Menstrual cups are steadily growing in popularity each year, but in some circles there is still a lot of reluctance when it comes to using these ethical feminine health products. Some women worry about menstrual cup dangers, while others think that the “icky” factor is too hard to overcome. Here, we’ll investigate the mysteries of the menstrual cup, including the possible dangers of menstrual cups!
Menstrual Cup Dangers
The Health Benefits
Conventional tampons are made with bleached cotton, which some people believe is bad for your health (or they just don’t like the idea of putting something containing bleach inside the vagina). Tampons also frequently include bleached rayon, which has been associated with dioxin, a cancer-causing chemical. In addition to this, tampons are designed to be absorbent -naturally- but the downside is that they can dry you out. Finally, Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS, is a rare but nasty disease. This potentially lethal bacterial infection has long been associated with tampon use, and for the first time it has also been associated with menstrual cup use (but just one case).
While use of menstrual cups is much lower than that of tampons, so we don’t yet have extensive data on the relative risks, it is thought that the silicone from which they are made is less likely to foster the TSS bacteria.
The Benefits to the Environment (and your budget)
If you’re looking to go green, switching to menstrual cups could help you on the way. Just think – all that cardboard, those plastic applicators, and the plastic wrappers all go in the bin every cycle, as do the used tampons and pads, while a reusable menstrual cup is waste-free. Depending on the brand, your cup could easily last as long as 10 years. Well known brands like Mooncup, Divacup and Lunette can be purchased very cheaply online. Either way, once you’ve purchased the cup, you won’t have to shell out month after month on boxes of tampons or packs of liners. Even if you decide you want a spare cup, or a new one every year, that’s still 11 months’ worth of tampon money you didn’t have to spend!
Long-Lasting and Hygienic
How long each cup last depends on how you clean it and store it, among other things, as boiling your cup regularly can make the silicone or latex begin to break down. While some advocate boiling your cup between periods, this step isn’t necessary – a wash with hot water and soap, or a cleanse in sterilising solution, like Milton, should be enough.
Additionally, because the cup creates a vacuum inside your body, the menstrual blood doesn’t get a chance to oxidise. This oxidisation is what causes odour. Tampon strings can get dirty, covered in urine, and tampons themselves can slide out if they’re saturated. With a menstrual cup, this doesn’t happen.
You Can Wear Menstrual Cups for up to 12 Hours
This is a real bonus for those in the menstrual cup camp. Even if your flow is heavy, it’s likely that you will be able to go longer with a cup than a tampon, simply because its capacity is much greater. The cup gives you freedom, because it means you don’t usually have to take a break in the middle of the day to change it, and you don’t have to worry about leakage at night- you can wear it all the way through. In the event that you are out for so long – or at a festival or somewhere else without your own private bathroom- that you have to change your cup, take wipes or a bottle of water to clean the cup after you’ve emptied it, and you’ll be good to go.
Overall it would seem that the real menstrual cup dangers are outweighed by the positives!
Some Menstrual Cup Negatives
I’ll admit, menstrual cups aren’t for everybody. i.e Young girls might have trouble fitting them inside themselves. Just like tampons, menstrual cups are a learning curve. Women who use IUDs are recommended to consult their doctor before they start using cups, as it’s thought there may be a risk that the insertion of the menstrual cup could dislodge the IUD.
If cups aren’t inserted correctly, they will leak, which can be a problem if you don’t have a backup. Finally, while menstrual cup dangers are fairly minimal, removing the cup on a heavy flow day can be a tricky (and messy) process. To avoid spillage, it’s best to remove the cup while hovering over the toilet, although it’s entirely possible that the cup will shoot out and fall in if you’re not careful! This has never happened to me 🙂
Do the potential menstrual cup dangers put you off? Honestly, they shouldn’t! They’ve been tested again and again, with millions of woman around the world swearing by theirs 🙂 If you have a question or a comment, please share below!