Menstrual cups come in many shapes and sizes, but did you know that they also come in different levels of firmness too? Choosing a softer or firmer menstrual cup is an important consideration, and we’re here to explain why.
How firm a menstrual cup feels usually comes down to the type of material it is made of, as well as the shape and thickness of the different design features of the cup. For example, a cup with a thicker rim or a thicker ‘spine’ are usually considered to be more firm, as they take more pressure to ‘squish’ and spring open quickly and easily. We rate and compare each cup for firmness in our Menstrual Cup Comparison Chart.
Both silicone and TPU (a type of plastic) menstrual cups come in varying degrees of firmness, however, it’s worth noting that cups made from TPU (like the Hello Cup) tend to ‘mold’ more to your body shape once inserted. This is due to the fact that TPU becomes more malleable with body heat. Silicone on the other hand, will only become very slightly softer with warmth - some people like to soften their cup by running it under hot water before inserting. However, the difference in firmness is only very subtle when doing this with silicone menstrual cups!
There are different pros and cons to soft and firm menstrual cups - it really depends what works best with your body.
Generally speaking, firmer menstrual cups tend to be easier to insert and keep leak-free, as firm silicone or TPU ‘pops’ open easily to form a seal and create a seal inside the vagina. Softer menstrual cups, on the other hand, can be trickier to insert as they take longer to spring back into shape, but can be more comfortable for people who have a sensitive bladder, suffer from bad menstrual cramps or have a more sensitive body in general.
You might not realise that you need a soft menstrual cup until you have used a different, more firm cup. We recommend to begin your menstrual cup journey with a medium to firm cup while you get the hang of insertion and establishing a seal. We go into more detail on which choice might be better for you below.
If you’ve tried a medium or firmer cup and found that felt uncomfortable while you were wearing it (such as an increase in cramps, bladder pressure or other discomforts), a soft menstrual cup may be a better choice for you. Soft menstrual cups are usually not ideal for very active people or for use during sports, as they can be more easily crushed by the pelvic floor during physical activity. When a cup is crushed, the seal can break and result in leaks - the last thing you need during a gym sesh!
Soft menstrual cup pros:
Soft menstrual cup cons:
If you have a strong pelvic floor that tends to ‘crush’ your cup or make it difficult to open fully once inserted (ie. it feels ‘dented’), or you do a lot of physical activity, a firmer cup will likely be a better choice for you. When using a firm menstrual cup, make sure you keep a good grip on it while folded during insertion, otherwise, it may spring open and take you by surprise! The punch-down fold is usually the easiest to grip.
Firm menstrual cup pros:
Firm menstrual cup cons: