Think back to when you had to purchase your first pack of menstrual products. The shelves at the store were probably lined with rows and rows of choices. Pads or tampons? Did you get a product for a light or heavy period? Wings or no wings, scented or unscented, with or without an applicator or menstrual belt, liner, or overnight? The list goes on… With so many choices, I bet you were overwhelmed! However, in the end, you found features that ticked all the boxes of what was right for you.
Shopping for Your First Menstrual Cup
When you’re shopping for your first menstrual cup, you might have the same overwhelming feeling. With over 200 different brands offering their own unique shapes, sizes, colors, firmness, and other features, it can seem like searching for a needle in a haystack. But, once you have an idea of what you want or need for your period, the list will narrow down.
Just like using a new brand of pad or tampon, you may need to try a couple, or even a few different brands of menstrual cups before you find the right one. That doesn’t mean you need to purchase five cups at once, but just be prepared that your first time using one may not be smooth sailing. I’m not saying that you won’t find your perfect cup on the first try, but it’s not uncommon to run into some issues while learning.
Experienced users will be more in tune with their bodies and may already know what shape or size will work for them. When they go on the hunt for a new cup, they know what to look for. Don’t worry, you’ll get there too. Remember, all experienced users were once in your shoes!
Choosing the Right Cup – Small, Large, or Starter Kit
There are certain factors that determine whether you should use a small or large menstrual cup or starter kit. Here are some general things that can help narrow down what cup might be right for you:
High or Low Cervix – Length
Locating and measuring your cervix will help you understand what shape or size cup might be more comfortable or easy to reach.
If you have a low cervix, you will find most small-sized cups to be more comfortable over the larger sizes. A bell-shaped cup with a rounded base may also feel more comfortable than a “V”-shaped cup because there is no tapered point.
If you have a high cervix, a longer cup or “V”-shaped cup, will have more length and therefore be easier to reach during removal.
Size – Flow
If you have a light flow, a small-sized cup may be sufficient to last you all day, as long as it’s easy to reach during removal.
If you have a heavy flow, you may prefer a higher capacity and larger cup, as long as it’s comfortable for you to wear.
Regardless of your flow, as long as the cup is comfortable and easy to reach, you can wear it safely. It is even safe to insert the cup when you’re expecting your period but haven’t started bleeding yet. A menstrual cup is unlike tampons which have different absorbencies to match your flow amount to lower the risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome).
The thing to remember, is that even if you need the lowest or highest capacity out there, it may not be the best or most comfortable choice for your anatomy. You have to try a few cups to see which fits best. That’s why purchasing a Starter Kit with both a small and large-sized cup is always the best option.
Sensitivity – Diameter
If you have experienced bladder or bowel sensitivity with any type of insertion (tampon, finger, pleasure tool, penis, etc.), you may want to search for a cup with a narrower diameter. This will help eliminate any extra pressure the cup can apply to these sensitive areas. Most, but not all, smaller-sized cups will have a narrower diameter over larger sizes.
Starter Kits are a great place to begin if you have no idea what might be right for you. Many brands that offer starter kits include two cups of two different sizes. This allows you to try both sizes to see what feels comfortable, what is easy to reach, and which one has the capacity that you might need.
You may notice that purchasing a starter kit is usually cheaper than buying two cups separately. For example, the Venus Cup Starter Kit is just under $30, while a single cup is just under $20, and, as a bonus, you may be able to use both sizes without any issues.
We all have to start somewhere in the pursuit of happiness and health. A menstrual cup is an easy solution to better menstrual care and once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder why you have been relying on sanitary pads and tampons for so long!