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Why Menstrual Cups Are Bad?

May 31, 2024

Why Menstrual Cups Are Bad?

Menstrual cups are devices that collect menstrual blood internally. Unlike tampons, they do not absorb blood but collect it in a silicone or soft plastic cup. With proper use, they are safe to use. However, similar to tampons, menstrual cups do have some potential risks, particularly if a person does not use them correctly. This article looks at some of the potential dangers of using menstrual cups.

Key Takeaways

  • Menstrual cups can pose health risks such as infections, allergic reactions, and vaginal discomfort if not used correctly.
  • Using menstrual cups in public restrooms can be challenging due to the need for clean water and potential messiness during emptying.
  • Improper use of menstrual cups can lead to vaginal dryness, irritation, and even internal damage.
  • The cost of disposable menstrual cups and their environmental impact are significant concerns.
  • Sterilization, insertion, and removal of menstrual cups can be complicated, especially for new users.

Potential Health Risks Associated with Menstrual Cups

Risk of Infections

Menstrual cups, like other internal period products, can pose a risk of infections if not used correctly. Proper hygiene practices are essential to minimize this risk. Users must ensure that the cup is sterilized before each use and that their hands are clean during insertion and removal. In rare cases, improper use can lead to severe infections such as toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

Allergic Reactions

Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to the materials used in menstrual cups, such as silicone or rubber. These reactions can manifest as itching, redness, or swelling. It is crucial for users to be aware of any material sensitivities they may have and to choose a cup made from hypoallergenic materials if necessary.

Vaginal Discomfort

Vaginal discomfort can occur if the menstrual cup does not fit properly or is inserted incorrectly. This discomfort can range from mild irritation to significant pain. Ensuring the correct size and proper insertion technique is vital to avoid such issues. Additionally, some users may experience discomfort due to the pressure exerted by the cup on the vaginal walls.


Challenges in Public and Private Settings

Difficulties in Public Restrooms

Changing a menstrual cup in a public restroom can be uncomfortable or awkward, especially for those not accustomed to using the product. One may need to bring a small water bottle to rinse it out and find a private stall with a sink to empty and clean it. This process can be particularly challenging in busy or poorly equipped restrooms.

Need for Clean Water

Menstrual cups require rinsing with clean water after each use to prevent the buildup of bacteria. This necessity can pose a significant challenge in situations where access to clean water is limited, such as when traveling, camping, or experiencing homelessness. Ensuring proper hygiene becomes difficult under these circumstances, making menstrual cups less convenient compared to other menstrual products.

Messiness During Emptying

The main disadvantage often mentioned is the messiness involved in emptying the cup. While practice can help develop a suitable technique, the initial "ick factor" can be off-putting for many users. Cleaning the cup in a public bathroom can be particularly daunting, adding to the overall inconvenience.

Impact on Vaginal Health

Vaginal Dryness and Irritation

Menstrual cups can sometimes cause vaginal dryness and irritation. This is often due to the material of the cup or improper insertion techniques. Vaginal dryness can lead to discomfort and may increase the risk of infections. 

Potential for Internal Damage

Although rare, there is a potential for internal damage when using menstrual cups. Incorrect insertion or removal can cause abrasions or even more severe injuries. It is crucial to follow the manufacturer's guidelines to minimize these risks. If you experience any unusual symptoms, consult a healthcare professional immediately.

Issues with Proper Fit

Achieving a proper fit with a menstrual cup can be challenging for some users. An ill-fitting cup can cause leaks, discomfort, and even disrupt the natural flora of the vagina. Proper fit is essential for both comfort and effectiveness. 

Environmental and Economic Considerations

Cost of Disposable Cups

While menstrual cups are often touted for their long-term cost savings, the initial investment can be a barrier for some individuals. Unlike disposable pads and tampons, which are purchased incrementally, menstrual cups require a one-time purchase that can be more expensive upfront. Additionally, the cost of replacing a lost or damaged cup can add to the overall expense.

Environmental Impact

Menstrual cups have emerged as a more sustainable option, with a significantly reduced impact on resources and waste production over their entire life cycle. However, the production process of menstrual cups still involves the use of silicone or rubber, which are not biodegradable. This raises concerns about their long-term environmental footprint. Furthermore, the energy and resources required for manufacturing and distributing these products cannot be overlooked.

Sustainability Concerns

While the reusability of menstrual cups is often highlighted as a major advantage, it is important to consider the sustainability of their production and disposal. The need for regular sterilization and proper maintenance can also pose challenges. Proper care and cleaning are essential to ensure the longevity and safety of the product, which may not always be feasible for everyone. Additionally, the environmental benefits of menstrual cups can be negated if they are not used consistently over a long period.

Additionally, guide on menstrual cup maintenance provides useful tips for ensuring the longevity of your cup.

Usage and Maintenance Complications

Sterilization Requirements

Menstrual cups require thorough sterilization to prevent infections and maintain hygiene. This process can be cumbersome and time-consuming, especially for those with busy schedules. Failure to properly sterilize the cup can lead to bacterial growth and potential health risks. Users must follow the manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning and sterilization to ensure safety.

Insertion and Removal Challenges

The process of inserting and removing a menstrual cup can be difficult for many users. It often requires practice and a certain level of comfort with one's body. In many cases, applying a small amount of water-based lube to the outside of the cup can help prevent discomfort. However, improper insertion or removal can cause irritation or even minor injuries.

Learning Curve for New Users

New users often face a steep learning curve when first using menstrual cups. It can take several cycles to become proficient in using the cup effectively. During this period, users may experience leakage or discomfort, which can be discouraging. Resources such as instructional videos and guides can be helpful, but the initial learning phase can still be challenging.


Comparative Disadvantages to Other Menstrual Products

Tampons vs Menstrual Cups

When comparing menstrual cups to tampons, several disadvantages become apparent. Tampons are generally easier to use, especially for those who are new to menstrual products. They do not require the same level of maintenance, such as sterilization, which is necessary for menstrual cups. Additionally, tampons are more convenient for use in public restrooms, as they do not need to be rinsed or emptied. This can be particularly challenging for menstrual cup users who may find it difficult to manage in less private settings.

Pads vs Menstrual Cups

Pads offer a level of convenience that menstrual cups cannot match. They are disposable and do not require insertion, making them a more straightforward option for many. Pads also eliminate the risk of internal damage or vaginal discomfort, which can be associated with menstrual cups. Furthermore, pads are easier to change in public restrooms, reducing the messiness and inconvenience that can come with emptying a menstrual cup.

Menstrual Discs vs Menstrual Cups

Menstrual discs, while similar to menstrual cups, have their own set of advantages. They can be worn during intercourse, unlike most menstrual cups, providing an added level of convenience. Menstrual discs also tend to have a more flexible fit, reducing the issues related to proper fit that some users experience with menstrual cups. Additionally, the learning curve for using menstrual discs is often less steep compared to menstrual cups, making them a more user-friendly option for beginners.



In conclusion, while menstrual cups offer several benefits such as reduced odor, less vaginal dryness, and environmental sustainability, they are not without their drawbacks. The potential risks associated with menstrual cups, including the need for proper sterilization, the inconvenience of changing and rinsing them in public restrooms, and the possibility of vaginal discomfort or allergic reactions, cannot be overlooked. Additionally, access to clean water is essential for their safe use, which may not always be feasible in certain situations. Therefore, it is crucial for users to weigh these factors carefully and follow the manufacturer's instructions to minimize any potential risks. Ultimately, the decision to use a menstrual cup should be based on individual preferences and circumstances, keeping in mind both the advantages and the potential disadvantages.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is a device that collects menstrual blood internally. Unlike tampons, they do not absorb blood but collect it in a silicone or soft plastic cup. With proper use, they are safe to use.

Can menstrual cups cause internal damage?

Generally speaking, menstrual cups don’t cause significant injury, pain, or discomfort. In a systematic review of 13 studies with an estimated 1,144 menstrual cup users, there were reports of only five users who experienced either severe pain or vaginal wounds.

Are menstrual cups dangerous?

In most cases, menstrual cups are not dangerous, as long as people follow the manufacturers’ instructions. A systematic review in The Lancet concluded that menstrual cups are a safe way of managing periods.

What are the drawbacks of using a menstrual cup?

Some disadvantages include the need for sterilization between periods, potential messiness during emptying, improper fit, risk of infections, and vaginal discomfort.

Do menstrual cups require access to clean water?

Yes, menstrual cups need to be rinsed with clean water after each use. This can be challenging if you don’t have access to clean water, making them less convenient to use when traveling or camping.

Is it bad to wear a menstrual cup every day?

Wearing a menstrual cup every day is generally not recommended. It is important to follow the manufacturer's guidelines and to ensure proper hygiene to avoid any potential health risks.

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