Menstrual Cups

Playtamx

playtamx2

Country of origin: Unknown
Composition: Medical Grade Silicone
Sizes: S (small) and L (large)
DimensionsSize S: 40mm diameter, 70mm including stem   Size L: 45mm diameter
Capacity15ml (Presumably small cup capacity to airholes?)
Stem: Short thin “stick”
Measuring Lines: Yes
Cost (RRP): $10 USD
Been around since: 2015?
Other Details: Looks to be one of the more professional looking of the rebrandings of this cup design – see Similar and Rebranded cups.

playtamx-boxes

February 25, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , | Leave a comment

Patent for a “Splash-proof menstrual cup”

Someone pointed me to this today – it’s a Korean patent from 2009/2011 for a menstrual cup that has what appears to be a “lid” across the top, that would allow blood into the cup, but (presumably) not allow it to leak out as easily.

liddedcuppatent

http://www.google.com/patents/WO2011013954A2?cl=tr

I haven’t ever seen a cup like this, so I don’t think they were ever produced.

Much like the Keeper’s patent, which featured a hollow tube stem with a stopper to allow it to be emptied while worn – which doesn’t seem to have ever been manufactured.

keeper-patent

https://www.google.com/patents/US5827248

February 18, 2015 Posted by | news | 5 Comments

Charlene

charlene

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TACX6LY?psc=1

Country of origin: Unknown
Composition: Silicone
Sizes:  “S” (Small) “L” (large)
Dimensions: S = 42mm diameter. 52.2mm length without stem, 62.2mm length total. 10mm stem.
L = 45mm diameter. 55.4mm length without stem, 65.4mm length in total. 10mm stem.

Capacity: S=20ml to airholes,  22.5ml to rim. L=25ml to airholes, 28mls to rim.
Stem: Short Thin “Stick”
Measuring Lines: Yes
Cost (RRP): $49.99 USD set of 2  [Currency Converter]
Been around since: 2015
Other Details: The shape/design of the cup looks very similar to cups being sold as the Aneer, Blossom, Cup’ax and Dutchess cups.  See Similar/rebranded cups. They even state this in their listing:

charlenecompare

February 18, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , | Leave a comment

Ève Cup

evecup2b

Found on Ebay (Listing #1, Listing #2)

Country of origin: Unknown
Composition: Silicone
Sizes:  “S” (Small), “L” (large)
Dimensions: S = 32mm diameter, 48mm long, 22mm stem.  L = 38mm diameter, 60mm long, 24mm stem.
Capacity: Unknown
Stem:  Hollow tube?
Measuring Lines: Unknown
Cost (RRP):  [Currency Converter]
Other Details:  Has “Flame” sort of design on the base, with a wavy design on the rim.

evecup2

February 17, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | | Leave a comment

Sckoon knockoffs?

Browsing through AliExpress today, I discovered these cups.  While they have tried to disguise the stems, you can see the telltale flower design on the base of the cup.  They look to be copies of the Sckoon cup.

femcup_skoonhttp://www.aliexpress.com/item/2015-Hot-Sale-Reusable-Medical-Grade-Silicone-Menstrual-Cup-Lady-Cup-Feminine-Hygiene-Product-for-Femcup/32284308638.html

.

ladycup-sckoonhttp://www.aliexpress.com/item/2015-Hot-Sale-Wholesale-6-Colors-Choose-Reusable-Medical-Grade-Silicone-Menstrual-Cup-Lady-Cup-Feminine/32282819348.html

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Since one of them shows it with a “femcup” box, and the “femcup” brand cup looks very similar to the other Chinese copies/rebrands, I wonder if it Femcup likewise a rebranded cup?

femcup

February 17, 2015 Posted by | comparisons, news | , | Leave a comment

Biointimo Aqua Tampon

biointimo3

http://www.biointimo.org/en/

Country of origin: Russia?
Composition: Medical Grade Silicone
Sizes: S (Small) and L (Large)
Dimensions: Size S = diameter 40mm; length70mm; length of the stem 25mm.  Size L = diameter 45mm; length 70mm; length of the stem20mm.
Capacity: S = 25ml L = 30ml
Stem: Flat Tab
Measuring Lines: Yes
Been around since: ?
Other: Their website does not list them (though it shows a picture of them).  But I found them on AliExpress.  They appear to be one of the many rebrandings/clones of the tab stemmed cups.  Although one photo shows the brand name embossed into the cup.

biointimo

biointimo2

February 17, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , | 1 Comment

ALX

alx_menstrual-cup

http://alexanderlifecare.com

Country of origin: India
Composition: “high quality silicon”
Sizes:  “1” (Small), “2” (large)
Dimensions: 1 =  43mm diameter, 56mm long without stem, 26mm stem  2 = 47mm diameter, 58mm long without stem, 27mm stem.
Capacity: Unknown
Stem:  Flat Tab
Measuring Lines: Unknown
Cost (RRP):  [Currency Converter]
Other Details: Looks to the the same as several other tab stem cups – see Similar/rebranded cups.

February 17, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , | Leave a comment

Pinkcopa

pinkcopa

http://www.pinkcopa.com [Translated to English]

Country of origin:
Composition: Silicone
Sizes:  “S” (Small), “M” Medium,  “L” (large)
Dimensions: M = 44mm diameter, 51mm long (without stem). 10mm stem .
Capacity:
Stem: Short Thick
Measuring Lines:
Cost (RRP): € 25 [Currency Converter]
Been around since: 2014?
Other Details: Seems to be using a natural colourant.  I asked what this was, but they wouldn’t tell me :(  (mentioned on their blog)

pinkcopa3

February 17, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , | 2 Comments

Amulette

amulette

http://www.amulette.lt  [Translated into English]

Country of origin: France
Composition: Medical Grade Silicone
Sizes:  S (small), M (large)
DimensionsSize S: 40mm diameter, 47mm length.  27mm stem.  Size M: 45mm diameter, 52mm length. 22mm stem.
CapacitySize S: 20mlSize M: 30ml.
Stem: Long thin “stick”
Measuring Lines: No
Cost (RRP): € 37
Been around since: 2012
Other Details: Looks to be the same as the Si-Bell.  Comes with a fancy bag pouch and a cycle marking chart.

amulette_packshot

February 17, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , | Leave a comment

Natu

natu

http://www.natulovesyou.com

Country of origin:  Unknown
Composition: Silicone
Sizes: 1 (small), 2 (large)
Dimensions: Small = 42mm diameter, 47mm long.  Large = 47mm diameter, 52mm long.
Capacity:  Unknown
Stem: Thin long “stick”
Measuring Lines: Yes
Cost (RRP)£20.99
Been around since: ?
Other Details:  (Close up picture of the Liberty Cup shows it appears to be rebranding of “natu” cup, as it appears to say “natu” embossed on the side)

natu2

February 15, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , | Leave a comment

iClean

iclean2

Being sold on AliExpress

Country of origin:  China
Composition: Medical Grade Silicone
Sizes:  S (small( and L (large)
Dimensions: S – 40mm diameter, 70mm length, length of the stem 25mm.  L – 45mm diameter, 70mm length, length of the stem 20mm.
Capacity: S = 25ml  L= 30ml
Stem: Flat tab
Measuring Lines: Yes
Cost (RRP):  Around $4 USD
Been around since:  ?
Other Details:  This cup looks identical to a bunch of other cups being sold cheaply on Amazon/Ebay/Aliexpress.  See Similar and rebranded cups.  Comes in Pink, Clear and Purple.

iclean3

iclean4

I have also seen the moon/heart stem cups being sold with the iClean box.

iclean_hearthttp://www.aliexpress.com/item/Soft-Medical-Grade-Silicone-Menstrual-Cups-New-Package/32231367907.html

February 15, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , | Leave a comment

Comfy Cup

comfycup

Being sold on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Country of origin:  Unknown
Composition: Medical Grade Silicone
Sizes:  Small & Large
Dimensions: S – 40mm diameter,  46mm length, length of the stem 19mm.  L – 46mm diameter, 53mm length, length of the stem 13mm.
Capacity: S = 15.5ml.  L = 26ml
Stem: Wide flat tab
Measuring Lines:
Cost (RRP):  Around $30 USD
Been around since:  ?
Other Details:  This cup looks identical to a bunch of other cups being sold cheaply on Amazon/Ebay/Aliexpress.  See Similar and rebranded cups.  Comes in Pink, Clear and Purple.

comfycup1comfycup4 comfycup3

February 15, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , | Leave a comment

Claricup – Review

I got one of each size, plus the “Clarigyna” – which is a washing solution for my “intimate parts” (tee hee), and can be used to wash the cup.

clari_boxes

clari_gyna

The cups come with multilingual instruction sheet and a black plastic storage box

clari_box

Interestingly, the instruction sheet says that the Claricup is “the only menstrual cup made of biocompatible  ANTI-MICROBIAL medical grade silicone.” (their bolding) – So I’m not sure what makes theirs antimicrobial.  The instructions are more detailed than some of the other cups instructions which is good, but it basically covers all the usual things.

Now I just want to point out that (sadly) this cup is NOT purple, as it will appear to be in most of the photos.  The flash in the photos makes it look purple, but it is definitely a blue colour.  It is a very dark (unusual colour) blue, and does have a purple hint to it, but this colour below is what the colour looks like.

clari_blue

The black storage containers are a cool addition

clari_cups

Claricup softness/squishyness compared with a Sckoon

clari_squish-sckoon

clari_cups1Again, these photos make the cups look purple, but they are actually dark blue, like you can see in the squish photo above.

clari_cups2

The holes aren’t drilled through well, I do have to say…  In the large size some of them look a bit messy on the outside.  The small cup some of the silicone around the holes on the inside is poking out into the cup (which is what is appearing white in the photos).

clari_holes clari_holes2

And interestingly, in the instructions, the second note in the “precautions for use” section says to “make sure the 4 perforations an the top of your Claricup are correctly pierced“.  I’ve never seen a cup company list that before,  so obviously it’s a known defect with this brand.  It doesn’t bother me, as the holes are drilled through, just not as neatly as other cups.

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Using the cup

Now I do frequently say that my favourite stem type is a flat tab (Lunette style), and I don’t tend to like any other stem type….. well I have now found a stem type that I like even more than the flat tab!!!

The stem on these is BRILLIANT!

My main issues with the thin “stick” kind of stems I’ve tried with the Juju and Sckoon are that they are stretchy, so when you go to pull the cup down the cup tends to stay put and you’re stretching the stem, and they are slippery.  This stem is not too stretchy, so works well to pull the cup down, and it has really good grip.  So I find it has just as much grip as a tab stem, but is even more comfortable to wear.  I could not feel this stem at all.  A great stem design!

The cup itself I like the shape of.  No “ridge”.  The silicone has that soft “peach skin” type feeling, it’s a nice soft (“squishy”) silicone.  No writing on it anywhere, so that makes cleaning easier.

The colour is interesting.  It’s not what I would choose, and at first I thought it was a bit unappealing, but it has grown on me and now I find it quite pretty.  There are too many pink and very “girly” coloured cups, so in a way I think it is nice to have a cup that isn’t so pink and girly.  Especially since there are people who menstruate who don’t identify as female.  I’m sure there are a lot of people who appreciate cups that aren’t pastel colours.

This cycle I’ve had 4 cups to test out, so unfortunately I haven’t been able to wear the cup for very long to give it a proper test.  Over the coming months I will try it out more, and update this review if needed.

I tried both the large and small cups.  I wore the large cup for a few hours during the day.   I found it opened up ok, I just needed to press against the vaginal wall  a bit to give it room to open (as I usually have to do with the softer cups). I did have a slight amount of leakage (just a little spotting), and the cup had not got very full, but maybe that was just a once off issue, I also had another cup I was testing that leaked that day when it hadn’t when testing it the previous day.

The small opened up fine.  I wore the small one overnight on a lighter flow day, and had no leakage overnight (the cup didn’t get very full though).

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Conclusion

To be honest, I got this cup so that I could review it and see if it was like the Si-Bell, I wasn’t expecting to be as impressed with it as I am.  I really like the stem, I do like the colour and I find it is nice and comfortable and easy to clean.  While it doesn’t come with a pouch, it does come with a storage container (that can also be used for soaking/steralising), which is really useful.

I can’t say for sure, since I haven’t had enough time to test it out with my period to check it’s not leaking or anything, but based on the shape, feel of the silicone and the stem design – I think I would have to put this cup up there in my top favourite cups!

February 14, 2015 Posted by | photos, reviews | , | 7 Comments

Lily Cup and Lily Compact – Review

Lily_boxesThe Lily Cups come sealed in little pouches, with a little book of multilingual instructions.  The Lily Cups come with a pink (lycra?) drawstring pouch.  The Lily Compact comes with a little plastic storage case.  The instruction book is the same for both cups.

Lily_box Lily-compact_boxopen

Lily_boxopen Lily-compact_boxcontents

To me, the Lily Cup has always seemed very…. “Sophisticated”. perhaps even “elegant”… I guess.  Because of the shape of it.  But then that also makes sense since LELO (the company that makes them) also makes what I’d consider to be more “sophisticated” looking sex toys too.

Lily_cups2

They have an anti-spill lip around the top rim

Lily_cups1

Lily_cups4

They also have, which you can just see in the light coloured cup above, a thicker “spine” that runs up each side of the cup. I assume this is to help it pop open easier and make them stronger when being pushed up into the vagina.

You’ll notice also that the top of the cup is not straight like all the other cups, it is angled.  Presumably this is to conform to the shape of the vagina better.

It seems to me, that a lot of thought and effort went into designing these cups!  Which makes sense, LELO know vaginas ;)

Lily_cups5

I must admit that I’m not a fan of the colour pink, but the darker pink they use I actually find quite nice.  (Sometimes the flash makes the dark pink cup look brighter than it is)

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The Lily Compact is a fantastic and novel idea I think.

Lily-compact_cups

They are designed to collapse down very small, so they can be carried around more conveniently!

Lily-compact_cups5 Lily-compact_cups4

Lily-compact_cupcontainer

I really think that is such a fantastic idea!  They don’t fold down as easily as I’d have expected, but then you wouldn’t want it compacting in your vagina, so I suppose that is for the best.  It just takes a bit of fiddling to get them to fold down.  The compact cups are a smaller capacity (only 20-25mls to the rim), so wouldn’t be ideal for a heavier flow.  But having one to keep in your handbag for emergencies would be very handy, and with the case, it means it’s protected, won’t take up much space and won’t be embarrassing if it falls out of your bag!

Lily-compact_cups2

Lily-compact_cups3

The silicone feels lovely!  While the extra lip of the rim of the Lily Cups, and the more solid base, makes them feel a bit stiffer… the compact is lovely and soft.  The silicone itself feels very soft and almost suede-like. It just as a very good quality feel to it.

Wearing the cups

I was testing out 4 cups this cycle, so I wasn’t able to wear each cup for a full cycle to test it, but here are my results.

I started with the Large Lilycup.  I did a C fold and tried to insert it, but it wouldn’t open up at all, it also seemed to suction against the wall of my vagina and I had a bit of trouble removing it.  But I also had trouble with another cup I tried (a different brand) that day – so I think maybe my vagina was being weird that day :P

So after not getting the Large to work, I then the small.  That one seemed to open up fine, but I wasn’t able to reach up to the rim to feel if it was fully open, and the shape of the sides meant I couldn’t tell (with the regular bell shaped cups I can tell from how firm the body of the cup is, if the rim has opened fully or not).  But I didn’t have any leaking, so it must have been opened fine.

I wore the Small cup for a few hours, I was aware of the feeling of the stem for a little while, but it wasn’t uncomfortable, and I forgot about it after a while.

When I removed it, it was about half full, and I didn’t seem to get any spillage when I removed it – so I think the anti-spill lip really does work well.

Then I tried the Large size Lily Compact.  It rode up quite high (because it is shorter than other cups), so I found I was just able to reach it (I have short fingers though).  I wasn’t able to feel the stem though while it was being worn, which is a bonus.  It was my heaviest day, so after a couple of hours it did start to leak, but when I removed it, with some spillage, the cup was very full, so it may have filled past the rim and that was probably why it leaked.

The next day I tried the large Compact again, no leakage.  The cup was about 3/4 full when I removed it.

Then I tried the Large Lily Cup again.  With the punchdown fold rather than the C fold.  This time it opened up fine. Again no sign of any spillage when removing the cup, so I am impressed with the lip on the cups.

Lastly, I tried the small Lily Cup again, I did have a small amount of leakage, and the cup was only about 1/4 full when I removed it, so I’m not sure if maybe I’d positioned it wrong or something.  It was only enough leakage to make slight spotting on a pantyliner though, so it wasn’t that bad.

The cups all rinsed clean easily – no airholes to clean on the non-compact versions, but you will have to remember to clean under the lip to make sure nothing stays under there.  The extra bumps of the compact cups may require a little more effort to clean than a completely smooth cup inside, but I didn’t have any issues with just a rinse out.

The stems had a good amount of grip, and the stem portion of the Compact was just long enough to give me enough to hold onto to pull the cup down, without being too long that it has extra to poke you with.  I think the fact that the bottom of the Lily Cup base is quite firm, is why I could feel that.  But it does appear to be able to e trimmed down if needed, and it certainly wasn’t “uncomfortable”, I was just aware that it was there for a little while after inserting it (I personally wouldn’t need to trim any off).

The first 2 times, I kept forgetting which side is supposed to be aligned where, so I had to keep checking the instructions.  The instructions show to do the punchdown fold and to press down on the shorter side, inserting the longer side first (so that the long side is against the tailbone).  Though this is something I’m sure I’d remember the more I use it.  The instructions also show rolling the Lily Cup up to make it as small as a tampon to insert, I wasn’t able to get it to roll up like that.  The punchdown definitely seems to be the best folding method to use.

Conclusion

I quite liked both styles of cup, but I was really impressed with the concept of the Lily Compact.  I personally don’t mind using pads, and I don’t like to use a cup without a liner for backup just in case, so I’m happy to have a cloth pad in my handbag for emergencies, but if you are a person who prefers cups to pads, and wants something to keep on hand for if your period starts while you are out – I would definitely recommend these!  I imagine they would also be really handy for traveling.  Not that a normal cup takes up much room, but these can be folded down really small, in a nice discreet protective case – and I found the cup to be comfortable too.

I did have a couple of issues with the non-compact versions, but I didn’t have the chance to use them enough before writing this review to get the hang of using them, and occasionally with any cup there can be days were they don’t seem to want to work properly.  So I wouldn’t think it would be fair to be turned off a cup based on a couple of hiccups I had.  I do have more cups to review, and only a certain amount of menstruating days to do it – but I will definitely use the Lily again to give it more of a go, and I will update that when I have tested them some more.

February 14, 2015 Posted by | photos, reviews | , | 7 Comments

Squish Test Results

Previously I tried to rate the softness of cups by comparing how squishy the rim felt, now I’m rating based on squishing the rims together and comparing how much each cup rim compressed. I’ll refer to this as the “Squish test”.

This squish test of often done by taking 2 cups and pressing them together, like this:

namelessmoon-squish

This shows that the cup on the top has flattened more than the cup on the bottom, so the top cup is presumably made from a softer silicone, because it compresses more than the other cup.

This is a fairly good indication of which cup is softer than the other.  However, I have noticed in doing this myself, that if you have 2 cups with a similar degree of squishyness, the bottom cup will always flatten more.  It seems there is more pressure on the bottom cup than the top cup.  Also when you squash 3 cups together, the centre one squishes more. So to get a more accurate indication of which cup is softer, you really need to compress 2 cups, from the sides.

So I bought a caliper so I could more accurately test squishing 2 cups together :)
CupCalipers

I have measured the “squishyness” or Softness of the cups based on Squishing them all with the same cup – Lunette  – setting calipers to 50.00mm, inserting the Lunette and one other cup together between the slides of the caliper, and measuring how compressed the rim of the cup I’m testing against the lunette is (measuring from the outsides of the rim, to account for the fact the cups have different thicknesses of rim)

Now, this is not a perfectly accurate reading, however it can be used to give an indication of relative “squishyness” of the brands.  The smaller the number, the more compressed the cup was, so the softer or more “squishy” the cup is.

If anyone has any particular requests as to which cups to compare together, comment here and I can compare them for you.

 

Large Sizes
Tested against a Large Lunette – using all Large size cups (except the Luv Ur Body, which I used the “medium” size since it was closer in size to the Large sizes of other brands and the single sized cups)

  • Nameless ebay moon stem cup – (20mm)
  • Lunacup (21mm)
  • Miacup [old] (21mm)
  • Juju (23mm)
  • Sckoon (23mm)
  • Vcup [one size] (24mm)
  • Fleur Cup (24mm)
  • Lily Compact (24mm)
  • Ruby (25mm)
  • Claricup (25mm)
  • Femmecup [new] [one size] (26mm)
  • Luv Ur Body (26mm)
  • Lady Cup (27mm)
  • Lily Cup (27mm)
  • MeLuna [Classic] (27mm)
  • Mpower (27mm)
  • Femmycycle (28mm)
  • Lunette (28mm)
  • Mooncup uk [old] (29mm)
  • Yuuki – [new] (30mm)

 .

Small Sizes
Tested against a Small Lunette – using all Small size cups.

  • Keeper (26mm)
  • Diva [old] (26mm)
  • Luna cup (26mm)
  • Femmycycle (26mm)
  • Luv Ur Body (27mm)
  • Sckoon [prototype] (27mm)
  • Juju (27mm)
  • Lunette (27mm)
  • Claricup (27mm)
  • Yuuki [new] (27mm)
  • Lily compact (27mm)
  • Femmecup [new][one size] (27mm)
  • Vcup [one size] (28mm)
  • Femmecup [old] (30mm)
  • Mooncuk uk [old] (33mm)

 

My “new” MeLuna was from 2011, I assume it is a “Classic”, but it’s HEAPS softer than their old cups.  The “new” Yuuki I’m not sure which version it is, probably the “classic”

 

— disclaimer —
Now, I would like to mention that when I get new cups in, I have to compare them to the old cups I have to know where to rank them, and I’m not sure if silicone changes softness over time (when stored in a dark box and not used – as my samples are). So that may affect my ratings.

Cups apparently get softer the more they are used (particularly through repeated boiling) – so my cups that are used once or twice then put in a storage box, will probably not be as soft as a cup that is used by someone regularly.

Please note that I can only test the cups I actually have – so this is a list of the cups I own.  Please do not ask me to test any cups not on this list.

I will update the list whenever I obtain a new cup (I do have a few cups on the way)

February 13, 2015 Posted by | comparisons, reviews | 2 Comments

Nameless moon stem cup – Review

I’ve been wanting one of these cups for a while, because they are purple, and have a cute moon stem – and I wanted to see what these cheap Chinese cups were like.

I tried to buy one in the past, from Aliexpress, but it never arrived – I contacted the seller and they said they would send another – I never got it.  So I decided never to buy from Aliexpress again (no buyer protection), so when I saw one of these cups on ebay, where I could pay with paypal and have some recourse if it never arrived, I figured I’d spent a whopping $3.80 (including postage!) and buy one.

This one actually did arrive!

namelessmoon_bagIn no expense spared packaging :P (I know, you can’t expect anything more for $3.80!)

The first thing that struck me.. physically… was the SMELL!  I’d heard people comment on the fact some of these cheap cups have a plastic/chemical small, and now I know what they mean.  It was really strong.  The more the cup has been left out of the bag and allowed to air out, the less smell it has, but it was very offputting!

Which really concerns me…. No other cup I’ve had smelled.  So I don’t know what type of silicone they used, or what additives are used… but something seems not right.  The listing just says it is made from “Silicone” – so it does not specify it is Medical Grade silicone…. which means it might not be.

That aside… it’s a really pretty colour and a really pretty design!

namelessmoon2

namelessmoon3

It is however basically a Lunette with a moon on the stem

namelessmoon-lunette

Same size (maybe a mm smaller), same shape, same size ridge around the top, measuring lines in the same location and the same spacing… Which… (copyright infringement aside) would work well for me since I do love my Lunette, and I love purple!

The silicone is really really soft, with that “peach-skin” (smooth, not sticky or plasticky) feeling.  It does feel really nice.

Surprisingly, I didn’t have too much trouble getting the cup to open, which I often do with softer silicone cups.  It might be because I’ve been wearing other cups all day, not sure.  I did have to press against my vaginal wall to give it enough space to pop open as I normally do, but I didn’t have as much trouble as I expected I would.

Here it is with a squish test, compared to a large Sckoon.

namelessmoon-squish

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There are a few sections where the seams are a little rough, but frankly, I have a couple of cups including a Lunette that have that too…. so that doesn’t really bother me.  The airholes however, haven’t been punched all the way through.  My camera isn’t good enough to show this well, but on the outside they look like they go through, but on the inside there is no hole, just a piece of silicone poking out where the hole should go through (which looks white against the purple cup).  I think I could probably pull on that slug of silicone and I could cut it off which might open the holes, but I won’t use the cup again so there is no point.

namelessmoon4

namelessmoon-hole

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Wearing the cup

As I’m sure you’ll suspect…. sadly, a pointy ended moon shape is not the most comfortable stem design :(

Normally I am aware of the stem of a cup for a little while after inserting a cup – not uncomfortable, but I can just feel it is there.  This one was more irritating than a regular tab stem.  I could feel the point of the moon stabbing/scratching me as I walked or did anything with my legs squeezed together.  It didn’t “hurt”, but it was annoying and uncomfortable.  It was however not as irritating as I find the long hollow tube stem that the Mooncup UK has.

Maybe it is something I would get used to the longer I wore it, and I am stubborn enough that the cuteness factor could make me put up with it more than I would have if it was clear or something :D but the fact the silicone had a funny smell meant I was already a bit wary of the cup, so I didn’t want to wear it for too long.  The main feature of this cup is the moon, so trimming it off would be a shame – although it would still be purple, so that would still be a bonus for me :)

– There are however heart shaped stem versions, for the smaller size, which would likely be a lot more comfortable to wear.

I wore the cup for about half an hour, and then removed it.  Now whether or not it was the stem poking/scratching which caused some irritation to my skin, or if there is something in on the material it is made from that has caused some irritation – I don’t know…. but I’ve tested out a lot of cups and I’ve never had any feeling of irritation before, but after using this cup, for about an hour later I had a “warm”, not quite stinging or burning, but almost like a milder version of that type of feeling in my vagina, which I presume was a mild irritation from this cup.  It felt to me that it was irritated more than just where the stem was poking, so I think it was a reaction to the material. So I won’t be wearing it again.

Someone pointed out that it could have been the “mold release” that was what I could smell. (which did lessen after it was washed and aired out, and gone completely now).  I do freely admit that I don’t boil or sanitise the cups before I use them, I give them a good wash with water and that is it – so while I’ve never had any issues with other cups doing this – maybe the “mold release” chemical stayed on the cup enough to cause the reaction and it might not have been the material.  I don’t know.  I did do a burn test to see if it was silicone, and it turned to ash and performed like burning silicone is supposed to do.  Which is not conclusive to show it is any particular form of silicone, but it proves it isn’t plastic.

Now, I am allergic to elastic and most metals – so I have sensitive skin that other people probably don’t have.  But then no other cup has been an issue. So I strongly feel there is was something in the material of this cup (or the mold release) that is not the same as the normal (more expensive) Medical Grade Silicone cups.

Conclusion…… 

I personally don’t trust the safety of a cup that sells for such a low price.  I paid $4.80 for it, including the cost to post it to me…. and ebay fees, paypal fees and postage has to come out of that $3.80.  It wouldn’t be leaving much profit left for the seller.  I do have to wonder how much it cost the manufacturer to make them, and if they took any shortcuts or used inferior materials to make it cheaper.  The fact it smelled very much like “new plastic”, when the other cups don’t, is of concern to me.

That issue aside, the stem design is not very ergonomic.  It might be ok for some people, but then it is easy to cut the moon off if you need to.  Also the holes weren’t punched through, so you would need to punch them out yourself.  But if you’re paying less than $4 for a cup, you really can’t be picky about the quality.

The shape of the cup and feel of the silicone though are very good.  the shape is obviously copied from Lunette, like so many other cheap cups on the market… but legalities of that aside, it is a good shape I think.  The colour is quite pretty.  So other than the pokey stem issue (easily dealt with), the cup itself is a comfortable fit, and it didn’t appear to leak (though I didn’t wear it for long).

I love the look of this cup, but I would be hesitant to recommend it (or any of the other no-name cup brands being sold for less than $10 on ebay and the like) to others, because of the potential safety concerns.

February 13, 2015 Posted by | photos, reviews | | 5 Comments

Femmycycle – Review

I’d been curious to try one of these cups for a long time.  Such an interesting design for this cup!

femmycycle-box2 femmycycle-boxcd

It comes with a CD – it shows a documentary about the Femmecap (contraceptive device made by the same company) and the Femmycycle menstrual cup – as well as a video about the cup and how to fold, insert and remove it.  Probably not necessary to be honest, but it’s nice that they have the extra touch of the CD to give people a visual instruction on how to fold, for those who can’t look it up online.

femmycycle-boxinside

femmycycle-contents

The pouch is very different to the other cups pouches I’ve seen.  It is made from the type of material that reusable shopping/grocery bags is made from.  It also has a snap closure and a “gusset” – rather than just being a rectangle of cloth with sewn edges and drawstring like the others.

femmycycle-contents2

The cups themselves are surprisingly large. Very soft and squishy.

femmycycles

This cup has a… I don’t know what you’d call it… “anti-spill rim”?

femmycycleIt pops in/out of the top rim of the cup, making it into a sort of funnel type design, so the blood can flow into the cup, but can’t flow back out again when tipped on its side.

That part pops out so that you can properly clean inside.

femmycycles2

Here’s the Regular (large) size Femmycycle compared to the large size Juju (which was just the first large cup I grabbed), so you can see that compared to the conventional shape of menstrual cup, it’s quite a bit wider, and shorter.

femmycycle-juju

femmycycle-juju-sideThough the rim is smaller than the Juju

Here are the “regular” and “Teen” versions compared to a large Lunette for reference of “squishyness”.

femmycycle-lunette-squish femmycycle-lunette-squish2

Wearing the cup…

I’ll be honest, I had 4 menstrual cups to test out this period, so I wasn’t able to wear each cup for a full cycle to be able to test it fully.

I tried the “regular” (large) size first.  While the silicone itself is very soft, the extra “anti-leak” part around the rim makes that part a bit stiffer and thicker, so folding is probably about equal with one of the medium-squishyness cups in terms of the pressure needed to keep it folded.

I tried inserting it using the C fold while on the toilet, and I found I couldn’t get it to open up at all.   But I’d also had trouble earlier in the day with the Lily Cup too, so I think at that time, it was an issue with the contours of my vagina as well as the size/squishyness/shape of the cup.

So I tried the “teen” (small) size.  That seemed to open up ok, but because the base of the cup is so squishy and bulbous, and I couldn’t seem to find where the rim was to feel around there, I wasn’t sure.  Normally I can tell by the way the base of the cup feels, if the rim is fully open or not… and normally I can reach up to the rim to feel there. I suspect this is something that I would find easier the more practice I have using this cup.

I figured I’d know if it wasn’t opened and sealing, if I leaked.  I didn’t have any leaks, so it must have opened fine.

Normally I am aware of the feeling of the stem part of the cups after I first put them in, I was not able to feel the Femmycycle at all.  While the feeling doesn’t normally bother me, not being able to feel it at all, is much nicer!

I wore it for several hours, and I’d checked a few times and no leaking – but after a few hours I could feel the telltale “bubbling” sort of feeling that let me know it was leaking.  I did spill some when removing the cup – because the cup is so squishy, when you hold it to remove it, you’re like to so squish some out if it is too full, and the “anti-leak” guard thing can only do so much….  The cup was still about half full when I took it out to have a look – so it probably started leaking because it got too full.  Either because it overflowed or maybe it got heavier and slipped down a bit?  not sure.

I found it had ridden up quite high – I am used to wearing cups with a long stem – as I have short fingers and I presume a long vagina – so I need to be able to pull the cups down to better reach them,  I was just able to reach the ring to pull it down, and I definitely prefer a ring stem to a ball or narrow stick stem – The ring was the perfect size to get a finger into to grab it, but yet I couldn’t feel it while inside me at all.  So I was very impressed with that aspect.

I decided to try the large size out again, for overnight.  I don’t normally wear cups overnight, but with so many to test – I felt I should wear it overnight.  I didn’t have the same trouble as earlier in the day with getting it to open, it seemed to open up, but I still wasn’t completely sure.  But I had no leaking at all overnight  – the cup only got to about half full and I didn’t spill any when removing it – so I think the anti-spill spout feature does help reduce spillage when removing the cup – if you don’t let the cup get past about half full.

Cleaning was very easy – with no airholes to clean, it is simply a case of flipping up the spout thing, tipping out the blood, rinsing out the cup and you’re all good. Because of that spout part, you can actually give the cup a shake and swirl the water around inside it – which helps to get it clean – you can also stick your finger into the cup to wipe around the inside.  I’m not sure I’d call it “fun” – but because of that ability to swish the water around, it was maybe the most “entertaining” cup to clean :D  it made me think of how wine people swirl wine around in the goblet….  which made me giggle….  (I’m childish though!)

One aspect I appreciated was that I felt more secure being able to carry the cup around while it was full of blood.  I know what sounds weird, but let me explain :)  See, our toilet is in a separate room to the bathroom where the sink is.  I find that just emptying the cup into the toilet lets the blood sink to the bottom of the bowl and needs a second flush or a toilet brush to remove it (or you need to put toilet paper into the bowl first) …. So what I often do if the cup isn’t too full, is slowly put some toilet paper into the cup to soak up the blood, then put the toilet paper into the toilet…… but with this cup, I rested the cup in the end of a toilet roll while I finished up in the toilet (empty toilet paper rolls make perfect cup stands!), then I carried it into the bathroom and tipped the blood down the sink and gave the cup a good rinse.  So I actually found that a more convenient way to empty it.

All in all… I was very impressed with this cup.  It isn’t a cup I would have thought to buy if I was deciding on which cup to buy, since I must admit, it looked a bit weird and I wasn’t sure the anti-spill design was really needed.  But after trying it, I found it to be more comfortable than other cups, easy to remove, easy to clean and less likely to spill.  My only criticism would be the fact that I wasn’t able to tell if it was fully opened, but I think that would be something I would get used to the more I used the cup – whereas I unfortunately didn’t have enough time to spend getting used to the cups before writing this review.

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I will add this cup to my Ratings and Comparisons shortly

https://menstrualcups.wordpress.com/2008/06/11/my-comparisons-and-ratings/

February 13, 2015 Posted by | photos, reviews | , | 6 Comments

Poll on Stems

I’m curious to see how many people trim off the stems of their cups and how many leave them intact.  Also how people like or don’t like stems, and which stem options you like the best.

So I have a couple of polls :)  please submit your answer.  If you have more than one cup, you can answer more than one option.

February 12, 2015 Posted by | Polls, Using a cup | 3 Comments

Charity Programs Involving Cups

Some of the cup companies are involved in charity donations.

Femmecup
Femmecup has been donating to various charities.  Including providing cups to women in Uganda and to New Zealand following the earthquakes.

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Insteads Softcups
Donates a softcup to a girl in Africa for every box of softcups sold.

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Juju
In 2012 Juju donated 1000 cups to Days for Girls, and has donated cups to homeless women

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Mooncup (UK)

Each year a portion of profits is given to each Mooncup team member, who chooses a charity to donate it to.

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MPower
Mpower do charitable works in South Africa.

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My Own Cup
Has the “Inkululeko Project” which donates cups to schoolgirls in South Africa.

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Ruby Cup
With every purchase of a Ruby cup, they give a cup to a needy schoolgirl in Africa. They also work with www.femmeinternational.org

 

Sustainable Cycles
http://sustainablecycles.wordpress.com

The Keeper, DivaCup, and Lunette have donated to this cause – which helps to educate American women about reusable menstrual products.

February 3, 2015 Posted by | news | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Animal testing

The topic of animal testing has been brought up on a couple of the communities I am on over the last couple of days, so I thought I would address this here, so that people can get the information I currently have on this.

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In short, it would appear that yes, Medical Grade Silicone and TPE materials are tested on animals, depending on the class level is is being certified to.  So it may not be possible to find a cup (or any other medical grade silicone/TPE product) that is not linked to animal testing at all.

Now, to clarify – this testing is done by the manufacturer of the silicone/TPE material.  The cup companies themselves would not be involved.  So if the cup company says their cup is not tested on animals, that would be correct.  Their cup itself would not have been.  If they say their silicone is not tested on animals – that is also correct.  The batches of silicone/TPE they use likewise probably wouldn’t have been tested on animals either. But the company supplying the silicone/TPE has probably done animal testing on initial batches of the product to check that material is safe for prolonged use in human bodies before they could sell it for medical use. But subsequent batches made should not need testing. And it seems they will also do testing on specific batches on request.

So whether or not this animal testing issue makes a difference to you, depends on if you’re happy so long as the material that is in your actual cup was not tested on animals. Or if you are against any form of connection to animal testing, including any testing done by the manufacturer on previous/different batches of material. (In which case, you may find all brands of cup are “tainted”)

To know for sure, we would need to know where the cup companies buy their silicone, and see if those manufacturers have done animal testing on any of their products… I have a feeling though that all manufacturers will have done animal testing.

There are a couple of brands we do have details for, and those will be added here for easy reference.  The manufacturers also have a section with more info further down the page.

Gaia – Uses “Wacker” brand “Elastosil” silicone. Has certification documentation on their site showing animal testing was done on that form of silicone.

LadyCup – Doesn’t say which brand they use, but they do say: “The material used is Liquid Silicone Rubber from the German company. LadyCup® has been awarded the “Certificate of Compliance with USB Biological Tests, Classification VI” (Bioservice – Scientific Laboratories).” – Class VI indicates animal testing.

MeLuna  – Uses “Kraiburg” brand “Thermolast M” TPE.  Has certification documenation on their site showing animal testing was done on that form of TPE.

Mooncup UK – Has said in an e-mail to a member of the community: Legally, chemical formulas and many raw ingredients (such as medical grade silicone) will have to have undergone animal testing at some point historically in order to prove to approval authorities that they are safe for consumption/use. In the case of the Mooncup, any historical testing of medical grade silicone will have been undertaken well before the creation of the Mooncup in 2002.  The medical grade silicone used to make the Mooncup has therefore not been tested on animals by Mooncup Ltd, or on behalf of Mooncup Ltd by any third party over whom Mooncup Ltd has effective control.

Yuuki – Uses “Momentive” brand “Silopren LSR 4050” silicone.  Has certification documentation on their site showing animal testing was done on that form of silicone.

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If you want the longer version – keep reading :D


I’m actually really busy with stuff at the moment, and don’t have time to research this further, but the details I have are here, if anyone would like to research this more, please let me know what you find out!


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What I’ve been able to find out….

It would seem that there are different biocompatibility ISO standards, and USP classes for medical use.  Some testing for these is done “in vitro” (or “in Vivo” – testing on cells, not living creatures), but some are done “in silico” (by injecting and/or implanting the material into mice and/or rabbits).

I am unsure at this point if those standards are a voluntary thing, or if they are required by the FDA or similar bodies to have the products made from that type of material approved for sale.

Toxikon has a pdf guide to what the tests include and what tests are needed for which USP class.  It would seem that all classes (1-6) require injecting the compound into animals.  Classes IV and VI require implanting the compound into the muscle of a rabbit.

I don’t (yet) know if the the silicone/TPE that menstrual cups are made from needs to be to be classified under those classes to be FDA approved.  So it may be that menstrual cup silicone only needs the lower level testing that is not done on animals.  But it is likely that animal testing would be needed, and even if it’s not the same manufacturer would likely be testing to the higher class for silicone sold for other medical uses.

 

I have looked up the details for a couple of large silicone and TPE suppliers.  Info on them is below.

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Dow Corning
Dow Corning, who claims to be one of the leading suppliers of silicone – has a FAQ on their website, and in that it lists the animal testing done for the different classes.  Not only do Dow Corning participate in animal testing, they test for 7-30 days, rather than the 5 day minimum required.  I e-mailed Dow Corning to ask if they have any medical grade silicone that is not tested to class VI (eg not tested on animals) – they do not.
http://www.dowcorning.com/content/publishedlit/52-0001-01.pdf

“Class VI requires the most stringent testing of the six classes. Extracts of the test material are prepared in saline, alcohol in saline, polyethylene glycol (PEG 400), and vegetable oil. The extracts (diluted in the case of the PEG extract) and blanks are injected into mice and rabbits, which are observed several times over a 72-hour period. The animals’ response to the sample extracts and the blank are compared to determine test passage. These tests of extracts are called the Systemic Injection Test and the Intracutaneous Test. Materials that pass these two tests are compliant with USP Class V.

USP Class VI includes the tests of USP Class V plus an implantation test wherein strips of the test material and a negative control are implanted in rabbits for a period of not less than 120 hours. Hemorrhage, necrosis, discolorations, and infections are macroscopically observed and degree of encapsulation is scored and compared with the negative control to determine test passage. Note that the 7- and 30-day implantation test protocols utilized by Dow Corning exceed the 5-day (120-hour) USP Class VI implantation minimum requirement.”

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Kraiburg (Meluna supplier)
Kraiburg has a “Thermolast M” variety of TPE.
http://www.kraiburg-tpe.com/en/products/thermolast/thermolast_m

“All medical compounds are tested according to ISO 10993-5 (Cytotoxicity) and listed as Drug Master File. Selected medical compounds are tested according to described medical basic approvals: USP Class VI (chapter 88), USP 661 (in vitro), ISO 10993-4 (Haemolysis, indirect in human blood), ISO 10993-10 (Intracutaneous Irritation) and ISO 10993-11 (Acute Systemic Toxicity).”

So it says “Selected medical compounds are tested” for the ones on animals.  Which may mean that some of their Thermolast M range of TPE is not tested on animals?

However, there is a certificate issued by “Toxikon” to Kraiburg, which can be downloaded here, that includes this section specifically relating to the animal testing that the Thermolast M TPE was subject to:

“The test article extracts and corresponding blanks were injected systemically and intracutaneously in mice and rabbits respectively.”

and

“In addition, the test article was implanted into the paravertebral muscles of rabbits for 7 days and observed macroscopically for signs of hemorrhage, necrosis, discoloration, encapsulation and infection.”

There is also the “ISO-certificate, verifying the biological safety of TPE” document on the MeLuna website, that is seems to be basically a coverletter for the above certificate, that says:

“This is to certify that the biological safety performed under ISO 17025 accreditation status, as indicated in the above referenced USP class VI report, can be used as compliant results with the ISO 10993-10, tests for intracutaneous irritation and 10993-11, tests for systemic toxicity.”

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Momentive (Yuuki supplier)
Momentive’s  “Silopren LSR 4050″ silicone is tested on animals, as it states it meets the USP Class VI:
http://www.momentive.com/Products/ShowTechnicalDataSheet.aspx?id=25413

“Regulatory Compilance
A representative sample of an analogous product to Silopren LSR 450 met the requirements of USP Class VI (maximum contact
time with human tissue 28 days) and ISO 10993 under Good Laboratory Practices (GLP).”
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Wacker (Gaia Cup supplier)
Wacker’s “Silpuran” brand of silicone is also tested on animals:
http://www.wacker.com/cms/media/publications/downloads/6365C_EN.pdf

“Medically Relevant Properties
The SILPURAN® product line offers a compelling property profile to meet medical-technology needs:
•Available in a wide range of hard-nesses (Shore A)
•Excellent heat resistance as well as chemical and physical resistance without additional stabilizers
•High level of transparency and colorability
•Good resistance to UV radiation and X-rays
•Certified biocompatibility (ISO 10993: cytotoxicity, sensitization, pyrogenicity; USP Class VI: systemic toxicity, intra-cutaneous toxicity, and implantation for 5 days; further tests on request)”

 

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Further info on MeLuna
I’m only mentioning this, because I feel that a cup company should be honest and not misleading.  MeLuna claim not to know anything about animal testing and said to contact the supplier for details. 

However, MeLuna has a section of downloadable files on their site, to prove their product safety – that specifically mentions the animal testing for the “TM 4 Med” version of the TPE.

At the date of writing this article, MeLuna appear to have removed the certificate document from their site, although the text for the link remains (“TPE Test Result Certificate“).  A member of the menstrual cup community contacted MeLuna asking about animal testing, and that member claims that the above certificate was on the site when they contacted MeLuna, but was removed from the site the next day.

Luckily, back in 2011 when I asked them to comment on the safety of the coloured cups – they provided me with these same documents, so I still have a copy of that file that is no longer on their site. It can be downloaded here if it is still unavailable on their site.

The fact that they have (or had) documents on their website explicitly mentioning animal testing on the material they are using, yet claim not to know anything about it,  means that either they didn’t read those documents themselves (which isn’t a good sign), or they actually were aware of it and don’t want to admit that.

Now it is possible that the “TM 4 Med” version of the TPE (which was tested on animals) may not be what MeLuna uses – They say they use “Thermolast M” – but the number 4 in the product that was tested, may indicate that it was tested to class 4 (IV), which does require implantation testing.  So there may be a different version of “Thermolast M” that wasn’t tested on animals?  I don’t know.  So that may be why they removed that certificate, it may not have been applicable to the particular TPE batch they are using.  Or they may have wanted to hide that document.

Though removing the document but leaving the link to it still on the site, and not explaining anything to the person who contacted them, is not being terribly open about the matter.

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My thoughts

Much as I don’t like the idea of animal testing – I can see why it is important to make sure the materials are safe.  Especially since some medical items made from silicone and TPE are used in the body for extended periods of time (eg heart valves and the like).  While I don’t like the idea of animals suffering, I also don’t think it’s right to just implant something into a human and hope they don’t die from it.  So they do need to make sure it’s not likely to cause problems, and while some tests can be done on cells not living creatures (obviously the preferred way to do it!), some may need to be done on living tissue still connected to the creature, to allow for a proper reading of how reactive it is.  Which, sadly, is just how things sometimes are :(


Links

Link to an article on how testing is trying to be more humane and using cells rather than live animals where possible:

Links explaining the Class VI and ISO certification process

 

February 2, 2015 Posted by | news | 2 Comments

Open Letter to Menstrual Cup Companies

If I sound a bit grumpy, it’s because I’ve spent HOURS over the last couple of weeks trying to track down cup measurements and capacity info for brands…. which should NOT be a difficult task.

So… a letter to all the Cup Companies out there……

Dear Cup Companies,
The info that people like me add to our charts and databases – the lengths, capacities and other product info, is not something we do because we’re bored.  It’s information that some consumers want to know about the cups.  YOUR products.

So in some cases, for some of you, I’m doing part of your job for you, by listing the measurement info for your brand, that your customers are unable to find on your own website.

But do you realise that your competitors are listing their measurements, so when we don’t have measurements for your brand, it makes your brand look bad?  Look at these 2 listings from my site:

cuplisting_unknowns cuplisting_details

Do you want your listing to just say “unknown” for everything?  Look at how the comparison tables look when we have no info:

cuplisting_emptyline

People are going to just scroll on past a brand that has no available information.

I’m sorry to have to break it to you, but your cup isn’t the best cup for everyone – no matter what brand you are.  People *do* shop around, particularly when shopping online.  But they can only shop around on sites that give enough details about the product, to allow them to do so.

If your website/listing doesn’t list the total length of the cup including stem.  The length of the cup without stem, the capacity to the airholes and the capacity to the rim….. why not?  Is it because you’re afraid that if people know that information they won’t buy your cup?  Perhaps people are specifically looking for a cup with the measurements/capacity yours has!  But if you don’t trust in your own brand enough to properly list all the particulars – how can you expect us to trust in it?

It should be on your websites/product listings already – but if it’s not, and someone e-mails you to ask for it…. Why is it so hard to just reply back with the information? Or even just to say “I don’t know, but I will find out for you”   ?????

I have e-mailed and messaged NUMEROUS cup companies, some more than once, asking for the information that is missing from their sites/listings. Some never reply at all, some will reply to some aspects of my questions, but not others.

Keeper Inc. even asked me why the information was important to know (and didn’t give it to me *sigh*).

OK, so I’ll explain – Why is it important for people to know the measurements and capacity?

For some people, buying a cup is seen as a big investment.  Now while we all know that over time cups are far more economical, some people consider the initial purchase to be expensive – and because there are so many brands out there, the choice can be confusing.

The decision on which cup to buy may be as simple as which cup is physically easier for them to get (one in a store they see), or it could be which is cheaper.. or even what their friends use.  For others, they look at the information on the cups and choose a cup based on that. They like to window shop, and pick the cup that “speaks” to them or a cup that they feel will suit them physically based on the measurements and material information.

Some people have multiple cups – they find that different times in their cycle, they need differently shaped cups, and buy/have different cups for that.

If someone finds difficulty using a cup they have and are looking for another one to replace it…. if their present cup is too small or too short, too soft, too hard, not enough capacity etc. – they may look to charts to see which cups may better suit their needs.

Why do they need to know the total length including stem?  – because some people leave the stem intact and want to know how long the cup is if they choose to keep the stem.  If they have a high cervix and they know cups rise up, this total length may be important so they know how far up the stem is likely to reach.

Why do they need to know the length without stem? – Because some people get irritated by the stems and need to trim them down – knowing how long the cup is without the stem, as well as the info of the total length with the stem, allows them to judge how much of the stem they might be able to cut off to get the right balance for them – as well as how long the cup is going to be if they do trim off all the stem.  It also tells them how long the body of the cup is, in case they want to look for cups of a specific body length (eg if they have a low cervix then they may be looking for a particular length cup)

Why do they need to know the capacity to airholes and rim?  – because some people leak once the cup fills to the airholes.  Sometimes this can be because the airholes are large enough to allow fluid through, sometimes this can be because the seal is effected once the airholes are submerged.  In any case, some people don’t like to let their cups fill to the airholes and like to know this measurement.  Others can let the cup fill to the brim/rim, and would like to know overall what capacity the cup has in total, because if they only have the measurement to the airholes, then this is not telling them the full capacity of the cup.

Why do they need to know what the cup is made from? – There are a couple of brands who don’t even tell you what the cup is made from.  Is it silicone?  is it TPE?   You might not think it matters, but the thing is, if you don’t say what it is – you are withholding information from us, and we then get suspicious.  If you have nothing to hide, then why not say what it is?  You are asking people to buy it and put it in their bodies, and some people want to know more than your assurance that this mystery material is “safe”.

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So sometimes a customer will be looking for the widest and shortest cup, or the narrowest shortest cup, or the longest widest cup….or which cups of a certain length have the greatest capacity.  If they don’t have measurements for your brand – they will not consider your cup when they are looking, because they don’t know how it compares to others available.

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Because cups are mostly sold online, or in packaged boxes – people can’t usually pick up a cup and hold it in their hands.  They rely on product photos, measurement information and reviews/discussions on the brands to find out what that cup might be like.

Which leads me to….

Why do sites like this need actual cups to review?
Because words on a page can’t tell your customers what the material feels like. How soft it is, if it’s “sticky” or “peach skin”. How easily it folds, how easily it pops open. How the grip feels, how the stem feels.  How much more easily does it fold than XYZ cup. Is it firmer than ABC cup.   Lots of people ask me to take photos of certain cups together – so they know how others compare visually.  knowing one cup might be 7mm shorter than another doesn’t show them visually what that difference looks like. If they already have one cup and are looking for another, they will ask me to photograph other cups along with the cup they have – so they can better see how different the other cups are.

If I don’t have one of your brand of cups to do this with, then I’m only giving info on your competitors – that might mean they pick your competitors cup instead of yours.

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This is why it is important to have information available on your website, or in your product listings. This is also why places like this website exist to try and help people get the information they need. Both as a place to try and display (unbiased) information on all brands, to make comparison easier – but also to help answer those “how does it feel”, “is it squishier than” type questions.

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But when it’s difficult for us to get the information to pass on, it can be very frustrating for all of us.

To illustrate this – I swear this the actual conversation I had with a DivaCup representative via e-mail when I was trying to get info on the capacity to update my cup charts (My DivaCup sample came with a hole punched in the side, so it can’t be filled with water, otherwise I’d have tested it myself):

Me: “Would you also be able to confirm for me the capacity of both sizes of cup – both to the airholes and to the rim. The information I have lists 20mls for the small (we presume this is to airholes) and 25mls for the large (also to airholes?). I am unable to try measuring the capacity of the cup myself, due to the hole preventing me from filling it with water.”

Diva: “The DivaCup holds one full ounce of flow (30 ml). The Model 2 holds 30 ml and the Model 1 slightly less.”

Me: “I actually need to know the exact capacity to both the airholes and to the rim. Is that 30mls to the rim?

These are measurements that people would like to know, and that I include in the cup charts I compile, so without both these measurements I can only list the Diva on the bottom of the chart listing in an “unknown capacity” section, rather than placed where it should be.”

Diva: “The DivaCup holds 30 ml (1 full ounce) to the brim. The Model 1 will hold slightly less.”

Me: “Thank you, but I very clearly said – TWICE – that I need to know the specific capacity to the AIRHOLES….. and “slightly less” isn’t really specific enough to be able to list on a comparison chart.”

Diva: “The DivaCup holds one full ounce of flow (in capacity) up to the brim (four holes in the cup). There are flow measure lines on the side that also note this. I can get the exact amount of what “slightly less” means in the coming days from production.”

I’m seriously not even joking.  I gave up at that point, and “slightly less” is now the official measurement I’m going with :P

I’d like to say that’s the only example of a cup company dodging what should be a very simple question on their cup.  But I’ve had to ask several cups more than once for measurement information.  Sometimes if I’ve asked for capacity to rim and airholes, I get a “cup capacity is 20mls” type response.  20mls TO WHERE?  Or I’ll ask for the standard things I ask for – length in total, length without stem, capacity to airholes, capacity to rim.  And I’ll get an answer back with only the total length and a capacity to rim.

ARGH!

MeLuna, when the representative there and I had been having a conversation back and forth as I was trying to answer some questions about comparisons between their older style cups I have, and the newer ones (specifically if the “sport” level of hardness was equivalent to their original cups, or if the sport is harder than that) – eventually they just fobbed me off with a statement that they don’t speak English well enough to answer my questions any more? :/

This information matters to us!  Why is it so hard to give it to us?

Conversely, Lily Cup e-mailed me back, giving all the info, and in a handy table!  (customer service win!)

Lilycupsizing

And the thing is….. the thing that really annoys me…. is that I put time and effort into making these listing pages and cup charts – to benefit other people.  I don’t get anything for my efforts.  I’m not selling anything here, I’m not paid or given incentives by any cup companies.  I’m doing this partly to help out the cup companies by letting people know about their products, and partly to help people be able to find out about cups….

… and there are a lot of cup companies who can’t even be bothered to reply back to an e-mail asking about the capacity and measurements of their cups.

Please…. Cup Companies…. do us all a favour and just put ALL the information ON YOUR SITE!

But if you haven’t, and I ask you for it, JUST GIVE IT TO ME, PLEASE!  You are only making your brand look less appealing than other brands – and I am sure that is not what you want!

January 29, 2015 Posted by | news | 2 Comments

Eve Cup

Eve_Cup_Display

http://femfulness.com

Been around since: 2013

No details available – I couldn’t even work out where to buy the cups from their site :(  Another of the cups that looks to be very similar (if not an exact copy) of the Lunette.  See my post on similar or rebranded cups.

Eve_Cup_Purple_Pair

January 26, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , | 1 Comment

Blossom Cup

blossomcup

www.blossomcup.com.   Sold on Amazon.

Country of origin: USA
Composition: Silicone
Sizes:  “S” (Small) “L” (large)
Dimensions: S = 42mm diameter. 52.2mm length without stem, 62.2mm length total. 10mm stem.
L = 45mm diameter. 55.4mm length without stem, 65.4mm length in total. 10mm stem.

Capacity: S=20ml to airholes,  22.5ml to rim. L=25ml to airholes, 28mls to rim.
Stem: Short Thin “Stick”
Measuring Lines: Yes
Cost (RRP): $39.99 USD  [Currency Converter]
Been around since: 2015
Other Details: Currently available in 3 colors – pink,  purple & blue, with orange and green coming out shortly.  The picture above (from the Amazon listing) has a pearly type look, but I don’t know if that is the actual look of the silicone or just the way it is photographed.

blossom_clear2They were running a giveaway where they were selling the cup for $1 each to people (US only) in return for an “honest review” on Amazon.  So there should be a lot of reviews available on Amazon once the people have received them.  

The shape/design of the cup looks very similar to cups being sold as the Aneer, Cup’ax and Dutchess cups.  See Similar/rebranded cups.

January 26, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , , | Leave a comment

Cup Comparison Photos

I have a few more cups since the last time I did a cup photo shoot…   So it was time to do another!

www.clothpads.org_allcupsgrass260115

Small sizes

www.clothpads.org_240115_smallcups

Large Sizes

www.clothpads.org_240115_largecups

I tried to use all clear cups where I had a clear or coloured version of the cup.  You can see my Yuuki and MCUK have yellowed with age, even though they were only worn for 1 period then washed well with soap and added to my collection…

January 24, 2015 Posted by | comparisons, photos | Leave a comment

Vcup – Review

I was sent a Vcup to review :)

It wasn’t addressed properly, so there was a little hiccup in receiving it, but it arrived the other day and I had a chance to try it out.  Sadly my period ended the day before it arrived, so I haven’t yet had a chance to test it with my period, but I’ve tried it and here are my thoughts….

vcup_box1

The box was a little squished in transit, but that’s to be expected sometimes.  On the box it listed contents, which I was surprised about – I didn’t realise the cup came with extras!  So I was excited to see what was inside.  The box lists no sizes, so I presume the cup is 1 size only, which seems to be a small.  The box does however have boxes to tick for white, pink or green – and one side of the box shows a pale green cup – so it obviously comes in those colours.  I got clear.

vcup_boxgreen

Inside the box, there is a tube (they call it a “pen”) of hand sanitiser, a little packet of soap sheets, 4 little “coin tissues”, the cup, a pouch and instructions.

vcup_box2

I already took the instruction booklet out and forgot to put it back when photographing it… I think it was lying on the top.

The booklet talks about the cup and the benefits of a cup over tampons and pads, gives the measurements of the cup and shows how to do 3 folds (“c”, “punchdown” and “triangle”)  It also gives some helpful tips on insertion and removal.  All in English and quite well written.

vcup_book1 vcup_book2

 vcup_contents

The hand sanitiser is quite cool actually.  It’s a bit like a thick marker in size, and has a spray top so you can spray some onto your hands.  It has a reasonably pleasant smell, dries fast and is not sticky or anything.  I personally don’t feel the need for such products, but I think this is a convenient way to do it (rather than the tubes of sticky-feeling hand sanitiser you get)

vcup_contents_sanitiser

The soap strips are another interesting idea.  I’ve seen this sort of soap before, designed for keeping in your handbag. I notice that they are keeping with the green and white theme for everything!

vcup_contents_soap

The directions say (paraphrasing) to wet your cup and hands then  wash the cup with the soap to get a rich lather.  Rinse the cup and store the rest of the soap sheets in a dry place.  Basically these soap sheets are paper with a thin layer of soap.  They don’t seem to be very soapy, but if you want to wash your cup with a bit of soap while out and about, then this could be a convenient way to do it.

I will say though that I tried one sheet (just rubbing it between my hands), and while the dry soap has a slight pleasant floral smell (frangipanni?), on my hands it left a weird lingering vomit smell I notice from some public restroom soap… I don’t know if you are familiar with what I mean?… The hand sanitiser does counteract that thankfully – I wouldn’t be able to use the soap personally…. but I think (from a bit of googling) that some people seem more affected by the vomit-soap phenomenon than others, so maybe I’m just sensitive to it (I am one of those people who is VERY intolerant to both the sound and smell of vomiting!)… anyhoo….. moving on :P

vcup_contents_coin  vcup_contents_coincloth

The “coin tissues” are cool – they are those incredibly tightly packed washcloths!  The instructions in the booklet say to put 3 drops of water onto the coin – I needed a bit more than that… But they unfold out to a 23cm/9inch cloth.  A bit like a “chux” cloth – open weave.  Presumably designed to be disposable (I imagine they are not flushable), they seem sturdy enough you could reuse it a few times (though you wouldn’t be able to make it go back into the coin shape)

Now the cup….  it’s quite long, I’d say it’s a medium squishyness silicone – about the same as the Diva I have.  It has a band of frosted silicone around the centre, with clear silicone elsewhere. The centre of the frosted section has a slight line through it, a bit like a seam – though I think this is intended to give extra grip.  The clear section at the bottom of the cup likewise has a line through it, but more pronounced. The ball stem has a grip line around it, to help grip there.  There are 2 tiny airholes just under the ridge.  The ridge is very low profile (not very raised).

vcup_cup1

I didn’t think to wash the cup before taking photos, so there are a few dust particles from storage/manufacture on it which you can see in the photos.

vcup_cup2 vcup_cup3

Here’s a length comparison with some of the other small cups

vcup_cup4

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Using the Cup

I haven’t tested it with my period yet (will update this post when I have), but I’ve tested the cup and I was quite pleased with it.

Now, as I always say, my first preference is for a tab stem, so I don’t tend to like any other stems as much as I do the tab stem.  I didn’t find this one too slippery though, the grip line running through the centre of the ball helps give it a bit more grip I think.  I do find a ball stem less easy to use/grip than a tab or tube stem, but since the cup is so long, I don’t need to use the stem to be able to pull the cup down to grab the body of the cup – as I do with other cups…. and if it had any other kind of stem, that would be too annoying and you’d have to cut it off.

It (like the LunaCup) are longer than I would ideally like in a cup – the ball stem was only just inside my vagina – which does make it easier to remove I suppose.

When I reviewed the LunaCup, I did find the stem slightly irritating, because the cup was so long, but I didn’t find that with this cup  – Maybe I need to try them both more to see how I go with them over several days.

Insertion and removal was easy.  I had no problem getting the cup to open up (though it is equivalent of a small size, and I normally wear the large sizes).  I could not feel the cup while inside me.

—- Edited to add —

I’ve now had a chance to try this cup when I had my period.  I wore it for about 6 hours, the first 4-5 hours I had no leakage, but I had some slight leakage after that, the cup only got to about 1/4 full, so I’m not sure why it started leaking.

Mostly the cup was comfortable and I couldn’t feel it, but there was a few times when I was sitting on the couch, and I leaned forward to get a drink from the table, I could feel the stem poking into me a bit.

January 24, 2015 Posted by | photos, reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

Dutchess Cup

dutchess

http://www.dutchesscup.com

Country of origin: USA (made in China)
Composition: Medical Grade Silicone
Sizes: “B” (small), “A” (large)
Dimensions: Size B = 42mm diameter, 50mm long without stem,  60mm long with stem.  10mm stem.  Size A = 47mm diameter, 55 mm long without stem,  65mm long with stem.  10mm stem.
Capacity: Size B = 20ml.  A = 25ml
Stem: Short thin
Measuring Lines: Yes,  7.5 ml and 15 ml
Cost (RRP): USD $29.99 for 2 [Currency Converter]
Been around since: 2014
Other Details: Cups have 4 air holes.  Sold as a set of 2 cups, one pink, one purple.   The cups shown on the box and promotional image don’t seem to have the lines around the top like the cups shown in one of the customer review photos does (below).  The cups the review shows, appear to be the same style of cup as being sold as Aneer, Femmas, Cup’ax and Blossom.

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dutchess2
(Closeup of the product image – showing no lines)

(Image from Amazon Review)

January 24, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , , | 1 Comment

Cup Brands By Style

I thought it might be convenient to people if I had a list of all the cup brands by the style/shape/stem.  To make it easier to compare and find brands by their type.

I will link the brands to the page of information I have on them, rather than to their official websites, as some of the cups don’t have official websites.

Ball Stem Cups

LunaCup

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Flat Tab Stem Cups

These stems are flat, long and narrow.

Melodysusie

* These cups appear to be the same design.
^ These cups appear to be very similar (if not the same) design.

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Flat Wide Stem Cups

These stems are flat and wider than the “flat tab” stem.  They can be short or long.

flatwidestem3

* These cups appear to be very similar to each other, and may be “copies” or rebranding of the same cup.

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Hollow Tube Stem Cups

These cups have a stem that is a hollow tube. Some have a thicker wall (smaller opening) than others, some have longer or shorter stems.

misscup

* These cups appear to be the same design just given different names.

Long Thick Stem Cups

MeLuna_stem

These stems are the same sort of shape as the “hollow tube” stem, but are solid.

* These cups are manufactured by the same company but called different names for some reason

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Long Thin Stem Cups

These stems are long and thin.  With or without grip lines/bumps.

JuJu

* All these cups appear to be very similar.  I have heard that Si-Bell sold their design to other manufacturers, so these appear to be all from that same design.  Liberty and Natu both have “natu” embossed into the cup and have a slightly different stem design than the others.

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Ring Stem Cups

These stems have a “ring” or “loop” type of design.

MeLuna_ring2

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Short Thick Stem Cups

These stems are short and thick.  Either solid or hollow.

stem-shortthick

* All these cups appear to be the same design.

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Short Thin Stem Cups

These stems are short, thin and solid.

stem_shortthin

* All these cups appear to be the same design.

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 Other Stem Cups

stem-other

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 Unknown Stem Cups

January 23, 2015 Posted by | comparisons, The Cups | | Leave a comment

Belle Cup

bellecup

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bellecup-RHBC-Reusable-Menstrual-Cup/dp/B00M0QYQ7K

Country of origin: Unknown
Composition: Medical grade silicone
Sizes: One size
Dimensions: 45 mm diameter, 65 mm long without stem, 45 mm stem
Capacity:  24ml (measurement is to approx 1cm below rim)
Stem: Long “Stick”
Measuring Lines: Unknown
Cost (RRP): £20.99 [Currency Converter]
Been around since: 2014 (Amazon listing was July 2014)
OtherDetails: The company selling it on Amazon (Rubicon Healthcare) sell incontinence/urinary products, but the cup does not appear on their website, and they do not appear to be the manufacturer of those products.

Link to discussion on the cup – http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/3398270.html

January 23, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , | Leave a comment

Femalecup

femalecup

http://femalecup.com

Country of origin: Unknown
Composition: Medical grade silicone
Sizes: A (small) , B (large)
Dimensions: A= 40m diameter,  70mm length including stem, 25mm stem length.  B= 45mm diameter, 70mm including stem, 20mm stem length.
Capacity:  A= 20mls  B= 25mls
Stem: Wide flat tab
Measuring Lines: Yes
Cost (RRP): 40.00€ [Currency Converter]
Been around since: 2012 (Fb page started 2013)
Other Details:

femalecup2

January 16, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , | 2 Comments

My (Own) Cup

mycup

http://www.myowncup.co.za

Country of origin: South Africa
Composition: Unknown – website says: “The Medical grade, non-absorbant material does not contain any silicone, proteins, PVC, latex, bleach, deodorant or absorbing gels and is therefore hypoallergenic.”
Sizes: 1
Dimensions: 45mm diameter
Capacity:  Unknown
Stem: Flat Tab (Different to other cups)
Measuring Lines: Unknown
Cost (RRP): R 205.00
Been around since: Unknown (1014?)
Other Details: Website doesn’t say what the cups are made from.

mycup2

January 16, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , , | 2 Comments

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