Menstrual Cups Pros and Cons: Things to Consider When Weighing Your Options

Raise your hand if you look forward to beginning your period every month. Anyone? Anyone? No, we didn’t think so. 

Periods are no picnic and are not something women look forward to. If it’s not cramps or cravings, it’s making sure you are well protected during your heavier days. As the saying goes, “It’s always something.”

Some women can wear just a tampon or a maxi pad — others need both. When you live this way month after month, you might wonder if there's a better way. 

Introducing … menstrual cups. 

In this article, you will learn: 

  • Pros and cons of menstrual cups
  • A non-invasive alternative to pads and tampons; and
  • Much more
menstrual cup pro and cons

Table of Contents

Are Menstrual Cups Ideal for Period Protection? 

A menstrual cup is a flexible, bell-shaped device inserted into the vagina to catch menstrual blood. After being left in place for four to twelve hours, the cups can be emptied, rinsed, and reinserted.

Menstrual cups sound like an excellent alternative for period protection, but the truth is that they are not for everyone. 

A woman’s ideal protection varies significantly from person to person. For example, for some women, menstrual cups are great, not so much for others.

For maximum benefit, it helps to have a product that provides protection and can cover the entire area for reliable protection.  

ONDRwear's size-inclusive period panties have an absorbent gusset to catch extra liquid and prevent menstrual blood from leaking through to your clothes. They can also be used as a protective layer if you plan to use a menstrual cup.  

When you are on your period, we at ONDRwear believe you deserve comfort and peace of mind. That’s one of the reasons we created our period-proof ONDRwear undies. 

Interested? Contact us to learn more. 

menstrual cup pros and cons

Menstrual Cup Pros and Cons

Using a menstrual cup has become increasingly popular, but what are its pros and cons? 

Is there any significant reason to use menstrual cups rather than conventional hygiene products?  

We will examine the pros and cons of menstrual cups and how they compare to disposable menstrual hygiene products. 

4 Advantages of Using Menstrual Cups 

#1: Budget-Friendly

Tampons and sanitary pads can be expensive, especially if you have to buy new boxes every month. The average woman will spend around $18,000 on hygienic products during her lifetime. 

However, some menstrual cups are designed to be used over a more extended period, resulting in significant cost savings compared to using sanitary pads and tampons. For example, it is possible to buy a reusable cup for $20 to $40 that will last ten years. Over time, that means less money spent.

Using a menstrual cup can help you save money and eliminate the need to purchase tampons or sanitary pads every month.  

#2: Less Waste 

Approximately 12 billion pads and 7 billion tampons are discarded every year in the United States. Many of them end up in landfills, while others clog sewers or contribute to our oceans' staggering amount of plastic. 

The vast majority of menstrual cups are not disposable, and one cup may last up to 20 years. The ability to reuse them means less waste to clog landfills, and fewer trees are sacrificed to make the paper-based alternatives. 

When you use a menstrual cup, you are contributing to reducing waste. Furthermore, consider all the resources you are saving when creating a surplus of tampons and sanitary pads. 

#3: Easier to Balance Your pH 

Keeping the pH of the vaginal environment balanced and preventing the growth of bacteria is vital.

By creating a warm, moist environment, sanitary pads can encourage the growth of bacteria and lead to an increased risk of infection. In addition, a lot of discomfort and irritation can result from these unwanted bacteria. 

Tampons can also disturb the natural pH balance of your body. Thanks to their high absorption rate, tampons can absorb all the good bacteria from your vagina.

A menstrual cup does not absorb anything but instead collects it. Your body produces fluids that are collected and emptied later. 

A menstrual cup eliminates: 

  • Over-absorption
  • Dryness; or
  • Discomfort

This gives you a well-balanced vagina. 

#4: No Embarrassing Odor

With a menstrual cup, you no longer have to worry about an embarrassing odor caused by your period.

When menstrual blood is exposed to air, like with sanitary pads, it starts to smell, but the menstrual cup, when inserted correctly, prevents this by forming an airtight seal between the cup and your vagina.

Menstrual cups eliminate the worry of embarrassing odor leaking out at the most inopportune moments. 

menstrual cup pros and cons

4 Disadvantages of Using Menstrual Cups 

#1: Potential Time to Insert

Anyone who has used a menstrual cup knows that the product has a steep learning curve.

Looking at the menstrual cup can be intimidating, and learning to insert it properly can be even more intimidating. In addition, an incorrectly inserted cup may leak or be uncomfortable.

When using a menstrual cup for the first time, many women feel anxious about whether the cup has been appropriately inserted — they may constantly worry about leaks.

It's unlikely you will be able to insert your cup perfectly the first time and then continue living as usual. This might be true in some cases, but it takes a little time to learn how to use a menstrual cup for the majority of women. 

#2: Removal Can Get Messy

Some women feel anxious when learning how to remove their menstrual cups.  

There is typically a stem on period cups, but you should not yank it out to remove the cup. Instead, it would be best if you used the stem as a guide to finding the base of the cup.

Yes, fingers are required for this task. Some women do find this unnerving, especially if it is their first time using a menstrual cup.  

Having removed the menstrual cup, the next step is to empty the contents into the toilet. It takes practice to empty the contents gracefully. If you are not careful, you can create quite a mess when emptying.  

To review, when a person uses a menstrual cup for the first time, it can be messy to remove it. In addition, menstrual blood can make some people feel squeamish or uncomfortable. If this is the case, using a cup may not be the best option.

#3: Potential Fit Problems

Finding the right fit is not always easy. 

Menstrual cups are available in a variety of sizes depending on: 

  • Age
  • Flow; and 
  • Whether you have ever given birth

In addition, individual anatomy can make proper use of a menstrual cup challenging. A tilted uterus or low cervix, for example, can make finding a perfect fit more difficult.  

Messes can occur when a perfect fit cannot be found. 

#4: Regular Cleaning Is Required

In contrast to disposable menstrual products, you need to care for your menstrual cup. 

If possible, it's best to change your cup every four to eight hours. You should never wear your cup for more than twelve hours to prevent your cup from overflowing.

To clean the cup after every use, you should first rinse it with cold water. This is because hot water can lock in odors. Next, scrub it thoroughly with an unused toothbrush.

Lastly, sanitize your cup after every period to prevent odors from taking hold. Boiling water is an effective way to sanitize your cup. 

Although these steps might not seem like much, if you have to repeat them every month for a week, it can become more trouble than it is worth. 

#5: Increased Risk of Infection

You are more likely to develop a mild complication from wearing the wrong cup size than a severe infection; however, menstrual cups do carry an infection risk.

Bacteria, odors, stains, and erosion can occur if you don't clean your cup correctly. When this happens, there is a possibility of irritation or infection.

There’s also the chance of infection due to the transfer of bacteria from the hands to the cup.  

When irritation or infection occurs, your cup will likely need to be replaced more frequently. Therefore, it is recommended that you keep up with your daily cleaning and monthly sterilization.

menstrual cup pro and con

Using a Menstrual Cup Correctly — What You Need to Know

If you wish to use a menstrual cup, it is recommended to talk to your gynecologist. Although you can buy any brands online or in most stores, you will have to find out which size you need first. Most brands offer large and small cups.

You and your doctor should consider the following factors when determining the right menstrual cup size for you:

  • Your age
  • Cervix length
  • Whether you have a healthy flow 
  • The cup's firmness and flexibility
  • The cup's capacity
  • Your pelvic floor muscles' strength; and
  • If you gave birth to a baby vaginally

Women younger than 30 years old who have not delivered vaginally are usually advised to use smaller menstrual cups. However, women over 30 years old, those who have given birth vaginally, or those who experience heavier periods often need to wear larger sizes.

Does the Type of Menstrual Cup Matter?

Whether one type of menstrual cup is better than another is not definitive — the answer is unique to each individual. 

However, as stated above, the correct size of the menstrual cup is more important than the type. 

Looking for a Mess-Free, Non-Invasive Alternative to Pads and Tampons? Consider ONDRwear’s Period-Proof Panties

Leak-proof underwear is an excellent period product for those who wish to be more sustainable with their period products and prefer a less invasive method of preventing period leaks.  

ONDRwear, designed by a board-certified urologist, features multiple styles with plant-based liners that can hold up to 45mL — that’s a lot!

With odor control and absorbent technology, you can get on with your life without worrying about needing to stop what you are doing to prevent a leak. 

You can use them alone or in conjunction with other favorite products. As a bonus, they are helpful for those suffering from incontinence or bladder leaks!

Are you interested in learning more? Please contact us today. 

menstrual cup pros and cons