Last few months has been a lot of period talk on social media which mostly leads to the discussion on Re-Usable Menstrual Products (RUMPs) – Menstrual Cups and Cloth Pads. If you are reading this article, I am sure you are here to find out which is the most suitable RUMP for you and how to select the right one from the wide variety we have available online. I will suggest you to go through this information, do a little more research and get yourself the most appropriate product for yourself that works for your body type, lifestyle and period flow.
How to Select the Right Menstrual Cup
No matter which cup you go for, 80% chances are that it will work for you, but please – stay away from china cheapies that are readily available on Amazon. Do some research and invest in a good brand.
However, based on your body and lifestyle, certain cups will be more suitable for you than others. While selecting the right cup, you must consider three aspects:
Diameter: Our vaginal muscles are very elastic and can accommodate most cups but here is what I recommend:
- Small diameter (38-41mm) – for young girls and virgins.
if you have heavy flow, you can go for medium diameter for more capacity.
- Medium diameter (41-45mm) – for sexually active women, women who have had child birth via C-section, women with one vaginal child-birth and are active in sports (as regular exercise makes your muscles stronger and tighter).
For heavy flow, you can go for large diameter as the cup will have more capacity and you will need to empty it less often.
- Large diameter (44-47mm) – for women over 35 (as muscles tend to loosen up with age) and ones who have given vaginal birth.
You may opt for medium diameter if you are active in sports. Women who have had two or more vaginal births, should go for large diameter.
Length: Most women (70-80%) have a high cervix and find most cups very comfortable. However, a few will have a low/medium cervix and will need cups of medium length. Women with very low cervix can only use “shorty” cups.
This video explains the cervix and how to measure it, but if you can’t be bothered with this extra step, get a cup of length around 48-52mm and chances are it will work like a charm.
Softness: Picking a soft or hard cup is mostly a personal preference. For a beginner, softer cups are easy to insert and remove as compared to firmer cups – but for some women, these tend to start leaking after a few months or slide down and don’t hold on tightly.
Women who are active in sports should consider firmer cups – if you have strong vaginal muscles, they might crunch up a soft cup and it may leak.
Women who have urinary incontinence or bladder leakage should, however, go for a soft cup. Firmer cups will put pressure on the bladder, making it difficult to pee while wearing the cup.
You can also visit CUPSTROLOGER to decide which size will suit you the most.
How to Select the Right Cloth Pad
Reusable cloth pads come in different sizes and level of absorbency. These can be used for daily discharge, period flow, mild incontinence and postpartum bleeding. These are made of soft and breathable fabric which is gentle on your skin, and do not cause any rashes or infections.
Width: Crotch / gusset width of the pad (once the snap buttons are shut) usually range between 6-9 cm. Following points must be considered while selecting the narrow or wide pads-
- Young / petite girls / average size women should go for narrow pads. Plus size women may prefer wider pads.
- Narrow pads are great for light to moderate period flow. Wider pads work better for heavy menstrual flow, mild urinary incontinence or postpartum bleeding.
- If your underwear / panty has a narrow crotch, you will need a narrow pad and for a panty with wider crotch panel, wider pads will fit better.
Length: Reusable menstrual cloth pads are also available in various lengths – just like the disposable sanitary pads. Range is usually between 16-38cm. Two things you must consider while selecting the appropriate length of the pads are:
- Use / Flow – for daily discharge or light period flow (first / last day spotting) you can go for smaller pads / cloth pantyliners. For medium period flow or mild incontinence, you can opt for pads with length 20-28 cm. For heavy flow or mild incontinence you must consider pads of length 26cm or above. For postpartum bleeding, I will suggest pads with length at least 32cm. You might find this chart helpful.
- Body size – Women with a petite body type should go for short / medium length pads as a very long pad can bulk up in the underwear and feel uncomfortable. Women with heavy body should opt for longer pads (even for light flow) as these will give a better fit. Short pads / pantyliners may end up moving in the panty.
Fabrics: Cloth pads are now available in a variety of fabrics from cottons to microfibres. Cloth Pad Comparison Chart shows you the inner and outer laters used in various brands. Microfibres / Polyester based pads can absorb more than cotton pads. You can also opt for pads that have a poly inner layer and cotton top layer to get the benefits of both.
Styles: Cloth pads are available in 2 styles –
Ready to use – they come in one piece with all of it’s layers stitched together. Top and bottom layers are skin-friendly fabric. Few layers of absorbent fabrics form the core of these pads, that are hidden / stitched between the top and bottom layer. These come with wings that hold the pad directly on the underwear. Brands – EcoFemme, SOCH, Shomota Kamini.
Holder + Insert – In this style, you get one holder with wings – which is attached on the underwear. This holder has loops where an extra insert is attached. Insert in this style is made of absorbent material and can be removed and replaced with a fresh one when it gets full. Brands – Shomota Poddo, UGER.
Beginners can start with 4-5 pads from different brands to test which style and fabric they prefer before getting a whole stash. Depending on your flow and weather, to cover a full cycle, you will need around 10-15 cloth pads. Since each pad can be washed and reused for at least 70-120 times, this stash for 15 pads will last you for 4-7 years 🙂
Don’t wait any longer. Go ahead with a smart choice to make your periods greener.