How to choose a Menstrual Cup

Have you been thinking about trying out a menstrual cup but became overwhelmed to discover there are SO. MANY. BRANDS?!

How can it be, that you’re only just learning about menstrual cups and you’ve never even tried one, yet there is a whole world of menstrual cup providers out there that you never knew existed!

If you haven’t done so already, may I suggest you have a read of WHAT on Earth is a menstrual cup? And 10 ways using a menstrual cup will make your life BETTER! And then once you are convinced that you need to try a menstrual cup, rejoin us here to find out how to choose one!

HOW TO choose a menstrual cup

I’ve recently received questions from my readers asking what menstrual cup they should choose – because there are simply so many! It’s a really good question.

If you’ve started doing some cup research, you may have  already come across a menstrual cup quiz on other websites. These quizzes are designed to help you choose which menstrual cup is right for you.

A menstrual cup quiz is a good place to start your cup research. BUT it’s also helpful to understand the underlying factors that you need to consider when finding the best cup for you.

Once you understand this, you’ll be able to interpret the menstrual cup quiz results and make sure the suggested cup is really the best cup for you. Knowledge is power!

I’ve create a handy guide that will help you to understand everything you need to know in order to choose the best menstrual cup for YOU. You can download it below

I can tell you that menstrual cup brands across the world usually agree on two factors that need to be considered in choosing your menstrual cup – the heaviness of your menstrual flow and the position of your cervix.

Other considerations are age and whether you’ve given birth or not, however some brands consider these to be less relevant factors. 

Heaviness of your menstrual flow

It makes sense that the heaviness of your menstrual flow is a key consideration in choosing the right menstrual cup. You want to make sure your chosen cup is capable of holding ALL of your flow and without OVERFLOW!

Most menstrual cup brands offer more than one size of cup so if you have a heavier flow you should be able to get a bigger size that will have a greater capacity.

The good news though is that the capacity of a menstrual cup ranges from 20-34ml and the average woman’s menstrual flow will be 30-60ml over her whole cycle. SO your cup should be able to handle your flow.

The average flow is just a generally accepted range, if you have a heavy flow you may bleed in excess of 80ml. If you have any concerns about your menstrual flow or really heavy or really light bleeding, you should always speak to your doctor.

Using a menstrual cup will take some getting used to and if you find you’re super heavy on some days you may need to empty your cup more often than the maximum 12 hours.

Position of your cervix

This is a tricky one if you’re not up on your female anatomy knowledge. And I have to admit, even I was guilty of this. If you want to brush up on your anatomy, then you should definitely read this post – Our Female Reproductive Anatomy.

As a quick refresher, the cervix is a passage, about 4-5cm long when not pregnant, connecting the uterus to the vagina. The cervix has a small opening that allows sperm to swim in and menstrual blood to flow out.

When inserted, your menstrual cup needs to sit below the cervix, to ensure the cup collects all of the blood. If the menstrual cup is inserted past the cervix, the blood will be able to flow past the cup and this will cause leaks.

This diagram shows perfectly how the menstrual cup should be sitting in relation to the cervix:

 Image from: http://menstrualcup.co/your-cervix-and-menstrual-cups/

The cervix doesn’t sit in the same position for everyone. Some people may have a high cervix, some may have a low cervix and some may have a cervix somewhere in the middle! If that’s not complicated enough your cervix can also move depending on the time of your cycle.

You’ll want to have a rough idea of where your cervix lies on the low to high scale when choosing your menstrual cup. As each menstrual cup will be slightly different in its length you may find they fit differently depending on the position of your cervix.

It’s for this reason that the position of your cervix is important in choosing a menstrual cup. If you have a low cervix, you might be better with a shorter cup as it doesn’t have as far to go up and if you have a high cervix you will probably be better suited to a longer cup. If you find your cup is too long, you can also trim the stem so it’s not protruding out of your vagina.

You can perform a self-examination to check for the height and position of your cervix. I highly recommend watching this great video from Put A Cup In It, as they do a great job at explaining clearly how to find your cervix. How to Find and Measure Your Cervix.

Prepare to have your mind blown! If you’ve never felt your cervix before, it’s so exciting to feel it for the first time. Knowing the height of your cervix is really the key to finding a suitable cup for you. 

* * * * * * * * * * *

The first cup I ever used was a Diva cup and they have two sizes that are recommended based on your age and whether you’ve given birth or not.

So I’ve always had this in the back of my mind as being the key factors in choosing the size of your menstrual cup.

I found it really interesting when I realised that for most brands, these are not considered to be relevant factors when making your choice of menstrual cup.

There are some other things you might like to consider in making your decision as well:

Colour – Some brands offer one colour only, some offer clear cups only, and others offer a choice of colours.

While likely not a life-changing consideration to make it would be remiss of me not to mention that clear cups can become discoloured over time. If this is something that concerns you then this may be a consideration for you.

Location – After my first menstrual cup (Diva Cup) mistakenly ended up out with the trash, I was looking to get my hands on a menstrual cup quickly – that is, I didn’t want to order it online and wait weeks for it to be delivered.

So I went on a menstrual cup hunt to numerous local pharmacies in an attempt to track one down in a physical store that I could purchase and have in my hands instantly.

The only one I found was the Lunette Cup so I stuck with that one. If you want to get your cup quickly or you don’t want to pay international postage then your location may determine which cup you choose.

Since it is an investment though, I would recommend you choose the one you think will suit your needs best rather than simply on location alone.

Social impact – 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 where 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.

Hopefully this has helped you learn about what to consider when choosing your menstrual cup.

If you would like a more in-depth guide on how to choose the best menstrual cup for you, then you’ll want to download the free guide below.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions, share this article with someone you think may find it useful or leave a comment, even if you just want to say hi!

Ellie The Better Period Author bio image

Ellie Heasman

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.

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