Don’t make it complicated
If you’re shopping for your first menstrual cup, there’s no need to overthink it. While there are differences between the menstrual cups (and we make much of them on this site), all cups offer the same basic benefits. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a list of the most popular menstrual cups.
Worry about fit first
The most important aspect of a good menstrual cup is that it fits your individual body well. If it’s too large, it may be hard to insert, fail to open properly, or be uncomfortable. If it’s too small, it may not form a seal and it may leak. Within the brand you’ve chosen, follow their guidelines for choosing the correct size. Generally, most advise to choose the smaller size if you’re under 30 and haven’t given birth but you should use your own judgement.
In particular, if you know you have a particular size or placement of uterus, you may want to consider a menstrual cup that has more sizing options– you may need a shorter cup regardless of which diameter is right for you. Try the Me Luna or the FemmyCycle.
Firmness plays a big role in comfort (and ease of insertion)
Menstrual cups come in a range of firmnesses. The thickness (or thinness) of the cup plays a big role in how comfortable it will be to wear, how easy it will be to pop open, and how likely it will be to move– and hence, leak.
The folk wisdom is that softer cups are more comfortable but sometimes harder to insert and more likely to leak. Most people do not find firmer cups to be significantly more noticable, so if in doubt, start with a firmer cup and get the hang of it first. If the cup doesn’t specifically mention how firm it is, the price may be an indicator. The cheaper cups can be thinner which gives them a softer feel.
Ease of insertion and removal is important for beginners
Tampon users will probably find the experience of inserting a menstrual cup to be relatively familiar. If you aren’t confident with the process (or shy away from tampons because you find them difficult to use), you may want to try a menstrual cup that has paid special attention to making insertion easy.
Different cups have taken different approaches. The Intima Lily, for instance, is the only menstrual cup that rolls up as thin as a tampon. Though it has the same size when opened, the small size for insertion can make it easier for some. The FemmyCycle does not need to open all the way in order to work. It conforms to the size and shape of your vagina while still retaining its ability to collect your flow. The Amycup comes with an applicator and lubricant. The applicator, which can be used for both insertion and removal, keeps your hands clean. The lubricant makes the process of insertion painfree.
The removal process seems straightforward, but if you are worried about the cup “disappearing” inside you may want to select a cup with a longer stem. Ridges or grips on the stem and bottom of the cup will help you grasp the cup. Airholes will help break the suction with the inside of your vagina.
Clumsy? Try a spill-proof cup
One of the big risks with menstrual cups is that you’ll spill the contents if you don’t remove them carefully. There are two cups that have tried to address this problem by introducing a wider lip around the rim that will prevent the liquid on the inside from going anywhere (though I can only imagine it makes it more difficult to clean at the same time). The first is the Intima Lily, which has a rather shallow lip. In contrast, the second, the FemmyCycle takes a much more agressive approach. The lip of that cup extends all the way to the interior, making it possible in theory to invert the cup completely without having any liquid leak.
Consider whether the cup is easy to clean
There are a number of cup features that can be difficult to clean. Any grooves, including measuring lines, can be difficult to get fully clean. Airholes that are too small can clog, rendering them useless, and requiring a needle to reopen. Hollow stems can be impossible to get inside of to clean completely.