Updated on April 6, 2017
Get #cupverted with V-CUPS Menstrual Cups
I received compensation in order to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
I may already be firmly in the menstrual cup camp, but that doesn’t mean I’m not open to trying new cups. After all, finding the right cup for your body, your shape, and your flow isn’t always going to happen with the very first cup you try! You might wonder how it’s possible for any two menstrual cups to be so vastly different that one would work when another would not, but that’s very much the case. There are SO MANY elements of a menstrual cup that can be changed that no two brands are identical. From the firmness or softness of a cup to the stem type and capacity, each cup is unique in its own right. The V-CUPS are no exception! I’ve been giving the V-CUPS menstrual cup a test drive and there’s a lot about this cup that I really like! Here’s what you need to know about the V-CUPS before you take the plunge!
The V-CUPS brand is all about connecting women with their whole selves. A big part of our whole selves is, of course, our periods! V-CUPS’ goal is to toss aside stigma and suppression surrounding the acceptance of women’s bodies. They encourage women to accept the whole of their bodies just as they are through health empowerment, education, support, and connection. Love that! Let’s get right to the V-CUPS itself!
What are V-CUPS?
V-CUPS are a reusable menstrual cup designed to be inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual fluid during a woman’s period. V-CUPS are designed to hold up to one ounce of fluid, and can be worn for up to 12 continuous hours. V-CUPS are made of 100% medical grade silicone which means it is allergen-free. The V-CUP comes in two sizes, small-medium and medium-large. The small-medium size is recommended for women under the age of 30, or those who have not given birth vaginally. The medium-large size is recommended for women over the age of 30, or those who have given birth vaginally. To take the guess work out of determining the right size for you, both sizes of V-CUP are included in every box. Underneath the black foam insert in the box, you’ll find the user manual and the cloth bag for storing your V-CUP between uses. V-CUP recommends replacing the cup after one year of use.
The V-CUPS are a bell shaped cup with a dip inwards near the rim of the cup (or a flared rim). There are two vent holes located near the rim of the cup. At the base of the cup there are three ridges to provide a nice grip on the cup. The stem of the cup is very soft and flat with three ridges to provide grip on the stem. The medical grade silicone of the V-CUPS has a smooth satin-y finish that makes it feel soft to the touch and not sticky when you run your finger along the cup. Overall, the V-CUPS are a medium firmness cup. The rim itself feels a little softer, but the body of the cup is what I’d call medium firmness. When you press up on the base of the cup, it’s firm enough that the cup doesn’t push in or invert from the pressure.
How do you use V-CUPS?
To use V-CUPS, you’ll need to choose a fold that works well for you and allows the cup to pop open completely when fully inserted. The instructions that come with the V-CUPS show three different folds to try (though there are many more folding styles if you’d like to try something different). The v-fold, otherwise known as the c-fold, is when you flatten the cup and fold it in half lengthwise (the rim of the cup forms a ‘c’). The punch down fold is when you press the rim down into the cup and pinch the sides together. The 7-fold is when you flatten the cup and fold the rim down forming the number 7 with the rim. Once you’ve chosen a fold, you’ll insert the cup into your vagina. You want to point the cup back towards your tail bone (not straight up) and insert it straight back. You’ll want to make sure to get it pastyour pubic bone before it pops open. The entire cup, including the stem, will be inside. When the cup is in position, it should pop open, but you may need to gently squeeze the base of the cup to encourage it to open up. Once open, run your finger along the outside of the cup to ensure it has opened all around (you don’t want to feel any flat spots). Then twist the cup so it does a full turn. If it doesn’t turn easily, it’s not popped open all the way. If it does turn easily, give it a light tug at the stem. It shouldn’t move out of place. This way you know it has a good seal.
Like any menstrual cup, if the V-CUPS are your first cups there will be a learning curve to getting it positioned correctly. You should expect it to take two to three cycles to get the hang of using a cup. During those first few cycles, you can use a liner to catch any potential leaks (reusable cloth liners are awesome for this). Although you can wear V-CUPS for up to twelve hours without emptying, the first few times you use it, you may want to empty it more frequently just so you have an idea of how long it takes you to fill the cup. If you have a particularly heavy flow, you’ll want to check it every 4 to 6 hours and increase the length of wear as you get used to the cup.
To empty your V-CUPS, you’ll need to first remove the cup.You can grab it by the stem and pull it down. You may find it difficult to move the cup my pulling on the stem, and if that happens then bearing down will lower the cup. Once you can reach the base of the cup, pinch it gently to break the seal, and pull it out keeping the cup upright as you remove it. Then you simply dump the contents into the toilet, rinse the cup clean, fold, and reinsert. Many women will be able to go 10 to 12 hours without needing to empty their V-CUPS, so you’ll typically be emptying it at home when you wake up and when you go to bed. If you do need to empty your cup while you’re on the go, you can simply wipe it with toilet paper (or a wet wipe if you have one with you), and reinsert. When you get home, you can remove and rinse the cup again.
How do the V-CUPS work for me?
The V-CUPS come in a lovely black box. The box has some limited instructions on the back for how to use the V-CUPS, and both sizes of V-CUPS are nestled inside the box. Once you remove the cups, lift the black foam insert up and out of the box. Under the white cardboard insert, you’ll find the user manual and the cloth bag for storing the cup. I mention this because it would not have occurred to me to lift out the black foam insert and I thought my V-CUPS came without instructions or a bag. Apparently I’m not the only one who missed it because V-CUPS recently posted an unboxing video on their Instagram feed to explain where to find the bag and instructions!
I’m over 30, I’ve given birth vaginally, and I have a fairly heavy flow, so I’ve been using the medium-large V-CUPS. As someone who’s been using a menstrual cup for quite some time (off and on since 2008), I found there to be very little learning curve for me with the V-CUPS. The cup is the right firmness for me, and I found that the way it flares out/dips inward near the rim worked really well for getting a nice seal. At first, I had trouble getting it to pop open at all. Initially, I attributed this to the V-CUPS only having two vent holes (other cups I’ve tried have had four), but upon further inspection I found that the vent holes on my V-CUPS were not punched all the way through. There was a very thin layer of silicone covering the vent holes on the inside of the cups (both the small-medium and the medium-large). I was able to remove the silicone from the vent holes with tweezers, and after doing this the cup popped open no problem. I did report this to V-CUPS, and it is an issue they are aware of. As a result, they are changing their manufacturing process to prevent this type of defect from happening in the future. Once I got the V-CUPS opening properly, I found it sat really nicely and sealed up easily. I didn’t have to do much fiddling to get it to pop open and seal up.
The V-CUPS should hold one ounce (30 ml) of fluid at their maximum capacity. I have a particularly heavy flow, and on my heaviest day, I needed to empty the medium-large V-CUPS every two to three hours to avoid leaks. Now, the vast majority of women do not have a flow as heavy as mine (when I used tampons, I used to leak through ultra absorbency after just a couple of hours), so most women won’t need to empty their V-CUPS as frequently as I need to on my heaviest day. On the regular days of my period, I can empty it every 8 hours without experiencing leaks. I did check the capacity of the V-CUPS with water just to see if they do in fact hold a full ounce of liquid. The small-medium V-CUPS hold 17.5 ml (0.6 oz)of liquid when filled to the vent holes, and the medium-large V-CUPS hold 22.5 ml (0.76 oz) of liquid when filled to the vent holes. Not quite the full ounce, but if you’re not leaking through super plus or ultra absorbency tampons in just a few hours, V-CUPS have adequate absorbency for longer wear.
I love the stem of the V-CUPS. It’s super stretchy, flat, and has good grip ridges on it. The stem doesn’t dig in at all, and sits nicely inside the vagina without poking out. It’s also so soft and flexible that I don’t notice it and feel no need to trim it down. The ridges on the base of the cup are great for providing grip if you need to push the cup a little higher and for pinching and removing the cup after use. Since menstrual cups collect rather than absorb, I find that everything stays much more moist down there than when using tampons. That means things can get a little slippery when you’re trying to remove your cup. Grip ridges are key to a quick and spill-proof removal. The V-CUPS are really nice and smooth and the satin-y finish on the cup is great. One thing that I did notice is that there are two seams on the outside of the cup (one on either side). The seams do stick up a little bit from the side of the cup and I can feel them easily if I run my finger along the outside of the cup. Despite being able to feel them with my fingers, I don’t feel them or notice them when the cup is inserted, so it’s not a concern for me.
I was a little surprised to see that V-CUPS recommends replacing their cups after just one year of use. I find that a menstrual cup can (and should) last a few years if it is well cared for. If you notice any tearing or unusual wear on your menstrual cup, then it would need to be replaced. Washing the cup regularly after each period and storing it in the included bag between uses should help keep your V-CUPS in good condition.
- 100% medical grade silicone
- collects menstrual fluid instead of absorbing it
- grip ridges on the base and stem
- soft, flexible, stretchy, flat stem
- both sizes of V-CUPS are included in the box
- medium firmness
- silicone is smooth to the touch
- can be worn when swimming and exercising
- way less waste than tampons and/or disposable pads
- steep learning curve if you’ve never used a menstrual cup before
- smaller capacity than expected
- seams are not as smooth as they could be
- vent holes not punched all the way through (note that this is a very rare defect and should be a non issue moving forward with the new manufacturing process)
Overall, I really like the V-CUPS. The shape with the flare and inward dip just works really well for me. I found it gave me a great seal that really defied leaks except when I had actually filled the cup to its capacity. I do wish that the medium-large V-CUPS had the full one ounce capacity as that would make a big difference for me on my heaviest days. Though I could never get away with using the smaller cup, I still appreciate that both sizes are included when you purchase V-CUPS. I remember purchasing my very first cup and just having to hope that the brand’s guidelines for size would be right for me. A menstrual cup can be a big investment, and it would be frustrating to order one size and discover that you really needed the other size. V-CUPS won’t let that happen as both sizes are always included. At $34.99 for a set of two V-CUPS, I think they are an affordable option for getting into menstrual cups. I do hope that my V-CUPS lasts longer than one year as that seems like a fairly short life span for a silicone cup.
How would you like a chance to win a set of V-CUPS menstrual cups for yourself? One lucky reader has the chance to WIN one pair of V-CUPS menstrual cups from V-CUPS! Just scroll down to the giveaway and get your entries in for a chance to win. This giveaway is open to US residents only, 18+, and closes on January 31st, 2017. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment. Don’t forget to follow the Frosty Beginnings Giveaway “hop” and enter the other awesome giveaways linked up below!
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