Eco Beauty & Fashion

Why I Heart My Menstrual Cup

African American model in white wedding dress in a 1950s styled roomClicked away, yet? If you haven’t tried a menstrual cup, you’re probably a little skeeved just by the title. But if you can get over the ick factor, take a minute to read on.

I like to think of the menstrual cup in the context of evolution. Talk to your mothers and grandmothers who lived through the era of the gartered maxi, a veritable couch cushion of pad that they wore five days out of the month. Ask them how they felt when they discovered tampons.

That Eureka moment was probably tempered by a wee bit o’ fear. Will it leak? Will it hurt? Will people know? They quickly got over it when they figured out that when wearing a tampon, they no longer had to waddle. 

After years of rags, pads and tampons, the menstrual cup takes one giant step forward for womankind: For 12 hours a day you can forget you have your period. That’s how I feel about the menstrual cup. After years of rags, pads and tampons, the menstrual cup takes one giant step forward for womankind: It doesn’t leak, it doesn’t hurt, nobody knows, and for 12 hours a day you can forget you have your period.

Plus, since most are made from silicone and used for at least a year, the menstrual cup is the most sustainable option for your monthly. Yes, you can get organic cotton tampons and pads, but you still have to throw them away, right?

Here’s how it works: In the morning you empty and replace the menstrual cup. At night you empty and replace the menstrual cup. In between? You don’t think about it at all.

Seriously. You can walk, jog, do Pilates, yoga, whatever (trust me, I put this baby to the test)—it does its job, even upside down. I like the DivaCup, but there are dozens of different brands out there that you can try.

C’mon, ladies—get over it. This is the new frontier!


  • Charlotte

    Hi! I want do desperately for the cup to work for me! I had my three children by C-Section so purchased the cup for after birth. Frantically, I had to ask my husband to remove my cup which was during the early start of my period, so no great “yucky” of an experience for him…but nevertheless, yuck, yuck, because I could not grasp the stem! I was horrified! But, I really want to use it. Can you recommend a product w/a longer stem for me to be able feel where it is?

    • Rachel Sarnoff

      Wow what a story!! The SoftCup has no stem, but it is a wider shape than the DivaCup, which does. Both have worked for me. I’m not sure which one you tried, but you might want to try the other style? Good luck!!

    • Liz

      What about the Intimina Lily Cup? I hear it’s a great starter one… the Meluna cup is also supposedly a good starter one. I have the Lily Cup compact… I can’t decide which of the former two to try first, but I’m rather picky on the stem, too! :p

  • Barbara

    Some years ago, I tried the Instead brand. The problem is that it came in only one size, which evidently did not fit all. It was a tad large for me and did not provide a good seal all around. Comfort was not a problem but lack of a secure seal was. Fortunately, I finally reached menopause at about 59 so no more problem. What other brands are there and do they come in different sizes?

    • Rachel Sarnoff

      Thanks for reading, Barbara! Yes, I know there are several different brands that offer different sizes, DivaCup is one. They recommend that after childbirth you use their larger size, but I find the small size works and is more comfortable for me. Thanks for this comment!

    • Jay

      Softcups are a totally different animal to menstrual cups.

      I tried softcups a few years ago – at which point I had already used several brands of menstrual cups for several years, I had also been using a diaphragm (similar in shape and working to a softcup) for mess-free sex during menses, without any problems – softcups didn’t work for me at all. Softcups were really tricky to insert and because of ‘one-size-fits-all’ they were no good for my body so just wouldn’t stay in place, thus leaked like crazy – I managed to get softcups in once, they were messy as hell due to fluids gathering in folds of the softcup, and I attempted sex…my partner could feel it and freaked-out.

      Menstrual cups are much easier to use (less mess and more reliable too), there are over 30 different brands now, I tend to recommend Mooncup over other brands for first-timers as they’re a nice mid-lenth/mid-flexibility cup which is clear silicone and has grips (I personally find Ladycup easiest to use, but has no grips so difficult to get a grip to remove).

      • Rachel Sarnoff

        Yes I looked at the softcup online at one point and it didn’t seem like it would work–for me at least. Thanks for sharing!

  • Cori

    I do agree that it is an ingenious idea; however, as someone who has tried it, it is not as easy as this blog suggests. It can be difficult to get in, and if you do not put it in correctly (which can be hard to tell in the beginning) it will leak. Also, it takes some practice getting out, and if you haven’t given birth vaginally, it is a bit painful. I would suggest giving it a try, but practice a few times before you rely on it to work for 12 hours.

    • Rachel Sarnoff

      This is good insight, as I did have my kids before I used it. I had a very easy time transitioning to it from tampons. Maybe use a pad while you’re trying it out, would you recommend that Cori?

      • Kati

        I have used the (size 1) DivaCup for over 3.5 years now, and I love it! I just wanted to say that I have never given birth either vaginally or otherwise, and the cup has never been painful to insert or remove, so maybe the pain Cori indicated when inserting or removing has nothing to do with if you’ve given birth or not. I have never found it painful, and those I’ve converted to using the cup have never indicated that they have either, and they have also never given birth. Maybe it has more to do with personal size or tenderness of the area during your period or something. Anyway, I didn’t want those who have not had babies to be scared to try the cup, because I think it’s great, and do not find it painful in the slightest.

        One more tip: I found that when I went off birth control about 6 months ago I started to have to empty the cup more frequently than just morning and night, because my period has gone back to my pre-bc pill heaviness of flow. If I don’t do it, I get a little leakage during the day. So, If you are trying the cup and have a heavy period and have had leakage and are not sure if you’re using it correctly, it may not be because you aren’t getting a proper seal. You could try a mid-day emptying. I just remove it, dump it, and clean it out with toilet paper before re-inserting, since my work bathroom doesn’t have a private sink area. It has been working well so far, and since I’ve implemented this practice I am back to no leaks. Just wanted to share. 🙂

    • Jay

      Learning anything new can take time, for some women there is a steep learning curve but for others it’s easy from the start – whether you’ve had kids (or sex) makes little difference.

      I think it largely comes down to a few factors;
      1. How comfortable you are with vaginal insertion with your fingers
      2. How psyched out you are about using something new.
      3. Whether you’ve the best cup brand for you.

      In most cases when there is leaking it’s more to do with the brand than anything else, for example Divacup is a big problem for many women as it’s too long so if not inserted directly under the cervix the cup ends-up to the side of the cervix instead of the cervix being in the cup, thus leaking. When it comes to discomfort it’s either improper use (not breaking suction), or tensing-up – like with tampons.

      Once you know how cups are far easier to use than tampons.

  • J.

    After reading the horror stories of stuck cups, and fighting with my own vaginato insert and remove a tampon, it doesn’t seem like they’re made for me. Do they make ones with some sort of string or built on attachment so I don’t have to go a mythical treasure hunt to find my cervix to remove?

    • Rachel Sarnoff

      Oh wow that would be horrible. There are pretty detailed instructions that come with them, I think key is to really follow those until you learn how to do it. It took me a few times inserting and removing but after that it’s second nature. I know they do have some with long ends to pull on but honestly I don’t think that would work since you have to break the seal by squeezing the edges together. I hope this helps!!

    • Jay

      To remove the cup you have to grab the base in order to break the suction – thus although different brands have longer stems or different steams (e.g. ring stems), the stems can’t really be used for removal…they just make it easier to locate the base of the cup. As long as you’re relaxed the cup shouldn’t get stuck at all – what goes up, must come down 🙂

    • Liz

      It is not so difficult if you get the suitable model. Fortunately there are many brands available and I found suitable for me a Gaiacup , long and great capacity, so I do not have to “search” it as I did with my Meluna.

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