A menstrual cup is a feminine hygiene device that is inserted into the vagina during menstruation. Its purpose is to collect menstrual fluid (blood from uterine lining) and prevent its leaking onto clothes.
Menstrual cups are usually made of flexible medical grade silicone and shaped like a bell with a stem.
The stem is used for insertion and removal. The bell-shaped cup seals against the vaginal wall just below the cervix.
Every 4–12 hours (depending on the amount of flow), the cup is removed, emptied, rinsed, and reinserted. After each period, the cup should be boiled for at least 5 minutes and stored for use the next month.
A Better Way to Manage Your Period? Try the Menstrual Cup
Unlike tampons and pads, cups collect menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it. One cup is reusable for five years or more. This makes their long-term cost lower than that of disposable tampons or pads, though the initial cost is higher.
Menstrual cups are also promoted as more practical and eco-friendly than pads and tampons.
Given that the menstrual cup is reusable, its use greatly decreases the amount of waste generated from menstrual cycles, as there is no daily waste and the amount of discarded packaging decreases as well.
Most menstrual cup brands sell a smaller and a larger size. Menstrual cups are sold colorless and translucent, but several brands also offer colored cups, such as pink or purple.
Menstrual cups are a safe option relative to other forms of menstrual hygiene.
When using a menstrual cup, the menstrual fluid is collected after it flows from the cervix and is held in liquid form. With tampons, liquid is absorbed and held in semi-coagulated form against the cervix.
Menstrual cups collect menstrual fluid inside the vagina and generally do not leak (if emptied often enough and inserted properly). Some women have experienced leakage due to improper use or cup size. For example, a menstrual cup may leak if it is not inserted correctly and does not pop open completely and seal against the walls of the vagina.
If a user needs to track the amount of menses produced (e.g., for medical reasons), a menstrual cup allows one to do so accurately.