Menstrual Cup Sizing - which size cup do you need?
This article is for anyone who is confused about which size menstrual cup to buy.
While each brand of menstrual cup may differ slightly, when it comes to sizing your menstrual cup, there are five main factors to consider.
5 Menstrual Cup Sizing Tips
While these menstrual cup sizing tips will help in most cases, we always recommend first checking the sizing guidelines for the specific brand of cup that you intend to purchase.
1. Your Age and Stage
At the most simplistic level of cup sizing, the following guidelines usually apply:
- If you are over the age of 30 and have had a vaginal birth, most brands will recommend you select the large model cup.
- If you are under 30 and have not had a vaginal birth, you will usually select the smaller model cup.
- If you are under 30 years of age and have had a c-section, consider the smaller size cup.
- If you are over 30 years of age and have had a c-section, consider the larger cup.
As we age and/or give birth vaginally, our hips begin to widen and our pelvic floor muscles lose some of their elasticity. This causes the vaginal canal to become a little more roomy, making it more likely that a smaller cup may slip or leak.
While these are the most often used guidelines, occasionally, you may need to consider other factors before determining your correct cup size.
2. Your Pelvic Floor Strength
If you are one of those very dedicated people who heeded the advice of your care giver to ‘regularly do your kegel exercises’!, or if you regularly undertake Yoga or Pilates routines, you may have developed particularly strong pelvic floor muscles. In this case, many menstrual cup manufacturers will recommend you select the smaller size cup – regardless of your age or whether you have delivered vaginally or not.
If your pelvic floor strength is somewhat weak, or if you have any degree of incontinence, you will most likely need a larger diameter cup.
3. The Height of Your Cervix
Before choosing any menstrual cup, we highly recommend that you check the position/height of your cervix. If you have a low cervix (short vaginal canal), then you may find that a shorter cup provides a better fit. Conversely, if you have a high cervix (long vaginal canal), then you will most likely find a longer model more suitable.
4. Are You a Teenager or Not Had Penetrative Sex?
Most brands will recommend the smaller size menstrual cup for teenagers or women who have not had penetrative sex. This is due to having a potentially un-stretched hymen and/or tighter pelvic floor muscles. A smaller cup is generally recommended for young women wanting to reduce the risk of stretching their hymen. At this point, it is worth mentioning that the hymen can also sometimes be torn or stretched while participating in various forms of sport and also when using tampons. In some instances a woman may in fact be born without a hymen at all. An un-stretched hymen may make the insertion of larger cups more difficult and sometimes painful. The hymen and pelvic floor tone will begin to stretch and weaken as a women ages, even if she has not had penetrative sex. Once this happens, a larger cup may be a suitable option.
There is a great selection of Teen Menstrual Cups available that are softer and smaller for younger users.
5. Your Level of Flow
While even the small size menstrual cups will usually hold a substantial amount of menstrual fluid in comparison to tampons, women with exceptionally high period flows, may wish to use a larger volume cup. So, if you are under 30 years of age, have not had a vaginal birth, but do have a very high level of menstrual flow, you may wish to select a larger model cup.
The Ruby Cup is one brand which specifically recommends choosing a size based on your level of flow combined with your cervix height, rather than your age or stage of life.
In most cases, the above suggestions will solve any menstrual cup sizing questions that you may have. However, if you are still unsure what size cup to choose, please do not hesitate to contact us; we’re more than happy to assist. Some brands also offer Duo Box’s which contain two different sized cups. These are more economical and are great if you still can’t decide what size to try.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The most common signs that a menstrual cup is too small are:
- Consistent Leaking
- The cup slipping out of the vagina
- The cup not suctioning and sealing properly when fully opened
- The cup moving around into different positions (ie. sideways)
- You have trouble reaching your cup to remove it
The most common signs that a menstrual cup is too big are:
- Difficulty or pain while inserting the cup
- Cramps or pain
- Inability to empty your bladder completely
- The cup doesn’t pop open fully when inserted
- The cup slips or sticks partially out of the vagina
Age and stage of life are often the main considerations when choosing a menstrual cup size. Usually we would recommend the following:
- Under 20 years old – Teen sized cup
- 20-30 years old – Smaller models
- 30+ years old – Larger models
This is just a guide and it is important to consider other factors such as cervix height, pelvic floor strength, and your level of flow.
The Merula cup is considered a ‘one size’ fits most cup. It is high capacity to accomodate light to heavy flows and it has a ladder stem to suit low to high cervix positions. However, most menstrual cup brands come in a variety of sizes in order to fit different anatomies.
Menstrual discs usually come in ‘one size’ fits most. A disc stays in place by sitting behind the pubic bone rather than relying on suction. Some brands offer two sizes, with the smaller one being particularly good for people who use mini tampons or who have a petite anatomy.
If the cup you have is working, then there is no need to buy a different size.
Usually you should only need one size of menstrual cup. Occasionally someone may use a larger cup on the heavier days of their period and then switch to a smaller cup for the lighter days. This may also be useful if your cervix height changes a lot during your period.
Learn more about using menstrual cups:
How to Check Your Cervix Position: Low vs. High Cervix Your cervix position is a major factor in which menstrual cup you should purchase Learning how to check your cervix position will help you determine which menstrual cup length and shape to choose, as well as whether or not you should trim the stem. It
10 Tips for Menstrual Cup Leaking to Prevent Accidents This article is for anyone constantly wondering: “why is my menstrual cup leaking?!” Menstrual cup leaks are more common than you might think, especially when using a cup for the first time instead of a tampon or pad. However, a menstrual cup of the right size
Surprisingly, your menstrual cycle can indicate specific underlying health conditions. However, this doesn’t mean that each woman experiences similar symptoms or a similar flow when it comes to their period. Getting to know your own flow may help you determine your health, your stress levels, whether or not you are pregnant, and so much more.