The 9 Best Menstrual Cups Out There
By Carina Hsieh | Originally Published November 1, 2017 on Cosmopolitan | Featuring Dr. Sherry Ross
A menstrual cup – a small rubbery cup you insert into your vagina like a tampon — is an environmentally friendly tampon-alternative that is growing in popularity. Because cups don’t soak up period blood, but instead hold it until you’re ready to dump it out, they can store way more liquid. As Dr. Renee Allen, an OBGYN from Atlanta, GA, explains: menstrual cups can usually hold 1 ounce of fluid, which is around twice the amount a super-absorbent tampon or pad could hold. Because of this, they’re often advertised as wearable for a maximum of up to 12 hours inside your body. Dr. Allen says that you should be able to wear menstrual cups overnight, as long as you change it every 8-12 hours.
If you’ve always wanted to try a menstrual cup but don’t know where to start! Have no fear!
First, a few background things: Dr. Allen, says these cups can last up to 10 years. So it’s not a lifetime investment of $40, you still gotta throw it out at some point. As for cleaning, Dr. Allen recommends sterilizing the cup between cycles using boiling water. Dr. Sherry Ross, OBGYN and author of ‘She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period,’ recommends using warm water and unscented soap. Dr. Sherry says you can also use a vinegar solution (1 part vinegar, 9 parts water) to clean your cup as well.
Both Dr. Allen and Dr. Sherry say the cups are safe to wear with IUDs. Dr. Allen says, “Recent studies that have looked at IUD expulsion and menstrual cup use have been reassuring in that they have found no increase in the IUD expulsion rate between pads, tampons, and menstrual cups.” That being said, if you still worry your cup might interfere with your IUD, talk with your OBGYN just to be safe.
1. If You’re a Beginner — Lena Cup or Lunette Cup
Kim Rosas and Amanda Hearn, who run the menstrual cup blog putacupinit.com, recommend these two best for beginners. These two models are average enough in firmness and length enough to work for most people. However, while an average cup might ~get the job done~, they still recommend taking into consideration your body and flow to find the cup that’s perfect for you. Dr. Sherry also likes the Lunette cup.
2. If You’re a Beginner With a Heavy Flow — Super Jennie
Kim and Amanda recommend the Super Jennie for those with heavier flows. The smaller Super Jennie holds 32 ml while the large holds 41.6 ml. By comparison, both sizes of the Diva Cup (which I’m using here as the standard just because it’s the most widely available, mainstream version) only hold 30 ml.
3. If You Want Something You Can Take on the Go — Lily Cup Compact
Is there anything worse than getting surprised by your period, like, a DAY earlier than it’s supposed to arrive? And then you have to use the scary, archaic cardboard tampons from a vending machine or sit in a makeshift toilet paper diaper all day. Sure, menstrual cups are all well and good but if you don’t want to sacrifice precious tote bag real estate for a silicone cup “just in case,” try the Lily Cup. The handy dandy collapsible cup folds into an included case that’s smaller than a foundation compact so you’re always covered.
4. If You Don’t Know What Size You Are — Fun Cup Explore Kit
Most menstrual cups come in two sizes. One for women younger than 30 who haven’t given birth, and a larger size for women older than 30 or have given birth. If you aren’t sure where you’d fall on that spectrum, you can try the Fun Cup Explore Kit. The kit contains one of each size, so you can take both for a test drive and decide in the comfort of your own home. There’s also no overly feminine packaging so it’s gender neutral.
5. If You Wanna Go Out and Buy One Right Now — Diva Cup
Probably the most widely available menstrual cup, you can pick a Diva Cup up at your local drugstore or Walmart. The tried and true Diva Cup is made of hypoallergenic silicone and comes with a special bag for storage. Dr. Sherry also likes these. The Diva Cup is only available in the clear color, which will discolor with time though, so be aware!
6. If You Still Want Something Disposable — Soft Cup
The Instead brand Softcup isn’t quite a menstrual cup, but it’s not a tampon either. If you want to try out menstrual cups but are uneasy with the whole washing-it-out-and-reusing part, try the Softcup. It’s disposable, and instead of being a silicone cup, it’s more like a VERY sturdy ziploc bag with a flexible rim (if that makes sense?) There’s also no stem to pull at for removal. Instead, you hook one end of the rim and pull it out. You can also have mess-free period sex with a Softcup inside you (something you can’t do with regular menstrual cups, and definitely not tampons) so, bonus! Dr. Allen recommends these disposable cups as a good option for women on the go, and says to wear them for four hours, and throw away. Basically like a tampon.
7. If You Want a Budget Menstrual Cup — R Cup
The R Cup is less than $10 which makes it the easy choice for buyers who might not want to throw down $40 on something they might not like right away. Made of medical grade silicone and available in several fun colors, this is a great entry-level menstrual cup option. Be aware though: the silicone is very flexible, which can help with insertion, but also make removal potentially messy.
8. If You Have a Low Cervix — FemmyCycle Low Cervix Cup
If you have a lower cervix than most, and the sight of these long menstrual cups is making you dizzy, try the FemmyCycle. The unique, bulb-shaped cup is perfect for accommodating women who have lower cervixes. There’s also a loop design to make removal a breeze, and the cup has a specially designed lip to keep the contents from spilling out during removal. If you don’t have a low cervix, but the loop handle and no-spill design are calling your name — have no fear, there’s also a regular-sized FemmyCycle for you.
9. If You’re Not Into the Idea of Silicone — The Keeper Menstrual Cup
If you’re looking for a cup that isn’t made of silicone, try the Keeper Menstrual Cup, which is made of natural gum (latex). Dr. Sherry also recommends this one. One thing to be aware of: with this brand, size B means “before birth”, and is the smaller size. It’s not like other brands where A indicates the smaller size, so double check before hitting check out!