What is a menstrual cup?
Menstrual cups have been around for many years but recently have grown in popularity.
“A menstrual cup is a reusable menstrual hygiene product. It is made of flexible rubber or silicone and shaped like a funnel. You insert it into your vagina to catch and collect period fluid,” says Dr. Marie Forgie, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Aurora Health Care.
They can be left in the vagina for up to 12 hours, then are removed, rinsed and replaced, according to Dr. Forgie.
Dr. Forgie says some benefits to using a menstrual cup include:
- Take up less storage space because you don’t need multiple boxes of menstrual cups
- Can be left in longer than a tampon because they can collect more blood
- Less odor than using pads
- Some people notice less leakage with a cup compared to a tampon or pad
Dr. Forgie says there are different cup brands online or in stores and there is not one brand that is better than the other. It is all about personal fit and comfort.
“You may need to buy two sizes (small and large) at first to determine which size fits you better. In general, the smaller size works for younger people, those who have not given birth and those with a light to medium flow. The larger size typically works for those who have given birth and/or have a heavier flow,” says Dr. Forgie.
People should not use menstrual cups if they are uncomfortable, cause vaginal cuts or persistent irritation.
“They can be messy so they might not be the right choice for you if cleaning the blood out of the cup is not something you can handle,” Dr. Forgie says. “You must also have the dexterity to place it in your vagina.”
Whether it be a menstrual cup, tampon, or pad, Dr. Forgie says to use whatever product is easiest for you. That is not going to be the same for everyone.
“If you have any questions or are unsure about anything, you should always feel free to speak with your gynecologist,” says Dr. Forgie.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.