A menstrual cup is a type of reusable feminine hygiene product. It’s a small, flexible funnel-shaped cup made of rubber or silicone that you insert into your vagina to catch and collect period fluid.
Cups can hold more blood than other methods, leading many women to use them as an eco-friendly alternative to tampons. And depending on your flow, you can wear a cup for up to 12 hours.
There are many advantages to using a menstrual cup, including:
- Financial savings: A cup can be a higher upfront investment, of around $25 to $45. However, one can last for several years, depending on the cup. Using a cup will ultimately save money, compared with the regular purchase of tampons or pads.
- Comfort: Many people report that a menstrual cup is more comfortable than pads or tampons. Cups tend not to cause vaginal dryness, which is a common complaint about tampons.
- Fewer cramps: There are some anecdotal reports of people having fewer or less painful menstrual cramps while using a cup. However, others find the opposite to be true.
- Less mess: When inserted properly, the cup should not leak or spill, and a person can wear one while working out, swimming, or showering. Some brands report that their cups are safe and comfortable to wear during sex.
- Reduced environmental impact: Pads and tampons are usually single-use and come with lots of packaging, but cups are designed for years of use. This can drastically reduce how many menstrual products wind up in landfills.
Inserting and removing a menstrual cup can be messy when a person is first using one. Some people feel squeamish or uncomfortable about their menstrual blood. Using a cup may not be a good option if this is the case.
A menstrual cup can also feel uncomfortable if a person does not insert it properly or if they are using the wrong size.
In addition, a person with a very heavy flow or who frequently get clots in their menstrual blood may experience some leaks.
Some people are concerned about contracting toxic shock syndrome (TSS), which is an infection that sometimes develops after prolonged use of tampons.
However, TSS is extremely rare when using menstrual cups or tampons. Using the cup as intended and emptying and washing it frequently can help reduce the risk of infections