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When you’re a woman, “that time of the month” means two things are going on your grocery list. Number one is, of course, chocolate. Number two is your choice of feminine hygiene products which, until recently, has mostly been pads or tampons. Nowadays, a third option is growing in popularity. And you don’t have to purchase this one every single month.
Menstrual cups are reusable feminine hygiene products that work by being inserted into the vagina, where they catch menstrual blood in their cup-shaped body. Because they come in all shapes and sizes, you’ll be able to find your perfect fit regardless of your age, cervix height, or whether or not you have had children. With so many options on the market to ensure that perfect fit, you will probably find yourself having a little more trial and error buying a menstrual cup than your run of the mill box of tampons. With a little bit of knowledge and some buying tips, however, we can surely get you off to a good start.
Best Menstrual Cups for Beginners
If you are new to the world of menstrual cups, you are naturally going to want something easy to use. Here are a few of our favorites.
Despite the name, this menstrual cup isn’t just for teens; if you prefer a smaller cup size, this is a great buy. Many women also recommend this product for newbies to the menstrual cup scene. It is created from medical grade silicone and was designed by a physician. It’s also BPA, PVC, latex, and chemical free and has a ring stem.
Capacity: 17.5 mLCheck Price on Amazon
This menstrual cup is ideal for sports, contains no BPA, latex, or chemicals, and features angled suction holes for a tight seal without sacrificing capacity. Some women have noted that the hollow stem is rather long, but that can be fixed by trimming it. This cup is made in America from medical grade silicone.
Capacity: 23 mLCheck Price on Amazon
If you have to change your pad or tampon every few hours or less, you might be a woman with a heavy blood flow. Don’t despair, though. There are plenty of menstrual cups that cater to this exact situation. Here are some of our favorites.
This cup is shaped more like a cone, which makes it incredibly easy to insert. The medical grade silicone is thin and soft, but some women have found the cup too long to be comfortable. However, this product is able to last for up to 12 hours without needing to be changed.
Capacity: 28 mL (size A) 32 ml (size B)Check Price on Amazon
This cup is ideal for those who want to participate in physical activity during their period while still containing their heavy flow. Naturally, because it is designed to retain more fluid, the cup size is larger and it can be poorly suited for young women or virgins. However, it can be worn for up to 12 hours and is made from medical grade silicone.
Capacity: 30 mLCheck Price on Amazon
If your cervix tends to hang low, but you still have at least two inches of space between your vaginal opening and cervix, you are still a candidate for using menstrual cups. Here are a few we recommend.
Like the previously reviewed FemmyCycle product on our list, this menstrual cup is BPA, PVC, latex, and chemical free. Designed for women with low cervixes, it has a smaller cup for your comfort but still provides more than adequate protection. Although the spill proof guard can make it the cup hard and messy to empty, many women find this a great product.
Capacity: 30 mLCheck Price on Amazon
This cup comes in two sizes, and the large one will not work if you have a low cervix. So if you purchase this item, make sure you have the correct size selected. The silicone is medical grade, and the product is odor free, easy to clean, and easy to use. This is also a BPA and latex-free product.
Capacity: 25 mLCheck Price on Amazon
Best Bargain Menstrual Cups
If you are looking for an economical menstrual cup, for either financial reasons or you just don’t want to plop down a lot of cash to try something new, we have you covered. Here are a few reasonably priced products to meet your budget.
At under 20 dollars, this cup is made from medical grade silicone, comes in two sizes, and is comfortable to wear. Unfortunately, some women report that this menstrual cup does not have the lasting power of its more expensive counterparts. However, as long as the silicone stays in working condition, you will get leak-proof protection with this product.
Capacity: 20 mL (small) 25 mL (large)Check Price on Amazon
Another product that comes in under the 20 dollar mark, the Pixie Cup is 100% medical grade silicone. It comes in two sizes, so you’ll be able to find the ideal fit whether your flow is heavy or your cervix is low. The flat stem is easy to grab, but some women have found it’s a little too long for comfort. However, this menstrual cup is affordable, easy to clean, and doesn’t leak.
Capacity: 15 mL (small) 20 mL (large)Check Price on Amazon
Our Top Pick Mentrual Cup
We selected a product that we feel scores high in several areas, including price, ease of use, and functionality.
This product is probably one of the better known menstrual cups on the market. Does it live up to the hype? In our opinion, yes. It’s 100% silicone, easy to clean, and comfortable to wear. You can go up to 12 hours before you have to empty this product, so it’s great for leaving in at night. It comes in two sizes: Model 1 and Model 2.
Capacity: 20 mL (Model 1) 25 mL (Model 2)Check Price on Amazon
Buyer’s Guide – Things to Consider Before Making the Switch
If you’ve never heard of, or just aren’t that familiar with, menstrual cups, you’re not alone. Plenty of women are new to the idea of inserting anything other than a tampon in their vagina to manage their monthly flow. So, is a menstrual cup right for you? Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons.
- Can be worn 2-3 times as long as a tampon;
- Suitable for an active lifestyle;
- No disposal issues since they’re reusable;
- Highly absorbent; a menstrual cup can hold five times as much liquid as a tampon;
- Odor free;
- Not associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome or the vaginal dryness often associated with tampons;
- Cost friendly.
- Messier, since you’re using your hands to take it out and put it in (only a problem if you’re squeamish);
- Won’t fit properly if you have certain health problems (e.g. a dropped uterus);
- Can be difficult for virgins to use;
- Can break the hymen;
- Can be tricky to insert as you are learning.
If you think that the pros are going to outweigh the cons in your lifestyle, continue reading to learn what menstrual cup will work best for you.
Menstrual Cups 101: A Buying Guide
As more women are getting eco-savvy, the popularity of natural feminine care products such as organic nipple cream or salt deodorant is on the rise. Menstrual cups, whilst having great green credentials, are also going mainstream because of the huge money saving potential.
This eco-friendly alternative to pads and tampons might seem slightly complicated at first, but we assure you that, with a few facts and tips, you’ll be able to shop like a pro to find your perfect product.
Menstrual cups tend to come in two sizes. A general rule of thumb is that if you are under 30 and never had a vaginal birth, the smaller size will suffice. If you are over 30 or have given birth vaginally, the larger size will likely be appropriate. These are only a starting point, however, and you shouldn’t take them as gospel. At the end of the day, wear what works.
Like so many things about women, your cervix height is unique. It also determines the length of the menstrual cup that will work best for you.
To determine your cervix height, simply insert a clean finger into your vagina and gently slide it up until you can feel your cervix. Your cervix is a round nub that has a decline in its middle and will feel like the tip of your nose during menstruation. If you can feel your cervix when your finger is inserted to your first knuckle joint or bend beyond the nail, you have a low cervix. If your finger goes to the second knuckle joint in the middle of your finger, you have a medium cervix. If your finger goes in as far as the final knuckle joint, or you cannot reach it, you have a high cervix. Be sure to perform this measurement once a day for a few days during your period, as the cervix moves during this time.
A high cervix requires a longer menstrual cup, a medium cervix can use an average menstrual cup, and a low cervix requires a shorter cup.
It goes without saying that if you experience a heavy blood flow, you will want to look for a cup that can hold more ounces. But what is a heavy flow? Well, the average amount of blood put out during a woman’s period is 2 – 8 tablespoons. If you feel you bleed more than this, or just prefer to overestimate to be on the safe side, you’ll want to invest in a cup that can hold a higher capacity.
Most menstrual cups are made from medical grade silicone. However, they also are made from latex and thermoplastic elastomer, which will not last as long as their silicone counterparts but will still have a reasonably long life. The Softcup, a more flexible menstrual cup, is made from polyethylene.
A stem isn’t necessary for the application or removal of a menstrual cup, but some women find it does make it easier. There are several types of stems, which sit on the base of the cup.
- Ball Stem – A squishy, rounded small ball
- Flat Tab Stem – Shaped like a pull tag
- Ring stem – Shaped like a ring
- Solid Stem – The stem is a long, solid tube
- Hollow Stem – The stem is a long, hollow tube
- No Stem
If you do purchase a menstrual cup with a stem and find you would prefer it not being there, you can trim it down or cut it off completely.
Firm vs. Soft
A firm menstrual cup will pop into shape easier once you have inserted it. It will also form a tighter seal against your vaginal walls to prevent leaks. However, some women find them uncomfortable. For these women, softer cups are available.
Holes vs. No Holes
Some cups have small holes just underneath the rim. These holes prevent a vacuum seal from forming and make removing the cup easier. However, you have to be sure that they are getting cleaned when you are sterilizing your menstrual cup.
Like cloth diapers, menstrual cups are a lifestyle hack that is great for the environment and your wallet too. While menstrual cups have been on the market for quite some time, they have yet to gain the popularity of tampons and pads. That is changing, however, as they are being made to fit more women and to keep up with heavier flows. Finding the correct fit can allow you to scratch pads and tampons off your shopping list, just don’t forget the pick up the chocolate.