Whether it was as an insensitive joke or out of a sincere need, a Brainiac reached out to your fair writer and product reviewer for a recommendation on the best menstrual cup. Granted, I have never used one of these devices and knew very little about them until I performed the research for this article and talked to a number of users. I should also point out that I have the unfortunate handicap of being a man.
Nonetheless, I will forego most intentional humor and tackle this subject with nothing but honesty, respect, dignity, and all of the maturity I can muster in the service of the greatest female of all: Mother Earth. In the end, I hope you will strongly consider choosing a menstrual cup for your periodic needs.
What Are Menstrual Cups?
Menstrual cups are small, flexible cups made of latex or silicone. Cups collect your Aunt Flo rather than absorbing it like a pad or tampon. You simply fold the cup up tightly and insert it just before your period starts. You should not feel a thing when it is used correctly.
It’s a lot like putting a birth control ring or diaphragm in place. Once inserted, the cup will spring open and rest against your vaginal walls. The best menstrual cups don’t leak. They have a tight seal, and the blood drips right into the cup.
There are disposable options, but I strongly recommend going reusable because that’s how you get the most benefits from the menstrual cup. There is a little stem that sticks out of the cup’s bottom. You release the seal by pulling the stem and pinching the base. Once out, empty the cup, wash it with water and soap, and put it back in.
After your cycle, use boiling water to sterilize your cup. Some cups can go in the dishwasher, but it varies by product so consult the user manual. There are also several menstrual cup wash cleaners out there, such as the Lunette Feelbetter Menstrual Cup Cleanser.
Why Should You Use One?
Here are just a couple reasons to utilize reusable menstrual cups:
Save the Environment
For around $40 (the cost of the cup set we’re recommending), you get a cup that will last you for up to a decade. Not only will this make for fewer tampons and pads in landfills, but it will make it less likely that your dog will run out of the bathroom with a used tampon during a dinner party.
According to the scientists at Diva Cup, the average person uses 20 tampons per cycle. That equals 240 tampons in a year. At the current lowest price of about 14 cents per tampon on Amazon, that equals a cost of $33.60 per year. That is just slightly less than the cost of the menstrual cup we recommend, which will last you for up to ten years. Which means, you will save more than $300 over the course of that decade, and that’s not even factoring in the time and transportation costs of going to buy tampons every couple days/months.
Cups Are Safe
Since there is a lower risk of the bacterial infection known as toxic shock syndrome, gynecologists say menstrual cups are safer than tampons. And, there is no chance of rash or chafing, unlike a pad. And, since your cup creates an airtight seal, you are also safe from your menstrual blood producing a stank when it’s exposed to the air.
They Last for 12 Hours
Depending on your flow, you need to change tampons every four to eight hours. Cups last for twelve hours. That means you can sleep in when you most need to. Forget about backup liners or pads. The reason menstrual cups last longer is because they hold more: up to an ounce of liquid, which beats the pants off of super-absorbent pads or tampons, which hold about half an ounce.
And, in what might be native advertising at worst and affiliate marketing at least, Slate even talks about how the menstrual cup is a win for feminism…and lazy people.
A Couple Warnings
Using the menstrual cup is not all roses. There are a few precautionary measures you must take. Before inserting your cup, WASH YOUR HANDS! Also, empty it two to three times daily. And, between uses, be sure to clean your cup well.
If you have an IUD and are experiencing a period, you can still use the cup. Previously, overcautious manufacturers expressed concern that the cup could cause the IUD to come dislodged, but there isn’t any evidence supporting this.
What to Look for in a Menstrual Cup
Not all menstrual cups fit all vaginas. This can make shopping for the right cup a challenge. In fact, you may not even know your vagina shape. And, your overall body size isn’t really an indicator of your vagina shape or size either. Unless you know otherwise, the general rule of thumb is that if you have given birth vaginally than a large is your best bet. Otherwise, consider a small. You might also check out this size calculator from Me Luna (the calculator said I need a medium or large.)
Your number one consideration when buying a menstrual cup should be comfort. You should not feel it as it sits in there, and it certainly should not hurt. Unfortunately, everything I’ve read said this might take some trial and error. Fortunately, if you decide to buy your cup on Amazon, they have a nice return policy…
The Best Menstrual Cup: LENA Menstrual Cups
After combing through the many user and expert reviews, we’ve chosen LENA Menstrual Cups as the best option on the market today. This is actually a set of two cups: one small and one large. The small is for beginners who have a light to normal flow. The small is best for learning on and can even be used by teenagers. The higher collection capacity of the large cup is ideal for users with a heavy flow or if you just need additional wear time. When choosing a cup, though, comfort is more important than capacity. Fortunately, the LENA Cup has both.
The LENA Cup is made in California of 100% US medical-grade silicone and dyes. It’s also FDA-registered, and in case you want to help the planet a little more, they use all post-consumer packaging (don’t worry: the cup itself is not post-consumer.) The cups are designed to last for up to 12 consecutive daytime or nighttime hours, and they come with an instruction manual and two cotton storage bags.
What Customers Are Saying about the LENA Menstrual Cups
Users of the LENA Menstrual Cups like to compare their monthly flows to the Red Wedding and Shark Week. I would never make such cheap jokes. But, the people who are raving most about this product are first-time users who get heavy flows. They liked that they no longer have to purchase pads and tampons, and they didn’t have to worry about changing them out every couple hours.
There were some commenters who mentioned they were on their third or fourth year of using their LENA Cup, and they have not noticed any degradation in the medical-grade silicone. The only negative comment I saw was that there might be slight leakage if you stay in one position for several hours and move suddenly. However, this came from a verified purchaser who still gave the cup five stars.
If you are interested in learning more about menstrual cups, I strongly recommend checking out the book-length review from Wirecutter. The LENA Cup was their “Runner-up” option because it feels great, is a breeze to clean, and the silicone is smooth and makes removal and insertion simple.
If there is someone in your life who cares about the environment, gets visits from Crampa, and may not be aware of menstrual cups, please share this article with them. And, if you need personal product help, please feel free to contact us.