You probably found this article after asking yourself, “What is the BEST menstrual cup for me?” That is a great question!
What many women do not realize is that not all cervixes are created alike.
That is understandable because most women have not seen their cervix, nor any other cervix. And probably they’ve only seen awkward sex-ed diagrams or the basic illustrations on the boxes of feminine care products to give them a frame of reference.
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- The Holy Grail?
- “Know thyself”
- Who Should NOT Use Menstrual Cups?
- What Factors Should You Consider?
- Brand Generalizations
- Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers)
- How Does a Period Cup Work?
- Are Menstrual Cups Comfortable?
- How to Insert and Remove a Menstrual Cup?
- How Do I Know if My Menstrual Cup is Open?
- How do You Take a Menstrual Cup Out?
- How to Remove a Menstrual Cup Without Spilling?
- Are Menstrual Cups Easier to Insert than Tampons?
- How Much Blood Does a Menstrual Cup Hold?
- Can You Wear Menstrual Cups Overnight?
- Do Menstrual Cups Stretch You Out?
- Can You Use a Menstrual Cup for Discharge?
- Can You Pee While Wearing a Menstrual Cup?
- How to Boil a Menstrual Cup? How Long to Boil a Menstrual Cup?
- What Can I Use to Wash my Diva Cup or Any Other Cup for that Matter?
- How to Sterilize Menstrual Cup Without Boiling?
- What to Do if I Can Feel My Menstrual Cup?
- How to Tell if the Menstrual Cup is Too Big?
- Where Should a Menstrual Cup Sit?
- Can the Menstrual Cup be Used During Intercourse?
- TOP 16 Menstrual Cup Reviews 2021
- Best Menstrual Cups Overall
- Best Menstrual Cup for Beginners
- Lunette Cup Reviews
- Best Menstrual Cup for Low Cervix
- Best Period Cup Reviews for Heavy Flow
- Best Menstrual Cups for Athletes and Active Women
- Best Menstrual Cup for Women Who Have Given Birth Vaginally
- Femmy Cycle Regular & Low Cervix Sizes
- Best Menstrual Cups for Women with Sensitive Bladder or Heavy Cramping
For quick readers, here’s an overall table of the best menstrual cups:
|Product||Best For||MY Rating||Review|
Diva Cup Size 1
|Overall Good Cup||My Review|
FemmyCycle Menstrual Cup
|Low Cervix||My Review|
Diva Cup Size 2
|Athletic Women||My Review|
Lena Size 2
|Heavy Flow||My Review|
Invested Health Menstrual Cup
|After Childbirth||My Review|
Intimina Lily Cup
|Heavy Cramping||My Review|
The Holy Grail?
Since not all cervixes are alike, it stands to reason that no one cup will be right for every woman.
Every woman has her so-called ‘Goldilocks’ cup because there is no ‘Holy Grail’ cup that is perfect for all ladies everywhere.
So you first need to understand your own body, then you need to understand the subtle differences between cups and cup brands.
Now, that’s not too much to ask, right? Well, OK, it is a lot, and with all the info out there it can get a little overwhelming.
So, here’s some hope that this full guide and its reviews clear a few things up for you.
OK, so maybe this is not exactly what the Ancient Greek aphorism means by know thyself, but you should get to know your own anatomy.
For starters – How high or low is your cervix?
Well, that depends.
A woman who is in her infertile time has a lower and closed or firm cervix. As the woman comes into her fertile time the cervix gets higher and softer in response to estrogen.
Once the egg is released, the cervix lowers again and becomes firm once more.
What Type Of Cervix Do You Have?
This information is important because you need to “measure” your cervix height during the same time you have your period, which is also the same time it will be low and firm.
Measuring during your fertile time will give you an inaccurate sense of what length cup you need.
You can determine how high your cervix is by inserting a finger or two inside your vagina while you are menstruating. Wash your hands first to avoid introducing bacteria into your vagina.
Just for reference, your cervix, should you find it, should be about as firm as the tip of your nose, and you may be able to feel a dimple in the center. It will feel more firm than the walls, so you will be able to distinguish between the vaginal walls and your cervix.
High Cervix: If you can not touch your cervix and have your finger fully inserted, you have a high cervix and might be better off with a longer cup.
Average Height Cervix: If you can insert your finger past the second knuckle, but not up to the third, you have an average height cervix.
Low Cervix: If you can insert your finger up to the first knuckle but not past the second knuckle, you have a low cervix.
Who Should NOT Use Menstrual Cups?
- Those with a super low cervix, less than an inch from the vaginal opening.
- Those who have any type of vaginal infection presently should wait until the infection clears.
- Women who have limited access to facilities to clean and sterilize the cup.
- Women who do not have the mental capacity to be responsible for cleaning, inserting and caring for the cup.
- Women who plan to have sex soon. Menstrual cups need to be removed before having sex. The only type of cup that can be worn during sex is the “Instead” brand disposable cup. All others must be removed.
- Women who are uncomfortable with touching themselves or have a social taboo against it may not be suitable users of the cup.
- Women who have not had sex (virgins) who are concerned with keeping the hymen intact. Many everyday activities can break or tear the hymen and cup usage, or even tampons may break the hymen (however, many virgins do successfully and happily use the menstrual cup, so it is not a physical issue, but more of a psychological/cultural issue).
What Factors Should You Consider?
Your Age and Childbearing Factors
After you have your cervix height figured out you should know that most cup makers have two sizes.
Sometimes called “1”, “A” “petite” or “small” (although there’s one brand who calls the smaller size “B”, so read the description before you buy).
The smaller size is for women under 30 who have never given birth vaginally. If you fit these criteria, start with the smaller size.
Sometimes called “2”, “B”, “Regular” or “Large”.
The larger size is for ladies that have given birth vaginally, regardless of age. It is also for any woman over 30.
The label ‘large’ can be off-putting, but the size difference is very small. About 1/8th inch (give or take) between the two sizes, and many times it is only the circumference of the rim that is larger.
However the slight difference in the rim circumference can mean the difference between a great fit or possible leakage, so it is important.
Sizing a menstrual cup is a very personal process, but this guide is meant to get you closest to the best fit for you on your first try.
Are You Sensitive?
Many women get more sentimental around their time of the month (PMS), but that is not what we are talking about here.
If you have a sensitive bladder, or you have severe cramping during your period, a cup with a firm or thick rim may be uncomfortable.
It’s likely you will not know if your bladder is sensitive until you try a cup or two and see how it goes. Just be aware of your body and if you notice increased cramps or bladder sensitivity you might want to try a softer cup with a low profile rim.
Does Color Matter?
Some brands offer colored cups, while others only offer clear. Here is the deal:
Pros of Colored Cups
- They are fun and pretty.
- They may make a woman more comfortable with the cup.
- Color can affect the perception of the cup.
- Dyes are generally considered safe and most are FDA approved.
Cons of Colored Cups
- They actually stain easier than their non-colored counterparts, possibly because the dye requires the use of chemical additives to bind the color pigments to the silicone and slightly lessens the integrity of the silicone so it breaks down a bit sooner than the clear, and that allows staining to occur.
- Some ladies also object to the product containing extra added chemicals that dyes and tints introduce, especially when it is not essential for successful product use.
I should mention, cups with dyes and tints will be softer than the same brand and material in a clear, un-tinted cup.
Incidentally, the recommended way to know when it is time to replace your cup is if it is badly yellowed and discolored.
Before we get into the period cup reviews, let’s go over some of the brands and list their most distinguished qualities, in general. This should help you differentiate between brands when trying to decide where to start when looking for a menstrual cup that is right for you.
- Shorter overall than other cups
- Lunette’s size 1 is softer than its size 2
- Slim low profile rims
- Larger slanted vent holes are easier to clean and less likely to leak
- Low profile rim for sensitive bladder or cramping
- Firmer than other cups
- Diva cups are slightly firmer than others, great for sports
- Diva cups are usually a bit longer, good for high cervix
- Diva Cups have measurement lines on the interior
- Medium firm
- Thicker rim, but still soft, good for sports and active women
- Easy to grip with a stem that does not stretch, easy to remove
- Shorter overall cup, 48mm for the small size, 51 mm for large
- Less Firm than other cups
- Both small and large cups are actually on the small side, compared to other cups
- No seams and low profile rim for bladder sensitivity and to minimize cramping
- Slanted vent holes, higher capacity
- Softer than other cups
- Unique ball shape means high capacity plus a short cup length
- Short cups and ring-shaped stems, overall shorter length
- Overall higher capacity – this cup is short and fat
- Shorter than many cups
- High capacity, small and large 32 ml and 42 ml respectively
- Softer, but slightly thicker rim
- One of the longer cups, good for high cervix
- One of the firmest cups, good for positioning and active ladies (although they offer a ‘soft’ model)
- More prominent rim, easy to position and fewer leaks
Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers)
How Does a Period Cup Work?
Period cups are flexible cups made of latex rubber or silicone. They shape in a manner that they catch and collect the blood flow instead of absorbing it like a pad or tampon.
Are Menstrual Cups Comfortable?
Yes. Period! (I used to feel a tampon more than a menstrual cup)
How to Insert and Remove a Menstrual Cup?
I had the same question when purchasing my very first menstrual cup – how do I put in a menstrual cup?
So, here’s a step by-by-step guide to help you insert and remove a menstrual cup:
Fold the silicone menstrual cup in a way that is comfortable for you. Most women start with the C-fold. However, you may have to try different folds before you finally understand which one is best for you.
Just like tampons, insert the cup into your vagina with a little tilt towards the back of your spine.
Once comfortably inserted at an angle that is as low as possible, make sure that the stem is also fully inside. The cup will now open producing a suction to ensure that there is no leakage.
How Do I Know if My Menstrual Cup is Open?
If you’re thinking how do I know if my menstrual cup is in right, use your index finger to test whether the cup has unfolded or not.
If need be, you can accordingly rotate or twist the cup from left to right. Just remember, it is something that you will learn with time, so you need not rush.
Personally, when I’ve inserted mine, I always put my index finger along one side of the menstrual cup (as far as I can, right under the rim, but not really touching the rim), and then do two actions simultaneously.
Firstly, put a bit of pressure where my finger is, then rotate the menstrual cup going along the vagina walls. Do this a couple of times. This will ensure the cup opens.
I do this till I feel that there is no big space between the vagina walls and the cup, and it’s easy to rotate the cup with no added pressure, that’s how you know it is open.
It is important that you really try to feel the menstrual cup. If there is relatively a big space between the cup and the vagina walls (on either side of the cup), then most likely the cup has partly opened and not yet made a full diameter suction to the vagina walls.
It has to be fully open for leaks not to occur!
For a picture, imagine a yoga ball. Imagine pressing on the ball with one finger, it feels firm and the shape goes to its original state when you stop pushing on the ball.
Now imagine a small hole in the yoga ball – it causes the air to go out and now when you press the ball, it doesn’t feel so firm and vacuumed anymore, rather it takes the position you are pushing it to be. It doesn’t jump back to its original state.
The most important benefit of a menstrual cup is that it can be used for long durations, sometimes even up to twelve hours.
I get a lot of questions from women asking ‘how long can you keep a menstrual cup in’, know that there is no one standard answer because it depends on an individual’s flow and cycle.
With time, you will be able to understand how often you need to clean the cup.
If it helps, I have a pretty heavy flow during the first 2 days. The first day, without a doubt, I would want to clean my cup every 4 hours. Just so I would feel comfortable that there are no leakages.
It ‘s the same amount I once did with tampons, only menstrual cups don’t dry out my vagina and it doesn’t irritate.
During the last days (4th to 6th day) I would be OK with inserting the menstrual cup in the morning before work and then changing it only back at home (that’s about 11 hours).
How do You Take a Menstrual Cup Out?
Remember to clean your hands before you pull the menstrual cup out using its stem.
The direction of the pull must be downwards until you reach the base of the cup. To release the suction, pinch the base and gently withdraw from your vagina.
Make sure that you do not panic while doing this since any kind of worry can strain your vagina or your hand movement causing irritation. Also, really try to exhale and relax the muscles, this will help A LOT to take out the cup.
Once the menstrual cup has been removed, empty its contents in the toilet and wash the menstrual cup.
If access to water is not easy, try using a tissue or reuse the same cup for now and then rinse it whenever it is next possible.
After you have successfully cleaned the menstrual cup, gently reinsert into your vagina as we talked about it above and you are all set for the next few hours.
How to Remove a Menstrual Cup Without Spilling?
Are menstrual cups messy? Yes, if you don’t pull it out correctly, you may end up spilling the blood leading to a mess.
Remember to keep yourself relaxed so that your muscles do not act up against you. Just carefully pinch and grab the cup so that you can release the suction and not have any unnecessary spills.
When I break the suction by pinching the base of the cup, I pull the cup straight down without any angles, meaning that you actually hold it as a regular cup with some liquid in it once it is fully out of your vagina (is it weird that I’m drinking a glass of wine while writing this?).
When you’ve managed to pull it out fully and are holding a cup that obeys all gravity laws, only then you start pouring slowly the contents.
Side note: if you keep it in for too long, for example, during first days when the flow is heavier, it will overflow and you will spill blood over your hands because the liquid has nowhere to go and it also obeys all gravity laws.
So clean your cup every 4-5 hours on the heavier days. Still, remember that you may have some blood on your hands as you are putting them in your vagina (which sometimes may seem like a massacre place)
Are Menstrual Cups Easier to Insert than Tampons?
Like every other woman, you might also have some worry about the insertion and level of comfort with menstrual cups.
Well, I’d like to tell you that menstrual cups are so much better than tampons for a number of reasons including the ease of putting it in.
Menstrual cups are made of silicone and can be folded in different ways to suit your comfort.
In fact, in comparison to tampons, they are extremely gentle and do not cause any kind of irritation. During insertion, their smooth surface ensures that there is no damage to sensitive skin, allergies, eczema or thrush.
How Much Blood Does a Menstrual Cup Hold?
Really depends on the model and brand. Read the reviews section for more info.
For example, my DivaCup can easily collect one full ounce – 30ml.
Can You Wear Menstrual Cups Overnight?
The duration for which a menstrual cup can be used without really worrying about changing or cleaning it depends on the flow you have.
If you generally have a heavy flow, you might have to clean the cup every four to six hours but usually, women have noticed that they can keep wearing the same menstrual cup overnight.
As I said previously, first days for me are the heaviest (not only the flow, I eat a lot as well.) so to not make my white sheets look like the flag of Japan, I use a menstrual cup and a pad (doesn’t matter what kind – reusable pads or not).
If I get a good 8 hours of sleep, I usually have a full cup and something on my pad also if I have a heavy flow. (Keep in mind I really have a heavy flow, pads on their own did not do it for me during nights AT ALL)
Do Menstrual Cups Stretch You Out?
That’s another interesting question women get anxious about. But hold on! A menstrual cup is made of latex and silicone and is soft enough to not cause any kind of excessive stretching.
It conforms to your body instead of your body conforming to it.
In fact, the important thing to keep in mind is that your vagina is extremely flexible during a period and so you are already taking care of the stretch you need to insert a menstrual cup.
Plus, women give childbirth (a human being!), one small cup can do no harm!
Can You Use a Menstrual Cup for Discharge?
Wait, can you wear a menstrual cup when not on period? Of course.
A lot of women consider wearing a menstrual cup for the entire month using it to manage discharge. There is no problem doing this except the fact that the cervix is not the only portion of the vagina that secretes discharge.
Vagina walls also do so and therefore, you would not be able to stop all the discharge with a menstrual cup.
But if we think about the fact no other method gives this opportunity, then menstrual cups just got cooler, right?
Pads can cause an unnecessary and irritable pad rash and tampons dry out your vagina if put in when there is nothing to absorb just your natural environment that keeps the pH normal (not to mention, there’s the added risk of TSS with tampons).
Can You Pee While Wearing a Menstrual Cup?
The menstrual cup is inserted into the vagina which has nothing to do with the hole that your body uses to urinate. So, there is no interference of any kind.
Another bonus point for menstrual cups vs tampons is the fact that cups don’t have a string that can get dirty while peeing (which tampons have).
How to Boil a Menstrual Cup? How Long to Boil a Menstrual Cup?
This is only needed at the end of your cycle.
Boil some water in an open pot and leave the menstrual cup in the pot for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Make sure that the pot is not left unattended. If the pot boiled dry, you could accidentally burn the cup requiring a replacement.
What Can I Use to Wash my Diva Cup or Any Other Cup for that Matter?
Once you are done with your monthly cycle, simply wash the DivaCup with DivaWash or warm water, or an intimate hygiene soap specifically meant for the vagina.
For more on cleaning the menstrual cup, read this article.
How to Sterilize Menstrual Cup Without Boiling?
Use a water-based, scented free soap with cold water to sterilize the menstrual cup. You could also rinse the cup with vinegar.
What to Do if I Can Feel My Menstrual Cup?
If you are new to using menstrual cups, you’re probably still figuring out how they need to be inserted and which brand is right for your body. Some brands make cups that are stiff while others make the ones that are soft.
Depending on the anatomy of the menstruator, the size, softness, and insertion of the period cup will differ.
So, follow these simple steps to avoid being uncomfortable:
- Before buying a menstrual cup read through a lot of reviews and guides.
- When you’ve chosen which brand you would like to try, go and do some more reading about that specific brand and its features.
- Buy the correct size.
- For the first few months wear a pad to be sure if you’ve inserted it correctly. If not, you will see it on the pad that the cup has not popped open fully.
- Simply try and fix it till it conforms to your body just as you’d like it to. After a few months, you will really get the hang of it and be a pro at inserting perfectly with the first try. Trust me!
How to Tell if the Menstrual Cup is Too Big?
There are a couple of factors you need to keep in mind to narrow down on the ideal size of a menstrual cup. These factors include your age, whether you have delivered a baby or not, your activity level, your cervix position, your flow, and the level of incontinence.
If you feel that your menstrual cup is annoying you and not letting you remain comfortable, chances are that you need to reconsider the size you are using.
Usually, if a cup is too big, it won’t open fully and/or may even slide out a bit. Really make sure that it has opened fully (as I talked about above).
Also, if you’re worrying that there is leakage and that’s why you think the cup is too big – remember, there may be some residue on the vagina walls that is lower than where the cups suction is, this will come out because it is not over the cup.
Simply clean it with a wet (intimate hygiene only!!!) wipe, see if that may help.
Where Should a Menstrual Cup Sit?
In other words, how far in should a menstrual cup go?
Tampons are generally inserted into the vagina, just where the cervix is located. In the case of menstrual cups, it must be as low as possible.
Insert it at an angle of 45 degrees till you have placed the cup inside with a little portion of the stem remaining outside for you to hold and pull it out.
Once you start putting your index finger inside of your vagina to check if the cup has opened properly, it will move a bit further up, making the stem not visible anymore, and sitting comfortably inside your vagina.
The first time I used my menstrual cup, I inserted it way too far up, when it was time to take it out, it took me a good 20 minutes in the bathroom to get it out. Totally panicked, almost started crying. But I didn’t know what I know NOW!
So, listen up ladies!
If the cup has gone too far up, just relax your muscles. You really have to feel your body. Close your eyes if that helps you visualize.
Then insert your index finger and thumb into your vagina and start working those abdominal and vaginal muscles by pushing. The cup WILL slide down once you push like this, you will then be able to grab the stem or loop to pull it down.
It isn’t as awful as it sounds. Really. I promise.
Can the Menstrual Cup be Used During Intercourse?
Menstrual cups don’t let you have the penetrative kind of sex.
The only cup that lets you have sex, while not making a flag of Japan on your sheets, is the Instead Softcup.
TOP 16 Menstrual Cup Reviews 2021
And now without further ado, let’s take a look a closer look at some of the different categories, and when and which brand to use better.
Best Menstrual Cups Overall
Best Menstrual Cup for Beginners
First time users should start with a firm cup which is easier to position and stays in place. While a firmer cup may be more noticeable or even uncomfortable, they are great for sports, leak less and position easily.
Once a beginner has the insertion down pat, if they find the firm cup uncomfortable they can try a softer cup. Their experience should help them position a softer cup with ease.
Lunette Cup Reviews
There had to be a specific sub-category for Lunette cup reviews, as they are just hugely searched for. And for good reason as they’re known for being soft and comfortable, which is great news if you’re sensitive and find other cups uncomfortable.
However, some gals have trouble with leaks when using softer cups. Remember, if a cup leaks it is either positioned incorrectly or it is not the right cup for your body.
If leaking is a consistent problem make sure the cup is getting a good seal. It is also a good idea to try another brand.
Many users rotate between an entire collection of cups to suit their needs. Don’t be discouraged if one cup does not work perfectly. The right fit is out there, and your technique will improve making for a better experience.
Best Menstrual Cup for Low Cervix
Best Period Cup Reviews for Heavy Flow
Some cups are better at handling heavy flow than others. Here are a few that stand out as being great for heavy flow days.
Best Menstrual Cups for Athletes and Active Women
Best Menstrual Cup for Women Who Have Given Birth Vaginally
Best Menstrual Cups for Women with Sensitive Bladder or Heavy Cramping
I hope these menstrual cup reviews and guide have helped point you in the right direction and that you find the best menstrual cup for you or your Goldilocks cup sooner rather than later.