Reviewed in the United States on July 17, 2017
I first learned about menstrual cups when I saw that the period subscription box I was using offered Softcups. I was intrigued by the concept, so I gave them a try...and I loved them! This led me to look into reusable cups. Softcups are shaped and function very differently than reusable cups, so I did quite a bit of research before settling on Lena cups. The main cup that comes to mind when people mention menstrual cups is the Diva cup; however, I learned that Diva cups are some of the largest menstrual cups available, and that they're not a great fit for everyone. The cup has to be small enough to properly expand and lightly suction to the walls of your vagina. If it's too large, it won't seal and can collapse, which causes leaks and is also uncomfortable. Since I wasn't really sure how to measure myself, I didn't want to risk wasting a good bit of money on a cup that might be too big. So, I spent hours researching for some of the smallest cups I could find. I compared the width of the rim and the length of the body (not including the stem) of so many brands. It was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be since many brands don't list the measurements. It's great that most brands have a large and a small option, but one brand's small can be larger than another brand's large, which is maddening! For example, the small Diva is 43mm wide and 53mm long, while the large Lena cup is smaller at 45mm wide and 50.7mm long. The small Lena is 41mm wide and 46mm long, so it is significantly smaller than the small Diva. I believe the small Lena is a much better size for first-time users, unless you are absolutely certain that your cervix sits high during menstruation and can use a longer cup. Other things to consider when choosing a cup are what it's made of, where it was made, and what safety standards it meets. Lena cups are made of medical grade silicone, are made in the USA, and are FDA-registered, so I was confident that it was safe to use.
Now, for what I love about my SMALL Lena cup (details for this large at the bottom, but this list still mostly applies to it):
• No more leaks!!! I've never had a leak during the day or even overnight, and I can actually wear nice underwear with confidence knowing that they won't be ruined. It holds so much more than the tampons I was using. When I first starting using this cup, I emptied it every few hours (like I did with tampons), and it was nowhere close to being full. I can safely go all day without having to empty the cup.
• No more dealing with my period in a public restroom! I only have to empty it when I wake up and right before bed, which is the best thing ever! I can't even express how much I love not having to deal with it during the day. Public bathrooms are already not ideal, so not having to worry about changing a tampon is a huge plus! On heavy days (which are rare), I might have to empty it once during the day, but I literally have never needed to empty it in a public restroom in the 17 months that I've been using this cup...compared to changing tampons every few hours. If I do need to empty it in a public restroom, it's nice that I don't need to carry anything with me, and it's no messier than changing a tampon.
• Better for my vagina! Tampons don't discriminate when they're absorbing, so they can really dry you out (and anyone who has ever pulled out a dry tampon knows how freaking painful that it is!). That messes with pretty much everything up there, especially the good bacteria and your pH level. They also increase your risk of developing toxic shock syndrome (TSS) because they absorb and trap any bad bacteria. Cups don't mess with any of that. Since they don't absorb anything, your vagina remains unchanged, so there's no bounce-back time after your period where it needs to rebuild the supply of good bacteria and get back to a healthy pH level. Your risk of developing TSS is also much, much lower, so menstrual cups are safer to use over longer periods of time.
• Better for the environment and my wallet! I love that there's no trash (wrapper, applicator, the tampon itself) each time I use my cup. When you think about the thousands of tampons you'd use throughout your life, that's a lot of waste that won't end up in a landfill. And for the price of a few boxes of tampons, you'll get years of use out of a cup (as long as you take care of it). I'm saving a ton of money by not buying tampons every month, and I'm reducing the amount of waste I produce, so that's a win-win.
I really don't have any negatives for my small cup. It has some minor staining after 17 months of use, which is completely normal and will happen with any cup you buy. I'm sure a dilute hydrogen peroxide soak will make it look brand new again. I recently bought some backup Lena cups, so I've included pictures of the new ones (a small pink compared to this large clear). I was curious to try the large, since the small works so well. It did fully open, but it was harder to remove because there was more suction and it was just a bigger cup to remove. I probably could have worn it with no problems once I got used to it. However, I will continue to use my smalls, and I will just keep the large for after I have children. I also showed what the rim of the large looks like for two different folds (the C/U fold and the origami fold) so you can see approximately what size it'll be for inserting it. Keep in mind there are many different ways to fold a cup, and it's completely up to personal preference.
If you've read through this mini-essay of a review, I hope it helped! The condensed version is that I cannot recommend Lena cups enough! They have truly changed everything about my period experience, and I no longer dread when it arrives. Do your research, look up tips, watch YouTube videos, and give them a try!!