7.29.2015

How to Choose the Right Menstrual Cup for You | Not One Size Fits All!

Hello blog readers! Today I am back with a new post about menstrual cups. I am part of several Facebook groups about reusables (you'll find them linked in #RUMPS Resources in the toolbar above), and the most common question I see is something along the lines of.. "How do I pick a cup! There are so many brands! I'm so lost! Help!"

When I started getting into cups and blogging about cups three years ago, there were probably half as many brands as there are now. And it seems like a new cup brand pops up every week. However even with the plethora of brands, don't panic, it's easy to pick a cup that will work decently for you, although it may take purchasing a cup or two before you find that goldilocks cup! (If you so choose you can sell your gently used cup online if it doesn't work; don't worry.)


Back when I was into collecting cups! I had a lot of them, but only one was my goldilocks (Lunette which actually isn't pictured here.)


So, let's start from square one. There are a few factors to consider when getting your first cup: cup length, cup width, firmness or softness, color, material, country of origin, and price. Thankfully cups seem to have expanded to many areas of the world, but in all likelihood (unless you want a DivaCup or a Mooncup if you live in the US or UK) you will have to order your cup online. You can find out where menstrual cups are sold on the ground close to you, by visiting menstrualcupmap.com. It's an amazing resource!


How to Choose Your Menstrual Cup:


Measure your cervix to determine the length of cup you should buy. Your cervix is the part of your vagina where your menstrual fluid leaves. It's important to measure how far up your cervix is in your vagina before you buy a cup, because some cups are longer and some are shorter, so they work worse or better with people who have lower or higher cervixes. If you have a low cervix you will want a shorter, stouter cup so that it does not ride down or out of you while you're wearing it. So before deciding which cup to buy, find out how high or low your cervix is using the following process.


  1. Wait until you are on your period, because your cervix will be in different positions at different times of your monthly cycle. Also, you may want to measure on a couple of different days of your period, because it may not be exactly the same each day.
  2. Gently and slowly insert a clean finger back, not up, into your vagina, past your pelvic bone, some muscles, and a kind of 'empty' space.
  3. Wander around to find the bit that feels a bit like the tip of a nose. Your cervix is a round nub, with an indentation in the middle.
  4. Note how far your finger went before touching your cervix, and measure your finger with a ruler to find out how many cm or mm back this was. If it's so far back you can't find it at all, just estimate a bit longer than your finger.

  • Now what to do with this information! Some brands make cups as small as 4 centimeter (1.6 in) long or as large as almost 6 centimeter (2.4 in) long. Your cup will sit below your cervix when in use. If it is low, you will probably find a shorter cup such as Ladycup, Lunette, Fleurcup, Femmycycle, or Yuuki more comfortable. If you have a low cervix, the cup without the stem should not be too much longer than the distance from your cervix to your vaginal opening (but you have a bit of slack there, because your cervix can be partially in the cup). If it is very high, a longer cup such as Divacup, Naturcup, or Shecup would be better so that it will be easy to reach when you want to remove it, but in this case you can comfortably use most cup lengths.
A labelled diagram of our anatomy. Notice the cervix is the nubby type thing at the back of the vagina.
[Diagram from wikiHow, orginally created by LiveJournal user morien_san]
Take into consideration how heavy your flow is and cup capacity. Some cups only hold about 11mL and others up to 29mL. Observe on a general day of your period how many tampons you use and how often you change them. Then, using the tampon capacities listed below, calculate your flow volume for twelve hours. This would be the target capacity you want in your cup. In general it's best to overestimate than underestimate so you are not changing your cup too often. Pads have capacities ranging from about 100-500 ml, but the pad would be fully saturated and leaking by this point. If you use pads, there is not a precise way to calculate the capacity you need, so just consider a light flow capacity cup (10-16ml), medium (17-22ml), or large (23-29ml). Tampon capacities:
  • Light/Regular: 6-9ml
  • Super: 9-12ml
  • Super plus: 12-15ml
  • Ultra: 15-18ml

Take aesthetics into account. Cups come different colors. They have frosted or slick finishes, grips rings or no grip rings. Stems can be hollow, flat, or cylindrical; some even have grip rings or ball stems instead. All of these things depend on the brand, and this is another characteristic to consider when purchasing your cup.




Consider your bladder sensitivity, fitness level, and other factors before choosing a soft or firm cup. If you have never used internal menstrual products this may be a little hard to gage, but it's important to consider.
  • If you have a sensitive bladder you may find that a cup that is too firm will press uncomfortably on your bladder, which could cause you to feel like you have to pee! This is not good, so consider a softer cup if this may be the case. 
  • As well if you are very active, or have done a lot of dance or similar activities, you may have very strong pelvic muscles which could crush a soft cup; in that case go for a firmer cup. This may also be the case for people who have jobs or acvtivities which inolve squatting, pushing, pulling, or heavy lifting. Lastly, if you are overweight or obese, you may have more weight pressing on your pelvic area and might want to consider a firmer cup for this reason.
  • It's also good to remember that in general soft cups may take some finagling to make them pop open fully in the vagina, while firmer cups tend to pop open more easily on their own. Slightly firmer cups are usually easier to use for this reason.

Decide on the brand of menstrual cup you would like to buy. Once you have figured out the length and capacity you would like to have in your cup, check the size charts below. Cups are not one size fits all, because although you maybe able to make any cup work, a little premeditation as discussed above before buying will ensure your cup is comfortable and has the correct capacity for you.

Note: Virgins and teenagers can use cups! If you are a virgin, you can definitely use a cup. You may feel most comfortable choosing a smaller cup for your first cup. I personally think the Lunette is a good starter cup, unless you have a very low cervix. Keep in mind though that if you have a heavy flow, you can still use any size cup as a virgin, and may want to consider a larger cup. 

Cups can be used by menstruating people of any age, including those who have had children. But in general do not pay too much attention to the size guidelines given by companies. Many will say their bigger size is for those who have had children; it does help in some cases but ifyou have a light flow there is no need to get the bigger size of the cup.


There are several resources and size charts which are helpful when deciding on a cup. Some brands that work well for high cervices include Lunette, DivaCup, SheCup, and others. Some brands that work well for low cervices include Fleurcup, Lunette, LuvUrBody, Meluna Shorty, FemmyCycle and others. Cups with the highest capacity close to 40ml include Meluna XL, LuvUrBody Large, and Yukki large, although many of the size twos (but not all) have around 30ml of capacity. You can find the websites and prices for the cups below by typing them into the Google search bar above.



Here is the most up to date sizing chart I have found which will tell you specific dimensions all in one place: Menstrualcups.wordpress.com Size Charts

This is a great comparison of prices: Menstrualcup.co/ Size Charts


And this is Effblog's awesome pictorial comparison of almost all the brands: Theecofriendlyfamily Blog Photos and Size Charts

This site has many cup brands ranked from soft to firm (keep in mind this is a subjective thing to rate). Effblog's chart also rates them: Menstrualcupinfo.wordpress.com/ Cup Stiffness Ratings


If you want to see specific comparisons of two cups the best thing to do is type their names and "comparison" into the YouTube search bar. :)


List of Cup Brands:

Note that this is not a comprehensive list of all cup brands. There are several that need to be added to the list like RubyCup, LenaCup, OrganiCup, Super Jennie, LilyCup, EvaCup, and others.

CupLee
  • Russian brand; only available locally at present
  • Cylindrical, hollow stem with grip rings that extend to cup base
  • Transparent finish and shiny texture
  • Available in green, blue, pink, yellow, and clear colors
  • Four suction release holes below rim
  • Includes satiny pouch and wooden case
Sizing:
  • Small (not currently available): 44x53mm, 17mm stem, 25-30ml capacity
  • Large: 40x47mm, 21mm stem, 20-25ml capacity

DivaCup

Canadian Brand; available in US, Canada, and many European countries
Measuring lines in ounces and milliliters; brand name inside
Grip rings and hollow, cylindrical stem
Four suction holes, placed up near the rim
Translucent, frosty appearance
Sizing:
Model 1: 43x57mm, 10mm stem, and 20-23ml capacity; recommended for those under thirty who have never given birth.
Model 2: 46x57mm and 10mm stem, and 26-27ml capacity; recommended for those over thirty and/or those who have given birth vaginally or through cesarean section.


Femmecup
  • UK Brand
  • Clear finish and squishy silicone
  • 4 slanted suction release holes under lower rim
  • Firm rim and squishier base
  • Spiraling grip ring on base and stem
  • Solid, cylindrical stem
  • Measuring lines inside the cup at 5 and 10ml
  • No writing on inside rim
  • Only one standard size; 45x50mm, 25mm stem, and 15ml capacity
Fleurcup
  • Small, clear fleurcup (left) and large Fleurcup (right)
  • Available colors
  • French Brand
  • Four slanted suction release holes; placed up near the rim; two on each side
  • Almost opaque finish and "peach skin" texture
  • Grip rings on stem, which is flat instead of round.
  • Softer than some other brands; often recommended for first-time users.
  • Available in clear, red, pink, violet, green, grey, orange, blue, and black
Sizing:
  • Small: 41x47mm, 23mm stem, and 15ml capacity; recommended for younger those or those with a light flow.
  • Large: 46x52mm, 18mm stem, and 29ml capacity; recommended for those who have given birth or for those with a heavy flow.

JuJu Cup

  • Australian Brand
  • Clear, shiny silicone cup
  • Green, purple, and black satin finish pouches
  • Four suction release holes, slanted second rim
  • Easily cleanable logo on cup's inside
  • Pyramidal shaped stem and butterfly shaped base grips
Sizing:
  • Model 1: 40x46mm, 20ml capacity
  • Model 2: 46x50mm, 30ml capacity

Instead Softcup
  • A disposable cup; positioned differently than the other reusable cups mentioned
  • Available at most drugstores
  • Composed of a plastic sac and heat-sensitive ring
  • Recommended for use during sexual intercourse
  • See Use an Instead Softcup for more information
Iriscup
  • S (left) and L (right) Iriscups
  • Spanish Brand; only available in Spain
  • Available in clear or pink
  • Hollow, cylindrical stem with grip rings
  • Slanted suction release holes at alternating heights
  • Sizing:
  • S: 40x45mm, 20mm stem, and 15ml capacity; recommended for those under 25 who may have given birth by cesarean section.
  • L: 45x50mm, 15mm stem, and 20ml capacity; recommended for those over 25 and/or those that have given birth vaginally.
Keeper & US Moon Cup
Rubber Keeper
Silicone MoonCup

  • US brand
  • The Keeper is opaque and composed of natural gum rubber (aka latex). The Moon Cup, which is the same size, is composed of translucent silicone.
  • Hollow, cylindrical stem
  • Smooth finish, no grip rings
  • Double spill proof rings on the inside
  • Six suction release holes under the second rim
Sizing:
  • Style A: 44x54mm, 25mm stem, and 15ml capacity; recommended for those who have given birth vaginally (After).
  • Style B: 41x54mm, 25mm stem, and 10ml capacity; recommended for those who have not given birth vaginally or have given birth through cesarean section (Before); slightly firmer and smaller.

LadyCup & Color Cups


  • Czech Brand
  • Clear glossy finish and very smooth texture
  • 6 slanted suction release holes at alternating heights
  • Bumps along base for gripping; hollow, cylindrical stem
  • The clear cup is referred to as a LadyCup, while the other colored cups are referred to as LilacCup, PinkCup, BlueCup, OrangeCup, GreenCup, and YellowCup. There is also the limited edition LOTOS Cup in a pink/orange color.
Sizing:
  • Small: 40x46mm, 19mm stem, and 11ml capacity; recommended for those under 25 who have not given birth.
  • Large: 46x53mm, 13mm stem, and 20ml capacity; recommended for those over 25 and/or those that have given birth.
Lunette

  • Finnish Brand
  • Four suction holes, placed up near the rim
  • Grip rings on base and flat, tab-shaped stem
  • Brand name on outside of cup
  • Translucent finish; available in clear (Lunette), blue (Lunette Selene), light green (Lunette Diana), purple (Lunette Cynthia), coral red (Lunette Áine), and yellow (Lunette Lucia).
Sizing:
  • Model 1: 41x47mm, 25mm stem, and 20ml capacity; recommended for those with a light to moderate flow, virgins, or younger those; made of a softer silicone.
  • Model 2: 46x52mm, 20mm stem, and 25ml capacity; recommended for those with a normal to heavy flow; made of a stiffer silicone.
MeLuna
small and large regular Melunas
  • German brand
  • Made of TPE (thermoplastic elastomer); a rubber that is as safe to use as silicone
  • Suction release holes near the rim
  • Grip rings at base; foggy, textured finish
  • Different stem styles:
  • Basic: no stem; best for experienced cup users
  • Ball: ball-shaped stem
  • Traditional: long stem composed of gripping balls
  • Ring: a tab-shaped stem
  • Limited edition glitter cups are available
  • Available in red, clear, violet, orange, green, blue, and black colors
  • "Softcups" are also available in cyan and pink. They are made of 25% softer TPE.
Sizing (stem length varies for all) for regular Melunas:
  • Small: 40x40mm and 10ml capacity
  • Medium: 45x45mm and 15ml capacity
  • Large: 45x54mm and 24ml capacity
  • Extra large: 47x56mm and 30ml capacity
Sizing for Shorty melunas ideal for low cervices:

Miacup

  • South African Brand
  • Mauve/deep pink color and glossy, opaque finish
  • 2 suction release holes under top rim
  • Small logo on inside rim of cup (no writing)
  • Grip rings on base and stem; flat, tab-shaped stem
Sizing:
  • Model 1: 43x53mm, 17mm stem, and 21-23ml capacity; recommended for those under 30 who have not given birth vaginally.
  • Model 2: 46x53mm, 17mm stem, and 26-27ml capacity; recommended for those over 30 or those who have given birth vaginally.

MissCup
  • Brazilian brand (ships worldwide)
  • Long, narrow bodied cup
  • Slick finish and opaque silicone material
  • Size B: recommended for those before 30 that haven't had children; 40x56mm, 16mm stem, and 30ml capacity
  • Size A: recommended for those after 30 that haven't had children; 43x56mm, 16mm stem, and 30ml capacity


Mooncup (UK) 
  • UK brand
  • Because of a naming dispute with the Keeper company they are now sold in the US under the name MCUK.
  • The original Mooncup had a distinctive yellow tint, but the latest version has a whiter colour
  • Grip rings on base and stem (Newer version has grips the full length of the stem); hollow, cylindrical stem
  • Measuring lines
  • Six suction release holes under the lower rim
Sizing:
  • Size A: 46x50mm, 20mm stem, and 12-13ml capacity; recommended for those who have given birth vaginally or are over 30.
  • Size B: 43x50mm, 20mm stem, and 14ml capacity; recommended for those who have given birth by cesarean section or are under 30.
Mpower cup
  • South African Brand; only available in South Africa because of legal dispute with Lunette company
  • Nearly clear, soft finish
  • Flat, tab-shaped stem
  • Grip rings on base and stem
  • Two suction release holes under rim
  • Only one standard size; 47x54mm, 15mm stem, and 27ml capacity

NaturalMamma
  • Italian brand
  • White, opaque finish
  • Cone shaped and soft silicone material
  • Suction release holes
  • Grips on base and stem
  • only one standard size; 44x56mm, 15mm stem, 27ml capacity

Naturcup
  • Spanish Brand; only available in Spain
  • Four sizeable suction release holes
  • Three subtle grip rings on base and ball-shaped stem
  • Three measuring lines and cup size printed on the inside of cup
  • Firmer ring and softer base
  • Sizes:
  • Size 0: diameter of 40mm and length of 56mm; recommended for those under 18 who are not sexually active.
  • Size I: diameter of 43mm and length of 65mm; for those ages 18 to 30 who have not given birth vaginally.
  • Size II: diameter of 47mm and length of 65mm; for those who have given birth vaginally and/or are older than 30.

Shecup
  • Indian Brand
  • Light pink
  • Nub shaped stem
  • Suction release holes under lower rim
  • Writing on inside rim of cup and measuring lines
  • Vertical grip lines at base of cup and one horizontal grip line on base
  • Only one standard size; 44x54mm, 5.5mm stem, and 16ml capacity
SI-Bell cup
  • French brand
  • Translucent, white finish
  • Bell shape and soft silicone material
  • Grip rings on stem and ball at base
  • Four suction release holes under rim
Sizes:
  • S (small): 41x47mm, 27mm stem
  • L (large): 46x52mm, 22mm stem

Yuuki
  • Czech Brand
  • Clear and glossy finish
  • Grip rings on base and stem; hollow, cylindrical stem
  • Brand name on inside of cup
  • Four slanted suction release holes
  • Measuring lines and spill proof line inside the cup
Sizing:
  • Cup 1: smaller; 42x49mm, 20mm stem, and 19ml capacity
  • Cup 2: larger; 47x55mm, 20mm stem, and 29ml capacity

Some of this text is copied from an open source wikiHow article which I wrote, although it has been edited by other editors. I will link to it here to avoid plagiarizing myself. As well all of the images from company websites have been approved to be used with an open source license for wikiHow, which extends to my blog. As well many of these iamges are from members of the LiveJournal Menstrual Cups community. Thank you to all for providing photos!



Please leave any questions below in the comments, or any ways this guide could be improved. Thank you for reading!

Sarah

5 comments:

  1. It feels good to read all such informative posts on diva cups. Reading all such made my views positive regarding menstrual cup. Recently doctor suggested me to use a coupe menstruelle française menstrual cup. But with various confusion I didn't use it, but this post helped me a lot.

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  3. Hi, You explained the topic very well. The contents has provided meaningful information thanks for sharing info
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  4. Very Great Post! Would you like to guest post on my blog?

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  5. Love your post! Can I use your image (referenced, of course) in my blog? I haven´t had the time to do my images of my own... Kind regards, from Chile!

    ReplyDelete