How to Choose a Menstrual Cup
Now that you know the Benefits of a Menstrual Cup, and you want to start using one, the next thing to consider is which menstrual cup to choose and use! This can be quite daunting as there are so many currently on the market with so many different factors, as the best menstrual cup for beginners, might be different to the best menstrual cup for heavy flow!
Do I need a narrow menstrual cup or maybe the softest menstrual cup is best? What about a flat menstrual cup or do I just go for a generic menstrual cup? There are many menstrual cup comparison charts, and in this article, we’re going to look at some of the things you may need to consider when choosing a menstrual cup that fits you, and will work well for you and your vagina!
The height of your cervix may impact on which menstrual cup you end up choosing. This is because menstrual cups can range in length and shape, and knowing whether you have a high, low, or medium cervix can help you narrow down which cup is best for you. Your cervix may change height during your menstrual cycle, so the best time to check your cervix is during your period (the time when you plan on using a cup, of course!).
How Old Are You, & Have You Given Birth Vaginally?
You will notice that some different branded menstrual cups will come in several sizes. The general and most common sizing that they come in will be a Small size, and a Large size. Most brands will recommend that if you are under the age of 30 then you will have a firmer vagina, and recommend the Small size. If you are over 30, they would recommend the Larger size.
Some brands will also ask you to consider whether you have given birth vaginally or not. This is because with childbirth your vaginal walls will have stretched quite a bit, and you may find you need a larger sized cup.
Of course, this is just a general consideration, as you may be over 30 years of age, given birth, physically fit and active, with strong pelvic floor muscles, and light to medium periods. In this case, you might find the Small cup perfect for your needs!
Most beginners will usually go with a smaller size to ‘try out’ the menstrual cup, and get to know how to use it, before progressing to a larger size if they need it. Use these tips for how to choose a menstrual cup size.
Soft or Firm? Physical Activities?
Despite your age, or whether you’ve given birth, you may also need to consider whether your vaginal is sensitive, and what lifestyle you lead. There are various firmness of cups, with the cup itself, and also with the rim of the menstrual cup.
A Firmer cup may be useful if you do lots of exercise, and do physical activities, such as swimming, running, climbing etc. where you are moving your body around a lot. A firmer cup helps as it will generally create a better seal against your vaginal walls.
A softer cup will be more comfortable, but may not pop open and remain open, so would be better for those who find firm cups uncomfortable, or have bladder sensitive issues. So, ensuring the softest menstrual cup is not the only thing to consider.
How Light or Heavy is Your Flow?
Your period flow may impact your cup’s size, as if you have a heavier flow, you may want to consider a larger capacity cup, so you don’t need to empty it as often. Some women have reported that they need to empty their cups every 2 hours or so due to a heavier flow. If this is the case, you may need to consider a larger capacity cup.
Remember though, that most menstrual cups hold about 30ml of fluid, about 6 times a normal tampon, so even if you have a heavy flow, you might find an average cup is fine for you!
Material of the Menstrual Cup.
Most menstrual cups are made out of medical grade silicone, which means it has been manufactured, tried, tested, and approved for human use, generally in medical procedures. This means it’s safe for you and your body to use (especially as it’s used internally).
Most menstrual cups do not contain any phthalates, bisphenol A, or heavy metals that may be toxic for your body, but of course, it’s always best to check and do your research on the particular cup you’re interested in.
You may find however, that there are cheaper menstrual cups online, that have not been FDA (Food and Drug Administration) registered, which means they were not tested or regulated. At Menstrual Cupaholic, we do not recommend these products as we don’t know how they’ve been tested, and whether they contain chemicals that may leech into your body, causing unknown dangers in the future.
Different types of Stems
The main aim of a stem is to locate the cup when it’s inside, and to help remove the cup. It may be tempting to just pull the stem to remove the cup, but this will be quite painful as there’s a vacuum seal. Ideally, you want to use the stem to locate the cup, and then inch closer to the cup to break the seal before removing.
A thin, narrow stick that can help assist with removing your cup. These can be completely smooth for those who are a bit more sensitive, or with ridges, for ease with gripping the stem. Stems are easy to trim to size for comfort, but remember to trim little by little so you don’t shorten it too much.
Most stems will be solid, but some may be hollow. The biggest thing with a hollow stem is making sure you clean it thoroughly, so there is no blood residue.
Stick with a Ball End
Narrow stick with a ball end to stop your fingers from sliding off the stem when helping you to remove the cup.
Some women may find that the stem pokes them when inserted. In this case, you can trim the stem off completely, but this may make the cup more difficult to remove. If you know you don’t need or want a stem, you can find menstrual cups without them already.
A ring will be slightly more bulkier than a thin stem, but some people prefer a ring to help them remove the cup as it’s easier to grasp. With a ring, you break the seal of the cup first, and then grasp the ring to help manoeuvre and pull the cup down carefully. A ring can also be handy to hook on your finger, for those of us who may be a bit more clumsy when we’re pouring the cup down the toilet!
This is just a small nub on the end of your menstrual cup, that will help you locate and slightly grip on the stem. This is a great alternative if you find the narrow stick stems uncomfortable, or if your menstrual cup sits quite low.
We know no one's really gonna see the color of your menstrual cup, but isn't it awesome to personalize such a personal object?
Menstrual cups come in all the colors of the rainbow, and even range from black, grey, to white. You can pick your favorite color, or have two different colors if you use two cups to alternate in between cleaning or different flow days.
Cups also come in clear which can be handy if you want to see exactly what's going into your cup, and also to see whether it's stained or dirty.
Like with the material of the cup, the cup's dyes, or pigment coloration also needs to be FDA compliant, so you can be rest assured it's been tested to ensure they're safe for long term use in your body.
Some cups may have markings or raised areas on the outside of the cup. These can be their logos or decorations.
Some of these raised markings may also assist in gripping the cup, and helping to remove the cup. With raised markings, make sure that you properly clean the cup so that there is no blood residue.
If you are more sensitive, you may prefer a completely smooth outside or with minimal markings.
Some cups even have measuring lines which help you measure your flow for medical or just curiosity purposes!
Choosing the Best Menstrual Cup For You
There are so many different, amazing options nowadays for women who want to start using a menstrual cup. The choice can be difficult with so many things to think about; from flow, to colors, to size. But it's so exciting to have such a range of options to suit every woman. Bearing the above factors in mind can help you choose the cup that suits you and your body!