Green Your Period: Menstrual Cup Show & Tell (DivaCup & MeLuna)

wrote this on April 6, 2016

“Green Your Period” is our latest video series all about why sustainable and eco-friendly period products are great for your health and for the environment. The first Green Your Period video covered the health and environmental implications of using disposables, and this video be a show and tell of menstrual cups. If you don’t know what a menstrual cup is, that’s okay! This video covers what they are, how to use them, how to clean them, how to choose the right one for your body, and why they’re awesome (obviously).

If you missed the first video, you can watch it here.

Find your perfect menstrual cup

As promised, here is the info to help you find your perfect menstrual cup. As I explained in the video, your cervix (which is the lower part of your uterus) drops down in the vagina during your period. That means the dimensions of your menstrual cup are super important to ensure a proper fit! To figure out what size cup you need, insert a finger into your vagina until you hit your cervix (it will feel like a hard nub with a small opening in the middle) on the heaviest day of your next period. Once you determine how low or high your cervix is sitting, reference the info below to figure out which cup size is best for your body.

1. Your cervix is too high to reach

If your cervix is crazy high, you’re a lucky duck — you can pretty much take your pick with menstrual cups and it will probably work out perfectly! But if you want something that will hold the greatest amount of fluid, I recommend the DivaCup model 1, DivaCup model 2, or the MeLuna XL.

2. Your cervix is one index finger deep

If you can barely reach your cervix with your index finger on the heaviest day of your period, there are several great menstrual cup options for you! I recommend MeLuna M or MeLuna L for the greatest capacity. You can also choose from any of the cups in the categories below!

3. Your cervix is 2–3 knuckles deep

If your cervix is on the lower side but you can insert almost a full index finger on the heaviest day of your period before hitting it, you’ve got lots of great options. I recommend the MeLuna S, Lunette Model 1, Lunette Model 2, Skooncup Model 2, MeLuna Shorty L, or MeLuna Shorty XL. If you want a high capacity cup that you won’t have to change very often, I recommend the MeLuna S or the Lunette Model 2. If you’ve given birth, you’ll want the Lunette Model 2 or the Skooncup Model 2.

4. Your cervix is 2 knuckles deep or less

If you’ve got a super low cervix like me, your options are a bit more limited, unfortunately. BUT, there are still awesome cups that will work great for you! I recommend the MeLuna Shorty S (that’s the one I personally use), the MeLuna Shorty M, or the Skooncup Model 1. The Skooncup Model 1 is your best bet if you want a high capacity, but you’ll have to shorten the stem for this one to work for you. It’s super easy to do, and all you have to do is clip the stem to your desired length with scissors. Done and done!

Unhealthy periods are a MAJOR problem

Horrible period problems have become the norm among women these days, and most of these issues are the result things like endocrine dispruting chemicals that are present in our environment. Going green with your period products is just one of the many simple lifestyle changes you can make that will help you improve the health of your periods. It’s easier than you think to heal your period problems, and Period Reset — the awesome 30-day program I created after healing my own terrible periods — will teach you how. Check it out »

Video Transcript:

00:00 - Hi there! Welcome to the second video in the “Green Your Period” video series. In the last video we learned why going green with your period products is way more important than we’re lead to believe. And just to give you a quick recap — tampons and pads are made with a multitude of chemicals that disrupt your natural hormone production, which ends up leading to unhealthy hormones and a plethora of period problems.

00:25 - So everything from the pesticides that are sprayed on the cotton that’s used in tampons, to the plastics that are used in pads and panty liners, to the bleaches, dyes, and dioxins that are used in the manufacturing of these products — all of those things affect EVERYTHING in your body when they’re absorbed by your body. It affects your period pain, your period irregularity, your ability or inability in many cases to get pregnant, your mental health, your sleep, your digestion, and so many other things. It literally affects everything.

01:03 - And using products that contain endocrine disrupting chemicals is basically a train wreck waiting to happen. So one of the easiest ways that you can avoid chemical warfare inside your body caused by the chemicals that are used in disposable products is not to use disposable products. Pretty simple. And one fantastic alternative to disposables is the menstrual cup. For those who aren’t familiar with menstrual cups, they’re pretty much exactly what they sound like. And I have two examples here that I’m going to show you. This one is the DivaCup and this one is the MeLuna cup. So menstrual cups are flexible (as you can see)…they’re flexible, silicone cup that you insert into your vagina during your period to catch your menstrual flow. Now, these are wonderful because silicone is actually an inert material, meaning that it does not react to your body, or your body doesn’t react to it in any way. So there’s no reaction that happens between silicone and your body, which is super super wonderful. So they’re both hypoallergenic and non-irritating.

02:14 - Plus, they’re 100% reusable, which is awesome! So I’m going to show you a super high-tech drawing of where your menstrual cup sits when you wear it. As you can see, like I said, super high tech. Amiright? Fabulous. So this just gives you an idea of what organs are happening inside your body. So you can imagine looking at this that I’m standing to the side like this and you’re looking into my body at my reproductive organs. This is basically an idea of what you would see.

02:53 - So you have the bladder, the uterus, the colon, the rectum, and the vulva which is the external genitalia. And then circled in red right here is the cervix, which is the lower portion of the uterus where you menstrual flow comes out of your uterus, flows into your vagina, and then out of your body. Basically, when you wear a menstrual cup — you can see the vaginal canal right here — the menstrual cup sits up in your vaginal canal just below the cervix and forms a seal. So the menstrual flow comes out of your uterus, through your cervix, and into your menstrual cup. So it’s pretty straightforward.

03:39 - Depending on which brand of menstrual cup and which size of menstrual cup you end up buying, you can leave it in for up to 10 hours for leak-free protection. Which is freaking wonderful if you ask me. Way better than tampons. And, like I said, I have two different menstrual cups. This one is the DivaCup which is a super super popular brand. And this one is a MeLuna cup. And as you can see, the DivaCup is actually significantly longer than the MeLuna cup. One benefit of that is that it can hold a much larger volume of fluid. Which makes sense. But, for some people (like myself), the longer cups can actually cause problems with leaking, and I’m going to explain to you in a minute why that is.

04:26 - Basically what happens — and I’m going to pull up my awesome drawing again…super amazing — so basically what happens when you’re on your period, is that your cervix, which is circled in red right here, actually drops lower into the vagina. The cervix is going to drop down and maybe this far…it depends on the person. It varies from person to person. But the cervix actually lowers itself in the vagina during your period, specifically during the heaviest days of your period. And what happens is because — so we’ll use the DivaCup as an example — because the cup needs to sit just below the cervix in order to form a proper seal…for instance, if it sits up here it’s going to end up leaking…it needs to sit below the cervix for a proper seal.

05:22 - Because the cervix drops down in the vagina on your heaviest days, the longer cups like the DivaCup might end up causing problems with leaking for people whose cervix drops down, for instance, to this red line that I drew. If your cervix dropped down to there, your cup would have to be here in order to be sealed properly, and as you can see, it would be sticking out of the body. So that doesn’t really work. That’s why I personally love MeLuna, because it is shorter and it’s better for folks like myself who do have a lower cervix on the heaviest days of their periods. It may not hold as much fluid as the DivaCup, so that basically means that I need to empty it slightly more frequently, which is okay by me. But, for folks like me with a low cervix, it’s the perfect alternative to the DivaCup to help prevent leaking and to help the cup seal properly.

06:24 - There are tons of other brands of menstrual cups, and choosing one can honestly feel confusing because there are tons of different lengths, sizes, there’s tons of different little nubs like this on the end that help you remove it. So there’s so many different things to consider. Since menstrual cups come in various lengths, I recommend using the method that I’m about to explain to figure out which one is going to be the best fit for your body. So the method is pretty simple, and that’s to figure out how low does your cervix sit in your vagina during your period? Specifically, during the heaviest day of your period? A super simple way to figure this out is, on the heaviest day of your next period, while you’re using the bathroom and while you do not have a tampon in or anything like that, insert your finger into your vagina until you feel your cervix. And the cervix is going to feel like a hard nub with a small opening in the middle of it.

07:30 - This will take a little self exploration, but it’s super important if you want to make certain that you’re investing in the proper cup size. So, like I said, insert your finger into the vagina and then pay attention to how far you can get your finger in before you hit your cervix. It may be so high that you can’t feel it, it may be a full finger deep, or your finger may only make it a couple knuckles or less than that before you hit your cervix on your heaviest day. Which is the case for me. Based on how far you were able to insert your finger, you can reference the handy little chart that I made that’s just below the video here to find out which menstrual cups and which sizes are going to be the best fit for your body. So, like I said, the lower the cervix, the shorter the cup you’re going to need. So if you could only insert your finger into your vagina two knuckles long, the DivaCup is obviously going to be way too long. But the MeLuna is going to be perfect.

08:38 - Whereas, if your cervix is a full finger length into the vagina, the DivaCup is going to be just fine. So it’s all going to depend on that, and it’ll save you a lot of headache if you use that simple, simple little method to figure out how low the cervix drops. It’ll keep you from investing in a DivaCup if you do end up having a low cervix. And I don’t want you to have to waste money on something that isn’t necessarily going to work for you. One of the best things about menstrual cups, in my mind, is that they can be used over and over and over. Most cups are good for up to 10 years (woohoo!) if you care for them properly, which is a huge, huge savings over pads and tampons.

09:26 - And cleaning your cups are super, super simple. You either rinse your cup after you use it, or if you’re in a public restroom, some women will empty the cup into the toilet and then wipe it out with toilet paper before reinserting it. Or if you’re at home, you can empty it out into the toilet and then rinse it out in the sink before you reinsert it. Whichever you feel like doing. So rinse it at least once a day while you’re on your period, and you can even use a very, very mild soap to wash it out once a day while you’re on your period. And then after your period is over, you’re going to want to boil your cup in water for at least five minutes. So that’s going to completely disinfect it.

10:01 - I like to add just a little splash of white vinegar to the boiling water while my cup is boiling to help remove any residual odors or discoloration and to just keep the cup looking new. All that good stuff. Menstrual cups definitely do have a learning curve to them, so that’s one thing I want to warn newbies about. But if you think about it, honestly, tampons kind of had a learning curve at the beginning, too. I remember staring…just completely blankly staring at the instructions in the tampon box when I was first trying to figure out how to use them and having nooo idea where the hell I was supposed to stick the tampon.

10:43 - I was thinking, like “Okay, do I stick this in my pee hole?” And then I was looking at the instruction and the diagram and then was like “Wait…THERE’S ANOTHER HOLE DOWN THERE?!?! Whaaat??” Mind blown. My 11-year-old mind couldn’t wrap my brain around that, which is funny but kind of sad at the same time.

11:07 - Anyways, when you’re first starting out using your menstrual cup while you’re figuring out exactly where it’s supposed to sit, where it feels comfortable for you, how to insert it and empty it properly, it’s probably a good idea to wear a pad while you’re getting the hang of it (or use something like a cloth pad or period underwear like THINX, which I’m going to be reviewing in an upcoming video). Below the video…this video right here, you can find several links to other menstrual cups. So, like I said, reference the chart that’s also below the video. Figure out a few cups that are going to be the best fit for your body, and then follow the links down below the video if you’re interested in purchasing one.

11:54 - Next up, in the next video, we’re going to be covering cloth pads…which are WAYYYY more awesome than you probably think they are. You probably think of pads as like these awful, bulky, diaper-like things that just are horrible. But cloth pads are so not like that. Trust me, they will just totally change the way you think of pads. And I’m super excited to share that with you. So stay tuned for the next video, and I will see you soon!

Jennifer Aldoretta is the cofounder and CEO of Groove. She is an entrepreneur, engineer, and biohacker who is obsessed with periods, nutrition, hormones, and the microbiome.