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Are you looking for a menstrual cup quiz to help you choose the best menstrual cup?
Discovering menstrual cups was life-changing for me and instrumental in making my period experience so much better. And I want to help you have a better period too!
If you want to learn more about The Better Period and my story I recommend you start here.
Menstrual Cup Quiz
There are a number of important factors that go into finding the best menstrual cup and it’s really important you understand those factors before attempting to take a menstrual cup quiz.
Even the best menstrual cup quiz won’t be able to take into account all of your personal circumstances, which is why you need to understand the theory behind the quiz in order to interpret the results.
I can do all of the menstrual cup reviews I like and recommend any number of the popular menstrual cup brands but the best menstrual cup for me is not necessarily going to be the best menstrual cup for you.
What factors matter when choosing a menstrual cup?
We are all unique and our internal reproductive anatomy is also unique to each of us. A cup that works well for your bestie, might not work for you!
Keep reading below to find out everything you need to know to choose a menstrual cup that’s right for you.
What is a menstrual cup?
I want to make sure we are all on the same page, so let’s get started with the basics:
A menstrual cup is a soft, reusable cup, usually made from medical grade silicone. Although there are some cups made from different materials like the Hello Cup, which is made from thermoplastic elastomer (TPE).
How does a menstrual cup work?
Menstrual cups are a reusable alternative to a tampon. I say they are an alternative to tampons because they are an internal period management solution. That is, the menstrual cup is folded and inserted into the vagina.
Once inserted, it ‘pops’ open, forming a suction seal against the vaginal walls and sits below the cervix to catch, rather than absorb your menstrual fluid.
Depending on the cup and your flow, it can be worn for up to 8 – 12 hours before being removed, emptied into the toilet, cleaned and reinserted.
There are many different brands of menstrual cups on the market these days and they all vary slightly in size, length, shape, material, colour and price. But don’t worry, this guide will talk you through everything you need to know to choose a menstrual cup that is right for you – so keep reading!
Two common concerns when starting on the menstrual cup journey are that:
- Menstrual cups look huge and will never fit inside; or
- Once inside, the menstrual cup will get lost up there.
Understanding our internal anatomy can go a long way in helping to alleviate these concerns.
The vagina is the muscular passage which connects the uterus to the outside of the body. On the inside, the vagina is an elastic 4-6 inch long muscular passage connecting the vulva (the outside) to the cervix (which is the opening of the uterus).
The vagina is a muscle and the walls are elastic, and so, the vagina expands or contracts as needed. For example, it expands when inserting something inside like a menstrual cup.
Between the opening of the vagina through to the opening of the cervix, there’s not much more to it. The vagina is, for the most part, closed off from the rest of the body, thanks to the trusty cervix acting as the gatekeeper.
What that means is, your vagina is not a never-ending abyss and so, you can’t really get anything lost inside there. Yes, a menstrual cup may disappear up higher than you can reach at first try, but it won’t be lost inside you forever, so please do not panic!
The cervix is the lowest part of the uterus and it protrudes into the vagina. Because the cervix protrudes into the vagina, you can actually reach up with your finger and feel it! Unless you have a really high cervix but I’ll talk more about this when we get to discussing finding and measuring your cervix.
When looking at your cervix front on, it kind of resembles a donut – cute!
What’s amazing about the cervix is how it moves and changes throughout the cycle. For the most part, the cervix is closed. During ovulation however, when you are fertile, it opens to allow sperm to pass through and it opens again during menstruation to allow the menstrual fluid to flow out from the uterus and through the vagina.
The cervix changes position during the cycle, it can move up higher as well as move down lower. Your cervix may naturally sit up higher and be hard to reach or it may naturally sit down lower and be close to the vaginal opening. Your cervix may sit in the centre of your vaginal canal or it could be pointed more toward the front or the back if your uterus is tilted. Each of us have our own unique anatomy!
The reason this all matters when it comes to menstrual cups is because your menstrual cup is going to sit inside your vagina and below your cervix.
When choosing a menstrual cup it’s important to understand what your unique anatomy is like so that you can choose a cup that fits you best.
The cup you choose needs to fit in your vaginal canal below your cervix.
If you choose a cup that’s too long, there may not be enough space between your vaginal opening and the cervix, which could cause the cup to poke out from your vagina.
If you choose a cup that’s too short for you, it may be difficult for you to reach. This is what can cause panic and the fear that it’s lost inside you!
Understanding your internal reproductive anatomy and discovering your cervix is a wonderful thing! If you would like to learn more, I have written a more in-depth article about all parts of our internal reproductive anatomy on my website, which you can read here.
If you want to discover more about the wonders of the cervix, I highly recommend checking out this article from Women’s Health 7 Photos of Your Cervix You Need to See and also Beautiful Cervix Project.
How to Choose a Menstrual Cup
Choosing a menstrual cup is a big decision! There are SO many different brands on the market, which makes it confusing. Plus, it’s an investment, so you want to do everything possible to choose the right cup from the outset.
Menstrual Cup Sizing
There are likely hundreds of menstrual cup brands on the market now, but you’ll find a lot of brands will 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 and the larger size 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.
Some brands also only do one size. Like the Dot Cup which has been a favourite cup of mine. They say their cup has been designed to fit *most* people.
Everyone’s anatomy is unique though, so I think the best way to choose a cup is to take into account a number of key factors and consider these factors in conjunction with your personal circumstances, rather than focusing too much on the generic size suggestions.
The key factors that matter most for a good fit are – length, firmness and capacity.
Determining the menstrual cup length you require is one of the most important aspects in choosing a menstrual cup that has the best chance of being a good fit for you.
As previously discussed, your cervix height will determine how much space there is for your cup to sit in your vaginal canal. Your menstrual cup will be inserted into your vaginal canal and it will sit below your cervix to catch the menstrual fluid.
A low cervix will mean less space which means 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 as the base of the cup sits outside of the vagina. The depicted menstrual cup is too short for the high cervix as the cup may be too far to reach up and remove. The menstrual cup illustrated is just right for the medium cervix.
When considering the length, keep in mind that it would be okay if just the stem were to protrude outside of the vagina, as the stem can be cut/trimmed to size.
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, you can 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 and 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, then 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!
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
A key factor influencing how firm a menstrual cup feels is 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. 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 and 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, as 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, as 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’re changing them before they’re soaked through then you’re not using the full capacity.
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.
There are some menstrual cup brands doing amazing work to empower women in developing countries by donating menstrual cups and providing education.
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 as it is 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 should 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 email@example.com and I will let you know if there are any sales or discounts happening at the moment. I also share sales/discounts frequently 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! You’ve made it to the end of the guide. Hopefully now, 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram @thebetterperiod_
Keep in Touch
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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.