Choosing a Menstrual Cup Earthwise Girls

Choosing a Menstrual Cup

Choosing a menstrual cup can seem a little overwhelming, but the reality is that the female anatomy is pretty stretchy and accommodating, so most women can get along with a wide variety of cups.  However, it's worth taking a few moments to consider the points below, and make sure the cup you're thinking of getting is going to tick the right boxes for you.  

Compare all the menstrual cups we stock with our brilliant menstrual cup comparison chart!

Browse our range of menstrual cups here.

The 3 main things you'll need to think about are your cervix height, the firmness of the cup, and your menstrual flow.  We've also put some notes at the end about using a menstrual cup after having a baby. 

Cervix Height

If you insert your index finger into your vagina, you should be able to feel your cervix, - itís often described as feeling a bit like the end of your nose, although around ovulation it may feel softer. It may be possible to feel a small dent in the centre, which is where it dilates.

Do I have a high or low cervix and why does it matter?

Insert your index finger into your vagina until you can feel your cervix. If you can get your whole finger in, your cervix is high. If you can get your finger in up to the second knuckle of your finger before you feel your cervix, it's medium height. If you can only get to the first knuckle before you reach your cervix, itís low. Remember that your cervix height can change through your cycle, so check it close to your period to be sure how it will affect your cup use.

If your cervix is low, you will benefit from a shorter menstrual cup, and you may find you need to remove part or all of the stem to make sure none is protruding from your vagina.  Some women find it helps to flip their cup inside out.

If your cervix is high, you will benefit from a longer menstrual cup, and you probably wonít need to remove the stem.

If your cervix is medium height, you will have the greatest choice of cups, you may still find you need to trim the stem a bit for comfort.

Firmness

Menstrual cups vary quite a bit in terms of firmness, both for the cup in general and the rim of the cup in particular.

Choose a firmer cup if you do lots of exercise and have good pelvic tone Ė the cup will pop open easier and stay open easier, and should also form a good seal. However, some women find a firmer cup less comfortable, and a thick rim may press on the bladder and make it harder to relieve yourself.

Choose a softer cup if you have bladder issues, or have previously tried a firmer cup and found it uncomfortable. Softer cups can be easier to insert, but may not pop open as easily or remain open if you have strong internal muscles. For this reason they tend to be more favoured by those who have sensitivity issues, and are not considered a good choice for sporty women and girls.

Flow

If you have a heavy menstrual flow, it stands to reason that youíre going to need a cup with higher capacity than if you have a light or average flow. So although many cup brands will suggest a smaller cup if youíre under 30 or havenít had children, if you have heavy periods you should probably consider going with the larger size of cup.

If you have never used a tampon or menstrual cup before, and are a virgin, then Iíd start with the smaller size cup in any case, because it can take time to get used to using one. Girls who have not been sexually active or used tampons will find it easier to use a smaller cup, in the same way that when you first try a tampon, itís often advised to start with the mini size.

What if Iíve had a baby?

Many brands will recommend that you go for their larger size cup if youíve given birth to a baby vaginally. The reason for this is that the walls of the vagina will have stretched considerably, and women often report that their pre-childbirth menstrual cup is no longer offering a good fit.

If youíre buying your first menstrual cup, youíve had a child vaginally, and you arenít particularly sporty, then the larger size cup is probably going to be fine for you. On the other hand if youíre a very active person and have strong pelvic floor muscles and light to average periods, you may find a smaller size cup is just fine.

If youíve used a smaller size menstrual cup before having a baby, we would suggest you try using the same cup and see if you have issues with it. If you donít Ė great! If you find itís leaking, or just not comfortable, it may be time to invest in a new one.

I don't get on with tampons, can I use a cup?

Yes, many women find cups a more comfortable experience than tampons.  However it is important to remember that if you've had problems with inserting tampons in the past, you may well find a smaller size cup is a better choice for you, even if you've had a baby, or are over 30.  Likewise if you have an excellent pelvic floor (lucky you!) you may find a smaller cup more comfortable.  The guidelines are just guidelines, and we're happy to give more personal advice if you need it.

Important - you should NEVER use a menstrual cup (or any other internal protection method) in the post partum bleed. 

Compare all the menstrual cups we stock with our brilliant menstrual cup comparison chart!

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