#Health & Fitness

Replace Tampons and Pads with the 10 Best Menstrual Cups That Actually Work

by Daniela Galvez

Replace Tampons and Pads with the 10 Best Menstrual Cups That Actually Work
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Did you know that many conventional pads and tampons contain hazardous ingredients that can be harmful to the body? Not to mention they result in 3.2 million kilograms of waste every year. If you’re looking for a healthier and eco-friendly alternative to traditional period hygienic products, menstrual cups are the answer.

 

What exactly is a menstrual cup?

 

In short, a menstrual cup is a flexible cup-shaped vessel made of silicone or rubber that you wear inside your vagina while on your period. Unlike a tampon or pad, a menstrual cup collects your period blood until you’re ready to dump it out, typically holding way more liquid than the cotton alternatives. According to Dr. Renee Allen, an OBGYN from Atlanta, GA, a reusable menstrual cup can hold up to 1 ounce of fluid, which is almost twice the amount a super-plus tampon or pad can handle. Dr. Allen says you can even keep it in overnight, as long as you empty it out every 8-12 hours and rinse between uses.

 

Pros

 

The increased popularity of menstrual cups is largely due to their eco-friendliness and cost effectiveness. You’re not throwing away wrappers, applicators and cotton products each month (or more if you’re irregular), making them less wasteful than tampons and pads. And while the initial cost of one cup may range from $15-$40, Dr. Allen says menstrual cups can last up to 10 years, saving you a pretty penny over time.

 

Plus, menstrual cups require fewer trips to the bathroom throughout the day, compared to the recommended every 4-8 hours for tampons. They also don’t leak as much and aren’t scented or full of other strange chemicals like some feminine products.

 

Cons

 

Using a menstrual cup can be intimidating or a little hard to understand at first. The learning curve associated with using a menstrual cup requires you to get up close and personal with your vagina, which may be difficult or uncomfortable for younger girls or women who have never engaged in sexual activity.

 

There’s also the potentially messy emptying process, which has made many skeptic. To avoid this, empty the cup while hovering over a toilet close to a sink (at home is ideal) or even in the shower, so you have easy access to water for rinsing the cup and your hands after. Dr. Allen also recommends sterilizing the cup between cycles using boiling water and unscented soap. You can also clean your menstrual cup with a vinegar solution (1 part vinegar to 9 parts water) according to Dr. Sherry Ross, OBGYN and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period.

 

Though advertised as being safer than other alternatives, menstrual cups still pose a very slim risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, like all products that allow air to enter the vagina.

 

Should you use one?

 

Of course, everyone’s body is different, so deciding whether or not to use a menstrual cup really comes down to personal comfort and ease of use. Dr. Nicole Bullock, an OBGYN based in Abilene, Texas, says, “The vagina’s pretty elastic and forgiving. The differences between most models are pretty small, and it doesn’t have to be a perfect fit — it just has to fit comfortably.” Her two most important factors in determining which cup size to use are whether you’ve had a baby and your age range. The rest is up to research and trial and error.

 

Put a Cup in It offers a free quiz asking nine questions about factors like age, whether you’ve had children, your activity level, and cervix to help you find your cup match made in heaven.

 

Both Dr. Allen and Dr. Sherry say you are safe to wear a cup with an IUD. 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.” If you’re at all worried that your cup may interfere with your IUD, talk with your gyno just to be safe.

 

From menstrual cups that offer leak-free protection for those with heavy flow to ones that provide comfort for first-time users, we rounded up the best menstrual cups that’ll inspire you to ditch tampons and pads forever. Are you ready to jump on the menstrual cup bandwagon? Scroll through to see which top menstrual cup would work best for your body and lifestyle.

 

 

woman's hand holding a pink menstrual cup

 

1 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

Best for Beginners:

Lena Menstrual Cup

Price:$24.90See Reviews

If you're thinking of ditching your traditional period products for menstrual cups, Lena is a great place to start. Making the switch has never been easier with this comfortable and easy to use bell-shaped cup that was awarded the top spot for beginners. Available in two sizes — small and large — Lena sits comfortably in your vagina for leak-free protection. To help you begin your menstrual cup journey, Lena has how-to-videos and guides that walk you through inserting and removing your cup.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“"I completely and totally love this thing! This is my first and only Menstrual cup. Before I purchased it I did a TON of research on all the different brands and kinds out there. A lot of the reviews i watched on youtube recommended this one...The company also has really good instruction that come with the cup as well as they send you a great email before it arrives with beginners tips!"”

2 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

Best for Heavy Flow:

Lunette Reusable Model 2

Price:$28.96See Reviews

Forget about changing your tampon and pad every 1 or 2 hours! If you're someone who experiences heavy menstrual bleeding and have trouble managing your flow, Lunette is here to help. Designed with heavy periods in mind, this zero-waste alternative to tampons offers up to 12 hours of leak and odor-free protection for a better period experience. Gone are the days of constant bathroom runs, finally!

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“"I wish I would've discovered this cup years ago! I've always had heavy periods. To go to bed I'd have to wear like five pads (no exaggeration) around my underwear and a towel under me to make sure I didn't leak while I slept. It was freeing to be able to sleep with my cup in, not have leaks and not have to worry about TSS!..No bad odors sneaked out, no underwear liners/pads needed and best of all, I only had to change 2 or 3 times in a day!"”

3 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

Best Affordable Pick:

Blossom Menstrual Cup

Price:$11.95See Reviews

Want to see what all the buzz surrounding menstrual cups is about without spending a lot of money? Shop an affordable pick like Blossom Menstrual Cup. For less than your monthly Netflix subscription, you can reduce your flow and menstrual cramps with this natural and BPA-free cup sold on Amazon. While most women approximately use 20 tampons per cycle, you'll only need one cup during your menstrual period. After all, less tampons equals more money in your pocket.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“"I have the urge to tell every woman on earth how amazing this product is. If you're a first timer and are on the fence about it, I would recommend this brand since it's more affordable than the Diva Cup but is still great quality. Took me a few tries to get the hang of it, like how you figure out the perfect angle of inserting a tampon. Couldn't even feel it and NO LEAKS!"”

4 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

Best Value Pack:

Dutchess Cup

Price:$15.99See Reviews

Ready to start your menstrual cup journey with your friend? This value pack has everything you guys need to get you started! Recommended for women who are under 25 and have not given birth, this two-pack offers you (and a friend or roommate!) leak-free protection all period long. After all, best friends that menstrual cup together, stay together.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“"I switched over to a menstrual cup a few years ago and have never looked back. I previously used the Lena brand, and love it, but there are so many more options now, I decided to shop around. This two pack is wonderful. I like the cups just as well as my previous Lena, but I get two for less than I paid for one of the other."”

5 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

Best for Comfort:

Saalt Menstrual Cup

Price:$28.99See Reviews

Menstrual cups come in all shapes, sizes, and comfort. Therefore, to make your menstrual cup experience as comfortable as possible, opt for a soft version like the Saalt Menstrual Cup. This flexible bell-shaped cup collects as much as four tampons with no discomfort. Unlike tampons, which can cause vaginal dryness, Saalt's cups are made with medical grade silicone that maintain your unique PH and won't dry you out. For every menstrual cup purchase, Saalt provides period care and educational opportunities to women and young girls in need.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“"Love it! I have been a diva cup user for several years now and loved it, but if possible, I love the Saalt cup even more! It is more comfortable, doesn't cause any cramping, and holds more than the diva cup."”

6 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

Best for Travel:

Intimina Lily Cup Compact

Price:$23.97See Reviews

Nothing is worse than getting your period on-the-go. Rather than keeping back up pads and tampons in your handbag, pack a compact menstrual cup like Intimina Lily Cup. This collapsible cup folds flat in a compact case that easily fits in your bag and expands to its full size when needed. Made with a thin medical-grade silicone, this cup does not alter with the pH and flora of the vagina.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“"This product has literally changed my life. I have less cramping, less fear of being in public places for too long without a bathroom, less doctors visits. The fact that it's collapsable means I can store it in a clutch or pocket with no issues."”

7 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

Best for Low Cervix:

FemmyCycle Menstrual Cup Spill-Proof

Price:$32.50See Reviews

If you're someone with a lower-than-average-cervix, it's important to choose a menstrual cup that is shorter. But, unlike other short cups in the market that offer less capacity, FemmyCycle Spill-Proof Menstrual Cup is rounded to give you the full 12 hours of protection. Unsure if you have a low cervix? FemmyCycle recommends locating your cervix with your fingers to find out. If you can insert your finger up to your second knuckle, this low cervix model works for you.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“"The Diva Cup was too long for me, I couldn't get it in properly without having the stem sticking out some, and if I pushed it up further so the stem wasn't a problem, I'd end up having it leaking a lot and hardly anything in the cup...This cup is a thinner silicone, it is VERY flexible. It doesn't have the small suction holes as many others do."”

8 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

Best for High Cervix:

Intimina Lily Cup

Price:$23.96See Reviews

Using regular-sized menstrual cups when you have a higher cervix can be challenging, especially when removing it. That's why longer menstrual cups such as the Intimina Lily are a better option because the extra length allows you to reach with less difficulties to change out your cup with ease. The unique slanted edge fits the body's natural curve for spill-proof protection for up to 12 hours.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“"I quickly did research and learned that my cervix tends to sit high, even during my cycle. I saw that the Lily cup is one of the longer cups on the market. I liked the idea of a longer cup filling my vaginal canal and sitting more comfortably to me than a shorter cup. This cup is best suited for higher cervixes or people who would prefer a longer cup."”

9 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

Best Disposable:

Softcup Disposable Menstrual Discs

Price:$10.99See Reviews

Let's face it: Menstrual cups can get really messy. From emptying the menstrual blood collected to cleansing your cup in the sink with each use, it's easy to feel discouraged about using this reusable alternative. Luckily, there are disposable menstrual cup like these babies from Softcup that offer leak-free protection without the hassle of rinsing the cup daily. The cup holds up to five tampons worth of fluid and is universally sized to fit all women and girls.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“Will never use a tampon again. 100% hands down cleaner that wearing a tampon, does not leak & lasts 12 hours! With that said, I def recommend buying some gloves like they use at the doctor because it will help with clean up immensely!”

10 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

Best-Selling: 

DivaCup

Price:$29.97See Reviews

With over 7,000 five-star reviews, DivaCup is the top selling menstrual cup on Amazon. The cup itself is made 100% health-safe silicone with no latex to maintain a balanced pH. The brand carries three different models — model 0, 1 and 2 — to best fit different ages and menstrual needs.

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“"I got the Diva Cup about four months ago. I'd been seeing stuff online about menstrual cups and how they were the holy grail of feminine products...I think the Diva Cup is awesome and works fine so long as you allow yourself the time to get the hang of getting it in right. It might be a good idea to use it on your days off at first in case you do mess up and get leaks."”