Menstrual Cups And Fibroids — Do The 2 Work Together?

by Lindsay E. Mack

Chances are, you have heard about menstrual cups by now. Maybe you’ve passed their display in your favorite health store, heard rave reviews about them from your girlfriend, or read about them online. The cups have definitely gained a devoted fan base in recent years. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to use these little menstruation miracles. For instance, can you use a menstrual cup if you have fibroids?

According to UCLA Health, fibroids, AKA uterine myomas, leiomyomas, or fibromas, are firm tumors that develop in the uterus. UCLA Health further noted that although “tumor” is a somewhat loaded word, over 99 percent of them are benign and non-cancerous. But they can still cause plenty of problems for the women who suffer from them. The Mayo Clinic noted that common symptoms include very heavy period bleeding, periods that last for a week or more, and pelvic pain. Unfortunately, fibroids are also extremely common, and the odds are you will have them at some point in your life. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “by age 50, 70 percent of whites and 80 percent of African Americans had fibroids.” Fibroids affect a tremendous number of women, and they make periods even worse than normal.

Because menstrual cups are worn internally, they may present particular issues for some women with fibroids. However, the cup’s long wear time — around 12hours for some brands — and ease of use may make them the ideal choice for dealing with those extra-long periods.

So can you wear menstrual cups if you're suffering from fibroids. Well, it depends. As the Cleveland Clinic explained, women with fibroids may not be able to make a cup fit in place properly. Because the cups work by forming a suction around your body, if a fibroid tumor gets in the way, then the cup will not stay put. Bummer.

There are, however, potential benefits to using a cup if you have fibroids that don't block its suction. The Ruby Cup site notes that women with very heavy periods can use a cup to help monitor their flow. The cups have measurement lines, so you would be able to tell your doctor exactly how much you're bleeding with every period. Yes, this does entail getting very up close and personal with your body, but anything is worthwhile when it comes to your health, right?

Even if you don't think you have fibroids, monitoring your flow with a cup may help you detect evidence of them. If the amount of flow increases tremendously, or the blood appears with more clots than in the past, this may indicate you have fibroids, according to WebMD. This isn't necessarily a reason to panic, but it may be something to discuss with your doctor.

Lastly, there are many brands and sizes of cups available, so even if you have fibroids it may be worthwhile to experiment with different cups. If you're the techy sort, then you may want to look at the LOONCUP, which syncs with your phone via Bluetooth to help monitor potential health problems such as fibroids. (According to Kickstarter, it's still in development). Whether you opt for this or one of the many cups that are currently available, keep in mind that many women with fibroids can still use menstrual cups to manage their exceptionally heavy periods.