I can’t perform a true Merula XL review and test it to its full capacity potential but I’ve tested it for comfort and effectiveness. The Merula XL has been the highest capacity menstrual cup available to users for years (the new LaliCup XL has 1 ml more capacity) and enjoys a cult following. The company that makes Merula XL also makes another high-capacity cup, Merula OS, that is a favorite of users with a low cervix.
About the Merula XL
At 50 ml capacity, Merula XL holds 65% more than most size large menstrual cups. The average “large” cup holds around 30 ml. That difference can be life-changing for someone with a heavy period. Some users experience periods so heavy that they can fill an average-sized cup in 1-3 hours. An average menstruator can’t even fill an average cup in a full 12 hours. Having 65% more capacity with a Merula XL could mean several more hours of wear time and a more livable life. It’s something a lot of us take for granted, myself included, that I can go 12 hours without emptying my cup or disc.
Should you try the Merula XL?
I still fully encourage anyone with a very heavy period to not just buy a menstrual cup because their period is heavy and it has a high capacity, like a Merula XL. If the fit isn’t great for you, either because it’s too long, too wide, or too firm, that trade-off may not be worth it. In our menstrual cup quiz I do offer two pathways – you can answer that you’d like to see your best fitting cup or disc result or you can choose to see a cup or disc suggested based mostly on your heavy period. I consider the Merula XL a “firm” cup and the entire body of the cup is about the same firmness as the rim. My own experience with the Merula XL was that it’s too large and firm to be a comfortable fit. I could feel the cup inside me at virtually all times.
The Merula XL also caused bladder pressure and the urge to urinate, coupled with very slow urination. I opted not to include the footage of me on the toilet with my slow trickling stream. I’m pretty comfortable sharing intimate footage for the sake of my educational work but that felt a bit too personal and weird.
As for the capacity and leaking, I wasn’t even close to filling the Merula XL even though my period was actually heavier than usual after my 2nd Pfizer dose. I was paying careful attention to my flow that cycle after hearing about people experiencing heavier periods. It was marginally heavier and my cycle was heavier for longer than usual, but it wasn’t anything worrying to me. I did have some small leaks with the Merula XL. I wore period underwear during my testing as I always do when trying products, and the leaks were minor, but it wasn’t a leak-free experience. I’ve mentioned many times that my body and period have changed since I first started using cups and I leak less (usually none) with menstrual discs more often than I do with cups.
Other Heavy Period Options
If the Merula XL doesn’t seem like a good fit but you’re wondering what other high capacity options might work better for you I do have some suggestions. The Tieutcup offers two sizes and these both have a higher capacity than most cups, but it’s another firm cup. The Super Jennie L holds 41 ml and it’s a softer firmness. Lalicup XL and Formoonsa XL are also high-capacity cups for a heavy period but these are hard to find in the US. If you do need a softer high-capacity cup and you’re in the US that’s a tall order but the reusable menstrual disc Nixit has a soft rim and holds around 70 ml (minus an unknown amount due to squishing during wear in the body.) The Merula OS is an option if you have a low cervix and need a higher capacity cup, or you can also look at reusable menstrual discs.
In the video, I do note that the Merula XL has no suction holes at the rim of the cup. This is an intentional design choice and the brand states it helps the cup stay in place regardless of pelvic floor muscle tone. This can make breaking the seal for removal more difficult. It may also give you pause if you have an IUD in place.
Related Resource: Menstrual Cup Comparison Chart
Life-changing period upgrade
I know that there are a lot of Merula XL fans out there even if it wasn’t a good fit for me. I got teary-eyed in this review because as I was talking about what a difference a high-capacity cup can have on someone’s quality of life I was thinking of the messages I get daily on this topic. People wonder why I do what I do and that is the number 1 reason. For someone who has experienced years of being chained to a bathroom on their periods, or who inserts two super tampons plus wears maxi-pads just to leave the house, there might be a better period for them with a high-capacity cup or disc. I can’t put myself in their shoes because I’ve never experienced a period that heavy. I can empathize because I’ve had other health struggles that kept me toilet-ridden and affected my life. When people tell me that a cup or disc changed their lives I believe them and it pushes me to keep doing this work.
If you need more help finding a good option that works with your heavy period please join us at the Period Nirvana Community. We have a welcoming, inclusive environment where you can ask questions in a safe space and get help from other users.
Where to Buy: Merula XL from Period.Shop