Menstrual Cups

Squish Test Results

People often want to know how squishy a cup is compared to other cups.  Which is sometimes hard to judge.  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.

However, holding the cups on top of each other like that, is not an accurate test.  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 that there is a more even pressure on both cups.  Like this:

clari_squish-sckoon

It also has some degree of human error – as you could press more on one side than the other, or press in different areas of each cup (eg more towards the rim on one, and more towards the body on the other)

To take away any human error…. and be able to get results a bit more “scientifically” – I tried to work out how I could measure the amount of force needed to compress the cups, to calculate the softness that way – but finding an inexpensive way to test that way was not possible.  So I decided that I would do the side by side squish test using a caliper to hold the cups in place.

CupCalipers

This does the same thing as holding the cups in my hand, but should have a more even pressure on both sides, since the cups are being placed between the arms of the caliper.  I have also locked the caliper to 50.00 millimeters between those arms, so that each cup test is compressed by the same amount each time.

As you can see in the image above, when compressed to 50mm, the Miacup (right) does not compress as much as the Brandless Moon-stem cup (left).  So this shows that the cup on the left is made from softer or “Squishier” silicone.

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My Squish Test Results

To be able to compare the relative squishyness of the cups to make a list, without having to test every cup against all the other cups, I have measured all the cups against one cup – the Lunette.

As in the picture above, all these test results are done by setting calipers to 50mm, putting a Lunette and one other cup together between the arms 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).  This compressed rim measurement is in brackets after the brand name.

So the cups at the top of the list, with the smaller number in brackets – are “squishier” or “Softer”.  Cups towards the bottom of the list, are “Firmer” or “Harder”

Now, this is not a perfectly accurate reading, I do have to try to hold the cups straight while in the caliper, and that can make it possible for a slightly inaccurate reading – but I think it’s about as accurate as I can get with a home-made measuring system.  However it can be used to give an indication of relative “squishyness” of the brands.

(If anyone has any particular requests as to which cups to compare together – of cups that I own [are in this list], comment here and I can compare them for you.)

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Large Sizes
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) tested against a Large Lunette.

  • Aneer (18mm)
  • (Nameless ebay moon stem cup) – (20mm)
  • Gaia Cup (21mm)
  • Lunacup (21mm)
  • Miacup [old] (21mm)
  • Sibell – (21mm)
  • Cup Lee (22mm)
  • Juju (23mm)
  • Mami Cup (23mm)
  • Sckoon (23mm)
  • OrganiCup (24mm)
  • Fleur Cup (24mm)
  • Lena Cup (24mm)
  • Lily Compact (24mm)
  • Vcup [one size] (24mm)
  • Mooncup UK [new] (25mm)
  • Ruby (25mm)
  • Claricup (25mm)
  • Eco-Cup (26mm)
  • Femmecup [new] [one size] (26mm)
  • Luv Ur Body (26mm)
  • Anytime (27mm)
  • Lady Cup (27mm)
  • Lily Cup (27mm)
  • MeLuna [Classic] (27mm)
  • Mpower (27mm)
  • Blossom Cup (28mm)
  • Femmycycle (28mm)
  • Lunette (28mm)
  • MenstroCup (28mm)
  • Mooncup uk [old] (29mm)
  • Yuuki – [new] (30mm)

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

  • iClean (23mm)
  • Cup Lee (24mm)
  • Si-bell (25mm)
  • Keeper (26mm)
  • Diva [old] (26mm)
  • Luna cup (26mm)
  • Femmycycle (26mm)
  • MenstroCup (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)
  • Bassrose [one size] (28mm)
  • Eco-cup (28mm)
  • Lena Cup (28mm)
  • Vcup [one size] (28mm)
  • Blossom Cup (29mm)
  • 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 can’t rest what I don’t physically have.

I will update the list whenever I obtain a new cup.

February 13, 2015 Posted by | comparisons, reviews | | 11 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 😛 (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 😀 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, and the moon on the stem is uncomfortable.  The heart version would be a better choice.


See my detailed review & comparisons with other cups here.

February 13, 2015 Posted by | photos, reviews | | 9 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 😀  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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See my detailed review & comparisons with other cups here.

February 13, 2015 Posted by | photos, reviews | , | 15 Comments