(Last updated: 19 June 2021)
With so many brands of menstrual cups out in the market today, you may be lost in the sea of choices and wonder which one you should purchase as your first menstrual cup. Before you rush out to get the most popular brand or whatever's most easily available, here are some factors you should take into consideration, to make sure your first cup is suitable for your body!
1. Check your cervix
Your cervix height is probably one of the most important factors you should consider when choosing a menstrual cup. Check your cervix near or during your period, where it will be the lowest in the body.
Stand up and take the position often recommended when inserting a tampon, propping one of your legs up on a chair or the bathroom counter. Stick your finger into your vagina and see how far up you have to reach before you can feel your cervix. Some of the descriptions we've heard to describe the cervix include a "round marble with a dent in the centre", "the tip of your nose", and even "a slimy donut"! If you have a dangly cervix, it may even feel like a tiny penis. It should feel quite different from the rest of your vaginal canal.
High - If your finger is in all the way and you can't feel your cervix, you have a high cervix.
Medium - If your finger's inserted up to the second knuckle and you can feel your cervix.
Low - If you can just touch it within your first knuckle.
If you have a higher cervix, a longer cup is more suitable for you. If you use a short menstrual cup, it can ride up during the course of the day, and you may find it difficult to remove since it is deeper in your vaginal canal. The Lily Cup is one of the longer cups available, and is great if you have a high cervix!
If you have a lower cervix, a shorter cup is great for you! If you use a cup that's too long, the base of the cup may stick out of your vagina, which is really uncomfortable. Some of our shorter cups include the Lunette, Saalt and LENA cup. (Do note that the larger sizes will be slightly longer than the smaller sizes.)
The Lunette is a great beginner cup and suits a low to medium cervix.
2. Determine your flow
If you're currently using disposables, how often do you have to change your pad or tampon? Usually, tampon boxes have an absorbency rating with an estimate of different sizes' capacities. You can compare the capacity of the usual tampons you use, with the capacity of the menstrual cup. For example, if you use one super tampon with 12ml capacity for 3 hours, you can use a menstrual cup with 25ml capacity for an estimated 6 hours!
Example of a tampon absorbency chart.
It's more difficult to estimate your flow with pads, since they don't usually come with absorbency ratings. Go with your instinct and make an educated guess based on how often you have to change your pad.
3. Firmness of the cup
If you have bladder issues, such as a sensitive bladder, you don't want a really firm cup. A firm cup can put pressure on your bladder and give you the feeling of constantly needing to pee. Cups with extremely prominent rims are also not advised, since the rim tends to press against the bladder quite firmly. A softer cup is recommended since it will not press against the bladder uncomfortably. The Saalt Soft is a great soft cup designed for bladder sensitivities.
If you lead an active lifestyle and have strong pelvic floor and vaginal muscles, a firmer cup is more suitable. A cup that is too soft may get crushed by your muscles, which breaks the seal and cause leaks. A firmer cup that can hold its shape while inside your body is the best bet. The Lunette Model 2 is the firmest cup we have.
The larger Lunette (Model 2) is a firm cup that's good for active lifestyles!
4. Go for a good brand
There are lots of knock-off brands of menstrual cups on Amazon and other sites. We don't recommend going on Amazon to buy menstrual cups unless you know which brands are legitimate. Knock-off cups made of inferior materials also tend to break apart after a few months. Menstrual cups are considered medical devices since they are inserted into your body, and we're sure you don't want to insert some dubious materials into your vagina!
Furthermore, knock-off cups usually impinge on other companies' patents, using their designs without making any changes. We feel that it's not fair to the companies that use safe silicone and have gone through FDA regulations.
We hope this guide helps you to choose the right menstrual cup! Often, there is some trial and error involved. However, we definitely hope you can get your Goldilocks cup (one that's just right) on your first try! :)
We've compiled all the above information into a handy little quiz that can help you choose the most suitable menstrual cup: