• Cara

Cervical height & the menstrual cup

Updated: Apr 17, 2020

This is a topic that doesn’t come up too often, however it is important to have more information so that you can find a size and a menstrual cup that suits you best. The vagina is unique to each individual and it will never be a ‘one size fits all’ product. However, the below cervix test can help when deciding on which size to buy.

What is the cervix?

It is a tubular structure about 2 – 3 cm long that connects the uterus and vagina. It is spongy in texture. The opening of the cervix is called the os. When the cervix is open, you should be able to feel the ’dip’ which is the os. It is less noticeable when the cervix is closed. The cervical height and structure changes throughout the cycle menstrual cycle. The cervix sits at the top of the vagina and during menstruation, the cervix opens to allow menstrual fluid to escape (and then we use a cup to catch the flow). The only other time the cervix is open is during labour where it dilates to around 10cm! The best time to check the cervical height is during menstruation as that is when it is at its lowest point; this can affect how high you insert your cup or if you will need to trim the stem. Arousal can also affect the height of the cervix.

If you are interested in seeing some photographs of different cervixes, have a look at http://beautifulcervix.com/ for more information.

How to check your cervical height

Once your period has started;

  • Firstly, wash hands with soap and warm water.

  • Squat or stand with one foot raised on a step-like structure, or edge of the bath.

  • You can use a lubricant (designed specifically for vaginal use) if needed.

  • The longest finger must be used and inserted into the vagina until the cervix is felt. Aim your finger down and back towards your tailbone (not straight up). It will feel like a small, spongy cylinder towards the back of the soft vaginal walls.

  • Feeling around the cervix, one should be able to find a small indentation in the middle of the structure and this is the os.

  • Wash your hands after use.

The findings

Low - If your finger only goes in about 2.5 - 3cm before it meets the cervix, it is considered low. Tip: You can measure this at approximately the first knuckle or knuckle line closest to your fingertip.

Medium or average - If your cervix is easy to reach but not especially low, it is considered medium or average height.

Tip: You can measure this at approximately the middle knuckle on your finger.

High - If you can insert your entire finger before it meets the cervix or if it can’t reach it at all, you have a high or very high cervix.

It is said that most women have an average vaginal length of 9.5cm. That's about the length of your hand. But It varies and can be as long as

A low cervix can cause the menstrual cup to sit so low in the vaginal canal, that the stem sticks out of the opening of the vagina. This can cause discomfort and annoyance - things we are trying to avoid by using a menstrual cup. This can sometimes be remedied by carefully trimming the stem of the cup to "shorten"it. Alternatively, turning the cup inside out (inverting it) can be a quick solution, however this method can change how the cup pops open and sits in the vagina.

It is important to know the length of the body of the cup excluding the stem.

A high cervix can cause the cup to settle (either naturally because we move and as we do our muscles contract and contort or because the cup has been inserted very high in the vagina) out of reach, making removal difficult and cause unnecessary stress, especially if you are a new cup user. Don't worry, the cup cant get lost in your body, so if this happens, take a deep breath & relax. Squatting can help"shorten" the vagina and help get a grip on the stem of the cup. Using kegel exercises can also help shift and lower the cup so you can get it out.

Additional considerations when deciding on a size

Young teen - for girls starting their menses (menarche) it is an advantage if they are comfortable with their bodies and menstruation before using a menstrual cup. Menstruation in itself can be a confusing, painful and difficult time. When deciding to use a cup, (regardless of age) a basic understanding of the body and periods is a great advantage which will help the user to have a better experience.

Childbirth - for girls or women who have given natural birth, the Original, Grande or x-elle cup may be suitable because the vagina and pelvic floor change during pregnancy and labour. Using a cup that is too small, which does not sit snugly, will leak and be a cause for frustration.

Flow - how much you bleed. Menstrual cups can be use for spotting and for any type of flow, from light to heavy. For example, a cup with a larger capacity can be used even for the light flow days and the last day or two of spotting without the risk and warnings that tampons carry. (provided that you ensure you are removing the cup at least every 12 hours). Using disposable products instead of the cup for spotting is not necessary as the cup can be used until the end of a period. A cup with a smaller capacity, for example the midi cup, might be better suited for some (length and size wise), but can still be used for a heavier flow – the frequency with which one empties the cup will be more in this case. Alternatively, some women prefer to have 2 different sizes cups for lighter and heavier days.

Sizing guide

This is the first guide, and additional information on stem trimming, cervix health and the hymen are coming to the blog soon!

If you have any questions or need help with making a choice on sizing, please email hello@myowncup.co.za or whatsapp us on 0815299372 <3

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