Finding the right can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. Should you opt for a large or small cup, firm or soft? And what about the shape?
Here’s a short buyer’s guide that’ll provide you with a ton of tips and tricks and help you make the right decision/find the best period cup for you.
What’s the Purpose of a Menstrual Cup?
A menstrual cup is a small, flexible cup made of silicone or rubber that you insert into your vagina to collect menstrual blood. Unlike tampons, a menstrual cup doesn’t absorb blood. It collects it.
How to Insert a Menstrual Cup?
To insert a menstrual cup properly, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands.
- Wet the rim of the cup with water.
- Fold the cup in half (it should create a tight U or C shape, and the rim should be facing up).
- Insert the cup into your vagina, a few inches below the cervix.
- Once you insert the cup, you’ll need to rotate it to seal it.
To take a menstrual cup out:
- Wash your hands.
- Gently pull the stem of the cup.
- Grab the base of the cup and gently squeeze it to break the seal.
- Gently tug down to remove the cup.
- Empty the cup into the toilet.
Choosing the Right Size
As you can see from our menstrual cup reviews, period cups come in different sizes.
The right size for you will largely depend on:
There are typically two sizes — large and small.
Larger sizes are more suitable for:
- Women who have given birth vaginally
- Women with a heavy flow
- Women with high cervixes
Smaller sizes are more suitable for:
- Women who have never given birth
- Women with low cervixes
- Women with a light flow
Bell-Shaped or V-Shaped Cups?
Menstrual cups come in two different shapes — bell shape and V-shape.
- Bell-shaped cups are typically shorter than V-shaped cups. Due to their round base and body, they’re suitable for women with medium and low cervixes.
- V-shaped cups are typically longer than bell-shaped cups. They have a slender body that narrows down at the base. They usually feature an upper rim and a secondary rim. Since this is a long menstrual cup, it’s perfect for people with medium and high cervixes.
Menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicone, natural rubber (latex), or thermoplastic elastomers (TPE).
Medical-grade silicone doesn’t contain any dyes or BPA. It’s a safe and eco-friendly alternative to tampons and pads and can be worn for up to 12 hours.
Tip — If you’re allergic to latex, you should avoid rubber and opt for a silicone cup instead.
The next thing you need to pay attention to when looking for the best menstrual cups is firmness. The cup’s firmness will affect the ease of insertion and whether you’ll be able to feel the cup while wearing it. In general, firmer cups are easier to use since they automatically open once inserted, while softer cups may not open as easily and could lead to more leaks.
Softer cups are a better option for those with sensitive bladders and those suffering from severe menstrual pain. However, if you’re an athlete with strong vaginal muscles, you should use firmer cups.
Benefits of Menstrual Cups
There are several benefits of using menstrual cups:
- They typically don’t cause leaks — When inserted correctly, menstrual cups form a seal with your vaginal walls, and this prevents leaking.
- They’re cost-effective — With proper care, reusable cups can last up to 10 years, so you’ll save money in the long run.
- They’re eco-friendly — Menstrual cups don’t generate waste like tampons and pads.
- They can be worn longer than tampons — Most menstrual cups can hold up to one ounce of menstrual fluid. They can also be worn for up to 12 hours before they need to be emptied.
Menstrual Cup vs Tampons
Are period cups better than tampons?
Yes! Period cups are better than tampons.
First, they can hold up to 1 oz (about 30 ml) of period blood, whereas a normal-sized tampon holds only 5 ml of blood.
Secondly, period cups are more environmentally friendly. Tampons and pads contain plastic and other synthetic materials that can take hundreds of years to break down. Period cups are typically made of silicone, which is a much more sustainable material. Not to mention how many sanitary pads are thrown away during just one menstrual cycle.
And lastly, menstrual cups are more convenient. Tampons need to be changed every few hours, while a period cup can last up to 12 hours.