I am often asked about using menstrual cups with heavy periods. Being able to trust your period protection is so important and I completely get it. So, can you use a menstrual cup with a heavy flow? The short answer is yes, but it may not be quite as simple as grabbing any random cup if you hope to maximize wear time and minimize leaks.
Know Your Flow
Though many who are cup-curious feel they have a heavy period most say they soon learned they don’t bleed as much as their tampons or pads may have implied. Part of this is because of the way that tampons and pads soak up blood (think spilled milk). The average menstrual fluid released each cycle is only around 30-60 ml (or 2-4 tablespoons) — shocking, we know. Keep in mind that this is an average and by no means a rule. There are those who bleed much less and much, much more.
Heavy menstrual bleeding can impact your quality of life in a way that most can never fully understand, myself included. In order to do this justice, we decided to go head-to-head… or vag-to-vag… with our heavy bleeding pal, Jen, and find out how much menstrual blood we really lose.
We each used a menstrual cup to measure our flow for one full cycle. Both I and Kim came in around 18 ml (a bit more than a tablespoon) while Jen poured out 225 ml (or nearly a cup). That’s 4-8x the “average” amount of blood loss!
It’s hard to imagine keeping up with day-to-day activities with such a heavy menstrual flow — and it was. That is until Jen finally found her perfect period care combination to make her periods livable. We’ve also teamed up with the maker of the best menstrual cup for Jen (spoiler: Super Jennie is her favorite) and period underwear brand EvaWear to make this video possible.
Using Menstrual Cups With Heavy Periods
As you may have seen, Jen made the switch from a Diva Cup (30 ml capacity) and cloth pads to the high capacity cup from Super Jennie (41 ml capacity) after taking our menstrual cup quiz. She also uses period underwear for added protection and comfortable, worry-free backup.
If you experience heavy periods I suggest looking at our Menstrual Cup Comparison Chart to find cups with the highest capacity. Even though the Super Jennie is what Jen uses, it may not be the right cup for you. There are cups with higher capacities, different shapes, firmness, size, and other features that may provide you with a better fit and comfort.
We understand it can be extremely difficult to manage periods of this magnitude but if anything is capable of aiding it — it’s a menstrual cup! Most cups hold at least 25 ml (which is still a lot more than a super tampon) but there are many cups on the market now that hold 40+ and even some as high as 50 ml.
Jen has finally reached the cherished status of #periodnirvana That’s when you forget you’re on your period thanks to a cup!
Will A Menstrual Cup Work For Clots?
Clots are essentially bits of the lining of the uterus and blood that come out as a normal part of your period. They may look sort of like a blog of jelly-like material and vary in size. Menstrual cups can catch clots and continue to work as intended. That said, if you notice that you are overflowing a high capacity cup in a short period of time or notice clots that are very large or unusual for you, please check in with your doctor. Menorrhagia (abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding) can have other health impacts, so it’s important to communicate what you’re experiencing with a healthcare provider that you trust to listen to you.
What About Using Menstrual Discs With Heavy Periods?
Reusable menstrual discs weren’t really a thing when this was made (way back in 2017), so the absence of them in the video is an honest byproduct, I swear! But the answer is that, yes, discs are a great option, too! Some people find that they work very well for a low cervix (smaller discs) but also for a high cervix (larger discs — which will also have a higher capacity.) Insertion of a disc is a little bit different than a cup since they sit in the vagina little bit differently, but overall they function similarly.
Two of my favorites are the discs from Cora and Saalt. They are a great size for most people, but you can always take The Disc Quiz to see what works best for your needs, and also compare all of the options on our Menstrual Disc Comparison Chart.
Last But Not Least
I’d like to thank Super Jennie and EvaWear for helping us make this video possible. When we decided to make a video about heavy periods it only made sense to partner with Super Jennie. We even filmed the video before they signed on to sponsor so all brand mentions are 100% organic. We didn’t know they have a sister brand that makes affordable period underwear so check those out of you need something for back up or just want to wear them in anticipation of your period!