There are a handful of “valve” style menstrual cups floating around the market and it seems that all of them can be found on Alibaba or AliExpress. Not all of them are of the best quality and you can often tell by the price. It is your body and your health comes first so low quality menstrual cups are just not worth it!
Valve menstrual cups were designed to be left in place, while quickly and easily being emptied through a long valve/tube. There are a few different-bodied shapes but all of them are equal in size. Their size resembles an average small-sized menstrual cup. The stem is substituted for a tube in various widths and lengths with some type of stopper or expel mechanism.
When you need to empty this type of cup, you have to locate the tube, remove the stopper or activate the expel mechanism, and allow the contents to drain into the toilet. When the expelling mechanism is released or replaced, the flow of contents (if not completely emptied) is seized.
Some of the tubes are longer and may be easier to reach than others. Some tubes are wider, which would allow more to pass through quicker. There are a few different stoppers/expel mechanisms. Some are easier to manage over others, and don’t have extra moving parts.
Different Types of Stoppers
- Plug – A small cork-like plug that is completely removed and replaced (extra replacements are usually provided with its purchase).
- Cap – A lid that is removed and replaced (may or may not be attached).
- Ball Stopper – A small ball that is pinched in and out of place to allow the contents to pass around it. (Extra replacements are usually provided with purchase).
- Pinch Valve – This seems to be the most popular style at this time, as it has no extra moving parts. This design is much like a squeezable coin purse, in which two pieces join in a resting position to keep the contents in place. When certain areas are squeezed, the two pieces open to allow the contents to be released.
Valve menstrual cups may be a good option for those who have trouble emptying a standard cup in a public area. They may also be a good option for those who have trouble inserting and removing their cup several times a day for various reasons. However, there are some concerns you might want to think about when deciding to purchase one of these cups.
Disadvantages of Valve Menstrual Cups
- Since the stem/tube is a crucial part of this cup’s design and how it works, the stem cannot be trimmed to a shorter length. One YouTuber said that they were able to fold the stem over and tuck it in, but that it unfolded a few times when they didn’t expect.
- Although some of the tubes are wider, depending on the thickness of the blood, clots, discharge, etc., the contents may be slow to drain or too large to pass through.
- Trying to operate the stopper or release mechanism may be difficult. Small pieces may be lost or hard to remove or replace.
- The pinch valve needs to be squeezed in a specific location which may or may not be somehow marked. Depending on the way the cup has been inserted, you may find yourself in an awkward position trying to squeeze them.
Very important! Although these cups were designed to be left in place, for health and safety reasons they still need to be removed twice a day for proper cleaning!
Your menstrual cycle is something you will experience once a month (if you are regular). The health of your body always comes first so choose a menstrual cup that best suits your health and comfort needs, as well as your lifestyle!