Finding The Right Menstrual Cup

Making the switch to a Menstrual Cup can often feel daunting. Remember your first tampon experience? I remember mine vividly, in the bathroom of my middle school with two other girls outside the stall guiding me through it. At thirteen, inserting a tampon took some encouragement and a little bit of troubleshooting, just like today, learning to use your new menstrual cup, but step one is picking out the right cup for you. So, how do you decide on your cup?

 The short answer

Visit and take the cup quiz! Put a Cup In It has an extensive list of cup brands and styles, they do an amazing job keeping the list up to date and have a ton of resources.

 The long answer

As cups become more popular, we are bound to see more brands coming out with new innovations but the basic differences between cups are size and firmness. When picking a cup you want to consider your cervix height, flow, childbirth and your physique to determine the size and firmness you want.  

 Picking the right size

Finding your cervix height is easier than you would think. Because your cervix can move when you’re menstruating, be sure to measure it on the first day of your period. First, wash your hands, then insert your pointer finger into your vagina using your finger as a measuring stick. If you feel your cervix with only one knuckle inserted you have a low cervix, if you are two knuckles deep you have a regular cervix and three knuckles or your entire finger you have a high cervix. High cervix folks will want a larger cup while low cervix folk will want a smaller cup.

Next, consider your flow. Large cups usually have a 3-4 tampon capacity while smaller cups are around 2-3 tampons. If you have given birth vaginally you will also want a larger size cup despite what type of flow you have.

Lastly, most people will be happy with a small or large cup but there are always those exceptions, right? Teens and petit folks might find even small cups too large. This is why we offer a teen cup, it has a smaller capacity (1-2 tampons) but the smaller size is ideal for teens who are still growing and petit folks who find traditionally small cups uncomfortable. The teen cup also features an extra-long stem for easy removal.

 Picking your firmness

Firmness tends to be a counterintuitive concept, you would think softer sounds more approachable right? In fact, firmer cups are easier to insert, seal and remove and are the recommended cup for first time cup users.

We recommend going for the softer cups if you’ve used a firmer cup and felt an annoying amount of bladder pressure, had difficulty peeing or pooping with your cup in, experienced increased cramping or historically have had vaginal sensitivity. Here’s the catch, since the softer cup is, well, softer, it is harder to get a seal when inserting and is more difficult to get your fingers around for removal. If the soft cup seems like the right path for you, don’t let those barriers stop you from trying a cup, just like with your tampon, it just takes practice.  

Since pushing on the bladder is pretty common, many folks will use a firmer cup during the day, (because they trust the seal more) and a soft cup at night to avoid those late night bathroom trips.

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Hanna Kohn

Hanna Kohn is the Operations Manager & Marketing Coordinator with Green Life Trading Co. where she has been educating and connecting individuals and small businesses with sustainable products and solutions since 2021. She holds a degree in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a Sustain Dane Master Recycler and Water Steward. When she's not at the shop, Hanna volunteers at WVMO 98.7 FM - Monona's Community Radio Station where she hosts Playhouse, a weekly broadcast of music including contemporary electronic, synth pop and jazz. Connect with Hanna via email: