7 Side Effects Of Menstrual Cups To Be Aware Of Before You Switch


When you get your period these days, you have a lot of options to choose from. Pads, tampons, and menstrual cups are all on the table (or in the aisle), and it's important to know the pros and cons to each. Although you may be familiar with the first two options, you may not know as much about menstrual cups. In addition to knowing how they work, it's important to know the  side effects of menstrual cup.

Time reported that an earlier form of the cup existed in the 1930s. Even though this form of feminine hygiene has been around for decades, they've become popular recently due to the many pros of using a menstrual cup.  But it's just as important to know the potential cons of menstrual cups as well. And, as with the pros, the cons vary from person to person. One woman may seem this as a difficult product to use, while another may think a menstrual cup is so simple to use. It all depends on your personality and preferences.  

As a woman, it's important to have options when it comes to caring for your body. But it's just as important to be fully educated on those options. In addition to the many pros of menstrual cups, here are some potential side effects one many experience when using one.

1. They Might Cause Infection

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Dr. Sara Gottfried told Shape that you must empty the cup and clean it out every eight to 12 hours. When cleaning the cup, she instructed, make sure to use soap and water. Additionally, you want to make sure your hands are clean, which is common sense. However, if you don't always have access to a sink, this might make using the cup harder, and potentially cause an infection.

2. They Can Be Uncomfortable


Cups are usually made of medical grade silicone (Lunette) or non-absorbent silicone (DivaCup), which means, menstrual cups might be painful against the skin of your vagina on your lighter days, when there's not a heavy flow. Just like younger or less sexually experienced women might have discomfort using a tampon, there's also the possibility of pain during insertion and removal.

3. They're Hard To Use In Public Restrooms


If you don't care about social norms, then this may not phase you. But if you find it difficult to pour a cup of blood down a shared sink, then this may deter you form using a menstrual cup.  

4. They Might Leak


It's a false assumption to think that you can have sex or exercise without any leakage. From personal experience, I can say that certain sexual positions jostle the body more than others, and the cup jostles along with you (and your partner). I've also had some leakage incidents when running with the cup inside me. But, just like there's leakage with tampons and pads, it's still a factor with the cup.

5. There Is Still A Risk of TSS

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As gynecologist Taraneh Shirazian told Time, staphylococcus aureus, bacteria that can cause toxic shock syndrome (TSS) can grow inside the body if women leave the cup in for too long. Women shouldn't leave the cup in for longer than 12 hours, said Shirazian, otherwise, TSS becomes a risk.

6. They're Not For The Squeamish


You're going to have to reach far into your vagina, and there will be blood. So, prepare to get a little (or a lot—hey, you know your flow) of blood on your hands.

7. Your First Few Tries Might Be Hit Or Miss

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From personal experience, I can say that it takes a couple tries to insert the cup correctly. So, definitely stock up on pantyliners for those first few times. Another thing to bear in mind is that you might forget that it's up there, and then, just like when you forget about a tampon, there's leakage. Pantyliners are a must until you get into the groove, so to speak.

Bottom line: just because blogs, your friends, and other women tout a product's efficacy and wonder, doesn't mean it's for you. But you don't know until your try. Your body, your period, your choice.