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Choosing a menstrual cup is a big decision! There are SO many different brands on the market, which can make it confusing. Plus, it is an investment, so you want to do everything possible to choose the right cup from the outset.
- Menstrual Cup Sizing
- Menstrual Cup Length
- Measuring the Height of Your Cervix
- Steps to Finding and Measuring the Height of Your Cervix:
- Tips For Measuring Your Cervix
- How to Convert your Cervix Measurement
- Menstrual Cup Firmness
- Menstrual Cup Material
- Firm Menstrual Cups
- soft Menstrual Cups
- Menstrual Cup Capacity
- Other Considerations When Choosing Your Cup
- Menstrual Cup Cost
- Peace of Mind
- Menstrual Cup Ready
- Keep in Touch
Menstrual Cup Sizing
There are so many menstrual cup brands on the market now, usually with multiple sizes to choose from. You will likely find a lot of brands come in at least two different sizes. The smaller size is usually recommended for people who are under 30/have a lighter flow/or have never given birth. The larger size is then for the opposite.
A number of brands are even doing three sizes now, with the smallest being targeted towards younger/teenage users. Some brands that come to mind with three sizes are Diva Cup, Hello Cup and MyCupNZ.
Everyone’s anatomy is unique though. So it’s best to take into account a number of key factors and consider these when choosing a cup. This is more helpful than focusing too much on the generic size suggestions.
The key factors that matter most in choosing the right menstrual cup are – length, firmness and capacity.
Menstrual Cup Length
Determining the menstrual cup length you require is one of the most important aspects in choosing a menstrual cup.
A menstrual cup is inserted into the vaginal canal and sits below the cervix to collect the menstrual fluid. The height of your cervix will determine how much space there is for your cup to sit in your vaginal canal, without protruding out of the vagina.
Yes your cervix has a height. Plus everyone’s cervical height and position is unique. To make it even more interesting, our cervix moves during the cycle. You may find your cervix is higher during some times in the cycle and lower at other times.
A low cervix will mean less space in the vaginal canal. Therefore, a shorter cup will be better. A high cervix will mean a longer cup is better suited, so that your cup is not difficult to reach.
You can see this illustrated in the below image.
As you can see, the depicted menstrual cup is too long for the low cervix. This is because the base of the cup sits outside of the vagina. The depicted menstrual cup is too short for the high cervix. This is because there is more room for the cup too travel up and become out of reach, making removal more difficult. The menstrual cup illustrated is just right for the medium cervix.
When considering length, keep in mind that it would be okay if the stem were to protrude outside the vagina. The stem can be cut or trimmed to size. However, the base of the cup needs to be inside the vagina so it is not uncomfortable.
Measuring the Height of Your Cervix
In order to determine whether you have a low, medium or high cervix, you’ll need to measure the height of your cervix.
This is easy to do, but it does involve getting up close and personal with your body by inserting a finger inside your vagina. This is a perfectly normal thing to do and you shouldn’t feel awkward or uncomfortable to do this.
In saying that, make sure you are in a comfortable and private place when you decide to locate your cervix for the first time. Somewhere like the shower is a great place to do this or just the privacy of your own bathroom.
Steps to Finding and Measuring the Height of Your Cervix:
- Wash your hands;
- Squat down (in the shower is a great place to do this) or lift one leg up onto the toilet seat or bath tub;
- Relax and carefully insert your index finger into your vagina;
- Feel around for your cervix. It will feel smooth and round with a little dip in the middle (this is the opening). It will likely feel firm, a bit like the tip of your nose, although it does soften more at different times of the cycle.
- Once you have located your cervix, take note of how far your finger is inside your vagina. You may like to place your thumb at the point on your finger that is at the vaginal opening. Then, when you remove your finger, measure from the tip of your finger to the point where your thumb has been placed as a marker. This is the height of your cervix and therefore the approximate length of menstrual cup required.
Tips For Measuring Your Cervix
Your cervix moves around during different phases of the menstrual cycle. So it may be be higher at certain times and lower at other times. For the most accurate measurement, measure close to or during menstruation.
The only things you’ll feel inside your vagina are your vaginal walls and your cervix. There’s nothing else in there. Therefore, chances are, if you feel something inside your vagina that’s not your vaginal walls and you think it feels like your cervix, you’re probably right!
How to Convert your Cervix Measurement
So now you’ve found your cervix and measured it in terms of finger length, you need to measure that finger length to get a real measurement in millimetres. Using a ruler or tape measure, measure from the tip of your finger to the point of your finger that was just at the entrance to your vagina. This will give you your cervix height in millimetres.
You can then use this length to help you choose a suitable menstrual cup. All reputable menstrual cup brands will tell you the length of their cups. You just need to make sure you don’t choose a cup that is longer than your cervix height!
Menstrual Cup Firmness
The firmness of the menstrual cup can vary between brands. Some cups are softer than others, some are harder. The firmness can make a difference in how comfortable you find the cup and how well it pops open inside to create a leak-proof seal.
Menstrual Cup Material
Menstrual cup firmness is influenced by the material from which it is made. A lot of cups are made from a medical grade silicone which can vary in the level of firmness. While other cups are made from different material. The Hello Cup, for example, is made from thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) which is firmer, however it does soften and mold to your body once inside.
Firm Menstrual Cups
I have spoken to Hello Cup on their Instagram about the firmness of their cup. They said “our research showed us that firmer cups perform better and are just as comfortable once inside…our vaginal muscles are a lot stronger than most of us think and can quite easily push in the side of a cup if it’s not firm enough.”
Stronger vaginal muscles may squash a softer cup causing it to not open correctly which can lead to leakage. For this reason, firm cups are generally better for younger users and for physically active users. Both these groups tend to have stronger vaginal muscles.
soft Menstrual Cups
You may find a soft cup more comfortable if you have a sensitive bladder or pelvic pain. A soft cup won’t apply as much pressure internally.
However a soft cup may be more difficult to get open once it’s inside you. If the cup doesn’t open properly this will cause leaks.
If you don’t have any specific issues with bladder sensitivity, pelvic pain or weak vaginal muscles, then you should be okay to try an average to firm cup.
Menstrual Cup Capacity
Capacity of the cup is probably not as important as getting the correct length cup, however it is still something to consider.
If you have a heavy period and you get a small cup, you may need to empty it more than if you get a cup with a larger capacity. However, getting the right length and fit is more important.
What capacity you need can be tricky to gauge when you haven’t used a cup before. If you’ve only ever used pads or tampons, you might not know how much fluid you lose during your period.
Once you use a cup you’ll know exactly how much your flow is because you’ll be able to see it in the cup, and some cups even have measurement lines! Until then you can have a good estimate.
To help estimate, know that the average person loses 50ml in total over their whole period (in total over all the days of one period). But this can vary. Anything under 25ml would be considered quite light and anything over 80ml would be considered heavy.
A regular pad or tampon can hold 5ml of fluid and a super tampon can hold 10ml. You can use this as a guide to work out how many pads or tampons you go through in your period.
Bearing in mind, the capacity of pads and tampons is based on being soaked through, so if you change your pad or tampon before it’s soaked through then the full capacity has not been used.
Most average cups have a capacity of around 25ml – 30ml.
Other Considerations When Choosing Your Cup
While not related to the comfort and fit of your menstrual cup, there are some additional things you may like to take into consideration when choosing your cup.
Some brands offer one colour only, some offer clear cups only, and others offer a huge choice of colours.
While likely not a life-changing consideration to make, it’s still a consideration nonetheless.
If having a bright and fun coloured menstrual cup is something you care about, then you need to know that’s 100% possible!
First, find some brands that fit within the sizing requirements you need and then find the colour you like. Easy!
It’s also worth noting that clear cups can become discoloured over time. If this is something that would concern you, then this may be a consideration for you.
Some popular menstrual cup brands that have an array of colours to choose from are Lunette, Hello Cup, Saalt Cup and Ruby Cup.
There are some menstrual cup brands doing amazing work to empower women in developing countries by donating menstrual cups and providing education.
Ruby Cup and Dot Cup both operate one-for-one models. This means they donate one menstrual cup for every one that is bought.
This is a fabulous initiative that you may like to support when making your purchase decision.
What cup you can actually purchase may depend on your location and where the menstrual cup brand ships to.
However, as menstrual cups are becoming more and more mainstream, you should find it easier now than ever to locate a menstrual cup locally or one that can be shipped to you regardless of where you are in the world.
Hopefully you will be able to find a cup that best suits your needs AND is accessible to you either locally or by post.
Menstrual Cup Cost
A menstrual cup is an investment, designed to last you 5-10 years. For this reason, it is more expensive than buying a packet of pads or tampons. In the long run though, you will save money as you won’t need to buy disposable products every month.
There are more and more really cheap, even free (!!), menstrual cups popping up out there now. And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a bargain, but when it comes to a menstrual cup, don’t forget that you are inserting this into an intimate, highly sensitive and absorbent area of your body.
When it comes to choosing a menstrual cup, I really do not recommend compromising on quality in favour of a cheaper price.
When you buy a menstrual cup from a reputable brand you can feel confident that the cup you are inserting inside your body is made from a medical grade material that is not going to release harmful toxins into your body and does not use harmful colourants or contaminants.
A menstrual cup purchased from a reputable brand will mean you have access to quality customer support, the cup will be of a high quality and not likely to defect in a short period of time.
Anything that sounds too good to be true, probably is! There’s a reason the cheap, knock-off brands are selling their cups so cheap. It’s because they are not made from quality materials, they are possibly exploiting cheap labour and they don’t have a genuine business that cares about your menstrual cup experience.
If price is a key concern for you, wait until there is a sale or discount available and then make your purchase. You can also get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will let you know if there are any sales or discounts happening at the moment. I also frequently share sales/discounts on my Instagram which you can follow @thebetterperiod_
Peace of Mind
If you’re worried about wasting your money on choosing a cup that doesn’t work for you, why not choose a cup that has a money back guarantee? If you’re worried about the learning curve associated with using a menstrual cup and you don’t want to leak everywhere, employ back up, like period underwear.
MONEY BACK GUARANTEE
There is only one menstrual cup brand I know of, at the time of writing this, that offers a returns policy / money back guarantee. And that brand is Ruby Cup.
Ruby Cup is an awesome brand, they are based out of Europe and are one of the brands I mentioned earlier that operates a Buy One, Give One model.
So they’re a great brand but even better is their money back guarantee that allows you to either switch size or get a full refund if you return your Ruby Cup within 4 calendar months from your order date. How is that for peace of mind? You can learn more about this money back guarantee by clicking on my affiliate link here: Learn More
Whichever menstrual cup brand you go with, they should provide you with some great tips on how to fold, insert, remove and care for your menstrual cup. Most reputable menstrual cup brands also have fantastic customer service so you can contact them directly if you have any issues with using your cup.
The menstrual cup does come with a learning curve, so while you’re getting used to it, you may feel most comfortable if you have some additional back up protection.
For this, I highly recommend period underwear like Modibodi. Modibodi are my favourite period underwear brand and they ship to most parts of the world. You can wear them for leak-proof back up while you get used to your cup and you can also wear them on their own for times when you don’t feel like wearing a cup. You can click this link to shop the Modibodi period underwear range.
Menstrual Cup Ready
Congratulations! If you’ve read this far then I’m confident you’re now ready to choose your menstrual cup!
Hopefully, after taking in all of the information provided, you feel confident to go forth and make your menstrual cup purchase! If you have any unanswered questions, please feel free to get in touch.
My final tip is to not let the number of menstrual cups on the market lead to overwhelm. Choose a couple of brands that you like and then use the understanding you now have to narrow down to one most suited to your personal situation.
Making the switch to a menstrual cup is worth it! If you need more convincing, here are 10 ways using a menstrual cup will make your life better.
Choosing a menstrual cup is a journey and you might have questions along the way. I’m always here and happy to help, so if you do have any questions, please get in touch with me at email@example.com or DM me on Instagram @thebetterperiod_
Keep in Touch
If you would like to keep in touch and keep up to daate with all the latest period news, then I invite you to sign up to my newsletter below
You can also find me on Instagram @thebetterperiod_ where I love to talk about all things menstrual cups, period underwear and the menstrual cycle.
You can DM me there any time if you have any questions.
The Better Period
Ellie Heasman is a period blogger and founder of The Better Period. Ellie helps people on their journey to a better period through introducing them to the world of menstrual cups and period underwear, and sharing knowledge about the menstrual cycle and fertility awareness. You can join in the better period conversations on Instagram @thebetterperiod_ or find out more about Ellie here.