Five things I learned about menstrual cups

Alyssa Tria
Shopping Editor

While menstrual cups have existed for decades, it’s only been fairly recently that women have started to incorporate cups into their period routines. I, on the other hand, prefer to stick to what I know (liners and tampons) but then again, there isn’t much I know about menstrual cups. When I first held a Diva Cup I thought, “What is this small squishy wine glass?”

While I like the idea of 12-hour leak protection, the only things I’ve heard in real life about them aren’t so great. A lot of my friends who choose to stick with them for convenience regularly complain about the overall fit and security.

According to Dr. Megan Kessler, practicing OB/GYN, a common complaints about menstrual cups are related to sizing.

“For years, I’ve heard from my patients about how they want to try menstrual cups, but the options available just didn’t meet their needs – they didn’t feel secure, put pressure on their bladders or just were simply uncomfortable to wear,” Kessler said.

A study by P&G finds that most cups on the market are too long, so many women with average to low cervixes find most cups uncomfortable. While cups with rounder bases put pressure on their bladder and prevent users from voiding their bladder completely.

Based on extensive research with P&G, including multiple consumer-use tests, clinical tests, MRI imaging, and real-life tests with women trying the cup, Kessler teamed up with Tampax to create a cup design to improve women’s overall period experience.

Enter: the Tampax Cup. Available in two sizes customized to your flow (regular and heavy), the Taxpax Cup is designed with precise width and length based on scientific data of the vaginal canal length and SoftCurve shape that helps it stay in place while reducing pressure on your bladder. It’s also made from 100 per cent reusable medical-grade silicone and provides up to 12 hours of protection.

Tampax Cup

Tampax Cup

Shop it: $38, Amazon

And while I’m still not 100 per cent sold as a menstrual cup convert, I caught up with Rebecca Stoebe-Latham, P&G Senior Scientist and Fem Care R&D, to learn more about them. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

It’s cheaper than other menstrual products

Periods literally come with a price. According to an estimation by Chatelaine, Canadian women spend between $15 to over $66 dollars (any applicable provincial sales tax not included) on pads and tampons annually. While with the menstrual cups, you pay for just one a year. Stoebe-Latham recommends to replace your cup every year.

It can help reduce your environmental footprint

Menstrual cups are a great alternative for women who want to be more environmentally conscious since you can use the same cup for up to 12 months before replacing it. The carrying case and packaging that the Tampax Cup comes with is also recyclable.

A clean, properly-used menstrual cup means your chances of TSS are very small

“Like any period product, you cannot have zero risk of TSS,” says Stoebe-Latham. Toxic shock syndrome is a rare but serious systematic illness caused by a bacterial infection. It is caused when the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus gets into the bloodstream and produces toxins. TSS can affect anyone, even people who don’t menstruate, like children, men and people of all ages.”

It’s important to inspect your cup regularly for signs of degradation and odour.

You should boil your cup at least once every cycle to sanitize it

You should wash your cup every time you remove it (every 12 hours), if possible. “In between uses, rinse your cup out and wash it with a gentle unscented soap. You should boil your cup, at least once every cycle to sanitize it. Boil the cup for 5-8 minutes and dry it thoroughly before storing,” Stoebe-Latham suggests.

Would you make the switch to a menstrual cup? Let us know in the comments below.

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