Having a period is part of a lot of our monthly lives. No matter how unwelcome Aunt Flo is, we just have to deal with her whether we like her or not. We are fortunate to have many options available these days for period hygiene.
The obvious question then arises: how does half the population of the world decide which product is suitable for them? Of course, there are a few to be taken under consideration before trying to switch to a new menstrual hygiene product.
The most important factor to keep in mind is the general level of activity. If you find yourself running around all day or participating in strenuous physical activity regularly and your period products just slow you down, then you may need to switch to a new one.
In addition to the ease of use, cost, and sustainability, meaning if it is reusable or not, along with how long one can wear it before needing to change are a few important factors to keep in mind.
These are the most commonly used menstrual hygiene products that work by sticking to your undergarments and absorbing the flowing blood. Available in many varieties of shapes and levels of absorbency, they must be disposed of by putting in a bin and never flushing down the toilet.
Based on the number of pads, type, and brand, they can cost anything between 2 and 8 USD per pack. They are easily available but not too good for the environment.
Reusable pads made of cotton or bamboo can be a steep cost initially but are good for the environment as you can use them again.
These are small pieces of cotton and rayon attached with a piece of string that is pushed inside the vaginal canal to soak up menstrual blood and are removed by pulling on the string.
Small and discrete, these can cost up to 4-8 USD while being easy to use and even allow you to go swimming safely.
Tampons are associated with a risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, which is a bacterial infection that can cause heavy damage to vital organs.
You are advised to use the lowest absorbency possible for you and change the tampon at least every 8 hours, and never sleep with a tampon. Tampons should also be disposed of rolled in toilet paper in the bin.
Not all parts of Tampons are biodegradable. They can end up drying the insides of the vagina because of absorbing all liquids, leading to itching, discomfort, and infections.
Available in the market since 2015 a menstrual disc is very close to a menstrual cup. It works by collecting the blood in a soft tractable bag or cup.
To insert, fold the disc in half and push it up inside the vagina, similar to a diaphragm or vaginal ring.
Menstrual discs do not rest in the vaginal canal but at the base of the cervix. They can also be worn during intercourse, making them the only period product safe to be used during sex.
There is no spillage nor drying of the vagina, making them a good choice for exercising. These are not sustainable products as you may use up to 8 disks per period depending on your flow and a pack can cost anything from 10-20 USD.
One of the most sustainable products meant for collecting menstrual blood in a cup, menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicone.
The cup is supposed to be folded to become smaller and easier for insertion resting at the base of the vaginal canal by creating a seal between the rim and vaginal canal.
Since the blood is collected in the cup, you can wear it for up to 12 hours and pinch the cup’s base to remove the seal. Take the cup out to rinse and insert it back again.
One menstrual cup costs 13- 25 USD, lasts many years, and ends up saving a lot of money.
As the name suggests, these are underwear that you wear during your period to let the blood flow and be absorbed by the fabric. Made of multiple layers of microfiber polyester, these period-proof panties are designed to keep the moisture from leaking onto your clothes. After having used any other period product, these period panties can take a little time to get used to as you have to trust them not to cause any leakage. Ranging from 24 to 65 USD per pair, these panties can be left overnight to soak and washed normally to use again and can last up to 2 years when cared for properly.
Now that you have familiarized yourself with all the options available for your period hygiene, find out why women find menstrual cups as the best option of all. More and more women are choosing a menstrual cup and deciding never to go back to their earlier menstrual hygiene products, here is why:
Why switch to a menstrual cup?
If you are still undecided about using a menstrual cup, then read on for not one but 6 Reasons to help you see the advantages of menstrual cups.
Made of medical-grade silicone and latex rubber, with proper care and sterilization, a single menstrual cup can last many years. You do not need to buy another cup unless it does not fit you or does not seal properly.
No odor or Rashes
Since the menstrual blood collects in a cup and does not interact with the environment which usually has bacteria that breeds a foul smell, it does not cause any odor. There is no period of blood soaking the panties like pads and that’s why no rashes occur.
No chemicals or toxins
Tampons and Pads usually contain a lot of harmful chemicals such as bleaching agents, artificial fragrances, and toxins like Dioxins or Furans that raise a possible risk for major health issues. The absorbing nature of the tampons tends to soak on all moisture inside the vagina as well, which can lead to infections or irritations. Menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicone which simply collects the menstrual blood and does not affect the surrounding area, making them safe for use.
No restriction for activity
You can wear a menstrual cup throughout your day as well as during a workout without feeling any restriction or discomfort. Depending on your flow, you can monitor when you typically need to empty the cup, but most women found themselves comfortable wearing the cup for 12 hours. A particular kind of flat cup can also allow you to have period sex without any irritation for you or your partner.
Menstrual cups are meant to be used repeatedly and thus cutting down the use of pads or tampons which end up contributing to a lot of non-recyclable waste. A single menstrual cup can last for many years, which contributes to lesser waste in landfills.
Saves your money
Buying one menstrual cup can be a one-time investment, cutting down the cost of buying tampons or pads every month. All that money goes into saving, ultimately helping you move towards an affordable period experience.
Sterilize your menstrual cup by boiling in hot water for 5-7 minutes
Wash your hands properly and fold the cup to insert inside the vaginal canal. Apply some water-based lube on the rim of the cup to facilitate insertion. There are many ways to fold the cup and can take a few times to find the one that suits you best. You may even refer to the information pamphlet that usually comes with the cup or some videos online for better understanding. You may even wear the cup without worrying about leaks while you sleep.
When you insert it into the vagina, let the cup open and form a seal against the vagina at the base of the vaginal canal. You can try to rotate the cup gently to ensure it has sealed properly. If you feel any discomfort, then try inserting again. You can go up to 12 hours without having to change or emptying the cup, but make sure you fine-tune the process according to your flow. If the stem of the cup seems to be poking or causing discomfort, then you can trim it off. Try a different size or brand in case you feel the cup isn’t right for you.
For the next emptying of the cup, start again by washing your hands and remove the cup by gently pressing at the base of the cup to release the seal and safely remove the cup sitting over the toilet bowl or in the shower. Flush the contents of the cup and rinse it with water, and wipe it clean each time you insert it inside again. Please use the water-based lubricant according to your discretion.
At the end of your period, sterilize the cup again and store it in the box or pouch meant for the cup. The brightly colored cups may show some discoloration over a period of time, and users suggest that this is completely normal to happen, no matter how much you clean it.
We know the importance of your hard-earned money and even harder to spare time. Especially while shopping, we understand that it’s only natural to be overwhelmed with choices when it comes to buying literally anything these days. This inspires us to go through extensive research and assess all the available options in terms of any product or idea, so that you don’t have to. Along with the required research, we sift through the all-encompassing options, feedback and generous reviews left by users to compile the best of menstrual cups for you.
- Made free of plastic phthalates, this is medical-grade silicone that is hypoallergenic and biocompatible, made to collect your period blood.
- Lena Cup is the most commonly used cup suitable for anybody regardless of their activity level, reproductive history, or physique. If you are a first-time user, it is suggested that you choose a small size regardless of how much your flow is.
- The large size of this cup is suitable for experienced users and the ones with heavy flow. Even the packaging for the product is completely recyclable and made of chlorine-free vegetable-based inks.
- Many users having low cervix found this product fitting them perfectly and some even reported having surprisingly lesser cramps after starting to use this kind of menstrual cup.
- The unique ergonomic bell-shaped design is suitable for most users and after initially getting used to it, this is the preferred cup by most of the users. The stem is usually helpful in locating or removing the cup, but if it sticks out of your body or feels uncomfortable, then it can be trimmed or cut off.
- This is a unique product that is worn inside that is not linked to Toxic shock syndrome. Unlike all other menstrual hygiene products, soft discs are the only product that is literally one size that fits all.
- These are suitable to be worn during your period for 12 hours of all levels of activity, sleeping, and intercourse without any leak or discomfort for you or your partner. Of course, it goes without saying that it does not help you against STIs or STDs so use your contraceptive at some time again and your discretion.
- The brand claims to hold the blood that is equivalent to 5 super-absorbent tampons and is suitable for light or heavy periods with equal efficiency.
- Soft discs are disposable products that come in separate disposable bags. Made of medical-grade polymers, these are silicone-free hypoallergenic materials that are safe to be used for up to 12 hours at a time.
- It sits on the base of the cervix, and you are advised to make sure the front end of the disc is tucked under your pelvic bone.
- Popular for being a product meant for experienced users and mothers who have given birth vaginally. For anyone ready to be messy, getting some blood on your hands, and comfortable about touching oneself, this is one of the best products for your periods ever.
- Safe for your vaginal and environmental health as well, menstrual cups are a great sustainable alternative to tampons, pads, or discs.
- The diva cup 2 is meant for use during heavy periods without having to worry about leaks while sleeping or exercising.
- While the Diva cup 1 is a variant meant for women under thirty who have not given vaginal birth and model 0 is for youngsters and people who have no prior sexual experience. Be patient while you allow yourself to adjust to it.
- Menstrual cups are not one size fits all and that is why you can try to find your perfect fit compatible with your body type.
- Over time, you may notice some discoloration, as reported by users, but that does not affect the efficacy of the product.
- Allowing you a comfortable period without any irritation, FLEX menstrual discs can hold their contents for up to 12 hours without any spills, saving you a trip to the public or office toilet to change tampons.
- Made from vegan, medical-grade materials that are safe to use inside the body. FDA registered, this product is made free from phthalate and natural latex.
- These are the only disposable menstrual hygiene products that can last up to 12 hours without any problems or leakage.
- It cannot be felt inside your body at all, making it suitable for a variety of activities during periods, including intercourse.
- Refer to the instruction pamphlet or videos online before wearing it for the first time.
Some users reported the part that catches and holds blood is flimsy and breaks while removing the cup.
- Made of BPA and latex-free medical grade silicone, the Dutchess cup comes in a packing of two menstrual cups out of which you can carry one and leave one at home, replacing traditional methods of period hygiene.
- It comes in two convenient sizes A and B. The size A is meant for experienced users who have a higher cervix, have given vaginal birth, or usually have a heavy flow. Size B is suitable for women who have not given birth or have had a c section with a lower cervix.
- You end up saving money when one set of cups lasts you ten years without needing any alternative period product. Not only economical, you make a choice that is not only safer than tampons or pads for your body, but at the same time is much more eco-friendly.
- The cup is reported to be soft for most users. Don’t forget, if it hurts or feels uncomfortable in any way, then either it’s not your size or you haven’t put it incorrectly.
Try the Pixie 100% satisfaction guarantee if you are not happy with any of their products.
- For your turn at menstrual freedom, the Pixie Cup tends to be firm, but many users found it extremely comfortable and fitting for their preferences. Even though it is supposed to be more firm than most products, it is still considered soft to be used as a menstrual hygiene product.
- The cup is available in three sizes of small, large, and extra-large which is differentiated on an increasing level of menstrual flow. So the smaller size is suitable for beginners or people with light or normal flow.
- The extra-large cup can comfortably hold up to 35 ml of blood and be better suited for mothers who have given birth through their vagina or women who have a very heavy flow. Similarly, the large cup can hold up to 30 ml of blood and the small one goes up to 25ml.
- For every cup you buy, Pixie provides a cup for a woman in need with an intention of handling period poverty. A lot of users also appreciate the excellent customer service, helping you find all answers to your questions.
- Claiming to hold 76 ml of blood, this is a reusable menstrual disk. It is flat and 76 mm in diameter.
- A flat fit menstrual cup that can be reused is perfect for those who wish to switch from soft disks to sustainable products.
- The biggest feature of the Ziggy cup is the fact that it is the only reusable product that can be worn during intercourse without any problems to you or your partner. Most Menstrual products are not suitable for period sex and can become considerably messy if you tried to remove them for the moment. This product scores the best marks for being perfect for period sex.
- Comes with a custom-made case to carry your cup at your discretion.
- The disk has a front and a backside. Users advised proper placement of the disk is at the base of the cervix and not in the vaginal canal, the experience of which can vary from person to person.
- A lot of users found it extremely fitting for their body and others found it too big or noticed light leakage on heavy days.
- If you have been using menstrual cups for quite some time now, and you need a super soft material for your menstrual cup, then Saalt has the soft menstrual cup for you.
- These are cruelty-free products that are safe and comfortable for you to use for years without having to worry about buying a new one.
- Since all bodies are different, always keep room for some hit and trial before you arrive at your most comfortable product. Saalt menstrual cups have been reported by most of its users as the most comfortable and soft cup that they had ever tried.
- The cup is suitable for low cervixes and does not cause any leaks even after 12 hours after insertion. But depending on your flow, you can moderate your changing or emptying cup schedule accordingly.
- With each purchase, Saalt provides better period care and education to the girls in need.
28.95 USD for a set of 2
- For those people who have been looking for a sustainable eco-friendly option for their favorite menstrual discs, this is an excellent option. 1 pack of MOONTHLIES Menstrual discs comes with a combo of one large and one small menstrual disc.
- With the flat base wider design, this is a product that is easy to insert, remove, and clean.
- The menstrual disc sits right under the cervix which is different from a menstrual cup which is placed at the end of the vaginal canal, the best product can be a little different to insert than your usual menstrual cup
- There are no limitations to any physical activity that you cannot do while you are using a menstrual disc, including intercourse.
- Since the height of the cervix can change in the same cycle from high to low, two sizes of menstrual discs ensure you have a cup that fits at all times.
- If you have searched for a suitable menstrual cup for your body type, you may have come across a Lily cup and been intrigued by its unique design and shape of the cup.
- Also, available in two sizes A and B where A is more suitable for those who have not given birth or have had a c section. The women who have had a natural vaginal birth or those who have a weaker pelvic floor are suggested to use size B.
- Unlike tampons, menstrual cups do not absorb the blood, rather merely collect it at the base of your vagina. The occurrence of irritations or orders associated with the menstrual cycle is reduced to minimal, keeping you fresh and comfortable.
- This menstrual cup is made from medical-grade silicone that is ultra-soft and rolls up to the size of a tampon. The stem provides an easy grip and easy removal.
- Lily Cup is known for its narrow opening and soft material. Many women who find other menstrual cups to form for their liking have found themselves switching to this cup.
- The maximum number of users recommended checking your size if you ever experience any problems with this cup.
Frequently asked questions
Will it be messy?
Some people who have periods complain about how messy using a menstrual cup is. Especially in the initial few cycles, the sight of blood or bloody hands can be a big disadvantage for people.
Particularly, if you need to empty the cup in a public toilet that does not have proper hygiene or water, then it can be problematic to some.
How do I know my size?
Depending on the brand and the size of your cervix, you can try a few sizes before deciding which one is for you. You can also measure the size of your cervix to see which one will fit you better. Ideally, women who have a heavy period or have given birth vaginally need a large-sized cup, while women who are sexually active but have not given vaginal birth yet can use the medium-sized cup. Sexually inactive women and teenagers can start with a small-sized cup.
How long before I get used to it?
Inserting and removing takes some time to get used to. Some get it right the first time and others, users, report 2-3 cycles to help you adjust to using a menstrual cup.
How do I know if it’s right for me?
Unless you have a silicone or latex allergy, there are no reasons for you to not try it. They are mostly safe for everyone to use and are good for the environment as well. You can consider factors such as if you have heavy or light flow during your period. You can also check with one or two cups of different brands to know what suits you better out of a firm or soft cup. If you have any doubts then talk to your doctor, they can discuss any doubts you may have or any underlying condition that you may be worried about.
What if it is stuck or lost inside my vagina?
The vagina is open from only one side, and the chances of an object such as a menstrual cup being lost in there are nearly impossible. If you feel the panic rising, then remember that it takes time to get used to wearing a cup. Be patient, relax and try again to find the cup, release the suction, and gently pull it out.
Will it stretch my vagina?
No. it will not. The vagina is a muscle and returns to its normal size even after vaginal birth. And using a menstrual cup does not bring any stretching to your vagina.
Can I exercise while wearing a cup?
Yes! You can exercise, do most kinds of workouts and even go swimming without worrying about leakage.
Can I travel with a menstrual cup?
You do not need to worry about changing or emptying your cup for at least 12 hours, so considering that you can travel while wearing a cup. You must be able to properly wash your hands before removing the cup and then rinse the cup to insert it again.
So, unless you are absolutely certain that you can find suitable conditions to clean the cup while changing and re-inserting, you can keep disposable menstrual products handy.
What is the correct age for using this?
You may start using this at any time you are comfortable after starting to menstruate. If you are familiar with using tampons, then switching to menstrual cups can be fairly easy.
Would it harm or displace my IUD?
The IUD is placed at the base of the uterus and the menstrual cup is at the beginning of the vaginal canal. There has been no scientific evidence ever suggesting if a menstrual cup can displace the IUD since it’s too far to affect it in any way. To be safe, please consult your doctor before using a cup.
What if I get an infection?
If you maintain normal hygiene during periods and ensure you follow the cleaning instructions for using and sterilizing a cup, the chances of you getting an infection is extremely low. Rather, menstrual cups protect the healthy bacteria inside the vagina, keeping infections away.
If you notice any kind of discharge or burning sensation while urinating or penetration in the vagina, then please see a doctor immediately.
Who may not be able to use the cup?
Women with the following issues can find it particularly difficult to use a menstrual cup.
Endometriosis, which causes painful insertion and mensuration. Vaginismus, causing painful vaginal insertion and penetration. Uterine fibroid, where the patient experiences pelvic pain and heavy periods. Variations in uterine positions do not help incorrect placement of the cup.
Finally, it comes down to personal preference and satisfaction that decides which product you choose for your menstrual hygiene. When it comes to menstrual cups, the advantages seem to weigh higher than their disadvantages, most of which can be handled or resolved easily. Many users report experiencing lesser infections and menstrual cramps after they began using the menstrual cup. Tell us about your experience with the menstrual cup?