Menstrual Cup – 9 Reasons Why It’s Better Than Tampons

Menstrual Cup - 9 Reasons Why It's Better Than Tampons

If you’ve never heard of a menstrual cup before, it can seem pretty strange, alternative or weird.

Imagine the reactions when they first came up with tampons!

Yet, a menstrual cup has so many benefits.

A menstrual cup is a hygienic, reusable sanitary product, made from a soft, medical grade silicone.

They are around two inches long and are usually irritant free. Most brands contain no latex, dyes, BPA, toxins or bleaches.

A menstrual cup is worn internally like a tampon, but it collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it.

You simply empty the fluid into the toilet – and even better – a menstrual cup is not a disposable product, so you only need to buy one, saving you a tonne of money.

No wonder so many women are switching from tampons and pads.

How Much Fluid Can They Hold?

Most menstrual cups hold around 30 ml of menstrual fluid. The amount of fluid lost during a period differs from woman to woman, ranging from 10-80ml across 2 to 7 days.

When you insert a menstrual cup, a light seal is formed with your vaginal wall, allowing the menstrual flow to pass into the cup, without any leakage or odour.

It’s likely you’ll empty a menstrual cup less frequently than you’d replace tampons or pads.

I’ve been using one for about 15 years. No more painful cramps that I used to get with tampons. They’re amazing. — BellyBelly Fan

Menstrual Cup – 9 Reasons Why It’s Better Than Tampons

Menstrual cups are so much better for your body, the environment and your pay packet!

Here are 9 reasons why a menstrual cup is better for your body:

#1: A Menstrual Cup Won’t Interfere With The Vaginal Environment

Tampons can can cause or worsen vaginal dryness.

A tampon absorbs around 65% menstrual fluid and 35% natural moisture.

This creates an imbalances of moisture and pH levels of your vagina.

However, a menstrual cup will not interfere with the vaginal environment.

#2: No Fibres Left Behind

Unlike tampons, a silicon made menstrual cup will not deposit fibres in your vaginal wall.

#3: No Toxic Shock Syndrome

Menstrual cups have not been associated with toxic shock syndrome.

#4: No Nasties

Menstrual cups contain no bleaches, deodorisers or absorbency gels.

#5: Gentle On Sensitive Skin Too!

A silicon menstrual cup will not cause irritation. They are perfectly suitable for women with sensitive skin, thrush, eczema or allergies.

#6: Safe To Use

Menstrual cups are made from a special medical grade non-allergic silicone. Silicone is derived from silica, which is one of the most abundant minerals on earth.

#7: Doesn’t Interfere With Your Vagina’s Natural And Healthy Functions

Because a menstrual cup has a smooth surface, it allows the mucus membranes of your vaginal wall to continue their essential cleansing and protective functions. The menstrual cup doesn’t absorb your body’s natural defence mechanisms.

#8: Menstrual Cups Are Better For The Environment

Can you imagine the sheer amount of liners, pads and tampons you’ll use from puberty to menopause?

The average woman throws away around 125-150kg of tampons, pads and applicators, which end up in landfill sites.

Unlike pads and tampons, menstrual cups are reusable, eliminating waste when throwing away and the environmental impact of producing sanitary products.

#9: They’re Better For Your Bank Account Too

Depending where you live (and if you’re taxed on sanitary products, like we are here in Australia), let’s say it costs around $10 a month for sanitary items. This figure may be higher; according to research, around one in ten women in Australia buys all three mainstream sanitary options (pads, tampons and panty liners) every month.

That works out to be $120 a year. If you had your first period when you were 12, and if your period stops at the average of 51 years, you’ve spent a grand total of $4,680 — you could have taken a nice holiday for that amount!

And that’s not including the times where you’ve had extra heavy periods or longer bleeding cycles. A menstrual cup means you don’t need to carry bulky spares. Your menstrual cup should last for several years, with proper care.

I’m only on my second cycle using a cup. Why did I waste so many years, this thing is amazing! — BellyBelly Fan

How Easy Is It To Use?

Correctly inserted, a menstrual cup is so comfortable you won’t even know it’s there.

It may take a little practice at first as you find the angle and position that is right for you.

Once you have perfected it you will be amazed at how simple a menstrual cup is to use. You will need to empty, rinse or wipe and reinsert your menstrual cup every four to twelve hours depending on your flow. The fluid remains inside the cup, and the process is not messy or uncomfortable (many women find it convenient to empty their cup while having a shower).

A menstrual cup can safely be used overnight and is great for all sports, swimming and travelling. It can be cleaned in the same way as baby equipment: with sterilising fluid, or by boiling for five minutes in an open pan of water.

I only just started using a cup about 6 months ago and I swear, I’ll tell anyone who asks about it that I wish I knew about menstrual cups 20 years ago. It has saved me so much money and is soooo easy to use and maintain! Some of my friends think it’s gross, but I just think it’s because they haven’t done the research that’s needed. I will definitely be buying one for my daughter when the time comes! — BellyBelly Fan

How Do You Use A Menstrual Cup?

  • Find a comfortable position, either sitting, standing, squatting or kneeling.
  • Press together the sides of the cup, then fold the sides in half.
  • Hold the folded sides firmly together between thumb and forefinger of one hand. The single curved edge should be away from your palm.
  • Stay relaxed. With your free hand gently separate the labia and push the curved edge of the folded menstrual cup up into the vagina.
  • Insert the menstrual cup fully following the natural angle of your vagina. Aim towards the small of your back, not the top of your head. You do not need to push the menstrual cup up high into the vagina, the vaginal muscle will keep it in place.
  • Once the menstrual cup is fully inserted grasp the base of the cup, not the stem, and rotate it once to ensure that it has fully unfolded.

It’s important to keep your menstrual cup clean, so wash it regularly with mild soap and hot and water. It can be cleaned more thoroughly between periods.

Menstrual Cup FAQs

Here are the most commonly asked questions about menstrual cups:

Q. Is it okay to use them in public toilets?

A. Yes! Take a small bottle of water with you and rinse it with water. Or, you could wipe the cup with toilet paper, before giving your menstrual cup a thorough clean at a more convenient time.

Q. Can you use a menstrual cup with light flow?

A. Absolutely. Because menstrual cups are not absorbent, they won’t cause dryness. You’ll find the removal much more comfortable compared to a tampon.

Q. Why is my menstrual cup leaking?

A. If your cup is leaking, you are likely not placing the menstrual cup low enough in your vagina. The cup needs to be placed just inside the entrance to your vagina, unlike tampons which need to be closer to the cervix.

Make sure you check the whole stem is completely inside your vagina. Most women need to trim the stem. If you think you need to trim the stem, remove your menstrual cup and cut the end with scissors. Trim a little off at a time, and reinsert the cup to check how it sits. Repeat this process until it’s fully inside you and comfortable.

One other reason for leakage may be due to poor seal formation with the vaginal wall. Try twisting and rotating the menstrual cup once you’ve inserted it. You can also try pulling the menstrual cup down a little, then gently pushing it inward. If you clamp your pelvic floor muscles around the menstrual cup, it can help to create a good seal.

Finally, leakage may occur due to any small holes below the rim of a cup becoming blocked. A clean pin can be used to remove anything blocking the holes. Sterilise your menstrual cup and re-insert.

If you’re still having problems, the cup size may not be a good fit, so you may need to try another.

See a range of menstrual cups, including the best selling Diva Cup, here.

  • 2K
    Shares
 

Kelly Winder CONTRIBUTOR

Kelly Winder is the creator of BellyBelly.com.au, a writer, doula (trained in 2005), and a mother of three awesome children. She's passionate about informing and educating fellow thinking parents and parents-to-be, especially about all the things she wishes she knew before she had her firstborn. Kelly is also passionate about travel, tea, travel, and animal rights and welfare. And travel.


26 comments

    1. Menstrual cups will not come out if you cough or sneeze. I recommend them, menstrual cups are life-changing. There are many brands, most are online. I recommend that you find your cervix and go from there. The Lily Cup is great. There is a compact style that folds into itself so it is very discreet and easy to carry. The original is rather long, but it works great for most people if you cut the stem off. The Lunette is also great.

    2. Not at all. I’ve never had that problem. You can cough, sneeze, do squats, run, jump, or do a number 2(!) and it won’t cause any leakage. As long as the cup isn’t completely full with blood, of course.

  1. Hi,
    I have a long history of chronic candida (15 years or more), HPV (the dangerous one) and CIN3/cervial dysplasia that had to be removed with invasive surgery. Is the mooncup for me? I am worried about bacteria being ‘trapped inside’ for longer periods (amount of time) and bacteria being transferred when inserting, removing the mooncup (yes, I realise it should be sterilised but a lot of bacteria can be present between sterilisations – e.g. if out for the day).

    I also have an auto-immune condition (SLE) that causes chronic inflammation so any contact with bacteria can result in a serious and life threatening infection for me 🙁

    Thank you.

  2. I’ve got a very week pelivic floor and prolapsed vaginal wall due to having my son it hurts when anything is there so would the cup work for me or should I stay clear x

  3. I’ve heard these are messy. Do i have to stick my fingers in my vagina to insert this? Im OCD. I do NOT do messy…

    1. No where near as far as you’d insert your fingers to put a tampon in place.. I sit on the loo and empty it, the only “mess” you have to deal with is the rinsing/wiping of the cup

  4. Also…how do I remove it and what happens when I do? I don’t need blood everywhere… Gross! How does the fluid ‘stay’ in the cup??

    1. I started using a cup for the cycle im currently on… It’s day 3 and I love it. It took some getting used to, and some playing around with folds and insertion techniques to get it right, but by the end of the day I had the seal figured out. You can’t really be too squeamish about it, tho. If u aren’t comfortable putting ur fingers into ur own vagina, you may not like it. However, I have found that it is not messy at all. The blood collects in a cup, and when you pull it out to empty it, it stays in the cup. Just be careful of the angle that u remove it in. When u pour it out and re-insert, I find that I don’t get messy fingers like I used to sometimes get after replacing a tampon. I don’t know about you, but I’ve often left a public bathroom stall and sneaked over ninja style to the sink in hopes that my fingers wouldn’t be seen before I could wash the red off. I’ve noticed that this isn’t happening with the cup, because menstrual fluid isn’t smeared all over my vaginal walls and sopped and spread around by an absorbent stick of fiber. It is simply collected, neatly, and dumped. But you do need to figure out the seal first and that likely will be messy. And… if you’re squeamish, I’m afraid it will impede your success. Otherwise, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t love it.

    2. It’s your own body, honey. You shouldn’t be grossed-out by it. Every woman on earth menstruates. But moving on, I personally find the menstrual cup less ‘gross’ than pads or tampons. With pads, you’re literally sitting in your own filth- in a pool of blood. Both pads and tampons ‘stink’ because they harbour bacteria (unlike a menstrual cup!). Personally, there are literally no odours when I use my cup, but my pads and tampons used to smell and I’d always worry if other people could notice. In terms of the blood, it generally comes out clean. You pull it out, and as long as you keep your hand in the same position so you don’t tip the cup, there’s usually no leakage at all. You just pull it out gently, and tip the blood into the toilet or sink. The only time I get any spillage is if I leave the cup in too long and the cup is completely full, so when I press on the bottom to release the seal, a little comes out. But that’s nothing to be afraid of. Just rinse your fingers and you’re all good. 🙂

  5. When you pee, does it go into the cup as well? Do you have to take it out every time you pee? How does that work?

    1. Women have three holes: the urethra (where pee comes out), the vagina, and the rectum/anus (where feces comes out). So pee never flows through your vagina.

      Not trying to be condescending at all. Women aren’t often taught about their bodies, and my friend didn’t realize she had a separate “pee hole” until she was 40.

  6. I’m 12 and I got my period 2 months ago. I just started middle school TODAY and I wore a short tee and acid washed jeans….. not a good idea. I started my cycle this week, 4 days ago and my flow has been heavy and when I put in a tampon every 3 hours, I have a bunch of blood on my panty liner. Then, in my history class, I feel dampness “down there” and when the bell rings I change in a stall. I look down and everything is drenched in freaking blood!! (Ugh) so the blood leaked through my panty liner into my underwear and onto my jeans…. SUPER NOTICABLE!! Thank god for backpacks am I right.. So I walk into the counselor office with my backpack hanging down to cover my butt, and I cry and she gives me a SCHOOL JACKET to cover it up. I am 5 6″ and I’m healthy. The doctors never worry about my diet and weight. I also wear a regular sized tampon. I was wondering if the menstrual cup would be a good fit for me. Thank u for letting me lash out on my keyboard. BTW… Why is the word ‘men’ in menstrual… It’s should be called ladenstrul or femaltrual or womanstural. IDK

  7. Does menstrual cup causes problem if IUD is inserted.. What precautions to be used while using menstrual cup with IUD ? How is silky cup??

  8. All women menstruate, and I am sure the subject would be far less of an embarrassment if a girl’s first period was announced to all her friends and family as a great milestone in her life and triggered a mountain of congratulatory cards. It’s far more meaningful than passing a driving test.

  9. Hi, Could you provide your source for the following? “Most menstrual cups hold around 30 ml of menstrual fluid, which is around one third of the average total flow each period”. I though average blood loss for a period was 30-40 ml. I know menstrual fluid does not only contain blood so was wondering if that is why the figure you cited is about three times higher than that. If so, do you have a source for total menstrual fluid being about 90 mls on average. I have just started using cups and I am concerned that my period might be considered heavy. I would really appreciate your reply.

Leave a Reply

Please note: in order to prevent spam and inappropriate language, all comments are moderated before they appear. We appreciate your patience awaiting approval. BellyBelly receives many comments every day, and we are unable to approve them all as soon as they are posted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

loaded font roboto