You might never see your own cervix, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be aware of all the amazing things there are to know about it! So, if you haven’t already searched Google images for it, we’re here to break it down for you.
Ok, but what is a cervix anyway?
The word cervix comes from Latin and means ‘neck of the womb’ (the womb is also known as the uterus). Wait... my uterus has a neck….? Sort of. It’s a narrow neck-like passage that lies below the uterus and above the vagina —- think of it as the gatekeeper to your uterus. Your cervix produces something called mucus (or vaginal discharge) that changes in consistency during your menstrual cycle. These changes are specifically designed to either encourage or prevent pregnancy. A higher level of oestrogen makes the mucus produced by your cervix thinner, allowing sperm to pass through to the womb and support conception. At other times you have a higher level of the hormone progesterone, which will make the mucus thicker and more acidic, helping to prevent pregnancy.
Where is the cervix?
The cervix extends from the uterus into the vaginal canal. During menstruation, the blood travels down and through a pin-sized hole of the cervix into the vaginal canal.
The cervix may be positioned near the vaginal opening, which can be considered a low cervix, or high up, referred to as a high cervix. It may be situated directly centre at the top of the vaginal canal, or you may find it pointing more towards the front or back if you have a tilted uterus. The position of your cervix tends to change during menstruation, so regular checks will help to determine which type of cervix you have.
Finding your cervix
First things first, wash your hands! To find your cervix, you will need to use your finger to feel for it. The first thing you’ll feel will be the vaginal walls. Prepare to feel something soft, a bit like the inside of your cheeks, with possibly some soft ridges. The cervix will feel different from this. It will likely be smooth but firm. If you feel a small dip or slit, you’ve come across your cervical opening.
Measuring your cervix
Getting to know yourself will be key to checking your cervix for any changes, and for your success in using a menstrual cup.
55mm (2.25″) or higher. If you’re unable to reach your cervix, or struggling to reach it, you most likely have what is considered a ‘high cervix’. There’s a perk to this, as most menstrual cups won’t be too long and stick out.
45 mm (1.8″) – 55 mm (2.25″) If you insert your finger and find your cervix between your middle and highest knuckle deep (not a precise measurement but a helpful reference) or you measured it to be somewhere in the range of 45-55 mm then you most likely have an average cervix.
44 mm (1.6″) or lower. If you easily feel your cervix near the vaginal opening, you have a low cervix. With a low cervix, your menstrual cup selection is a bit more important. With your measurements in hand, you can check it against our Menstrual Cup Size chart.
Checking Your Cervix
Checking your cervical position can provide helpful information to conclude the ideal time for conception, especially if you're trying to get pregnant. There are a few changes you can look out for:
- Tissue Softness Does your cervix feel firm or soft? Estrogen causes the cervical tissue to soften, making it feel less firm when you're at your most fertile stage. Some say it could be compared to feeling the tip of your nose when you’re not fertile and slightly less firm, like lips, when you are fertile.
- Cervical Opening Your cervix will be a tiny bit open just before ovulation occurs. However, during your period, the cervix will be lower in the vagina, like it is before ovulation.
NOTE: Don’t worry if you’re cervix always feels slightly open. For those who have ever given birth, their cervix might always be slightly open.
Tips for Checking Your Cervix
Rest assured; you’re not meant to become the expert of your cervix the first time around. Or second or third! The most important thing is to give it a go. Here are a few tips to get started:
- Don’t check your cervical position before or after having sex. In other words, your cervix moves around according to your level of sexual arousal, regardless of where you are in your menstrual cycle.
- When you’re starting out, try to check your cervical position as often as possible. Don’t forget —- it’s easier to find your cervix when you’re NOT ovulating.
- A good idea is to get into a routine of checking your cervical position at the same time every day, perhaps after a shower or when you’re getting dressed. The more you do it, the less daunting it will be!
Cervix and your menstrual cup
For some people, the cervix moves significantly lower during their period. Since the cervix is usually relatively high in the vagina and the menstrual cup is placed low in the vagina, the cervix remains above the cup. If the cervix sits low, it may be positioned inside the cup. In contrast, tampons generally sit further up inside the vagina, just where the cervix is located. In Lunette diagrams, the cervix is intentionally placed very high to emphasize that the correct position of the menstrual cup is low in the vagina.
In some people, the cervix fits best inside the menstrual cup — you’ll know what feels right. For many, the cervix descends after giving birth, for others, it’s naturally situated low in the vagina. If you’ve given birth, you should exercise the pelvic diaphragm muscles by doing kegels. Keeping these muscles in shape is useful when using the menstrual cup.
Trying to find your cervix without success? If you haven’t experienced leakage when using your Lunette Cup, there is no need to go on an expedition. You’re just one of many whose cervix is deep in the vagina – and it does not affect the use of a menstrual cup in any way!
TIP: Leaks are more frequent when the cervix moves lower during menstruation or if the menstrual cup has been inserted too high in the vagina, (next to the cervix, or above it). The menstrual cup might also exert pressure on the cervix and cause discomfort and even pain. The best way to evaluate the position of your cervix is to determine if there’s leakage — if you’ve experienced leakage even when the cup has been opened, make sure that the cup is placed significantly lower than the cervix.
Not only women have a cervix
It is important to ensure that everyone with a cervix knows how they can reduce their risk of cervical cancer, and this means feeling comfortable and safe accessing cervical screening. While most people who have a cervix identify as women, not all are. Trans men and non-binary people can have a cervix, too.
Why should you know all this?
Your body has its own divine internal landscape. Having some knowledge about the cervix is important, whether you have one or not. While we shouldn’t spend our lives worrying about diseases that might never happen, it is crucial to be aware of the symptoms that could potentially indicate something dangerous.
The human anatomy is fascinating, each and every part of it, and knowing more about it will help you become more aware of yourself and fellow cervix owners around you! Whether your plan is to get pregnant or not.
Now that you are an expert of your cervix, are you ready to give a menstrual cup a go?