Menstrual Cups (MCs)Menstrual Cups (MCs) are an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to tampons and sanitary pads. Unlike tampons and pads that do their job by absorbing menstrual fluid, menstrual cups are inserted into the vagina to collect it.
It is ecologically responsible, comfortable, and cheaper alternatives rather than buying tampons and pads every month from your first period until your menopause.
However, as new to using the cup, we all have the same question, are menstrual cups safe?
But to all the menstrual cup glories, you might be wondering if there’s any side effect of using an MC? What about the health risk?
Is there any danger of using it? How about infection? Can you wear one while you pee or sleep? Here, we will talk about it and we will give you tips for using a menstrual cup for a healthy period!
Is There Any Menstrual Cup’s Side Effect?
Is there any side effect of using a menstruation cup? Those side effects are VERY rare because it is made of silicone grade material that has been used in the healthcare world.
However, despite being a safe device, problems with the menstrual cup could occur. For example, there has been reported that a very rare case of hydronephrosis secondary that happened because of the incorrect positioning of the cup.
In this case, the menstrual cup’s FAQ occurs when the bladder was trapped in the intravaginal because of the menstrual cup. This case was solved by removal of the cup itself and the patient was no longer feeling pain after that.
The fact is, the patient was a long-time MC user. She had not previously encountered any difficulty when inserting the Diva Cup. After she got out of the hospital, she continued to use a menstrual cup and had encountered no problems with correct placement.
You should know that ALL menstrual hygiene products carry some degree of risk, even menstrual cups included.
However, head to head with other menstrual products, a menstrual cup is the safest product you can invest for your body. It is generally regarded as safe within the medical community, material-wise.
If you use your cup correctly and you take care of them properly, problems are unlikely to occur. You’re more likely to get irritation than TSS.
How can irritation happen? For example, inserting the cup without proper lubrication can cause discomfort. You can apply a small amount of water-based lube to the outside of the cup to prevent this. Another reason is if your cup isn’t the right size for you or if it isn’t cleaned properly between uses. Don’t forget, dirty hands are one way to get infection too!
Can the Cup Be Dangerous?
A menstrual cup is way safer than pads and tampons. However, it stores blood, a great medium for bacterial growth, thus possibly increasing the risk of infection. Long story short, if your cup isn’t cleaned properly, it is vulnerable to bacterial growth.
Bacteria can lead to infections. And if left untreated, these infections can pose a serious health risk.
So, theoretically, a menstrual cup can increase the risk of endometriosis or adenomyosis as it accumulates blood and may trigger retrograde menstruation.
To the best of our knowledge, the report by Mitchell. is the only confirmed case of toxic shock syndrome associated with the use of MC, unlike tampons, that are very well known associated with TSS.
Hydronephrosis might happen (although very rarely) when a woman uses the menstrual cup’s FAQ and incorrect positioning could be another factor in the obstruction of nearby fine structures such as the ureters (the urinary tract).
Can You Get Infection From A Menstrual Cup or Diva Cup?
Yes, you can get an infection from a menstrual cup, but it can be easily prevented by taking care of your cup in a proper way and cleaning in order to avoid infection and bacterial or yeast growth.
Use of the cup with a dirty hand
Inserting and removing your cup with a dirty hand can increase the risk of getting an infection. If you’re concerned about potential irritation and infection, wash your hands thoroughly before touching your cup. If you find that inserting the cup is irritating, use a water-based lubricant to make insertion easier.
Open wounds (irritation) and dirty hands are one ticket to get a bacterial infection.
Not washing your MC
An unclean cup can cause irritation and infection, to keep your cup clean, use a special menstrual cup’s soap and water to wash it. Menstrual cup’s soap does not have perfume or other irritants added. Clean water works too, just wash it with clean water or if you are traveling and aren’t sure about the water condition, use a drinking water to wash your cup and wipe it with a clean tissue.
If you’re at home, a better way to take care of your cup and make sure no bacteria live is to sanitize your cup by boiling them between every uses. This is why you should have a 2 cup, so if you are cleaning your other cup, you have a spare one. Boil it with clean water for 5-10 minutes to keep your cup healthy and clean. Some companies suggest boiling for 3-5 minutes, so make sure you check your menstrual cup’s FAQ.
Be careful not to leave them! If your pot dries out or the water is overheated, your cup will burn or melt or even disfigured, and you will have to get a new one. Some cups are also microwaveable, don’t forget to double-check first!
Can You Pee With Menstrual Cup?
Yes, you can pee with a menstrual cup.
You have three different output holes: the urethra, the vagina, and the anus. Your urine comes out from your body from the urethra, the urinary tract that transfers your urine all the way from the kidney to your toilet. On the other hand, your period blood comes out from your vagina, so the menstrual cup is inserted there.
They are two different holes, so, yes, you can pee with a menstrual cup on, and your cup won’t block or catch your urine.
However, it is possible for your cup to apply pressure to the bladder or urethra, causing hydronephrosis as we mentioned above. If you’re having discomfort or pain when you’re using a menstrual cup, get help from your doctor.
Can You Sleep With MC?
Yes, you can sleep with a menstrual cup on.
Menstrual cups can be worn for up to 12 hours even though some people with heavy periods may need to empty their cups more often.
This means you can sleep and are safe to wear a menstrual cup throughout the night!
Tips For Healthy Period
Health Line talks about some people who shouldn’t use a menstrual cup. There aren’t any official guidelines around this and most manufacturers recommend cups for all ages and sizes, but menstrual cups may not be an option for everyone. You may find it helpful to talk to a doctor or other healthcare provider before using a menstrual cup if you have:
- Vaginismus, which can make vaginal insertion or penetration painful
- Uterine fibroids, which can cause heavy periods and pelvic pain
- Endometriosis, which can result in painful menstruation and penetration
- Variations in uterine position, which can affect cup placement
Having one or more of these conditions doesn’t automatically mean that you can’t use a menstrual cup. It just means that you may experience more discomfort during use. Your doctor can discuss your individual benefits and risks and may be able to guide you on product selection. Last but not least, don’t forget to keep your hands clean when inserting or removing the menstrual cup. Wash your hand with an antibacterial soap properly.
Menstrual cups are a safe, reusable, economical, and environmentally-friendly way for your period.
Now you know many things about the menstrual cup, would you consider using it?
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)
Before you ask, can menstrual cup cause TSS, first, you need to know what TSS is.
TSS or Toxic Shock Syndrome is a rare but severe disease that occurs in women using intra-vaginal protection, such as tampons and, at a very rare case, a menstrual cup.
TSS only happens if the tampons or cups are vaginally colonized by a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus that is producing a toxic substance called TSST-1 (Toxic Shock Syndrome Toxin-1).
The link between TSS and young menstruating women using tampons was discovered in 1980.
Do Menstrual Cup Cause TSS?
Most of you must have heard about the menstrual cup. For you who haven’t we will give you a clue, a menstrual cup is a bell-shaped cup that is made of soft silicone and can be used for your menstruation cycle up to 5 or 10 years! Instead of absorbing blood like a pad or tampon, the menstrual cup collects the blood. Is it safe though? Can menstrual cups cause TSS? What people have been saying about using a menstrual cup? Why menstrual cups are becoming more popular? In this section, we will tell you all you need to know about your menstrual cup.
Is Menstrual Cup Safe?
Yes, it is safe.
Mostly, a menstrual cup is made with medical-grade silicone, but, there are many cheap menstrual cups out there that are made from food-grade silicone or diamond silicone. These types of menstrual cups aren’t recommended.
A menstrual cup is safer because it doesn’t interfere with your vaginal environment as tampons do. Tampons could create an imbalance of moisture and pH levels which could lead to vaginal dryness because tampon absorbs around 65% menstrual fluid and 35% natural moisture. On top of that, disposable tampons and pads are usually made from synthetic materials that are non-biodegradable. It contained bleached and nonorganic materials such as cotton, rayon, or pulp that is glued in, this material can leave fibers behind in your vaginal walls.
Some tampons also have substances like deodorizers or absorbency gels. While tampons usage has been linked to TSS for almost 40 years ago, the first case of TSS caused by menstrual cups only happen once in 2015.
So, to answer the question, can menstrual cups cause TSS? The answer is 99,9% no and 0,1% yes.
The Danger of using the cup
To answer your wonder whether if there’s a little risk of danger with menstrual cup and TSS, first we will explain how tampons can cause TSS.
The Secret Life of Germs book, explains that there are 3 factors for TSS to happen in women :
- Blood accumulation in absorbed by the tampon’s polyester foam
- Increased vaginal pH from acidic to neutral because of tampon’s usage
- During menstruations, there are oxygen and carbon dioxide in the vagina, this condition can provide the bacteria to grow.
On top of that, women have been using tampon longer than they have to (for example they leave it overnight) and they do it continuously. This is what caused the bacteria to grow.
On the other hand, menstrual cups are made of silicone or rubber. The silicone itself does not support the bacteria to grow.
However, because of the accumulation of blood and the air inserted along with the cup, the bacteria can grow on the menstrual cup. To avoid this from happening, a study recommended using the smaller cup if possible, because they have smaller shape and volume, thus containing lesser blood and air.
Although menstrual cup can be used up to 8 hours and should be cleaned with water before being reinserted, it is recommended to have a second cup so you can sterilize the other cup by boiling so the bacteria that causes TSS won’t stay.
Experience of User (Research or Review)
Finding Lasting Option for Women did a trial with 110 women to choose tampons or menstrual cups after using them for at least a three-cycle period. The results were that women are more satisfied using the menstrual cup because their menstrual management was more convenient, and they appeared to be more satisfied with regard to leakage. 91% of users stating they would continue using it and recommend it to others.
Why the Menstrual Cup is becoming popular?
As a woman, have you ever count how many pads or tampons boxes you are buying every month? How about every year? Have you ever count how much money you’re spending on your life from your first period until now?
According to Bloody Good Period, the average lifetime a woman spends on period products adds up to around £4,800. A menstrual cup can last to 10 years, by one or two cups, imagine how much money you can save! Other than saving money, you are also doing good deeds on our planet.
Many tampons and pads are often wrapped in plastic, and most discarded products end up in a landfill. It is well known that plastic waste takes so many years to decompose, some of them never decompose at all!
With a menstrual cup, it is a complete package. It’s comfortable, safe for our health and the environment, easy to insert, and it’s using the natural substance. It is only right the menstrual cup is getting the attention it deserves to make the world a better place.
On average, a woman uses more than 11,000 tampons or pads in their lifetime. While tampons and pads made a lot of waste every year, silicone menstrual cups don’t.
Unlike tampons and pads with all their dangerous substance bringing negative effects to our body, a menstrual cup is safer and they are not linked with TSS. As a smart woman, you must know what could possibly happen to you and our environment if you continue to choose tampons and pads over the years.
Keep your body healthy and keep the earth happy!
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