Written by Lara Briden, naturopathic doctor and author.
Blog originally published via larabriden.com and repurposed for The Hello Cup.
A menstrual cycle is, by definition, an ovulatory cycle in which ovulation is the main event and progesterone is made.
Any other kind of bleed is either the breakthrough bleed of an anovulatory cycle or a pill-bleed, which are not real menstrual cycles.
An ovulatory menstrual cycle consists of a follicular phase and a luteal phase.
Follicular phase versus luteal phase
The follicular phase is the pre-ovulatory phase when estradiol is made. The luteal phase is the post-ovulatory phase when progesterone is made. It looks like this.
The follicular phase ranges from 7 to 21 days or 32 days for teenagers. It’s the variable part of the menstrual cycle. In contrast, the luteal phase is almost exactly fourteen days (ten to sixteen days) and does not vary.
If you add up the variable (follicular) phase to the fixed (luteal) phase, the duration of a healthy menstrual cycle is anywhere between 21 to 35 days or 45 days for teenagers.
Tip: To determine the length of your menstrual cycle, start counting from your first day of proper flow. That’s “day 1.” The days of light spotting that lead up to the proper flow are the final days of the luteal phase of the previous cycle.
If there’s no ovulation, then there’s no luteal phase or progesterone and that can result in a period that’s too heavy or goes on for too long. Why? Because progesterone is the “period-lightening” hormone.
A cycle with no progesterone is an anovulatory cycle
An anovulatory cycle does not have a luteal phase or progesterone. Instead, it has only a long follicular phase and estrogen and then eventually a breakthrough bleed. It looks like this.
Other names for anovulatory cycles include the following:
Over time, anovulatory cycles can lead to endometrial thickening, endometrial hyperplasia, or uterine polyps.
What causes anovulatory cycles?
Possible causes of anovulatory cycles include:
How do you know if a cycle is an anovulatory cycle?
Signs of an anovulatory cycle...
Tip: You can confirm ovulation and progesterone with a blood test, but be sure during the two-week luteal phase. If you have a long follicular phase, you’ll have no progesterone for most of your cycle and that’s normal. Read The right way to test progesterone.
How to treat anovulatory cycles
If you’re not ovulating, the solution is to figure out “WHY not” and treat that.
I discuss other treatments in Period Repair Manual.
Pill-bleeds are not periods
Finally, a bleed on the pill is a withdrawal bleed from contraceptive drugs. There’s no ovulation or even attempt at ovulation so there’s no estradiol or progesterone. It looks like this.
A pill-bleed is not a menstrual cycle.
If you do a blood test for estradiol and progesterone while on the pill, you will have almost none.
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Vaginal cup, period cup, menstrual cup... Whatever you call it, The Hello Cup is a great choice.
It’s worth remembering that we don’t recommend buying your cup based on your flow alone. Instead, sizing is based on fitness and age.
Our XS is our smallest, softest cup. It’s the perfect choice for teenagers, petite users or those who prefer a ‘mini’ tampon.
Our S/M is our ‘one size fits most’ menstrual cup. We recommend it for users under 35 – regardless of whether they have had children or not.
Our L (L for ‘Lovely’) is best for those over 35 who feel it’s a bit more roomy up there.
It’s worth noting that we find physically fit people are often best suited to the S/M regardless of age. If you’re uncertain, Hello Double Boxes are a great option to help you find which size works best for you. Many people find they can wear two sizes.
Check out our full size guide and quiz here.
Diameter – Regular Hello Cups
The diameter of the XS is 38mm and the overall length including the toggle is 57mm. It holds 17.5ml (to the holes).
The diameter of the S/M is 41mm and the overall length, including the toggle, is 59mm. It holds 21mls (to the holes).
The diameter of the L is 45mm and the overall length, including the toggle, is 64mm. It holds 28ml (to the holes).
Diameter – Low Cervix Hello Cups
The diameter of the S/M is 41mm and the overall length (no toggle) is 43mm. It holds 21mls (to the holes).
The diameter of the L is 45mm and the overall length (no toggle) is 49mm. It holds 28ml (to the holes).
Drop us a line if you have any questions about sizing – email@example.com.