Menstrual Cup Firmness Guide

Menstrual Cup Firmness: Measuring the Immeasurable

A definitive menstrual cup firmness chart is not possible due to how the thickness of silicone (which is technically measurable) is only part of how the cup’s firmness feels when worn. Shape, thickness, type of material, and more play a role in how firm or soft the cup wears while inside the vagina. Other design elements, such as internal support or varying thicknesses, can also have an effect on how the cup feels while worn.

All that said, we’ve done our best to group cups into five categories after the direct handling and comparison of each brand and size. There is a bit of variance in some of these cups (as noted below the graphic) but generally speaking the firmest or most prominent portion of the cup is what lands a cup in a category. For example, the LadyCup has a soft base but a thick and firm rim. Because the firm rim is what will apply the most pressure, we rank it as a firmer cup.

As we mentioned, material plays a role. Both silicone and TPU come in a variety of firmnesses. TPU does mold to your body more with heat, which also has an effect on how the cup feels when worn. The Keeper is made from natural rubber and is by far the most firm cup on this list (it’s actually quite hard).

Menstrual Cup Firmness Guide

Cups with varying thickness/firmness include:

  • LadyCup — base is average firmness while the rim is firm
  • Lily Cup — this cup has a soft body but firm, non-protruding rim & internal spine to help it open
  • Merula — rim is non-protruding average firmness while the body has a firmer feel due to the bulbous shape

Why does firmness matter?

Choosing a cup with the correct firmness for your body can make a huge difference in your comfort and the effectiveness of the cup. In general, softer cups are more comfortable because they don’t apply any outward pressure but they can be harder to get open inside. We call softer cups “fiddle cups” because there is often some manual maneuvering that has to be done in order to get the cup to open once inside. Soft average cups will be slightly better when it comes to opening and still offer a high level of comfort.

Average or average firm cups are better when you first begin using a cup because they take little to no coaxing or manipulation to open once inside. Average firm cups may apply some slight pressure that only announces itself once you try to urinate, making your urine stream a tad slower (see our post and video: Peeing with a Menstrual Cup). Firm cups may apply noticeable pressure that shows in either an urge to urinate (bladder pressure) or slow urine stream. In severe cases a complete blockage of urine could occur, though this is very rare. While the pressure mentioned is a possibility it isn’t a guarantee, we just feel pointing out all possibilities is important. On the plus side, average firm, and firm cups are better for those who experience cups that slip down during wear. If you’re a very active person you will want an average firm or firm cup to prevent your muscles from pushing the cup out during exercise.

To find more information on the brands listed in the firmness guide you can visit our menstrual cup comparison chart– this sortable chart lists details such as capacity, length, diameter, and more.

Did you find this post helpful? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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53 Comments

  • Hi. Any insight on the pixie cup? I wanted to know how it stacks up as far as firmness compared to the other brands. Thanks!

  • I’ve used a Diva Cup for years and always had the slower urination issue with it, but had no idea why or if another cup could fix that or if it was bad for me. This article is SO HELPFUL!

  • I been using Diva cup for at least 8 years. Each time I get headaches using it but thought it was just period related. Last month I realized that it could be the cup. Low and behold it was. No headaches this period. But I don’t like using pads and I have a heavy flow. Pads actually are my liners when I use a cup. What do you suggest I do?

    • The Hesta Cup size 1 is the same size as Diva size 1 but a bit softer. It’s only 14$US on Amazon right now and manufactured in the USA. I find that I have to mess with it a bit more to get it to open up than I do the Diva, but I have trouble with softer cups. You could give it a try if you like the Diva size and style but want something softer.

    • I tried the Cora cup in size 1 since since I’ve never had kids and it was a disaster..I used the punch down method to insert and it was too painful. I tried it probably an hour ago a d I’m still feeling cramps and soreness at the opening. Ugh, I was so hoping it would workout.

      • I’ve had trouble with mine too. One from Walgreens. “Menstrual cup”. I cut off there stem and in going to see if that helps with comfort. I’ve had a baby, so I think mine keeps slipping down 🙁

  • Question: When my cup is in its squished closed. It pops open but it doesn’t suction and it doesnt stay round its just flat I rotated it but nothing changes. Its a really soft cup so I’m thinking maybe I need a firmer one. Does this seem like a firmness issue?

    • It does sound like a firmness issue to me. I had a soft cup (the lily cup) and I could never get it to open. As soon as I tried a firmer cup (LENA cup), it was much easier for me. I usually have no trouble at all and don’t have to do any adjusting to get it to open up.

  • I’ve been having some issues with my cup. It is a Lunette. It slides down and even when I insert it I can feel it right there even wearing it inside out. When I sit down to pee i can pop it out because it is half out already. I’m guessing I have a low cervix. But the bigger issue is that when I go to remove it after the first couple of times on my cycle there is a lump of flesh inside it.

    At first I thought that I had a prolapse or something because I can feel the mass there as I pinch the cup to remove it. Nothing seems out of place when the cup is removed although I might be a bit inflamed. I even went to get myself checked out by a doctor and everything was fine. It is just when I’m wearing the cup. No one else I know has had this happen. One person suggested that I might need a softer cup but I don’t know if that will help.

    Have you ever heard of something like this or have any idea what might cause it or fix it? Might a softer cup help?

    • The first time I used a cup I thought I had a prolapse, too. Turned out that was just my cervix inside the cup! Pictures show it as a little bump, but for me during my period it stuck out/down quite far. Given your issues with getting the cup to stay in, it may very well be a super low cervix!

      It may be cups won’t work for you, but if you’re willing to try some other brands that have different shapes:

      LilyCup — your cervix may just stay in the top part.
      LENA or another with a fuller bottom (vs a V-shape like the Lunette)

      OR try a softcup like the Instead.

  • Quick question, what is the smallest and softest cup? I’ve been using a meluna soft small (with lube because I’m sensitive) but even though it’s super soft the rim is too wide and gives me cramps. The lunette is way to firm and I’ve hurt myself several times trying to get it up there! Never succeeded…

  • I have 2 Lena cups, large and small sizes. I’ve tried using them both several times over and they both slide down and partially out after only walking around. I got sore from trying place it as high up as possible and checking to make sure it opened all the way. Do I need a softer cup? What would you recommend. The size seems fine until it starts sliding down and it feels comfortable.

    • I have the same thing happening. I have recently started using it, but it seems to be such a hassle. It is either sliding down, or pressing on my bladder!!

  • Why are some cups rated N/A for firmness? I have a very heavy flow, bought a Juju cup (4) and am wondering why it doesn’t show up in my quiz results, even though size 4 is for a low cervix and has a higher capacity than the to-holes capacity of the ones listed in my quiz results. These are the most important issues I have. And why no firmness rating?

    • I know this post was a 2 years ago, but I tried Flex large and small, (in that order) it’s N/A, and it was painful for me. I believe I have a low cervix. I tried Saalt small which is softer then flex and it fits much comfortably.

  • I bought Lena sensitive large as a first cup. It’s tricky learning but i like it. Problem i have is removal – i swear it runs and hides and breaking it free from waaaay up there is like an Olympic event! The tail is gripped but barely any fingertip to pull with – thoughts?

  • I have been using a Mooncup UK but sure it contributing to constipation/haemorrhoids. I have been using the smaller size even though I am older and post-childbirth. There are not many softer options but I guess I could try something with less of a prominent ridge.

    • This is the only problem I have with the Mooncup as well. I’m sure the firm rim is messing with my ability to go to the toilet. I have been using the smaller size for 12 years, and i’m now in my thirties (but I haven’t had kids) and there’s no leaking to suggest that I need to start using the bigger size. But since it’s about time I replaced my current one i’m looking in to ones with softer or less prominent rims.

  • I currently use a Lena cup. I’ve been using it for roughly a year and STILL have issues getting it inserted properly so that it doesn’t leak. I’ve triedany folds, angles, etc. It’s very frustrating. I’ve have 5 children very close in age and I’m also very active. Should I go for a firmer cup although the Lena cup is considered firm/average?

  • I am very active – I do functional training 3 times a week and lift weights (not super heavy, but I do make a lot of effort) 2 times a week. On those days I get really sensitive, sometimes even my labia hurt a little – but I can still workout without a problem. All the quiz recommendations are a 2 in the firmness scale, and I am buying a Meluna cup becuase where I live you don’t have that many options. The soft MeLuna is a 2 and the classic is a 4. Do you think I should stick with the soft or buy the classic?

  • I see the Meluna Sport on the list, but I’m wondering how the regular Meluna rates in comparison? I’m on my first cycle trying to use the regular firmness Meluna Shorty. The rim doesn’t stay folded down after insertion, but it feels like it’s squished flat and when I remove it the rim is oval shaped. I’m also getting a lot of leaking. I’m thinking this might mean I need a stiffer cup.

    • In case it helps anyone else, I figured out whatvwas happening: apparently my cervix is very low and the cup was getting squished between it and the vaginal wall, so it wasn’t capturing all my flow. I figured out how to put the cup around the cervix and I don’t get leaks anymore. Unfortunately it also doesn’t hold a lot, though, because the cervix is filling part of the cup, so I have to empty it frequently on my heavy days.

      • I have been having the same issue of it feeling squished flat, so your comments are really helpful, thank you. I will check to see if I am fitting it properly as I was thinking about buying a firmer cup.

      • Hi. I have flat cup problems too. I try to stretch myself out to pop the shape out but i get sore. How are you making sure its around the cervix? I cant feel anything up there when my cup is in. It literally takes up all the room. I ordered a med sport shorty hoping this may work and also 2 lumma sizes. So freaking frusterated.

  • So I am a new user and I just got a Saalt cup and so far from what I can tell it is slightly uncomfortable until I wear it for a while. Is that normal or did I maybe not put it up far enough. I am a disk user and all the reading and research I’ve done made me think may e the cup doesn’t need to go very high. But positioned lower in my vaginal canal I can feel it and it’s not pleasant. After I moved it up a bit it was still a little crampy for 20-30 mins but now I don’t feel it at all. Any suggestions or reassurance is welcome. I wish I had discovered all these tools before I turned 40!!

  • The Diva Cup kills me when I try to wear it. It feels like it’s suctioning my cervix as if it’s holding on for dear life, but it doesn’t seem to open up completely either. The weird thing is, is that I leak and have pee collect in it as well. Can you give me some insight as to if I need a cup firmer or softer than the Diva cup?

  • So I just started my 3rd cycle using a Lena cup and I’m feeling really discouraged. I took the quiz and it said Lena Sensitive, well long story short I came to realize I ordered the wrong one. I’m pressed for money so I have no idea when I’ll be able to buy a different cup. I have issues of pressure when I pee and leaking so I still have to use back up pads. I really really want to be comfortable in this change but it’s so frustrating.

  • Hi everybody,
    there is one reason to wear a firm cup I’ve never read about. But it is actually my reason and perhaps it can help some other women.
    I’ve strong muscels a very high Cervix, I cannot even reach it with my fingers. When I insert a cup it almost slides up on it’s own and I cannot reach the rim any more, sometimes I cannot even reach the middle of the cup. So I have to guess if it is opened up or not.
    That is the reason I first thought a cup would not work for me, but I kept on trying an fortunately a quite firm cup works for me.
    I’m using a cup for about 9 years now, and your website and videos helped me to find two new cups that work even better, than the last one.
    Thank you!

    • which cups did you find to be best? i have the same issues and am here trying to find my perfect cup but i am having trouble deciding!

  • Hi! I’ve recently bought a small Lena cup and was wondering if it would be ideal for a teen who plays a bit of sport and does of lot of sitting down/standing up. (i have a medium height cervix) Thanks!

  • I have taken the quiz and all my recommendations are for cups that are a 2 in firmness. However, I have an extra heavy flow. I go straight through both an ultra tampon and maxi pad every 45 minutes for most of my cycle. None of the high capacity cups are a 2 in firmness. Should I try a 1 or 3?

  • I’ve been wanting to make the switch to a cup for ages so my friend got me an organicup for christmas (she knows me v well!!). It feels fine when in, if a little long, no leaks or discomfort or anything, but it’s reaally painful to insert and especially remove. it feels like i’m just too narrow and it catches on me as i ease it out. i’m thinking maybe a cup without a pronounced rim? something like the lily cup, but i’m worried that one’s too long for me. anyone had a similar issue?

    • I came here looking for feedback on the Flex too. I’m still a cup novice, but I’ve found the Flex to ne quite firm (prob too firm for me), such that I can basically always feel it. And while it def last longer than pads + tampons on my heavier days, I still have some leaks. Charging that part to user error though.

      • If you both still wondering how flex is, I tried them both. I am a beginner with heavy flows so I started with the large. It gave me unpleasant cramps. And then I used the small, and it was just uncomfortable inside. I think it’s cause its firm but I don’t know how firm. I believe I have a low cervix so I think that’s why it was uncomfortable. But I did love my cup when I can put it in right. I end up using Saalt soft and it’s much more comfortable.

  • So I’m experiencing major leaks with my Organicup

    I know for a fact that it gets sucked up really high. It moves around a lot once it’s inside. I’m unsure if this is a firmness or length issue?

  • The quiz recommended me DivaCup Ⓛ, Lunette Ⓛ, Mermaid Cup Ⓛ or in laste case Super Jennie Ⓛ. I still saw Merula Ⓧ, because I have a MeLuna Ⓧ and it shed in 2 hours. I’m afraid because of his Firmness. Which should i choose? I’m undecided between Merula Ⓧ and Super Jennie Ⓛ. One has more capacity but is harder, the other has less capacity but is softer. Both have greater capacity than my current one. I gave birth to twins 4 years ago. Help me please. Thanks

  • I have been using a regular Lena cup for over a year and it ALWAYS leaks. Usually a liner is enough but sometimes it not. I have had my cup catch NO blood one time and ruin a par of jeans. I guess it tipped over or something. I love using a cup but I can not keep having this leaking problem but I am not sure what to do… Do I need a larger cup, different brand, different shape style idk. I think I do have light incontinence and that might be why? I know my cervix points back? The lena is a 4 on the firmness scale do I need a 5? Some times my cup does not open.

    • I have NO idea if I’m right or wrong or what I’m even doing but maybe your cervix is going in the cup and causing your cup to fill faster? Try emptying the cup more often or maybe need to find a cup that is bigger. Not sure

  • I LOVE my soft saalt size 1. It is perfect for everyday.
    But, I am finding working out it slips down. Do I go for the Size 2 or the regular firmness Saalt?
    Thanks so much.

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