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5 menstrual cup brands you should know about
Read this before you make the switch to menstrual cups. - photo by Jackie Bolen
One of my only regrets in life is not discovering menstrual cups until my mid 30's. Now that I know how amazing they are, I can't believe that I wasted all those years. I'm not sure how I didn't know about themmaybe it was the small marketing budgets that menstrual cup companies had back then, or maybe I was just hanging around the wrong people. Whatever the case, I'm now happy with my choice, especially since there are so many benefits to using a menstrual cup:

Health benefits

Disposable pads and tampons contain chemicals from the manufacturing process. They also contain pesticides from the cotton that goes into them. To further compound the problem, manufacturers in the USA aren't required to disclose what's in these products because they're classified as "medical devices."

Menstrual cups (at least the top quality ones) contain medical grade silicone that is approved by the FDA. Be sure to get a cup from a reputable company (like the ones below) and wash off any residue from the manufacturing process before use.

Environmental benefits

Disposable pads and tampons go straight into the landfill. Considering that the average woman menstruates for 40 years, this really adds up. A portion of this waste is non-biodegradable plastic, which will still be here thousands of years from now.

Compare this to menstrual cupsthey can last anywhere from five to 10 years and can often be recycled, depending on where you live. Purchasing four to eight menstrual cups over the course of a lifetime is certainly better than thousands of pads and tampons.

Saving money

Pads and tampons are expensive, especially when you think of the cost over your whole lifetime. A menstrual cup costs $15-30, which means that you'll recoup your costs after only a few months.

Now that you're convinced to make the switch, what brand should you go with? Here are my top picks:

1. The Lena Cup

Although the Lena Cup is a bit of a newcomer, it's becoming increasingly popular. The company's mission is to provide an affordable, high-quality menstrual cup and does just that it's around $10 cheaper than the more expensive ones.

The Lena Cup is made in the USA from top-quality, medical-grade silicone and it has some of the highest user ratings on Amazon. It's easy to insert, and remove and most people find that it doesn't leak. It has a medium level stiffness, which means that it's easy enough to insert, but not so stiff to be uncomfortable. You can get the Lena Cup in a small size, or a large version.

Find out more details at the Lena Cup website.

2. FemmyCycle

Instead of being cylindrical in shape (like other brands), a FemmyCycle cup is more bell-shaped. And instead of a stem, there is a ring at the end to assist with removal. The thing I love best about the FemmyCycle are the three models they offerregular, teen, and low cervix.

The teen model is particularly good for, well, teens, or rather petite women who may find the other bigger cups uncomfortable. The low cervix version is perfect for someone with a short vaginal canal who find the longer menstrual cups don't work for them. The low cervix version is a full 20 mm shorter than most other cups on the market today. The regular is great for the average woman.

Check out all the options at the FemmyCycle website.

3. The Ruby Cup

Although it's one of the most expensive cups, it comes in third because of their buy one, donate one program. For every cup that they sell, they give one to a person in need. To date, they've donated thousands of cups to underprivileged women around the world.

As far as the cup itself goes, I love that the small size is actually small, and the large size is actually large (many menstrual cups companies put out two cups that are slightly above, and slightly below average.)

Although the Ruby Cup is made in China, they do have strict manufacturing standards and quality checks in place.

More details at the Ruby Cup Website.

4. The Diva Cup

The Diva Cup is the most popular menstrual cup in the world. The name "Diva Cup" is often used interchangeably with "menstrual cup" for this very reason. Manufactured in Canada, the Diva Cup has been around for years and years, and has a reputation as a top-quality cup.

In terms of sizing, both the small and large are kind of average, making it not a great choice for a smaller person, someone with a heavy flow, or a low-medium cervix. For the average person, however, it works great.

The Diva Cup is one of the stiffest cups you can buy, helping the cup just "pop" into place once inserted. However, some people find that very stiff cups are quite uncomfortable; you'll just have to see what works for you.

Check out the Diva Cup website.

5. Anigan EvaCup

Although it's a bit of a newcomer to the menstrual cup world, the Anigan EvaCup becoming increasingly popular, mostly due to the low price. It's 1/2 to 2/3 the price of more expensive cups, but the quality is the same. Another perk is the size. The Anigan EvaCup is that the large size has a very high capacity of 37 ml. Compare this to something like the Diva Cup at 30 ml. This makes it an excellent choice for someone with a very heavy period (check out more high-capacity cups here).

More information at the Anigan EvaCup website.