Have questions about menstrual cup use? Learn about the benefits of menstrual cups and how to start using this sustainable menstruation option.
Reusable menstrual cup use has gone up significantly as women start to adopt sustainable menstruation products that are eco-friendly, reusable, safe and cheaper in the long term.
Did you know that over 45 billion feminine hygiene products such as tampons, pads, and applicators, are thrown in the garbage every year? Or that the Ocean Conservancy collected around 27,938 used tampons on beaches around the world in a single day in 2015?
Our inability to adopt sustainable, eco-friendly feminine hygiene products is creating a mountain of garbage, especially considering the fact that 90% of pads packaging is made up of plastic that cannot be recycled.
Thankfully, more women have started to choose eco-friendly alternatives like reusable menstrual cups. In 2018, the global menstrual cup market size accounted for around $632 million and it is expected to reach $963 million by 2026.
Join Gynecologist & Obstetrician, Dr Neena Bahl & Roopam Gupta, Co-Founder and COO of The Woman’s Company, a revolutionary feminine hygiene company, for a LIVE AMA chat on Mastering The Menstrual Cup.
5 Benefits Of Menstrual Cup Use
There are many benefits to reusable menstrual cup use (also called women period cups, ladies period cups, period use cups, vaginal cups, or feminine cups for periods) besides the more obvious ones.
Here are some of the benefits of menstrual cup use:
1. Reusable and eco-friendly
Reusable menstrual cups don’t generate waste the way pads and tampons do. According to researchers, one period cup produces just 0.4% of the plastic waste that single-use pads create or 6% of the waste created by tampons in the span of 10 years.
Menstrual cup use not only cut down on waste, but they save water, too. Once your period blood is emptied out into the toilet and flushed down, your menstrual cup can be cleaned and reused for many years, if maintained well.
2. More affordable in the long run
Reusable period cup use helps women avoid spending money every month on sanitary pads and tampons. The reusable menstrual cup is a long term investment because lasts for years if maintained well.
Researchers estimate that women who used a $23 menstrual cup could end up saving 95% of what they would spend on pads and about 93% of what they would spend on tampons for all the years the cup lasts.
Even though the menstrual cup price is higher than a box of pads or tampons, they are more hygienic and much cheaper in the long term, making them ideal for women in developing countries like India.
Women in rural India are known to use materials like cloths, sawdust, or paper to manage their periods, increasing their risk of infection. Learning to use menstrual cups could help lower their risk of infection.
3. Doesn’t affect vaginal pH
A normal vaginal pH level is between 3.8 and 4.5, which is moderately acidic and acts as protection from unhealthy bacteria and yeast infections. Leaving a tampon in for too long can increase the vaginal pH and increase the risk of infection.
While all menstrual hygiene products carry some degree of risk, menstrual cup use doesn’t affect your vaginal pH. As long as you understand how to use them properly, they are some of the safest menstrual products you can use.
4. Fewer health risks than tampons
Tampons can cause a deadly illness called Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) when left in for too long. This is almost unknown with reusable medical-grade silicone menstrual cups that are cleaned and inserted properly.
In addition, silicone menstrual cups are safer than tampons, because they don’t cause allergies or have harmful chemicals like chlorine and dioxins.
5. Avoid embarrassing menstrual odour
While women everywhere would like to avoid embarrassing menstrual odour, the period cup is especially useful at helping avoid it, as it doesn’t expose the blood to the air. This prevents bacterial decomposition of blood, which is the cause of the menstrual odour.
Your Questions About Menstrual Cup Use Answered
When it comes to menstrual cups, a lot is based on hit and trial because everyone has a different experience and different solutions apply to each individual.
Is a menstrual cup safe? Should I use both tampons and menstrual cups to be safe?
Absolutely, the menstrual cup is in fact, safer than tampons and pads as if worn for longer than 6 hours, they will not make you vulnerable to bacterial infections (like Toxic Shock Syndrome that can be caused by wearing tampons for too long).
Would you recommend a disposable menstrual cup or reusable menstrual cup? And why?
The entire point of using a menstrual cup is to reduce costs on monthly expenditure and to have a zero-waste period to reduce the impact on the environment. Disposable cups defeat this purpose.
Would I be at risk for infection if I left my menstrual cup in for 12 to 24 hours? How often should I empty it?
There is a very low chance of infection if a menstrual cup is worn. However, it is quite unlikely to be able to wear the cup for more than 12 hours without it leaking. You should know when to change it because you’ll start feeling heavy down there when the cup is full.
Although there would be no infection in wearing it for a period longer than 12 hours, it is recommended to change it every 12 hours at least, to avoid leakage.
What are some tips for choosing a menstrual cup? How can I choose the best menstrual cup for me?
This is a very personal question. Finding the best fit is based on hit and trial – a cup helps you understand your body much better and every woman will have a different preference.
However, a few helpful tips would be knowing your cervix height (high, low or medium) to decide the cup shape and amount of flow of your period – whether it is heavy or light as the cup capacity will depend on this.
The Woman Company’s menstrual cup comes in 3 sizes – Small for girls who are not sexually active, Medium for sexually active women, and Large for those who have given birth to a child vaginally.
Make sure your cup is inserted and fits properly. If it is not fitted properly, there is a chance of leakage.
What should I look for when choosing the best menstrual cup for beginners?
There is no specific tip for this – it takes some getting used to a cup. But once you get used to it, it is one of the most comfortable menstrual products! It would help to do some research based on your body type including your cervix height and period flow.
What are the different types of menstrual cups? What is a flat fit menstrual cup?
There are reusable cups (usually made of silicone) and disposable cups. Flat fit menstrual cups do not have a stem at their base – it is rounded at the bottom.
These cups are, however, not easy for beginners to use as there is no stem to guide how much to insert it and how to remove the cup. You can also have sex with this kind of cup on your period.
How does one go about folding menstrual cups? What are the best menstrual cup folding methods for easy insertion?
The two best folds for menstrual cups (most common ones) are:
- C-Fold (also know as the U-Fold)
- Punchdown Fold (also known as the Shell Fold)
Can you offer some tips to remove the cup easily?
Just pinch the cup at the base with two fingers and twist the stem a bit. The moment the vacuum is released, the cup will come out.
Why should I use a medical-grade silicone menstrual cup?
Silicone cups are flexible and medical-grade silicone is of superior quality so it will last you much longer.
Can you share some tips for menstrual cup care and menstrual cup hygiene? What is the required boiling period for cups?
Always boil the cup before and after your period cycle to sanitize it. Boiling it for 5 to 10 minutes is good enough.
Clean with normal soap and water, rinse it well with filtered water between uses in the same period cycle. It’s best to clean it 2 to 3 times a day, the way you would change your pad or tampon.
When not in use, dry the cup and store it in the cloth bag provided.
Can I microwave menstrual cups?
No, it is not advisable to microwave the cup.
What should I do about a smelly menstrual cup?
Boiling it in water with a spoon of baking soda should help. Sun-drying it for a day also helps. You could also try boiling it in water with some fresh lemon juice.
What should I do if I dropped my menstrual cup in the toilet?
Make sure to rinse it first with water and then boil it for at least 20 minutes to disinfect it.
Which is the best menstrual cup for teens? Which is the best menstrual cup for unmarried women?
When it comes to choosing the best menstrual cup for teens or unmarried women who are not sexually active, it is always a good idea to start with a small size cup.
Which is the best menstrual cup for active lifestyles or athletes?
It depends on their flow.
Which is the best menstrual cup for after childbirth?
If you have given birth vaginally, it might be a good idea to try the large size cup.
Which is the best menstrual cup for heavy flow?
The large cup is best for heavy flow.
Which is the best menstrual cup for light flow?
The small cup should work for light flow.
Can I use a menstrual cup after C-section?
Absolutely, yes! You can use a menstrual cup after your C-section. However, always consult your gynaecologist before this.
What can I do if my menstrual cup is pressing on my bladder?
You might be inserting it too high. Make sure to lower it slightly as it can put pressure on the bladder if the cup is pushed too high up.
What should I do if I’m filling up my menstrual cup every hour?
You should speak to a doctor as that may indicate extremely heavy flow.
Should I opt for a cheap menstrual cup or an affordable menstrual cup? What does the menstrual cup cost?
A menstrual cup is a long term investment as it can be used for more than 5 years if maintained well.
So, never compromise on the quality of the cup as you will be saving money in the long run. The Woman’s Company’s menstrual cup costs INR 550 only.
Where can I buy menstrual cups online?
You can order your Menstrual Cup on SHOPonSHEROES.
Should I buy a menstrual cup with a sterilizer?
Boiling a cup is good enough to sterilize it – you do not need to invest in a steriliser.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this website is presented for the purpose of educating people. Nothing contained on this website should be construed nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider. Should you have any healthcare-related questions, please call or see your physician or another qualified healthcare provider promptly. Always consult with your physician or other qualified healthcare providers before embarking on a new treatment, diet, or fitness program.
Mehek Bhalla works with The Woman’s Company (TWC), a green company for women and for women, that understands the needs of a woman as nobody else can. TWC offers biodegradable, sustainable, and environmental-friendly women’s intimate hygiene products via sanitary napkins, menstrual cups, tampons, razors, and stand and pee urination devices.