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12 best menstrual cups and how to use them

Menstrual cups are an eco-friendly, safe and convenient alternative to tampons and sanitary pads. If you think you might like to give one a go, read on to find out about the pros and cons, choosing one that’s right for you, how to use yours and solutions to common problems.

By Laura Cooke | Last updated Jan 27, 2022

Menstrual cups

Periods: they’re a fact of life. One we’d much rather do without, but a fact of life all the same. So if there’s anything at all that can make periods a little bit easier, we’re up for trying it – which is where menstrual cups come in.

They’re cheaper in the long-run than tampons and sanitary towels, easy to use (with a little practice) and you can leave them in for up to 12 hours, which means you don’t have to worry about changing yours when you’re out and about. This means they are a good option for travelling too.

As most menstrual cups are reusable, they are also better for the environment, which has helped prompt one in 10 women to make the switch to reusable sanitary products. So by dumping the disposables and switching to a menstrual cup, you will be helping to reduce the eye-watering 200,000 tonnes of menstrual waste which ends up in landfill in the UK every year.

So menstrual cups are great for the environment as well as being a safe and effective form of sanitary protection. But if you're not sure which menstrual cup is right for you – or you're still a bit intimidated by the whole idea – read on for essential information, including FAQs, expert advice and in-depth reviews from those who use them.

What is a menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is a bell-shaped cup that you insert into your vagina during your period to collect your menstrual blood.

They're usually made of medical-grade silicone (so are safe for use inside the vagina) and are shaped like a bell with a stem. The stem is for removing the cup and can’t be felt if the cup is inserted properly.

A 2019 review, which looked at 43 studies involving 3,300 women and girls, found that menstrual cups are as leak-proof as disposable sanitary products like tampons and pads.

Four studies, involving nearly 300 women, compared leakage between menstrual cups and disposable pads or tampons. Leakage was similar in three of the studies and actually significantly less among menstrual cups in one study.

The best menstrual cups according to women

To help you find the best menstrual cup to suit your needs, we’ve carried out extensive research to discover which cups have been tried, tested and recommended by Mumsnet users, and rated highly by consumers the world over.

So whether you’re looking for the best menstrual cup for a high cervix, the best soft menstrual cup or the best menstrual cup for beginners, we’ve got you covered.

Here are the best menstrual cups as recommended by Mumsnetters.

1. Best overall menstrual cup: Mooncup

Mooncup

Price: £18.49 | Buy now from Amazon

“I’ve been using a Mooncup for about seven years and it’s been life-changing. I can actually forget it’s there and get on with my day. I’ve never had a problem with emptying it in a public toilet as you can leave it for up to 12 hours.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user JHaniver)

“I no longer have periods, but started using a Mooncup when I was having incredibly heavy periods, and once I'd got the hang of it, a revelation [….] Would wholeheartedly recommend.” (Vetted by Mumsnet user EveryDayIsADuvetDay)

“I have been using a Mooncup for years and never had any issues. I find it more comfortable than tampons. It’s also good for travelling etc as it’s just one thing to take rather than packs of pads etc (space-saving!) I primarily got it to avoid waste but actually found it’s just generally easier and more comfortable.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Swiftier)

Made from medical-grade silicone, the Mooncup is probably the most famous menstrual cup on the market. There are two size options available to Mooncup users: size A, which is for women aged 30+ or who have given birth vaginally, and size B which suits women who are under 30 and haven't given birth vaginally.

Your size is determined by your child-bearing history and age, as these affect the tone of your pelvic floor. The sizes aren't related to your menstrual flow, so if you're under 30 and haven't had a vaginal delivery but your flow is normally heavy, you should stick to the smaller size and just empty your cup more regularly on heavier days.

Mooncups are latex-free, hypoallergenic and contain no dyes, BPA, phthalates, plastic, bleaches or toxins. Each cup also comes with a breathable Fairtrade cotton storage bag and instructions printed on recycled paper. They have slightly thicker walls than some other cups on the market. This helps them to pop open once they're in place, but also makes them a little less flexible when inserting.

Your Mooncup should last for years, but, because they're not dyed, they do tend to get discoloured over time. This is perfectly normal and doesn't affect the hygiene of your cup, but some users do find it off-putting.

Pros

  • Easy to insert
  • Comes with handy storage bag

Cons

  • Can become discoloured over time
  • Not as pliable as other cups

Key specs

  • Protection: Regular
  • Diameter: 46mm
  • Length: 50mm
  • Capacity: 30ml

2. Best value menstrual cup: Hey Girls Menstrual Cup Large

Hey Girls Menstrual Cup Large

Price: £8 | Buy now from Waitrose

“I ordered a menstrual cup from a company called HeyGirls. Have only used it for a couple of days (I’m a newbie to them myself) and it seems to have been successful so far. They are so much more comfortable than wearing tampons and you hardly need to empty it that often. It’s a little bit tricky to get the hang of putting it in but I'm sure I'll get used to it.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user kate0899)

There are many reasons to love the Hey Girls Menstrual Cup. Not only is it comfortable and easy to clean, but our expert reviewers here at Mumsnet also recommend HeyGirls for its ‘buy one, donate one’ policy to help fight period poverty in the UK.

The only downside to this particular period cup is that it only holds up to 15ml of blood - far less than most of the other products on our list. So if your flow is exceptionally heavy, you may be better off looking elsewhere.

The large is suitable for women aged over 25 and those who have given birth. A small size is also available.

Pros

  • Purchase supports a great cause
  • Free from latex, phthalates, BPA, dioxins, perfumes, bleaches and toxins

Cons

  • Smaller capacity than other cups on the market
  • May not be suitable if you have an IUD - consult your GP for advice
  • Can be tricky for beginners to use

Key specs

  • Protection: Heavy flow
  • Diameter: 4.5cm
  • Length: 7.5cm
  • Capacity: Up to 15ml

3. Best menstrual cup for a heavy flow: Lunette Cup

Lunette cup

Price: £20.62 | Buy now from Amazon

“Love mine. Using it for about 12 years I think. On to the second or maybe third (I have one and a spare). I use Lunette.” (Rated by Mumsnet user Blibbyblobby)

“I love cups and will never go back, so I'm a big fan, but you do need to get the right one for you. I started with a Saalt actually and it worked well for me, then tried a Lunette size two and loved it even more.” (Tried and tested by BuffaloCauliflower)

Mumsnet Rated winner, the Lunette cup, is also made from medical-grade silicone. But, unlike the Mooncup, you can choose whether you'd prefer a firm or more pliable cup.

The Lunette Model 1 is the smaller and more flexible option, with a 41mm diameter and 25ml capacity that’s designed for women with a light to normal flow. The Model 2 is firmer and larger, with a 46mm diameter and 30 ml capacity. Model 1 is recommended for teens and women with a low-sitting cervix, sensitive bladder or light flow.

There are six Lunette colours to choose from (colourful cups are less prone to discolouration) as well as a Lunette branded cup cleaner and wipes that you can use to clean your cup on the go.

These cleaning products aren't essential – cups can be sterilised in boiling water or using good old Milton steriliser – but some Mumsnet users like using them. All Lunette cups are made in Finland using hypoallergenic, toxin-free silicone.

Pros

  • Available in flexible and firm
  • Good colour range to help protect against discolouration
  • Impressive capacity
  • Vegan-friendly

Cons

  • Pricey

Key specs

  • Protection: Normal to heavy (Model 2)
  • Diameter: 46m
  • Length: 72cm
  • Capacity: 40ml (Model 2)

4. Best menstrual cup for beginners: DivaCup

Diva cup

Price: £27.49 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have a DivaCup and honestly sometimes I forget I'm even on my period.  [...] Once you get the hang of it, you will wonder how you managed without it.” (Recommended by Pawprints2017)

“I have had two kids and use a Diva. I find it comfy” (Tried and tested by Mumsnetter june2007)

The DivaCup is another option that's very popular with Mumsnet users. There are three different DivaCups on offer: the Model 0 which is extra petite and ideal for young teens or menstrual cup newbies, the Model 1 which is designed for women under 30 who've never delivered vaginally or by caesarean section, and the Model 2 which is for women over 30 and those who've had children.

Like the Mooncup, the DivaCup is made from undyed silicone and is suitable for use by women with latex allergies.

Pros

  • Comfortable and easy to wear
  • Shorter stem and no seams mean the cup is less likely to irritate your sensitive bits
  • Good first menstrual cup for teens

Cons

  • More expensive than most of the other products on our list
  • Shorter stem means it can be more fiddly to remove

Key specs

  • Protection: Heavy flow (Model 2)
  • Diameter: 45mm
  • Length: 66mm
  • Capacity: 32ml

5. Best menstrual cup for a high cervix: Intimina Lily Cup (Size A)

Intimina Lily Cup (Size A)

Price: £21.90 | Buy now from Amazon

“…the Lily Cup has been fantastic for me and my high cervix. I now cannot live without it.” (Rated by Mumsnet user AliceM6)

If you have a high cervix and find that other menstrual cups just don’t suit, then the Intima Lily Cup could be the answer to your menstrual needs.

Mumsnetters recommend this particular cup for its high capacity and longer stem. It’s ideal for women with a heavy flow as its handy spill-proof rim keeps everything where it should be.

It rolls up as thin as a tampon for easy storage, so it can be slipped discreetly into a handbag, and it provides eight hours of protection, meaning it will keep you leak-free and comfortable for the duration of the working day. However, some who have tried and tested this particular cup say it can take a bit of getting used to as its slanted design means the shape is different compared to some of the other cups on our list. But as they say, practice makes perfect.

The Lily Cup comes in two sizes - A for women who haven’t given birth or have given birth via C-section and size B for women who have given birth vaginally or have a weaker pelvic floor.

Pros

  • Designed for women with high cervixes 
  • Made of soft, bendable material for a comfier experience
  • Doesn’t spill, even if you bleed heavily

Cons

  • It can take a while to get the hang of inserting it
  • No colour choice

Key specs

  • Protection: Light to heavy flow
  • Diameter: Not stated
  • Length: 40mm
  • Capacity: 28ml

6. Best soft menstrual cup: Saalt Soft Menstrual Cup

Saalt Soft Menstrual Cup

Price: £24.99

“I recently bought a small Saalt and it's good. It is softer than my old Femme and it's smaller (I have a Mirena coil but light periods)” (Vetted by Mumsnet user CanIDigIt)

“I love mine. I have the Saalt cup after doing the quiz. I've been using it for about a year now. Much cleaner [than other sanitary products] in my opinion.” (Rated by Mumsnetter MrsTJOsbornee )

“I also have the Saalt cup and it's literally changed my life. I wish I'd taken the plunge ages ago. Go for it!” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user thecuriousfox)

The soft, strong and silky-smooth Saalt Menstrual Cup is tough enough to cope with even the heaviest of flows while managing to be gentle to your delicate bits.

Tried and tested by many a Mumsnetter, this flexible cup doesn’t irritate sensitive bladders and doesn’t cause cramping, which is often associated with menstrual cups with a firmer ridge.

It’s easy to fold and insert, and special soft grip rings help with easy removal.

It comes in two sizes - small for the first time cup user and women with a light flow and a low cervix, and regular for women with a higher cervix and heavier flow. So whatever your time of the month looks like, Saalt can cater for all your period needs.

Pros

  • Very soft for comfort
  • Natural grey colour prevents discolouration

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a storage bag
  • Pricey

Key specs

  • Protection: Normal to heavy
  • Diameter: 46mm
  • Length: 70mm
  • Capacity: 30ml

7. Best ethical menstrual cup: Ruby Cup

Ruby Cup

Price: £26 | Buy now from Amazon

“I bought a Ruby Cup as my second [menstrual cup]. The main reason I chose it is that it had the biggest capacity on the market and since I had children I needed the help!” Placebogirl

When you buy a Ruby Cup, a menstrual cup is automatically donated to a girl in the developing world. Plus, every cup donation also provides girls with an educational workshop on how to use it and access to a Ruby Cup support network.

So, by opting for a reusable cup, you not only reduce the environmental impact of your own period, you give a girl in the developing world access to 10 years of safe, hygienic periods.

There are two Ruby Cup sizes to choose from: small and medium. Small is recommended for women with a light flow, and medium for those with a heavier flow. They also sell a handy collapsible pot for sterilising your cup in the microwave and, if you’re not totally happy with your new cup, Ruby Cup offers a 120-day money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • Every purchase helps a girl in need
  • Money-back guarantee is handy, especially if you are new to period cups
  • Available in a range of colour options

Cons

  • Pricier than other brands
  • Stem is shorter than other brands, so may prove harder to remove

Key specs

  • Protection: Medium to heavy (medium size)
  • Diameter: 45mm
  • Length: 68mm
  • Capacity: 34ml

8. Best organic menstrual cup: OrganiCup Menstrual Cup

OrganiCup

Price: £14.74 | Buy now from Amazon

“I’ve had an OrganiCup for five years. Took a bit of getting used to but would never go back to tampons - so drying and cramp-inducing and bad for the planet. I don’t use it overnight. I bleed heavily for two days but not at all during the night, then that’s it.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user YesPleaseMary)

If you're looking for a menstrual cup that delivers on comfort and softness, Mumsnetters recommend the OrganiCup.

Registered with The Vegan Society, the OrganiCup is certified hypoallergenic, cruelty-free and made with 100% medical-grade silicone.

It's available in three cups sizes – mini, A and B. Mini is recommended for teens, A for women who haven't given birth vaginally and B for those who have.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Suitable for vegans
  • Purchase help women’s charities

Cons

  • If using with an IUD, you must wait at least a couple of cycles first

Key specs

  • Protection: Light to heavy
  • Diameter: 45mm
  • Length: 70mm
  • Capacity: 30ml (B)

9. Best menstrual cup for swimming: BeYou Menstrual Cup

BeYou Menstrual Cup

Price: £11.72 | Buy now from Amazon

“I've got a BeYou Cup (they also do pain relief patches, CBD bath bombs, drops etc).” (Recommend by Mumsnet user Pinkstars2501)

Whether you’re sleeping, swimming or socialising, the BeYou Menstrual Cup fits like a glove to keep you leak-free whatever you’re up to.

The cup is super-soft, comfortable to wear and provides up to 12 hours of protection.

The manufacturer boasts that the BeYou Cup is the only menstrual cup created specifically for first-timers. Although we can’t verify that claim, it does compare well with similar newbie cups on the market. But be warned that retrieving it can sometimes prove tricky.

BeYou is also highly recommended by women who suffer with endometriosis.

Pros

  • Stays in place when running, swimming or playing sports
  • Suitable for women with endometriosis 
  • Great value

Cons

  • Can be tricky to remove
  • Rim is firmer than on other soft cups

Key specs

  • Protection: Light to heavy
  • Diameter: 45mm
  • Length: 75mm
  • Capacity: Not stated

10. Best menstrual cup for IUD: TOTM Menstrual Cup Size 2

TOTM Menstrual Cup Size 2

Price: £19.89 | Buy now from Superdrug

“I use the TOTM cup. I started with my recommended size but found it very leaky, so emailed the company who sent me the next size down for free with lots of tips on different folds to try. Very impressed - the size was perfect and easier to use. So [...] you have to find the right size and cup for you.” (Rated by Mumsnet user LauraPalmerViolet)

Soft and pliable, the TOTM cup is great for period cup newbies and it won’t take long until you are popping it in like a pro. The cup offers up to eight hours of leak-free protection, even during your heaviest days and nights.

When treated with love and care, your TOTM should serve you well for many years to come. And when the time comes for a change, because the cup is made from medical-grade TPE, it can be recycled with your normal household waste (after cleaning, of course).

Unlike some other products on our list, TOTM explicitly states that their menstrual cups are suitable for women with IUDs. However, it’s a good idea to consult your GP first, who can trim your strings if necessary.

Pros

  • Can be used with an IUD (Mirena coil)
  • Hypoallergenic 
  • Great for women with a tilted cervix
  • Endorsed by The Vegan Society and PETA

Cons

  • Beginners are advised to use alongside pads overnight

Key specs

  • Protection: Light to regular
  • Diameter: 43mm
  • Length: 67mm
  • Capacity: 25ml

11. Best menstrual cup for sensitive bladder: Athena Menstrual Cup

Athena Menstrual Cup

Price: £14.95 | Buy now from Amazon

“I've got an Athena cup which I love.” (Vetted by Mumsnet user Goldyyy)

“I bought a much softer cup, a cheap one on Amazon (Athena) and haven’t hardly leaked at all with that one.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Vap0)

If you’re a newcomer to the world of menstrual cups and unsure about paying out top dollar for a big-name brand, then the Athena Menstrual Cup is the cup for you.

Affordable without compromising on quality, Mumsnetters rate the Athena cup highly for comfort and ease of use. It’s got a short stem to avoid irritation, and it’s also got a super-soft rim, meaning it won’t rub and irritate sensitive bladders. It also comes with a dinky colour-coordinated bag to store your cup in.

This period cup is considerably cheaper than others on the market, coming in at almost half the price of other recommended cups on our list. 

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Measurement lines allow you to track your flow
  • Range of colour choices

Cons

  • Smaller capacity than other similar cups
  • Can be tricky to remove if you’re not used to it

Key specs

  • Protection: Light to regular
  • Diameter: 11.4cm
  • Length: 6.2cm
  • Capacity: 20ml

12. Best small menstrual cup: Lena Small Menstrual Cup

Lena cup

Price: £21.90 | Buy now from Amazon

“The Saalt Cup and Lena Cup are fab.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Whatwouldscullydo)

For women in need of a smaller menstrual cup, the Lena Cup is one to consider.

With a longer bell shape than many cups on the market, the Lena is best suited to those with a high cervix. It also has a flared rim which makes it ideal for women with particularly active lifestyles.

The Lena Cup is made of medical-grade silicone and comes in two sizes, small and large, the latter of which is designed for women with a heavy flow. Like the DivaCup, the Lena is also ideal for beginners.

Pros

  • Good for wearing while playing sports
  • Great introduction to menstrual cups, particularly for teens

Cons

  • Not suitable for postpartum bleeding

Key specs

  • Protection: Light to heavy
  • Diameter: 41mm
  • Length: 46mm
  • Capacity: 25ml

How to use a menstrual cup

If you’ve ever used a tampon, especially the non-applicator kind, then you shouldn’t find it too difficult to get the hang of putting in your chosen menstrual cup. If you’ve ever used a diaphragm for contraception, then you should have even less difficulty.

Put simply, you need to wash your hands, fold the cup, aim it towards the back of your vagina (as you would a tampon) and give it a little push. When aimed correctly, the cup should draw itself up and form a seal with your vaginal wall.

The video below explains a few different folding techniques and provides some handy insertion tips too. Don't be fooled by her fresh face – Briony's YouTube channel comes highly recommended by Mumsnet users and her videos are ideal for teens, pre-teens, and the uninitiated.

Find the most relaxed position for you to insert it. For me it's just sitting down on the toilet.

To take your cup out, you need to pinch the base between two fingers, which will break the seal, before gently pulling the cup out by the stem. You can then empty out the blood into the toilet, rinse it out, and put it back in.

In practice, this can take a bit of getting used to. Most good cups come with a clear guide on how to fold, insert and remove them. Most instructions also come with a diagram.

What size menstrual cup do I need?

Vaginas come in different shapes and sizes. Although there isn’t a cup to suit absolutely everyone, most brands do offer at least two cup sizes.

Choosing the right size is a little bit like choosing a new pair of shoes. Except it’s mostly not like that because, unlike a pair of shoes, you can’t go into a shop and try a menstrual cup out for size.

Luckily, most brands provide some guidance on their packaging and website about which size should work for you.

Your cup size will depend on various factors, including your age, lifestyle, bladder function and how heavy your periods tend to be.

Which menstrual cup is best for me?

Choosing a cup can seem like a bit of a tricky task, especially when there are a fair few to choose from. It’s worth remembering, though, that although cups do vary in shape, size and style, the differences are fairly minimal.

You’re probably not about to get out a ruler to measure the height of your cervix – and nor should you have to – so just go with the one you think sounds about right.

Woman holding folded menstrual cup

Pros of menstrual cups

They’re cheaper than tampons

Although cups can be a bit pricier than buying, say, a packet of tampons, they last for a long time (some up to 12 years), making them much cheaper in the long run. Depending on which one you buy, you might see a saving in your first couple of periods, which means money saved to spend on other, more exciting things.

They’re good for the environment

Unlike tampons and pads that are made of trees and end up in landfill, most menstrual cups are reusable, so are pretty good runners in the green stakes.

Arguably, they’re safer

When you use a tampon, there’s the risk of getting toxic shock syndrome, a rare but serious condition. According to Lunette, the risk of TSS is very small when you use a cup. However, it's recommended that you clean out your cup after 12 hours of use at most, just to be safe.

No odour

Unlike pads and tampons, cups do not allow your menstrual blood to come into contact with air. As such, you’re less likely to experience any odours.

No dryness

A menstrual cup doesn’t absorb blood – it collects it. This means that it doesn't cause vaginal dryness in the same way a tampon can. It also means that healthy bacteria in your vagina are allowed to thrive, so you’ll be less likely to get an infection.

They’re more comfortable

Many women find menstrual cups more comfortable than tampons or pads. Because they're made of soft silicone, they move and work with your body in a way that rigid tampons and scratchy pads don’t. When inserted correctly, you won’t notice it’s there.

They protect you for longer

Depending on how heavy your period is and which menstrual cup you use, you can keep yours in for up to 12 hours without emptying it. Compared to the average use time of four to eight hours for tampons and pads, a cup provides a much longer period (pun intended) of protection. You can even sleep with one in, avoiding the 6.30am must-run-to-the-loo-to-change-my-tampon dash…because since when should a period curtail your lie-in?

Fewer leaks

Once you get used to using your menstrual cup, you’ll probably find that you experience few to no leaks. This is due to the tight seal formed between the cup and your vaginal wall – designed for preventing leaks, that blood isn’t going anywhere. They also hold up to a third more blood than tampons and pads, so are much less likely to get overfull.

Good for active sports and travelling

If your day involves sports or travelling, it’s a real advantage not to have to think about multiple pad or tampon changes. The joy of a cup is that you can put it in in the morning and forget about it until the evening (although do check the packaging for exactly how many hours you can keep yours in for), which means one less thing to think about.

You can have sex with a disposable menstrual cup in

Reusable cups are NOT meant to be worn during sex, as they’re thicker and more durable. However, disposable ones are fine to use when you’re having sex, as they’re thinner and move more with your body. Like reusable cups, they can still be worn for up to 12 hours and they produce less waste than using tampons – you can try them here.

I love mine! No monthly expense, no landfill, no mess as with pads and no dryness as with tampons.

Related: The best deodorant for women

Cons of menstrual cups

They’re more expensive than tampons or pads

Depending on which ones you choose, a menstrual cup can set you back anywhere up to £30. Although it does work out significantly cheaper in the long run compared to buying tampons or pads, we can’t deny that it’s a hefty chunk of cash to spend on a sanitary product. Let’s just say it might not be your most exciting buy ever, but it could just be your most useful.

They’re a bit fiddly

When you first try to use a menstrual cup, there’s a good chance that you’ll spend longer than usual in the loo. You may find yourself reading the instructions three times over and still wondering just how you’re going to get it up there. But most women find that it just takes patience and practice.

They can be messy

As they don’t absorb blood but instead collect it, things can get a little messy when it comes to taking a menstrual cup out. However, it doesn't usually take long to get into the routine of quick insertion/removal.

You have to rinse them out between uses

You’ll want to clean your cup between taking it out and putting it back in. If you don't want to use the sink to do this when you're in a public toilet, you can always bring a bottle of water in with you to rinse it out. It feels like a bit of a faff, but the buzz of knowing you're doing awesome things for the environment makes it worthwhile (kind of).

They require deep cleaning

It's best to give your cup a good ol' clean between each period. You can use a steriliser if you've already got one, or just put the cup into a saucepan of boiling water and leave it for a few minutes. You should do this before your first use, too.

I found inserting and removing fiddly initially but, once you get the hang of it, it’s much easier, more convenient and much less likely to leak than a tampon.

Woman holding menstrual cup

Menstrual cup FAQs

How long can you leave a menstrual cup in?

Most brands suggest that you can leave your cup in for up to 12 hours. You should check the packaging/website for the recommended maximum time you can leave yours in for. If you have a particularly heavy flow, you might feel like you want to change yours more regularly than usual, if only for peace of mind.

Can you wear menstrual cups overnight?

As long as you do not leave it in for longer than the time detailed on the packaging, you can sleep with it in. Because cups tend to be very comfortable, you may find that you prefer sleeping with it in than with, say, a sanitary pad.

Where do you buy menstrual cups?

You can buy them from most pharmacies, many supermarkets and lots of online retailers.

Can you pee with a menstrual cup in?

You can pee and poo with one in. Unlike tampons, cups don't have a long string, so there's no chance of unwanted, lingering bacteria.

Can you have intercourse with a menstrual cup in?

You cannot have sex when using a reusable menstrual cup. They're too rigid and it wouldn't be safe. However, you can buy disposable ones that can be worn during sex. You should check the packaging to make sure yours is marked as being safe for use during sex.

Can you go swimming with a menstrual cup in?

Yes, you can. In fact, many women find that a menstrual cup gives them better protection from leaks than tampons.

Are menstrual cups better than tampons?

There are many reasons to love menstrual cups, and we think they're worth giving a go. Ultimately, though, it comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer pads to tampons, some prefer tampons to pads. In the same way, some people will prefer cups, some won't.

Can you wear a menstrual cup when you're not on your period?

If you're expecting your period to start, you can wear your cup in anticipation of it. Likewise, you can keep using it until your period is completely over, unlike with tampons where you often have to rely on pads for the last day or so.

Can you use a menstrual cup if you use an intrauterine device (IUD, or coil)?

The short answer is yes, you can. However, if you wish to use both together, bear the following in mind:

  • There should always be a space between the cup and the cervix. If you have a low-sitting cervix there may not be enough room for your cup to sit safely and work properly alongside your IUD
  • Place the cup low down in the vagina and ensure you have an adequate seal
  • Always release the seal before removing your cup
  • After each period, check you can still feel the IUD strings. If you cannot feel them or think that your IUD has moved or is causing you pain, use another form of contraception such as a condom until you see the doctor, who will be able to check your IUD is still properly in place

Are menstrual cups safe?

When used correctly, they are completely safe.

One of the worries with incorrect use is that you might forget to take it out at all, given that you can keep it in for up to 12 hours. If you feel like you need to, it can be an idea to set a reminder on your phone reminding you to change it.

I love, love, love my squishy friend. I’ve had it for several years now and will never go back to any other sort of sanitary product. I work, travel, do sports and just generally do everything in my life as normal with it.

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Troubleshooting – menstrual cup problems solved

Help! I can't get my menstrual cup in

Just like with tampons, it can take a little while to get used to inserting your cup. If you try and don't succeed, don't stress. Carry on using your usual pads or tampons and give it a go another go the next day or next period.

I can't get my menstrual cup out

If you can't reach your cup to get it out, it's probably sitting a bit too high. Take a deep breath and do a series of small, downward pushes with your vaginal muscles. This should encourage the cup to move down far enough for you to reach the stem, break the seal and remove the cup. With a bit of practice, easy removal is in the bag.

I don't want to rinse out my cup in a public toilet – what can I do?

While we're all for waving the period flag, it's also OK not to want to wash out your menstrual cup in the sinks of a public loo. If you know you'll need to change yours while you're out and about, bring a bottle of water with you to rinse out your cup over the toilet. Alternatively, try to time your change so that you don't need to change yours when you're out.

I can still feel the stem when I have inserted my menstrual cup – what should I do?

You may find that no matter how many times you insert your cup, you still find that you can feel the stem digging in. It may be the case that you have a low-sitting cervix. Just remove the cup, trim the stem a little bit and reinsert. If you need to trim off a little more, make sure you remove the cup before doing so.

How do I fold my menstrual cup?

There are a number of different folds you could try. Just like menstrual cups, different folds suit different women, so if one doesn’t work for you, there are others to try your hand at.

The ‘C’ or ‘U’ fold - so-called because of the shape the cup makes - is the most well-known fold. Just hold the cup with both hands placed just underneath the rim, push the sides together to flatten the cup, fold the cup in half length-ways and pop it in.

Another popular fold, which is quick, straightforward and great if you are in a rush, is the punchdown fold. 

All you have to do with this one is hold the cup at the base with one hand while placing the index finger of the other hand on the top of the cup rim. This finger then pushes the rim down inside the base then push the sides together and hold firmly.

But don’t worry if you are struggling as there are a number of different YouTube videos which can help you to find a technique that works for you.

Can I use a menstrual cup if I have heavy periods?

Yes, you can use a menstrual cup if you have heavy periods. You will just need to invest in a cup that has a larger capacity and expect to empty it more often.

Can I use a menstrual cup after giving birth? 

The NHS says that you should not use a menstrual cup after giving birth until you have had your six-week check.

This is because you will still have a wound where the placenta was joined to the wall of your womb, plus there are likely to be cuts and tears in and around your vagina. Any sort of internal sanitary products are not recommended during this time as it increases the likelihood of infection.

Once you have healed, then you can use a menstrual cup, but you will likely need to use a different size than you were using before if you have just given birth vaginally.

How do I clean my menstrual cup?

Cleaning a menstrual cup is pretty straightforward. Just pop your cup in boiling water for five to 10 minutes before emptying the water. Once the cup has cooled, with clean hands, wash the cup with a mild, water-based, oil-free soap. Then give it a good rinse and you’re ready to go again. 

Make sure you don’t use anything like vinegar, perfumed soaps, antibac, bleach or baking soda to clean your menstrual cup. Not only will this damage your cup, but you could seriously harm your vaginal health. Healthline has more great tips on how to care for your menstrual cup.

How often should a menstrual cup be replaced?

If treated with care, menstrual cups can last for several years, but it’s generally recommended that you replace your cup every two years. If your cup is damaged, has a tear or a hole in it, you’ll want to replace it sooner.

What’s the best menstrual cup? 

Mumsnet users rate Mooncup Menstrual Cup as the best overall menstrual cup. Extensively tried and tested, Mooncup scores highly for comfort, ease of use and it’s also recommended by women with heavy periods.

How we chose our recommendations

Our expert parenting writers and journalists spend hours researching the very best quality products for our Swears By articles.

All the menstrual cups on this list have been tried and tested by Mumsnet users who have recommended their favourite cups based on factors including comfort, ease of use and price. We include these so you know that real people are behind these recommendations.

We’ve also consulted trusted medical websites, including the NHS and Healthline, to provide an authoritative voice on menstrual cups, so you can rest assured our article contains safe and reliable medical information.

Finally, we collated all that information and then looked at other online reviews to see which menstrual cups had received the best recommendations.

This article is not intended as a countdown of the top 12 best products, but rather a list of recommendations so you can be safe in the knowledge that you are getting honest and reliable advice on choosing a menstrual cup, whether you are a first-time or experienced user.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.