Study: menstrual cups are as reliable as sanitary napkins and tampons

Study: menstrual cups are as reliable as sanitary napkins and tampons

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How safe are menstrual cups?

Researchers have now carried out the first major scientific review of hygiene products for women. They found that so-called menstrual cups are as reliable and safe as tampons and sanitary napkins.

The latest study by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine found that there is no difference in safety between tampons, sanitary napkins and menstrual cups. The results were published in the English-language journal "Lancet Public Health".

What are menstrual cups?

Menstrual cups collect period blood instead of absorbing it. In contrast to tampons, they are reusable. Although menstrual cups are becoming increasingly popular, the study found that awareness of menstrual cups in women is still relatively low. Menstrual cups are made of a soft, flexible material such as rubber or silicone. Once inserted into the vagina, they create a suction cap to prevent blood from leaking. Menstrual cups can collect more menstrual blood than tampons or sanitary napkins, but must be emptied and cleaned regularly.

Data from 43 studies evaluated

For the new study, the data from 43 examinations with 3,300 women and girls were evaluated. Common concerns when using a menstrual cup were fear of pain and difficulty adjusting or removing, leakage, and chafing. However, the review found that complications were rare. The results from 13 studies showed that about 70 percent of women wanted to continue using menstrual cups once they became familiar with how they work. Four studies involving almost 300 women compared leakage from menstrual cups and tampons. The leakage was similar in three studies and even significantly lower in one study with menstrual cups, the researchers report.

How are menstrual cups used?

First, the right size for the body has to be found. The size does not refer to the menstrual flow. Before use, ensure that the cup is clean and dry. Then fold the cup and insert it into the vagina, where it can unfold and form a tight seal. To remove the seal, press the bottom of the cup to remove it. Empty the contents into the toilet and clean the cup. The cup must be sterilized between periods.

Advantages of a menstrual cup

A menstrual cup may not be suitable for every woman. It may take several tries to be safe to use. What women ultimately use should also remain a personal decision. While a menstrual cup is much more expensive than a box of tampons, it can be reused every month and lasts up to ten years, making it a cost-effective option in the long run. Menstrual cups are also considered a more environmentally friendly choice than tampons and sanitary napkins because they are reusable. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Anna Maria van Eijk, Garazi Zulaika, Madeline Lenchner, Linda Mason, Muthusamy Sivakami et al .: Menstrual cup use, leakage, acceptability, safety, and availability: a systematic review and meta-analysis, in Lancet Public Health (query: 17.07. 2019), Lancet Public Health

Video: 9 Great Menstrual Cup Fold Techniques (August 2022).