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Menstrual Cup General Questions

What is a menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is an alternative to disposable menstrual products we typically see on the shelves, such as tampons and pads. Most menstrual cups are made of silicone, but there are a few made of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) or rubber. A menstrual cup is worn below or around the cervix to collect menstrual flow instead of absorbing it. Check our full article, “What is a menstrual cup?” for a longer answer and more details.

How do menstrual cups work?

A menstrual cup is folded and inserted into the vaginal canal. Once inserted, the cup opens below or around the cervix to collect menstrual flow instead of absorbing it. When the cup is filled, the cup is removed (often at scheduled times), the contents are emptied into the toilet or down a drain, and the cup is then ready to be used again or stored away for your next period.

Read more about insertion and removal.

Are menstrual cups discreet?

A menstrual cup is inserted completely into the vagina. If the stem is too long, it can be trimmed for comfort. When positioned properly, it is comfortable to wear and is undetectable externally. Because a menstrual cup is washed and reused, it is unnecessary to carry additional menstrual products that may fall out of your bag, for example.

Are menstrual cups comfortable?

When a menstrual cup is the correct size, shape, and firmness, it’s so comfortable that you may forget that you are on your period! That’s why it is important to set a schedule to remove and rinse the cup every 12 hours, or at least twice a day (morning and night).

How long can I wear a menstrual cup for?

Most cups are safe to use for up to 12 hours before they need to be removed and washed. It can then be immediately re-inserted. Some companies suggest removing the cup prior to that, so please check with the website of the specific brand that you have.

Do menstrual cups cause any odors?

Blood itself has an iron-like odor to it. However, when blood comes in contact with oxygen, it starts to decompose and bacteria grows. This is what causes foul odors. Because the menstrual flow is collected in the menstrual cup, it stays in a liquid state until it’s emptied into the toilet or down the drain. It is then flushed or rinsed down and instead of rotting away in a trash can.

Can any woman use a menstrual cup?

As long as a person is comfortable with inserting the cup and using one doesn’t go against their beliefs, religious or otherwise, then there is no reason they can’t. People of all ages, walks of life, and shapes and sizes, use a menstrual cup. However, if you have an infection, an STD, a history of TSS, or you have recently given birth, had an IUD placed, or surgery, it’s best to speak with your health care provider prior to using one. (See medical health FAQs for more detailed help with this question.)

Is the menstrual cup good for any type of menstrual flow?

The great thing about a menstrual cup is that it can be worn at any time, even if you aren’t bleeding. Many people use them when they’re expecting their period, to stay dry from discharge, for spotting, and also for their light, moderate, and heavy flow days.

Are menstrual cups affordable?

The initial cost of a menstrual cup will be more than a single box of tampons or pads. Reputable menstrual cups range in price from an average of $15-$40. But, remember, you’ll only need to purchase one or two cups within the next ten years with proper care. Those are HUGE savings over the ten-year period compared to tampons or pads!

Are there any disposable menstrual cups available on the market?

There are some alternative menstrual products that are called “cups” but are different in shape and are also folded and positioned differently. These types of cups resemble more of a disc and were designed to be used for mess-free period sex. These menstrual discs are one-time use products.

Are menstrual cups eco-friendly?

Besides the initial packaging, menstrual cups are very eco-friendly. Menstrual cups are meant to be washed and reused for many years, which cuts down on packaging and product waste on a daily basis. There are millions of tampons and pads rotting away in landfills; therefore, one menstrual cup can make a huge difference.

Why haven’t I heard about the menstrual cup?

Smash the shame! Many of us, including our mothers and grandmothers, have been taught that menstruation is something to be ashamed of. Although menstrual cups have been around for decades, they have only recently become more popular now that people are discovering the vast benefits of using them.

Why are menstrual cups better for you than other period hygiene products?

A reputable menstrual cup is made of medical grade silicone, TPE, or rubber and is safe for short-term use within the body. Tampons and pads, on the other hand, do not disclose what materials and/or chemicals are used to create them.

Because they collect fluids instead of absorbing them, menstrual cups will not interfere with the body’s delicate pH balance, good bacteria, or natural lubricants. Tampons may leave behind fibers and/or cause micro-tears upon removal, which may increase risk of infection.

Are there many brands, models, types, and sizes of menstrual cups?

Menstrual cups are manufactured in abundance these days. There are hundreds of brands of menstrual cups produced and sold all over the globe. Each brand offers a variety of features, a unique design, different shapes and sizes, and an array of options that can accommodate any persons unique demands for their menstrual care.

Where can I buy a menstrual cup?

While you may be able to find a menstrual cup on the shelf of your local drug store, grocery store or health market, you may find a larger selection through online websites and selling platforms. (view our top 5 list).
Read our full article about where to buy a menstrual cup.

Do menstrual cups provide adequate period protection?

They definitely can and do! However, finding the proper cup (i.e. size, shape, capacity) will make a big difference for each individual experience. Menstrual cups are not one-size-fits-all. Check out our article “How to Choose a Menstrual Cup” for more info. Remember that using one will take some time to learn and get used to but once you get the hang of it, we’re sure that you’ll never go back to disposables!

1 Comment
  1. What happens if you have a very heavy flow? Will it still not leak? I have to change my Tampon almost every 2-3 hours.

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