8 Things You Need to Know About a Menstrual Cup

A menstrual cup is an alternative that's becoming more and more popular because it's comfortable, safe, and has less impact on the planet.
8 Things You Need to Know About a Menstrual Cup
Maria Fátima Seppi Vinuales

Written and verified by the psychologist Maria Fátima Seppi Vinuales.

Last update: 18 May, 2023

Hygiene, comfort, greater independence when carrying out activities, and less contamination. These are some of the many benefits mentioned by those who use a menstrual cup. Below, you can find some data to evaluate whether you want to use one or not.

Write down everything you need to know about the menstrual cup

As its name suggests, the menstrual cup is used during the days of menstruation. It’s a product that’s because increasingly popular, as many users of menstrual products report allergies, discomfort, and difficulties in carrying out various activities.

In turn, environmental pollution requires us to rethink our consumption patterns. Especially because of the amount of waste that we generate that can’t be reintroduced into circular economy processes. Let’s look at some key points.

1. What is a menstrual cup?

It’s a reusable silicone container that’s been tested and approved by experts to be used during the menstrual period. It’s placed in the vagina and its cup shape allows menstrual flow to be retained.

2. Menstrual cup use and sizes

All menstruating people can use it as long as they feel comfortable. The product comes in different sizes and with different capacities. In general, brands set the sizes according to two main criteria: Age and having had a vaginal birth or not. For example, for menstruating people under 30 years old and without previous childbirth, the smallest size is recommended.

3. Replacement

On average, menstrual cups can be used for 12 hours without leakage. In this regard, those who use them mention it’s a great advantage in terms of nighttime rest, as they don’t have to interrupt their sleep to take care of their hygiene.

A woman looking at her menstrual cup.
The menstrual cup is used as a replacement for other products, such as pads or tampons. While this isn’t new, it has gained popularity in recent years.

4. Elasticity and flexibility

The menstrual cup adapts to the vagina without being a nuisance for daily activities. It’s a product with the necessary elasticity and flexibility to ensure greater comfort at this stage.

5. Ecology

Menstrual cups are environmentally friendly, as, with proper hygiene and recommended by the manufacturer, they usually last an average of about 10 years. Therefore, the waste generated is significantly reduced.

6. Hygiene

The menstrual cup is tested and is safe for health, so hygiene is 100% assured. For example, germs don’t adhere to it and it’s non-toxic and odorless. In addition, it doesn’t alter the pH, vaginal flow, or vaginal flora.

7. Placement

If it’s the first time you are going to insert your menstrual cup, it’s important that you have clean hands that have been sanitized with soap and water, and that you look for a quiet place. Also, you should find a comfortable position to insert it. In some cases, it may be to lift one leg or keep it resting on a firm surface. The cup should bend into a “C” or “U” shape when inserted. It will then settle on its own.

8. Compatibility with contraceptive methods

The menstrual cup is compatible with contraceptive methods currently in use, such as the IUD (intrauterine device) or the contraceptive ring. It can also be used by people who haven’t ever had sexual intercourse.

A woman holding a menstrual cup and making the "ok" gesture with her other hand.
The menstrual cup is light and soft to the touch, so its placement and use are respectful of the body.

What to consider when choosing a menstrual cup

In addition to the information we’ve provided, you can also consider the following tips:

  1. Educate yourself. Everything that has to do with taking care of our body requires being informed beforehand. Therefore, you can look for information on different sites, get advice from professionals, and even ask for opinions from people who use one. This way, you’ll be able to get rid of any doubts.
  2. Respect your own experience. There are those who will tell you to start using a menstrual cup right away and others who are less enthusiastic. So, if you’re still in doubt, you can think of a kind of “test run” or an adaptation period. For example, you can try to do it one day when you work from home. This way, you can be in a calmer environment, without fear of any loss. This way, you can test how you feel and if you want to continue with its use. Even if you have to go outside, you can use a sanitary napkin to move freely and gain confidence.
  3. Be encouraged to switch brands if one brand doesn’t convince you. Maybe you’ve tried a menstrual cup and it wasn’t what you expected. However, give yourself a chance and try another brand. While they respect the same shape and have very similar designs, there are slight variations.
  4. Know your menstrual flow. While we emphasize that the menstrual cup can be used for 12 hours at a time, it’s important to keep in mind that this can vary from person to person. Some people have heavier bleeding in the first few days, so it’s best to check periodically or change your cup more frequently in order to avoid complications.
  5. Sanitize the menstrual cup before using it for the first time. Although it comes directly from the factory, it’s important to sterilize the menstrual cup before inserting it for the first time. This is done through a simple procedure that involves placing the cup for three minutes in boiling water. Of course, after use, before, during, and after your period, you must follow the step-by-step procedure to take care of the hygiene of the product.

Menstrual health is also important!

For some years now, people have been talking about menstruation as what it really is and without so much taboo. Menstruation is an everyday topic, linked to the health of menstruating people. In this regard, it’s positive and liberating to be able to find accessible and verified information to guide decision-making.

Perhaps, at first, the use of the menstrual cup seems strange or uncomfortable, but this is inherent to any change. Respect your time and find what you think is best for your body.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Dirección Nacional de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva (2023). Resumen de políticas. Justicia
    menstrual: la introducción de la copa menstrual. Chaumet Vila Ortiz y Abalos (coord.) 2a ed. Dirección
    Nacional de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva, Secretaría de Acceso a la Salud, Ministerio de Salud de la Nación,
  • Arenas-Gallo, Camilo, Ramírez-Rocha, Gabriela, González-Hakspiel, Laura, Merlano-Alcendra, Catalina, Palomino-Suárez, Daniela, & Rueda-Espinel, Santiago. (2020). ACEPTABILIDAD Y SEGURIDAD DE LA COPA MENSTRUAL: REVISIÓN SISTEMÁTICA DE LA LITERATURA. Revista Colombiana de Obstetricia y Ginecología71(2), 163-177. https://doi.org/10.18597/rcog.3425

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.