From finding the right fit to health benefits, we give you all the information you need to know about menstrual cups. With menstrual cups becoming more popular, you may be considering switching to experience the health benefits and convenience for yourself.
As one cup can last you five to ten years, and with it being more expensive than trying a new brand of pad or tampon, you would like to buy the perfect one the first time.
But with six brands (five are proudly South African), and two sizes per most brands you might feel overwhelmed. The following tips are here to help you find the menstrual cup that fit you best.
The right fit for your anatomy
The number one consideration when choosing a menstrual cup is matching the position of your cervix to the cup length (without stem). The cup typically sits lower than a tampon, but should not stick out in any way.
It is time to find your cervix! Locate your cervix a couple of times during menstruation, when it sits lower, with a clean finger. You can do this in the shower, and measure your finger in preparation for a better approximation, if you want.
If your cervix is too high to reach any cup length should suit you fine and you might want to keep the stem for easier removal. If it is very easy to reach, your vaginal canal is short and a shorter cup with only a bit of the stem (to find the bottom) may be more suited. It is best to try the cup of your choice before cutting the stem.
The right capacity for your flow
You can wear a menstrual cup for up to 12 hours and most cups have at least double the capacity (to the holes) of a regular pad or tampon. You don’t want to miss out on the convenience of emptying it only two or three times a day, and going leak-free through the night, by choosing one with too little capacity.
If you often use super tampons or pads you have a relatively heavy flow and might want a cup with a capacity of 25ml and upwards. If you use products of regular absorbency for four hours or more, some of the lower capacity cups might suit your needs.
The right size and firmness for your pelvic strength
Most brands come in two sizes with different diameters; the brand usually recommends its larger size for women over 30 or who have given birth as your muscle tone may weaken. Pelvic muscle toning exercises (kegels), yoga, pilates, and other sports can improve muscle tone.
A large diameter could pose difficulty upon removal for first-time users, particularly if it is also very firm. If you have a very strong pelvic floor try a firmer cup like the MPower and MoonCups to prevent your muscles from folding a too soft cup in on itself causing it to leak – it is also more likely to stay in place during sports.
A less frim cup like PrincessD or MiaCup may suit you better if you have a sensitive bladder or experience severe cramping during your menses. MyOwnCup is made from TPE and is the softest, while PinkCup is of average firmness. The larger of a brand’s two
If you are lucky and almost any cup would do, you can narrow your choices by looking at characteristics not related to fit, like colour. All the local brands come with flat stems and the MoonCup has a round hollow stem that might be uncomfortable for some or difficult to clean.
Cups with more imprints like measuring lines or brand names and small or slanting air holes can be more difficult to clean.
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