Menstrual Cups: A Healthier, More Comfortable, Environmentally Friendly Alternative for Feminine Hygiene

Updated on August 4, 2018
JenniferWilber profile image

Jennifer Wilber is a teacher and writer. She is also a fitness enthusiast who enjoys yoga, and has an interest in health and wellness.

Menstrual cups make that time of the month much more bearable.
Menstrual cups make that time of the month much more bearable.

What in The World is a Menstrual Cup? That Sounds Weird!

A menstrual cup is a device that is worn internally to collect menstrual flow, similar to a tampon. Unlike a tampon, it collects the blood, rather than absorbs, so there is less risk of infection than with tampons. Menstrual cups are usually made from medical grade silicone. They are reusable, so they do not contribute to landfill waste. With proper care, a menstrual cup can last for years before needing to be replaced, which will save you a lot of money in the long run.

The most popular brand of menstrual cups in the United States is the Diva Cup. Other popular brands include Lena Cup and Lunette. I have personally used the Diva Cup and the Lena Cup. Both are excellent choices.

Why Would Anyone Want to Use That?

There are many benefits to using a menstrual cup instead of tampons. Since menstrual cups are made from medical-grade silicone, and collect rather than absorb, they are much healthier and carry fewer health risks than tampons. They also hold more than a tampon, so you can go longer between emptying it than you can between changing tampons. You can go up to twelve hours before you need to empty a menstrual cup, which makes them an excellent choice for women who work full-time jobs and can’t take many restroom breaks. Most women also find menstrual cups to be much more comfortable than tampons once they get the hang of using them. Two of the main reasons many women switch to menstrual cups is because they are much more environmentally friendly, and they cost less to use than tampons in the long run.

Packaging for Lena Cup, size small
Packaging for Lena Cup, size small

Health Benefits of Menstrual Cups

Menstrual cups are much better for your health than tampons. According to WebMD, menstrual cups are much safer than tampons because they present a lower risk of the bacterial infection toxic shock syndrome. Because tampons absorb fluids and hold them against your body for extended periods of time, they are breeding grounds for bacteria. Tampons have been linked to a deadly disease called toxic shock syndrome. Disposable tampons and pads may also increase your risk of yeast infections, rash, and chafing. According to another article published by WebMD, there is no chance of these health problems with menstrual cups, as they are worn internally and are made of hypoallergenic medical-grade silicone.

MenstrualCupReviews.com also states in their FAQ section that many women also report less severe cramping when using a menstrual cup than when using disposable products.

Disposable tampons may leave behind small fibers, which can cause tiny tears inside your body, increasing your risk of infection. According to EcoWatch, many mainstream brands of feminine hygiene products also include dangerous materials, including glyphosate, a known carcinogen (cancer-causing substance). Tampons may also change your body chemistry and pH balance.

You can avoid some of these problems by using organic disposable products, but reusable medical-grade silicone menstrual cups and reusable cloth pads are a much healthier choice.

Environmental Benefits

It goes without saying that reusable menstrual products are much better for the environment. Disposable tampons, along with their applicators and packaging, end up in the landfill. Most brands of tampons include non-biodegradable (not to mention toxic) materials that won’t break down in the landfill. A single menstrual cup can last up to ten years before needing to be replaced if properly cared for.

Pink Lena Cup being unboxed. Each Lena Cup comes with a drawstring pouch for storage.
Pink Lena Cup being unboxed. Each Lena Cup comes with a drawstring pouch for storage.

Cost

While a menstrual cup may cost a bit more than a pack of tampons, it is well worth the initial investment. A menstrual cup may cost between $20-$35, depending on which brand you choose. The average woman spends around $50 on disposable tampons and pads a year. Menstrual cups pay for themselves within the first year of use and may last many years.

I Can See the Benefits, But Aren’t They Messy and Difficult to Clean?

Once you get the hang of using a menstrual cup, emptying it isn’t any messier than changing a tampon. You simply empty the contents into the toilet and rinse it out before reinserting it. If you are in a public restroom when you need to empty it, you can get away with simply wiping it out with toilet paper and cleaning it better when you have more privacy, though, since you can leave it in for up to 12 hours, you likely won’t have to empty it in public very often.

At the end of your period, before storing your cup away until next month, you will need to clean it thoroughly. Some women prefer to boil their cups to disinfect them, but this isn’t necessary. You can also clean it with regular antibacterial soap, special wash meant specifically for menstrual cups, or even cleaner meant for “adult novelties” (make sure it says it’s safe for silicone if you choose to go this route). Once you get into the routine of using a menstrual cup, it isn’t difficult at all!

Lena Cup is one of the best menstrual cups on the market today! It is available in several different colors.
Lena Cup is one of the best menstrual cups on the market today! It is available in several different colors.

I’m Interested, But Which Cup Should I Choose?

There are many different cups on the market today. Different models are better for different women, as we all have our own unique anatomy. Some women find that they have to try out a couple different cups before they find the right one. Most menstrual cups come in two different sizes. Some companies, such as Diva Cup, recommend their smaller size for women who are under 30 and have not given birth, and their larger size for women who are over 30 or who have given birth. Other companies, such as Lena Cup, recommend their smaller size for women with lighter flows, and their larger size for women with heavier flows.

I have used the Diva Cup and the Lena Cup, so I will review these two cups.

Diva Cup

DivaCup Model 2 Menstrual Cup
DivaCup Model 2 Menstrual Cup

The Diva Cup is one of the most popular menstrual cups. It was the first cup that was widely available in the US. I used the Diva Cup for almost ten years and am very satisfied with it. It is a huge improvement over disposable tampons.

 

Diva Cup

The Diva Cup was the first menstrual cup I tried, mostly because it was the only cup around in the US at the time. I started using it about a decade ago and haven’t looked back. It took a few tries before I got the hang of it, but once I figured it out, I haven’t even considered using tampons again.

I do use pads as a backup with the Diva Cup, as it does leak occasionally. The Diva Cup is a relatively soft cup, so it doesn’t always pop open right away. If you don’t notice, it may leak, so you may want to wear a pad as a backup. I recommend cloth pads, as they are more comfortable and more environmentally friendly than disposables.

I have only tried the smaller size Diva Cup.

Lena Cup

Lena Menstrual Cup - Reusable Period Cup - Tampon and Pad Alternative - Regular Flow - Small - Pink
Lena Menstrual Cup - Reusable Period Cup - Tampon and Pad Alternative - Regular Flow - Small - Pink

Lena cup is another excellent menstrual cup. It is available in two different sizes and several different colors. I prefer it to the Diva Cup because of it's unique bell shape and the fact that it opens easier after inserting it. The Lena Cup is the second brand of menstrual cups that I have tried.

 

Lena Cup

When it came time to replace my Diva Cup, I found that there were many more options available than there were when I originally purchased my Diva Cup. I went with the Lena Cup, size Large. The Lena Cup has a unique bell shape that supposedly stays sealed better. It is also slightly stiffer than the Diva Cup, so it opens easier when you insert it. I initially opted for the large size Lena Cup because it holds more and would need to be emptied less often.

Overall, I prefer the Lena Cup to the Diva Cup. It doesn’t leak like the Diva Cup does. The large size is a bit too difficult to use during light days, so I ordered an additional size small Lena Cup to use during the first and last days. I haven’t had a chance to try out the small size yet, however.

Are You Ready to Make the Switch?

Once you make the switch to a reusable menstrual cup, you’ll never look at tampons the same way again. Menstrual cups are a healthy, comfortable, and environmentally responsible alternative to disposable feminine care products.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Jennifer Wilber

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, patientslounge.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://patientslounge.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)