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A menstrual cup is a reusable feminine eco-friendly alternative to tampons. It’s a small, flexible funnel-shaped cup made of rubber or silicone that you insert into your vagina to catch and collect period fluid.
Cups can hold more blood than other methods. Depending on your flow, you can wear a menstrual cup for 6 to 12 hours. This means you can use it for overnight protection.
You should always remove your menstrual cup by the 12-hour mark. If it becomes full before then, you’ll have to empty it ahead of schedule to avoid leaks.
Reusable menstrual cups should be washed and wiped clean before being reinserted into your vagina. Your cup should be emptied at least twice a day.
Pros of menstrual cups:
They are safer - you’re not at risk of getting toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
Menstrual cups hold more blood - about one to two ounces of menstrual flow (while tampons can only hold up to a third of an ounce).
You can have sex with most reusable cups.
You can wear a cup with an IUD - the myth that a menstrual cup could dislodge an IUD has been debunked by a 2012 study.
Cons of menstrual cups:
Cup insertion or removal can be messy and complicated.
It can be hard to find the right size.
You may be allergic to the material.
There can be an increased chance of infection if you don’t wash your hands and the cup itself.
When choosing the right size menstrual cup, you and your doctor will usually take into account your age and flow, the length of your cervix, the strength of your pelvic floor muscles and whether or not you have given birth vaginally.
Women younger than 30 years old who haven’t delivered vaginally are often recommended size S. Larger sizes are often recommended for women who are over 30 years old, have given birth vaginally, or have a heavier period.
70% of women who have tried using a menstrual cup continue to use them. If you have concerns about using a menstrual cup, talk to your ob-gyn.