Menstrual Cup Pros and Cons

Title Menstrual Cup Pros and Cons with hand holding a cup.

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Have you been curious about trying a reusable menstrual cup but have no idea how to insert or remove it? I have walked the aisle at drug stores looking at options numerous times, but I always thought a menstrual cup would not work. Let’s review some pros and cons of menstrual cups so you can decide if they are right for you.

*This article includes affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Every April, I try to do something specific for Earth Day. In April 2020, while quarantined at home due to the pandemic, I finally decided to try a reusable menstrual cup. Since we were homebound, it would be the perfect time to try the reusable cup. 

In April 2021, I will have been using a menstrual cup for one year, and I love it! It was intimidating at first and a bit of a learning curve to get the perfect fit, but after a year, I can’t imagine going back to disposable menstrual products.  *Update: today is April 24, 2024, and I still use the same menstrual cup.  It is safe to say I am a proud menstrual cup user and have no plans to change.  If you take proper care of your menstrual cup, it can last for years.  Think about how much waste you would save.

While writing the Menstrual Cup Pros and Cons post, I am excited to share what I have learned and tips to encourage you to give it a try. I promise it isn’t as intimidating as it seems!

Grace holding Diva Cup
Grace holding Diva Cup

Menstrual Cup Pros

Hand holding menstrual cup with list of menstrual cup pros.

Less Landfill Waste 

The main reason I wanted to switch was to reduce landfill waste.  The average woman uses 250-300 pounds of disposable menstrual products in their lifetime. 

Also, the processing of tampons and maxi pads has an even more significant environmental impact than the actual disposal of these products.

Can you imagine the environmental impact we could have if more women switched to reusable cups?  Switching to a menstrual period cup would result in less waste and fewer trees needing to be cut down.

Empty Every 12 Hours 

I empty the menstrual cup morning and night. If you have heavy flow days, you might need to empty more often. Even on my heavier days, I have not needed to empty more than once every 12 hours.

Last summer, when we traveled for a family vacation, I packed tampons, thinking I would use those instead of the menstrual cup.   The menstrual cup is so much easier because it doesn’t need to be emptied as often as you change a tampon. You can also have a bowel movement and use the bathroom regularly without needing to adjust the cup if it has good suction when inserted. 

Significant Cost Savings 

Just one reusable cup is needed, and it can last for numerous years.  I have been using the same cup for four years.

Add up the monthly amount on sanitary products such as a box of tampons or disposable pads. Previously, I spent $16 a month on organic tampons, equating to $192 a year before tax. 

The reusable menstrual cup I purchased cost $39.99 for the year, and I plan to continue using it past the one-year mark. Using it for just one year, I saved $152 on period products. The savings can add up with long-term use. 

Less Odor

The terrible smell of old tampons… oh, you know what I am referring to and, yes, I said it.  The strong smell comes from when blood is exposed to oxygen.  The menstrual cup is suctioned while in your body, and the menstrual fluid is flushed immediately, so there is much less odor.

Easy To Clean

Sanitize the period cup before the first use by adding it to boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. 

When using the menstrual cup while on your period, empty the menstrual fluid in the toilet and clean the cup with water.  If you prefer, you can use mild soapy water to rinse it.

Once you have finished your menstrual cycle for the month, wash the reusable cup with mild soap and warm water.  Let it air dry before storing.  Then, store the cup in something breathable. Most cups come with a breathable bag to store the period product in between cycles.

Can Be Active

You can run, swim, exercise, and sleep without issues or leaking when using a menstrual cup.  As long as the reusable menstrual cup is placed correctly in the vaginal canal, there are no issues with leaking.

Chemical Free

Medical-grade silicone is used without the concern of all the harsh chemicals used in maxi pads or regular tampons. 

Menstrual Cup Cons

Hand holding menstrual cup with list of menstrual cup cons.

Learning Curve

Figuring out the perfect size and placement does involve a learning curve.  Learning the best way to remove the cup will take practice, but it is worth it.

It Could Leak

The main disadvantage is that if the menstrual cup is not placed correctly in the vaginal canal, it could leak.  There needs to be a suction so the cup can collect the total amount of menstrual fluid.

It could also leak menstrual blood if it were not the right fit or if someone had a heavy menstrual flow.  Women with a heavy menstrual flow may need to empty the cup more often.

Can Be Messy

Removing the menstrual cup can be messy if you are not careful. The first time, it could look like a small murder scene, but it is easy once you get the hang of it.

You will want to grip the bottom of the cup and squeeze it to release the suction.  Keep the cup upright until you are ready to empty it.  With a bit of practice, it gets easier and much less messy.

Additional Tips

Hopefully, reading the pros and cons of the menstrual cup will help you see all the benefits. Below are some helpful tips to make the switch easier.

Sizing

The menstrual cup is flexible and comes in different sizes. Be sure to read the label to get the right size for the brand you are purchasing. There are small sizes for young girls and young adults. The important thing is the menstrual cup will make a suction seal along the vaginal wall, so the right fit is critical.

Ingredients

When purchasing a menstrual cup, you want to ensure it is a flexible cup made with medical-grade silicon.   Medical-grade silicon can last 25 years.  While each brand of a menstrual cup is different, some factors that can change the lifespan of the cup are vaginal pH, bacteria, cleaning, and care.

The good news is that a reusable menstrual cup is also a great option as you try to reduce your overall toxin load. Disposable menstrual products can contain potentially harmful chemicals. If you are using disposable products, I highly recommend checking the label of ingredients and looking for organic cotton products. 

How to Insert a Menstrual Cup

Tips for inserting cup. Fold with thumb and index finger in u-shpae.

It is a good idea to wash your hands first.  You can also run the menstrual cup under warm water to help make the cup more flexible.  Be sure to relax; it will help you get the correct placement.  You may need to take a deep breath to relax and ensure you are positioned in a comfortable position.  You will need to relax your pelvic floor muscles.  Use your thumb and index finger and fold the cup in half. It should be a “C” shape.  Insert the cup in the opening of your vagina using the thumb and index finger.  Once the cup is in, release your fingers from the cup. It should unfold once released.

You may need to twist or rotate the cup clockwise or counterclockwise to seal the suction. If you have difficulty getting the menstrual cup to suction, remove it and ensure the air holes are not clogged. You can gently tug on the stem of the cup to make sure it is in place. When you tug on the stem of the cup, it should not move. This lets you know there is good suction, and you should not worry about leaking.

It may take a little practice to perfect inserting the cup and getting a good suction.  Just remember a critical step is to take a deep breath and relax the vaginal muscles.

The cup should sit and stay at the base of the vaginal canal.  Some people prefer to insert the cup while sitting on the toilet seat or in the shower in a squatting position. You may want to try different positions to determine which is easiest for you to get a good placement.

How to Remove a Menstrual Cup

With clean fingers, pinch the base of the cup with your thumb and index finger. Get a good grip and pinch the base; it should release the seal. Slowly pull the menstrual cup out, keeping it upright. Then, empty the menstrual fluid into the toilet. Rinse with warm water and reinsert.

How to Clean a Menstrual Cup in a Public Restroom

If you need to clean a menstrual cup in public, it is still simple. Just remove the cup and empty the menstrual fluid into the toilet. Then, wipe the cup with a little bit of toilet paper or tissue paper and reinsert it. Once you can go to a private bathroom, rinse out the cup.

There are also cleaning wipes specifically for the silicone cup.   This will be a great option if you need to empty and clean your cup regularly in a public bathroom.

Best Option for a Menstrual Cup

After reviewing a few brands, I decided to purchase the Diva Cup.   It seemed like it was the best cup for me. 

A mother-daughter duo founded the Diva Cup. They were searching for more environmentally friendly period products. In 2018, they became a BCorp, and they strongly believe in transparency and accountability.  

They wanted to use their business as a force for good for the customers, the employees, and the planet.  As a company, they are also focused on advancing menstrual equality through education, advocacy, and access.

Diva Cup also has a recycling option.  When it is time to replace your cup, visit their website to start the recycling process.  The recycled old cups are used to make playgrounds, flooring, and tracks.

Amazon Link to the Diva Cup Click Here  *As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

After Reviewing Menstrual Cup Pros and Cons

After reading about the pros and cons of menstrual cups, I hope this article will encourage you to try using reusable menstrual cups.

While the reusable menstrual cup may not be for everyone, I have loved it. It makes my life easier and allows me to reduce my carbon footprint.  That is a win-win, in my book. 

***Please consult your health care provider for any gynecological concerns before using a menstrual cup. 

*This article includes affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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