO Flo menstrual cup, as well as the instructions included in the box!

How do you insert XO Flo?

To insert a menstrual cup, you’ll need to fold it (check out Getting started with XO Flo menstrual cup for folding tips!). Then, gently insert it rim-first into the vagina, angled slightly toward the tailbone, and slowly guide it to where it feels comfortable. The length of the cup is worn within the body, though the stem may remain outside of the body, depending on the length of the vaginal canal. Release your fingers to open the cup. Once the cup has opened fully, the air holes along the rim will allow it to form a seal against the vaginal walls, keeping it in place and preventing leaks.

How long can you wear XO Flo?

XO Flo can be safely worn for up to 12 hours at a time! Menstrual cups are commonly emptied between 2 and 4 times per day. Most periods consist of about 30 ml to 60 ml for the entire cycle: XO Flo holds up to 38 ml and XO Flo Mini holds up to 31 ml. You will learn how frequently to empty your cup depending on the heaviness of your menstrual flow.  When your flow is heavy, empty the cup frequently to avoid leaking -- every 2-4 hours. After a month or two, you'll become familiar with your own menstrual flow pattern. You can wear a menstrual cup at night or during physical activity such as running, swimming, or yoga.

How do you remove XO Flo?

To remove a menstrual cup, you’ll need to break the seal by pinching the base of the cup or pushing in one of the sides. XO Flo’s stem is not a removal string (so no tugging!), but a guide to help you locate the base of the cup. Once the seal is broken, you can gently remove the cup and empty the contents into the toilet. It is not necessary to remove your cup before urination or bowel movements.

Finding it tricky to remove your menstrual cup? Check out our tips!

Can you use a menstrual cup in public?

Absolutely! It's not necessary to wash your menstrual cup when in a public restroom, so no one will see it. Make sure to wash your hands first, before heading into the bathroom stall. Once inside, remove your cup, tip the contents into the toilet, wipe your fingers and cup with toilet paper if needed, and reinsert. Some people like to bring a water bottle into the stall to wet some toilet paper with or to rinse their cup. Another option is to take a damp paper towel in the stall with you to use as a wipe. You’ll learn what works best for you! Be sure to thoroughly wash your cup when you return home, or at least every 12 hours.

Are menstrual cups comfortable?

Some folks don't feel the cup at all and rave about how comfortable it is! Others find that the stem may bother them or at least they are aware of it. It is important to try the menstrual cup for a few cycles before deciding what is or isn't comfortable. Sometimes you may think the cup will sit lower inside your body, but after a few hours or at the end of the day, you may find that it moves further up in the vaginal canal. If after a few cycles with your cup you find that the stem still sticks out and irritates you, you may trim the stem of your XO Flo. We recommend leaving at least half intact.

Can a menstrual cup get lost inside you?

Nope! The cup sits in the vaginal canal beneath the cervix. There is only one opening the cup can pass through: the vaginal opening, which is where you insert it. At the other end of the vaginal canal is the cervix, which only has a tiny opening to let your menstrual flow through. This is the same reason a tampon can’t get lost inside you either!

Are menstrual cups safer than tampons?

The vaginal canal is one of the most porous parts of our body, which makes the absorption of any residual chemicals found in tampons a possibility. TSS is caused by normally harmless bacteria found on our skin or in other parts of our body. If the bacteria get into the bloodstream, the toxins released can cause serious and even fatal disease. It is a rare disease and has been associated with tampon use -- especially high-absorbency tampons, as they can dry out the vaginal canal by absorbing the vagina's natural moisture, creating the opportunity for minuscule tears to occur and increasing the chance of TSS. If you have ever had TSS, you should consult your doctor before using any cup or tampon.

Can you use a menstrual cup if you have an IUD?

Always consult your gynecologist or primary care provider if you have any concerns before using your menstrual cup. Many people with IUDs are able to successfully use a menstrual cup. We recommend becoming familiar with your body and using extra caution when using an IUD. Additionally, a 2012 study conducted in Canada concluded that menstrual cups do not significantly increase the risk of IUD expulsion.

Can you use a menstrual cup if you are a virgin?

It is your body and your choice. If you have never had vaginal sex, you may still choose to use a menstrual cup. When you first use a menstrual cup, you will probably stretch the hymen if it is still intact (hymens do not typically "break" but rather stretch), and experience some initial discomfort. You may experience less discomfort if you've already used tampons or other internal methods.

I'm new to menstrual cups, can you help me?

It’s totally normal for beginners to have issues getting started with a menstrual cup, and we can help! You might find exactly what you need among our Articles, or you can get in touch with us for personalized menstrual cup troubleshooting!