How to Choose a Menstrual Cup – For Beginners and Pros

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How to Choose a Menstrual Cup – 11 Things to Consider!

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There are so many menstrual cups on the market these days. They range in shape, size, color, and firmness. It’s hard to know what will work for you and what won’t.

Before you get too overwhelmed, here are 8 things you can check or do to help narrow down your search.

1. Cervical Height

How High Does Your Cervix Sit?

Some people don’t think it is important but others, like myself, use cervical height to help narrow down the length of a cup for someone.

Your cervix moves constantly with every movement throughout the day, as well as throughout the different phases/times during your cycle.

I feel it is best to check your cervix during your period.

According to fertility specialists, the cervix is normally low, hard and slightly open to allow the blood to flow out during your period. It may be easier for some to measure their cervical height during this time. It is also normally at the lowest point, which will give you an idea of the size or shape of cup you might want to consider.

There are two ways to check your cervix.

Method One: Knuckle Measurement

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Spread your labia and gently insert your middle finger
  3. Locate your cervix with your fingertip (it should feel like the tip of your nose)
  4. Take note which knuckle is closest to your vaginal opening

*Note: You may find that you are between knuckles: low/medium or medium/high

Please remember that everyone is different. Your hands may be smaller or larger than someone else’s. Therefore, this method is for an approximate size and may not be completely accurate for everyone.

  • Low cervix: You’ll want to use cups that are either size S (small), that were designed shorter than the average cup, or that are more bell-shaped.
  • Medium cervix: You have more choices with shapes and sizes than those with a low cervix. Size S (small), shorter cups, and bell-shaped cups may work for you, as well as some of the V-shaped average cups in both small or large sizes. With a medium cervix, the possibilities are endless. I would suggest trying something in the middle (average size/medium firm) to avoid getting overwhelmed.
  • High cervix: Again, you have more choices with shapes and sizes, but you may find that V-shaped cups are easier for you to reach during removal. If a cup is short, you may need to do a series of Kegel squeezes to bring your cup down closer to the opening of your vagina. Your vagina is like a pocket. Your cup can never “get lost”.

Method Two: Ruler Measurement

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Spread your labia and gently insert your middle finger
  3. Locate your cervix with your fingertip (it should feel like the tip of your nose)
  4. Take note of where your finger stopped at the opening of your vaginal canal
  5. Use a ruler to measure the tip of your finger to the stopping point

This method is more accurate because you have a specific numerical measurement to work with to determine which cups may suit you best.

Vaginal Fornix

Most cup companies state the total length of the cup. This includes the stem of the cup, which can be trimmed to make the cup shorter if needed. However, even using a numerical measurement won’t take the vaginal fornix into account. The vaginal fornix (or arch) is the area around a cervix. Depending on where your cervix is located, you may be able to feel a space totally around your cervix, or mostly around it.

The fornix allows the vagina to stretch, elongate and expand during childbirth, sexual arousal and penetration. During sexual arousal, the vagina can expand upwards to 200% its normal size. When an object (such as a penis, a toy, or something else) is introduced, the vaginal fornix will allow the vagina to stretch and accommodate.

For those using a menstrual cup, the rim of the cup may rest in the vaginal fornix allowing the cervix to be nestled inside the cup.

This is important to note when searching for a menstrual cup. Because the vaginal fornix may allow the cup to sit higher, you won’t have to limit yourself to an exact maximum measurement. You’ll likely still be comfortable with a menstrual cup that is 5-10 mm longer than what you had measured using the knuckle measurement method.

The rim of the cup nestles into these grooves or pockets, which may make the cup seem shorter once it is in place.

When shopping by number measurement, don’t limit yourself to ONLY cups that are less than the number you measured. Cups that are a little larger/longer by a few millimeters should be fine because of the vaginal fornix.

Final Say

Cervical height might not be the only factor to consider when choosing a menstrual cup.

Here are some other things that might help you narrow down your cup search:

Related posts:

2. Your Age & Births

You may have seen these statements on menstrual cup websites or packages:

  • “Recommended for women under the age of 30 who have never delivered vaginally or by cesarean section.”
  • “Recommended for women age 30 and over and/or for women who have delivered vaginally or by cesarean section.”

These are only guidelines if you have no idea which size will work for you but have already chosen a cup brand or cup shape.

You’re looking for a cup that will work with YOUR body and meet YOUR needs. This means that, if you have a heavy flow, you might just want that large-sized cup for the larger capacity even if you’re under the age of 30. Also, if you’re over the age of 30 but have a very light flow, you might want a shorter, small-sized cup.

Comfort is a huge key! If the cup isn’t comfortable, why would you want to wear it?! Longer cups are normally the larger size. If you have a low cervix, a longer cup might not feel comfortable for you no matter what age you are. If you have a high cervix, you might find yourself “fishing” for your small-sized cup, which could make your experience with a short cup quite scary!

As for giving vaginal birth, it’s usually mentioned because pregnancy and stress to the pelvic floor muscles (PFM) during birth may make them lose some tone. A larger cup is then suggested by these companies because they’re normally wider in diameter. However, Kegel exercises – or exercising in general – may tone your PFM and, therefore, a small cup might work for you, too.

Because we’re all different, one can never say that a specific cup is or is not going to work for another person. As you can see, there are other factors that can help narrow down which cup or cups might work best for you. The best place to start is to locate and measure your cervix (as explained in the previous section).

3. Soft or Firm Cup?
Physical Activities & Menstrual Cups

A common question is: “What cup should I use while I work out?”

Honestly, I can’t answer that. There’s no magical cup that works 100% of the time for 100% of the people, whether they’re working out or not.

I have read blog posts and comments, and spoken to several people who use menstrual cups while performing various physical activities and sports, from aerial silks, extreme yoga, weightlifting, gymnastics, to Brazilian jiu-jitsu and many others.

The majority of these people find that when they used a softer cup, it tended to leak on them. They had better experiences using a firmer cup. It’s not always going to be the case and it might not be the case for you, but the numbers fall heavier on better results with a firmer cup.

  • If you’re experiencing leakage while doing your activities, try a firmer cup than the one you have currently.
  • If you have a sensitive bladder, pick a cup that’s medium-firm instead of going straight to the firmest cups on the market, like the MeLuna Sport or Yuuki Classic.

Firm Low Cervix Cups

Pictured left to right: Lumma Easy Cups: Low Cervix & Medium Cervix; Lena Cup; Ruby Cup; AmyCup Crystal; MeLuna Shorty

  • Lumma Easy Cup: This cup comes in TEN different sizes. They have two low cervix cups in two different sizes, as well as a medium set that has four variations. The smallest of the two is just about the same size as the MeLuna Shorty in Small. However, the Lumma Easy Cup is made of silicone and has unique fingerhold placements instead of grip rings.
  • Lena Cup Original: This bell-shaped cup with a flared rim is one of the firmest cups of this design. Some people find that the Large size is still too long for their low cervix, but the Small might be a good fit.
  • Ruby Cup: Their Medium size cup is the larger of the two sizes they carry. It’s shorter than most cups on the market. Being short and bell-shaped, this cup should sit higher than V-shaped cups. I would suggest the Medium, as their Small seems softer.
  • AmyCup Crystal: This is another cup that was designed to be short like the Ruby Cup. It is also labeled as a Medium for the larger of the two sizes that they have to offer. This is the firmest of the bell-shaped cups on the market as far as I know. However, they may not be available for shipping in your area.
  • MeLuna Shorty: This variation of the MeLuna is shorter than standard sizes and was made for those with a low cervix. You can also find these cups in a Sport version, which is the firmest of the three firmness variations that they offer.

Firm High Cervix Cups

Pictured left to right: Lunette; Alicia Cup; MeLuna; Yuuki

  • Lunette: This is the shortest cup of this group in both sizes. If you have a very high cervix, make sure to leave the stem at least partially intact. This cup normally doesn’t have any problems with opening and staying open. While it doesn’t hold as much as some of the others, the Lunette seems to be a great cup for those who work out or those who need that firmness to open their cups more easily.
  • Alicia Cup: This is one of the longer cups on the market. It’s not actually being made anymore, but there are still some of these cups floating around for purchase. The Alicia Cup was originally available in four sizes, but only the size Small and Medium have been spotted.
  • MeLuna Sport: I find that the MeLuna cups feel different between their different firmness versions and also between their sizes. The XL MeLuna Sport is a good match to the Yuuki Classic. The TPE of the MeLuna seems more rigid than the Yuuki’s silicone.
  • Yuuki Classic: Also known as “The Rock”, the Yuuki Classic is the firmest cup on the market. Not only is it a little longer than the average cup, it also holds a bit more as well.

Soft Body, Thick & Rigid Rim

Pictured left to right: FemmeCup; NaturCup; SheCup; MoonCup

Some other cups that might interest you are the cups that have a soft body with a thick and rigid rim.

4. Bladder Sensitivities & Menstrual Cups

Some people don’t know if they have bladder sensitivities or issues prior to using a menstrual cup. Others experience sensitivities with the use of tampons or sex toys, or during masturbation and intercourse, etc.

If you try a menstrual cup and feel that you need to urinate more often than normal or you feel like you don’t empty your bladder completely when you do urinate, you may have a sensitive bladder. You may also experience some discomfort, pain or even cramping while using a cup.

If this is the case, you might want to look into a softer cup or try one that is shaped differently.

Using a softer cup will apply less pressure in those sensitive areas. Trying a cup with a shape that’s different to the one that you’re currently using may also shift the pressure to an area that doesn’t give you any issues.

It’s hard to know if a cup is soft or firm prior to making a purchase. Most menstrual cup companies don’t include this information when marketing a cup. The only way to get an idea is to read reviews or watch videos that fellow cup users may have posted.

One last thing to mention is the size of the air holes. Menstrual cups with small air holes or no air holes seem to create a stronger seal/suction. This can be a good thing if you find your cup migrating often, but it can be an issue if your bladder is sensitive. The suction can become uncomfortable and may pose a problem when removing your cup. If the suction is too strong, it can tug your cervix downward and cause some pain. You’ll want to make sure to collapse the side of the cup and break the seal before removal.

5. Is Your Flow Light or Heavy?

Menstrual cups usually come in two different sizes within a single brand. For example, Small/Large, Size 1/Size 2, A/B. Other companies have included additional sizes, such as: Small, Medium, Large, Low Cervix, High Cervix, Mini, Shorty, Teen, etc.

Many companies tend to provide sizing guidelines.

They normally recommend a small cup for people under the age of 30 who have never delivered vaginally or who have delivered by cesarean section.

They’ll recommend a large cup to people age 30 and over and/or for those who have delivered either vaginally or by cesarean section.

But, again, these are guidelines and recommendations. There are many who are under the age of 30, who may be virgins, and use a large cup. There are also many people who are over 30 who need a small cup.

What you want and need in a cup is determined by you.

If you feel that you have a light flow, a small-sized cup should be sufficient. However, that doesn’t mean you HAVE to use a small cup. If a large cup feels comfortable and you want to be able to use it for the full 12 hours without fuss, then it’s perfectly fine.

If you have a heavy flow, you’ll probably want to get the largest capacity cup that fits you comfortably. This doesn’t always mean the largest cup on the market is going to be the best fit.

A lot of people don’t pay attention to how much they bleed. We measure the amount in how much blood covers a pad or when a tampon has fully expanded. We use words such as “spotting, light, normal, moderate, or heavy”, but we’re all different and have different definitions of what “light” or “heavy” may be. Someone’s “light” flow might be the next person’s “heavy” flow and vice versa.

Some companies offer their cups in a two-pack. If you’re unsure which one will work for you, it’s a great idea to pick up one of these packs because they’re normally cheaper than buying them separately.

6. Medical Grade Silicone & “Cheapies”

Almost every single menstrual cup on the market mentions medical grade silicone, whether they’re a “cheapie brand” or a “name brand”. We already know that’s not always true.

Medical grade silicones are generally grouped into three categories:

  • Non-implantable (e.g. medical tubing, one-time-use disposables)
  • Short-term implantable (can be implanted up to 29 days)
  • Long-term implantable (can be implanted for more than 29 days up to a lifetime)

It is important to note that just because a cup is advertised to be made of medical grade silicone doesn’t mean it was tested to be used INSIDE of the body.

In the United States, the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) regulates devices that are meant to be implanted into the body.

Materials approved as Class V and VI can be considered medical grade, and most medical grade silicones are at least Class VI certified.

The term “medical grade” means that this particular silicone has, at some point, been tested for bio-compatibility or biological use (at least through the FDA). This means that the silicone has undergone extensive testing to make sure that there is no potential toxicity resulting from contact of that material with the body.

The FDA does NOT test each product or inspect each factory. Companies must provide sufficient paperwork to the FDA outlining testing, comparisons, manufacturer facilities, etc., and pay a fee. This only ensures that they have information for who to contact if anything should go wrong. If a report is made, it is documented. A single report against a product will not mean a product is pulled from the shelf.

FDA Registration Vs FDA Approval

The FDA does NOT grant “approval” to menstrual cups nor to the silicone that is used to make them. As long as a company can provide the necessary documentation and certificates, the FDA deems the product to be safe enough and exempts them from the approval process. Using the term “approval” or “approved” is misleading and misbranding. Menstrual cups are Class II medical devices; the FDA only gives approval to class III medical devices (more details here). Therefore, no menstrual cup is “approved” by the FDA.

A menstrual cup can only be FDA registered. For a menstrual cup to be legally sold in the USA, all involved parties – the silicone manufacturer, the cup manufacturer, and the seller/vendor – must be registered with the FDA.

How Do I Know What’s “Medical Grade” or Not?

There is no way to tell by looking at a silicone if it is medical grade or not. The only thing you can do is judge for yourself.

If the menstrual cup is very inexpensive, it’s most likely not medical grade. If you find a cup design duplicated several times with a new name, it’s probably a “cheapie” cup.

Scrolling through eBay and/or Amazon, you can find a couple of “brand names” that carry several different cup designs. Most of them are under $10 each and are sometimes closer to $1 each.

Many “cheapie” cups are found on sites like Alibaba, Aliexpress, Wish, Groupon, and other similar sites. Many are sold for under $1.

Buy from a reputable company. Do the research. Ask friends, family, and menstrual cup Facebook groups. Google search the cup or company. Check YouTube. Gather as much information as you can about that cup or company and make your assessment.

BE SAFE!

Are Non-Medical-Grade Silicone Cups Safe?

Honestly, I can’t answer that. All of the professionals that I have contacted said to focus on whether the silicone is medical grade or not because it was tested to be sure that it IS, in fact, safe to use within the body.

The other classes of silicone have not had bio-compatibility testing.

Many that have used “cheapie” cups say they are fine and they have had no issues – yet. However, who knows what may surface in the future. We don’t know what kind of slow toxic leaching may be possible.

Fillers

“Cheapie” menstrual cups may contain fillers. These are materials or substitutes that may be added to lower the cost of manufacturing. They cost less than medical grade silicone and may therefore be added to stretch the number of parts/pieces that can be made.

These fillers probably weren’t tested for bio-compatibility, i.e. whether they are safe to be used inside of the body.

These fillers do not include colorants and hardeners, which also need to be tested for bio-compatibility if they are used for medical devices that are implanted either short- or long-term inside the body. 

Bio-Compatibility Certification

I know we don’t like to think of it, but these materials are tested on living tissue – normally mice, rats and/or rabbits.

The actual silicone used to make the menstrual cup was tested at some point, but not the menstrual cup itself after it is produced. So, when a menstrual company says that they did “no animal testing”, it’s likely true that they did no such testing themselves, but it doesn’t mean the materials they sourced from other manufacturers didn’t do animal testing.

Here’s a reply from one of the manufacturers that I contacted (for privacy reasons, let’s call them “AAAA”. They manufacture both medical and non-medical items).

AAAA does not test on animals – I also find animal testing revolting. At the same time, we need a safe product for people. Our Silicone suppliers are basically forced by the FDA to test their material on animals for a ‘Bio-Compatibility Certification’ We find Dow QP1 best for our Menstrual Cups. Please see Bio-compatibility Cert attached and other Bio-compatibility material links on our website.

Please feel free to forward this to your friends – unfortunately, we are a bit trapped by the FDA, the American legal system and our requirement to get people safe products.

Fake Certificates

A cup listing or advertisement may display pictures that they have certification to produce medical devices; however, this doesn’t mean that actually HAVE certificates. It’s easy enough to Google search “ISO Certificate” and save that information to your computer for your reference.

These companies can edit the certificate to show their own company name and whatever else they want it to say. We’ve all seen what wonders photo editing programs can do!

Here’s a reply from one of the world’s largest silicone suppliers (who do not make menstrual cups, themselves, but they do supply silicone to cup manufacturers):

The retailer may make any claims they want about their product, but the liability also lies with them if anything goes wrong.

– Susan Cassar @ Wacker Chemical Corp

7. Different Types of Stems

Just like each menstrual cup is unique, so are the stems that they feature. They come in many different shapes and lengths with different firmness, thickness, etc.

  • Some stems can be made of a solid piece of silicone, while others may be hollow. Both work the same; however, a little more care may be needed to ensure that a hollow stem is completely clean of any menstrual fluid. 
  • Stems may or may not have grip rings.
  • While a stem shouldn’t dictate if a cup is going to work for you or not, there are certain stem features that may interest you more than others.

Remember, you’re only using the stem to wiggle the cup down until you can reach the base of the cup. You will NOT use the stem to remove the cup completely from your body. A stem will NOT support the weight of the cup, especially if it contains fluid in it.

Ball Stem

This type of stem is great for someone who needs a shorter cup length but still likes to have a designated stem to grab onto. Some ball stems are completely spherical, while others are flattened on two sides.

Flat/Tab Stem

This gives you a nice flat area to place your fingers.

Ring/Ladder Stem

If you find your fingers slipping off a straight stem and feel more secure reaching and wiggling a ring, this is a feature you might like. There is at least one cup stem that is a series of rings, forming a ladder.

Stick Stem

These may be solid or hollow, and short or long. The tip may be rounded, flat, or may taper to a point.

Stick with Ball End

These come in all sorts of lengths and contain a small ball at the end. This ball acts as a stopper so that your fingers don’t slip or slide off of the tip of the stem.

No Stem

While some people feel they need a stem, or at least part of one, most people end up trimming it down or removing it completely. If you already know that you don’t need a stem, you can look for a cup without one, or look for cups that have a stem that can be easily removed and leave the least amount of excess silicone (read more in the How to Trim Your Cup Stem section).

8. Different Colors and Cup Markings

Colors

Menstrual cups come in every color of the rainbow! Some are even offered in black!

The color doesn’t change how a menstrual cup works or performs, but some might choose a color based on a few things.

  • First and most obvious, it’s the individual’s favorite color! Anything that will make that time of the month more pleasant works for me!
  • Second, if there is more than one cup user in the household, having a specific color per person will reduce confusion.
  • Lastly, if you find that your blood stains menstrual cups easily, you might want a colored cup to keep those stains at bay.

Even with a colored cup, stains may start to set in and eventually show. A good overnight soak in a 1:1 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water will take care of that.*

*Make sure to check with the cup company before using any alternative washing methods other than what is listed on their packaging or website.

Still, there’s nothing wrong with owning a white or clear cup. In fact, some prefer having a white or clear cup. One reason is so that they can see if it’s dirty or stained or not.

Another reason is that there’s one less thing to worry about: just like medical grade silicone, any coloring, dyes, or pigments also need to be FDA-compliant. This means that they also need to have bio-compatibility testing to be safe to be used for short- or long-term inside the body.

Cup Markings

Outside: If you’re prone to chafing, you might want to hunt down a cup that has minimal raised areas on the outside of the cup. This can include:

  • Grip rings
  • Decorations
  • Logos
  • Measuring lines
  • Secondary rim transitions
  • Brand names
  • Rim

Some companies have kept the marking on the outside of the cup to a minimum. Others chose to keep them but went with a lower profile that is minimally raised. It seems that, lately, more and more companies are listening to the wants and needs of the community, and have been rounding off any and all edges of the markings inside and outside of the cup.

Inside: While you won’t feel these markings, they may need extra attention while cleaning.

Some markings are easily cleaned with a swish of water. Others may need to be rubbed clean if there are hard edges.

9. Heavy Periods – High Capacity Cups

For many of us, heavy periods are just part of our lives. Some have always had heavy periods. For others, heavier periods arise because of conditions such as PCOS, PID, fibroids, endometriosis, and others.

No matter what situation you’re in, your period can be quite a challenge. Many people find themselves doubling up and using both tampons and pads at the same time. Even then, it seems like you’re changing them out a lot more frequently than you would like.

Many people who have a heavy period, even due to conditions mentioned above, find that using a menstrual cup can help them save some time.

How Much is “Too Much”?

Everyone is different, so it’s hard to define a heavy period because it varies from one person to the next. The best thing to do is figure out what’s normal for you.

The average amount of blood lost during the complete duration of a period is approximately 30-40 ml, or about 1 ounce, or a bit more. Most of us lose less than 80 ml.

60 ml or more during the duration of a period would be considered heavy bleeding.

If you feel that you’re a heavy bleeder, you might want to note this with your doctor. It may be normal for you, but it’s best to be sure.

A super absorbency tampon holds approximately 9-12 ml of menstrual blood. Because an average, large-sized menstrual cup can hold approximately 30 ml or more, you’ll have less frequent trips to the restroom to change. It is also possible to get high-capacity cups. These hold more than the average cup at about 40 ml, and even a bit more in some cases.

A person who uses a super absorbency tampon and normally frequents the restroom every hour might find themselves needing to empty their cup every three hours or so. I know it doesn’t seem like a long time, but gaining two hours can mean getting through a long car ride without having to stop at every gas station!

Also, once you’ve used your cup for a few months, you’ll get to know your body and your flow. You can then create a mental time schedule for when you need to excuse yourself to empty your cup instead of getting an unexpected leak!

If you experience clotting like many people do, you’ll be happy to NOT feel those clots drop out of your body!

Related pages:

10. Menstrual Cups and Virginity and/or Teens

Many people have different beliefs and/or definitions of virginity. Virginity is what YOU believe it is in YOUR culture or YOUR religious traditions.

Because we all come from different walks of life, I’m not going to sit here and tell you what I believe. It’s totally up to you and how you feel.

A menstrual cup is like a tampon in this instance. If you’re comfortable using a tampon, then you should be able to adapt to a cup.

If you believe that your virginity is taken if any object is inserted into the vagina, then a menstrual cup is not for you.

If you feel that your virginity is lost when your hymen is “torn”, then you’ll probably want to check with your doctor before you decide to use a menstrual cup. If you still decide on using a cup, you’ll probably want to seek a cup that is smaller or narrower.

Even if your hymen is still intact, it is possible to use a menstrual cup with sufficient lubrication and gentle stretching.

If you feel that virginity is lost with penile-vaginal penetration, then a menstrual cup will not take your virginity.

Since menstrual cups come in many shapes and sizes, they can be used by those who are young and old. There are even companies that have designed some of their cups specifically for teens or first-time users. These tend to be smaller, shorter, or narrower.

Teens

Someone who has just started their period will most likely only experience spotting or light bleeding, whether you are a teenager or even younger. This irregularity is normal for at least the first two years because your hormones are crazy and unbalanced. A small-sized menstrual cup may be sufficient during this time. However, some companies offer a two-pack of cups with one in each size that they offer. This will allow you to try both sizes to see what feels comfortable for you and gives you an alternative option depending on your flow. Plus, it’s normally cheaper by the pack!

Related pages:

11. Is My Vagina Too Small to Use a Menstrual Cup?

We come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and so do our vaginas. What’s normal for you may not be normal for the next person.

First of all, so that there’s no confusion, the vagina is the elastic muscular canal between the outer vulva (vaginal opening) and the cervix. You may or may not have a membrane of tissue surrounding or partially covering the vaginal opening, called a hymen.

When someone comments that they’re “too tight”, they’re normally referring to their vaginal opening, not the vagina itself.

The vagina is never too small to accommodate a penis, finger, tampon, toy, menstrual cup, or a wide variety of other things – including a baby! The vagina is designed to expand and elongate when a person is aroused; it lengthens and pushes your cervix and uterus upwards.

 

 

Things That May Cause a Feeling of Being “Too Tight”

Insufficient Lubrication

The vagina releases its own natural lubricant. This allows for easier and less painful penetration. If there is insufficient lubrication, penetration of an object may be difficult. If you feel “dry” while inserting a menstrual item, toy or penis, then it may help to purchase a water-based lubricant.

Hymenal Membrane

The hymen is a piece of tissue that lines the vagina opening. It can be of any size and can also be thick or thin. The hymen normally does not cover the vagina entrance completely and has an opening, except in the case of an imperforate hymen (see below). Some people are born without an intact hymen.

We frequently hear of a hymen being “broken” or torn. However, a hymen can still remain intact after penetration vaginal penetration if the area is well-lubricated and gently stretched. On the same note, it is believed that a hymen can be torn during various activities including masturbation, riding a bike, horseback riding and others.

If the hymenal membrane is still intact, it could cause a feeling of tightness.

Vaginismus

Anxieties can play a big part in the whole experience. Vaginismus causes the pelvic floor muscles (PFM) to involuntarily contract. This condition may tighten the PFM so much that a penis, toy, or anything else may feel too large, uncomfortable, or painful and may even make it impossible for them to penetrate.

This can occur at any time in life and can happen due to a variety of reasons including infection, disorders, fear or phobia, injury and/or trauma, conflict or abuse.

Treatments can include self-awareness, breathing exercises for relaxation, lubrication, and touch therapy either with fingers or a toy.

Someone with a severe case of vaginismus may need to seek the help of a therapist. They will help you figure out the root cause of the condition and may work with you to use vaginal dilators or trainers. These will help you to gain control of your PFM and relax them.

Imperforate Hymen

This is a congenital condition (i.e. present from birth) in which the hymen covers the vaginal opening completely. This is most often noticed during adolescence when menstrual blood lacks an exit. A surgical incision can be made to treat an imperforate hymen.

12. Still Unsure Which Size is Right For You?

I know it may seem like a lot to take in, but once you figure everything out, you won’t need to go through the motions again.  You’ll know what size, firmness, shape, and length to look for when you go shopping for a cup or a new cup.

If you’re still unsure, you might want to try an average length cup with a medium firmness, or seek out companies that offer their cups in a two pack.

The Venus Cup starter kit is one of our favorites and we think it’s a great place to start!  

The small cup may be comfortable for someone with a medium to a low cervix.  If you have a higher cervix but have a light flow, this cup might still work perfectly for you as it has a long sturdy stem to help you locate and wiggle the cup down to remove it.

The larger size is great for someone with a medium to high cervix.  It has a good length to it and the stem can be easily trimmed if needed.  This cup is one of the highest capacity cups on the market. If you have a very heavy flow, this cup will allow you more freedom throughout the day before needing to be emptied.

4 Comments
  1. Wow, great site. Thank you. I am looking into getting some menstrual cups for a homeless charity near me.
    I am a bit overwhelmed by the variety on the market. (When I bought my moon cup, I only knew of that brand). I don’t bleed any longer so I am out of the loop. Can you suggest which brand would be most useful or is just a case of winging it? Maybe I can contact the companies and see what they can offer as well.
    Any advice appreciated.
    Thank you
    Sarah

    • Hi Sarah!

      I have heard of cup companies working with people to give them a bulk/wholesale price for charities and donations. However, you will need to contact them to see which ones are willing. Some might be able to help you more than others. They may or may not come fully packaged: a bag of cups with some flyers/pamphlets.

      I would suggest being prepared with charity info such as organization name, address, phone number…etc.
      A company may want to ship directly to the charity to make sure that the cups aren’t going to someone who is going to resell them, but may do it in your name.

      I would also like to point out that some organizations would rather have tampons and pads donated over cups since it normally requires a bit more instruction. If there is no one who can explain about the cups; how to use them and how to care for them and such, then they’re not likely to offer them unless someone inquires about them.

      I was just speaking to someone who was buying cups in bulk from international sites. While I commend them on their community service, I also worry about the materials that were used to make those “cheap” cups. Something to think about if you were looking into these types of sites.

      You can find more info about “cheap” cups here:
      https://menstrualcupreviews.net/how-to-choose-a-menstrual-cup/#Medical_Grade_Silicone_and_Cheapies

      I think that you are AWESOME for wanting to reach out and help your community!
      You can check Facebook and see if there’s a group in your area that also does this and work with them. I know there’s a few in my area. The bonus for at least one in my area is that they know about menstrual cups, how to use them, and can give the info as needed.

      Good Luck!! <3

  2. Using a cup definitely hurt at first. I’m a virgin, and even though I had used tampons and softcups before, an actual cup was different. After a few months of using one my hymen was stretched and now I can wear them with no pain. But it was a horrible, weird sort of throbbing. I’m glad I never had it torn during sex, I’d imagine that would hurt more. I also switched to a softer cup for a while, because at first the firmer one pushed too much on my other insides. Eventually I stopped being able to get the softer cup to open and switched back to the firmer one. My flow can get pretty heavy and life is so much easier and less disgusting now. I never have to smell like rotting blood again. I also use period panties and reusable cloth pads as back up on heavy days i
    case I overflow. I’m glad I’ll never have to buy disposables again, they chaffed me and I hated buying them. Learning to use a cup was worth it, I don’t even notice my period anymore.

    • Hi Jess!
      Thank you SO much for sharing your experience! I get asked all the time if ‘virgins’ can use a menstrual cup. I’m glad to hear that you were successful even if you had to work at it.
      I hope that you have many years of happy periods!! <3 Great share!

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