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17 July 2014 @ 12:38 am
The cervix is the organ between the uterus and the vagina, and it serves as gate for expelling menstrual fluid (and for letting the baby out during childbirth). This word comes from the Latin word that means neck, and in many languages it's called the neck or mouth of the uterus. You can find out more in Wikipedia, and if you prefer to get this information in a language other than English, you can most likely find the equivalent term there as well.

There are many guides to finding your cervix, both here and on fertility-related sites, so this will be covered very briefly. The most common description is that it feels like the tip of your nose; a very low/dangly cervix can also be similar to a small penis. There's a small hole in the cervix, and this is where the blood comes out.

Note: the hymen is not in the middle of the vagina. It does have a hole, but it is normally large enough for inserting a finger, folded cup or tampon; the cervical opening is MUCH smaller. So if inside your vagina you can feel something with a hole, that's the cervix.

See also: Beautiful Cervix Project (graphic photos), Melissa's video, very NSFW photos of the hymen and the vaginal opening; glossary.

How low is low?

Determining the cervix height is not an exact science. If you suspect something might be abnormal, find out more about prolapse, but note that the range of normal is huge. This also means that if you ask a doctor about your cervix position, you need to specify that you are trying to compare your anatomy to other people's.

In the context of cup use, mild prolapse is not different from having a naturally low cervix. The former can be caused by pregnancy/childbirth or age (but the manufacturers overrate the importance of these factors), the latter is just anatomical variation that can be permanent or only occur on some days of the cycle, especially the heaviest days of your period. Your height or weight have nothing to do with the menstrual cup dimensions you require.

Let me also point out that the name doesn't matter and there's no standard scale for companies. Just because a cup is called "medium size", "low cervix version" or marketed to virgins, doesn't mean it's actually better than the other options. Choose by the actual dimensions! The good news is that cups aren't like bras or shoes. It's not about finding the one correct size. (this part has been added later)

I propose the following definitions for the cervix position. They are left deliberately vague, with no numbers given. In the classic cases, all parts of the description apply, but of course this can vary if your fingers are unusually short or long.

high: The cervix is unreachable or can only be reached in certain positions. Likely to need bearing down for removal. Long cups fit best, although a long stem can be enough.

low: The cervix is easily reachable, less than a cup's length away. Has to let the cup unfold as soon as it's halfway in and/or use only the smallest cups. Likely to need to trim or cut off the stem.

extremely low: The cervix is very easy to reach, it's immediately in the way during insertion. Normally, it's needed to let cup unfold as soon as the rim is in (or even part of the rim) or, alternatively, maneuver the cervix into the cup after it opens. The stem generally sticks out, so does the bottom of most cups.

average: None of the previous descriptions applies fully. Can use most cups, apart from the really long and really short ones. Most special needs or preferences have little or nothing to do with the length.

Notes: Insteads are completely different from the bell-shaped cups, but if you can use them successfully, your cervix is probably high or average. The opposite is not necessarily true - if you have difficulties with Insteads, this doesn't automatically mean your cervix is low.

For the purpose of this scale, contraceptive diaphragms are similar to Insteads and cervical caps are similar to the smallest cups on the market. However, please don't rely too much on your experience with contraceptive devices. And definitely don't take it as a suggestion to use them for collecting menstrual flow.

More about the dangly cervix

The cervix is not (necessarily) the end of the vagina, and finding your cervix is not the same as figuring out how deep you can reach. The distinction is not always important or obvious, but when the cervix dangles into the vagina, it can seem lower than it really is, and if you use a menstrual cup it can reduce its capacity, physically causing it to overflow sooner than expected.

The tell-tale sign of a dangly cervix is having a cup that works normally for a few hours, but then "leaks" (actually overflows) when it's about half-full. Depending on the individual circumstances the actual capacity available can be as low as 25% or as high as 80%. If you have a heavy flow, this can be quite hard to notice. Cups with a rounded bottom are generally recommended for maximizing the capacity you can have. See the highest capacity cups here.

Two cases merit a special mention. An extremely low cervix is typically also dangly. It's a combination of this factor and a short vagina. When the length of the vagina is about average, it can be hard and unnecessary to figure out whether your cervix is average and dangly or just low. However, a high dangly cervix (and/or dangly cervix, long vagina) can be the cause of unexplained leaks, since it's harder to figure out whether your cervix is dangly if you can't feel it.

Since this is supposed to represent the common knowledge, let's have a poll! I hope it's clear enough that this only concerns finding the right length and not other factors like capacity, stiffness etc.

Poll #1975442 Evaluate the definitions!

Do you agree with the proposed definitions?

Yes, my anatomy/cup choice is described accurately
Maybe, I'm still trying to figure out which dimensions I need but this seems helpful
Maybe not, I'm still trying to figure out and these definitions don't help
No, my anatomy is described inaccurately (please specify in the comments)
I don't know how high/low my cervix is and I'm a happy cup user (or I have issues that aren't relevant here)
I don't know how high/low my cervix is and I'm not looking for a cup

Cervix demography! According to the definitions, your cervix is:

extremely low
I haven't tried to locate it

If you misclicked or misread something, you can change your answer here.
Sarcasticia Nitpickersontisiphone on July 16th, 2014 09:41 pm (UTC)
Excellent post! Thank you. I'm going to add a new temporary tag ("New FAQ") so that posts like this one can be collated and put in a sticky post, like we discussed earlier in the week.
Kathlynekathlyne on July 16th, 2014 10:01 pm (UTC)
Nice post.
I like the bit about the dangly cervix. It took me a long time to figure that out. Maybe if I had read this when I first started looking for a cup I would have chosen a more appropriate one the first time around.
nocebo_domingonocebo_domingo on July 16th, 2014 11:41 pm (UTC)
Great post and important contribution. Thank you.
Meganarwen_17 on July 17th, 2014 03:22 am (UTC)
Nice job. The only thing I would suggest to change is that the hymen is at the entrance of the vagina, not outside of it. To someone just learning their anatomy, that may be a bit confusing.

Thanks for the contribution!
Serpent: neutralserpent_849 on July 17th, 2014 03:54 pm (UTC)
Um, it's outside of it. The hymen is what you feel BEFORE you insert a finger into the vagina.
I've been looking for the nsfw site with photos that kuradi sometimes links to, but i can't find it :/
Suggestions are definitely welcome, but in my experience if you say it's inside or at the entrance, it's assumed to be much further inside.
(no subject) - arwen_17 on July 17th, 2014 04:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - serpent_849 on July 17th, 2014 05:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arwen_17 on July 17th, 2014 05:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - serpent_849 on July 17th, 2014 06:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kathlyne on July 18th, 2014 04:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scien on July 18th, 2014 07:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
ever so slightly obsessedscien on July 17th, 2014 06:37 am (UTC)
Lovely work, thank you :)

I have a low (or extremely low, depending on the day) cervix. However, I insert the cup so the rim is past it to unfold, then rearrange so that the cervix is inside it.

Also, my anatomy has definitely changed over the years, whether due to ageing from a teenager to my late twenties, or going off hormonal birth control, or getting fit, or some other factor, I couldn't say. My cervix was always very low during my period, but now it really 'dangles', as you put it - I can almost wrap a fist around it some days! (Only slightly exaggerating). The rest of the time it's relatively out of the way and only just protruding from the vaginal walls.

Edited at 2014-07-17 07:38 am (UTC)
Serpent: neutralserpent_849 on July 17th, 2014 03:32 pm (UTC)
When I was on hbc, my cervix was even lower than now, and the position was even different depending on the type of hbc. So yes, it can affect the cervix position for sure.
(no subject) - scien on July 18th, 2014 07:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - serpent_849 on July 28th, 2014 02:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Surprise me, I said. Okay! said C. - eve_n_furter on November 5th, 2014 12:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
сквоskv0 on July 17th, 2014 06:56 am (UTC)
было в классно в русскоязычное сообщество этот пост на русском
просим, просим
mariesa1 on July 26th, 2014 12:53 am (UTC)
I have been having difficulty with the diva cup! I have no problems inserting/removing. I know I have the seal, as when I release it when I'm taking it out, I hear a gasp of air as the seal is broken. Anyways, I have been leaking and I don't think it is filling completely. My period is really not that heavy. I have tried to turn it inside out and it hasn't changed anything.

I decided to use your guide to see where my cervix sits, and it takes a full fingers length for me to reach the top (past the cervix). I don't know if that's low or medium? I'm trying to figure out if I should buy another cup and which one.

Ps, the cup never feels uncomfortable or doesn't hang out. It feels like it is far enough in there.
Serpent: neutralserpent_849 on July 26th, 2014 12:12 pm (UTC)
does it ever work fine? Like when you've just inserted it, or on some days of the cycle?

it seems like your cervix is dangly (does it feel large?), and diva is a very narrow/pointy cup. i deliberately didn't mention any specific ones in my post, but i suppose the best options are the large fleurcup or meluna.

oh and it definitely seems like your cervix is about average. technically i think something like the XL meluna could work for you if you needed lots of capacity. since the diva isn't uncomfortable, and flipping it inside out changes nothing, the issue isn't the length.
Luceafaraluceafara on July 28th, 2014 06:30 am (UTC)
Great write-up!
The only thing that does not apply to me: I have a low cervix, but don't have to have cups unfold as soon as it is halfway inside. Maybe it depends on the cup size: apart from the Ruby Cup, mine are all small to very small?

I would have thought that I have an extremely low cervix, but according to the write-up it's just low. Now I wonder what it must be like to have an even lower one and try to find a cup - I already have the very shortest ones there are...

Edited at 2014-07-28 06:32 am (UTC)
Serpent: neutralserpent_849 on July 28th, 2014 10:19 am (UTC)
okay, changed the wording :) is it better now?
and yeah, i have an extremely low cervix :D i have a few tiny melunas and i wear them all inside out :D but due to the width, even a large ladycup inside out is not out of the question, it just has an awful lot of useless space. (like, it has low holes, so it's unnecessarily long for me)
(no subject) - luceafara on July 28th, 2014 12:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - serpent_849 on July 28th, 2014 01:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
anotheremma on February 5th, 2015 09:31 pm (UTC)
So I tried locate my cervix for the first time and I think I poked it too much. It didn't hurt at the time but has been hurting ever since (for about 2 hours now) :(
I was squatting down and inserted my middle finger, almost the whole length of the finger. Does that mean my cervix is average or high? I'm not sure.
Serpent: neutralserpent_849 on February 6th, 2015 02:13 am (UTC)
ouch, sounds painful :(
if you didn't need to insert your whole finger, i'd say it's average. the high end of average though :D
what cup(s) are you considering? (or do you already have one?) i'd say most likely only the really long ones like the diva would be too long. and with the diva it's also about hte shape, really.
good luck!
(no subject) - anotheremma on February 6th, 2015 01:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anotheremma on February 6th, 2015 02:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - serpent_849 on February 6th, 2015 04:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anotheremma on February 6th, 2015 10:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - serpent_849 on February 7th, 2015 07:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anotheremma on February 8th, 2015 04:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - serpent_849 on February 9th, 2015 03:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
aurecz on May 1st, 2017 07:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this post! I was wondering what a dangly cervix meant :) Also, which cups are best for a low and tilted cervix?
Serpent: neutralserpent_849 on May 6th, 2017 07:57 pm (UTC)
for a low or dangly cervix, generally a rounded wide cup is the best. can be a large fleurcup or xl meluna shorty for example. si-bell too.
i'm less sure about a tilted cerix, i think it's more important to place the cup correctly.