Menstrual cups have been taking the world by storm over the past couple of years, but they've yet to completely take over the market. Why? Despite their rave reviews from those that use them, some women feel like they won't provide the same level of protection as other sanitary items, like tampons. Looking at the foldable egg-cup sized product can be a little mind-bending, prompting women with heavy flows to wonder, "Will it really all fit in there?" According to the results of a new study, the answer is yes.
The research is the first large-scale review of its kind, published in the Lancet Public Health journal. 43 studies were analyzed, looking at 3,300 women from various economic backgrounds. Authors found that menstrual cups were increasingly popular, with 70% of women from 13 studies saying they wanted to continue to use their cup after their first try. Despite many menstrual cup virgins citing worries about leakage and chafing, very few issues were reported. In fact, leakage was similar in three of the studies and significantly less in another, according to the BBC.
For women who haven't used menstrual cups before, they can seem daunting, but most users report that they're easier to use than they first thought. The flexible material is folded and inserted into the vagina, where it opens up and creates a suction seal which allows it to collect menses. It might sound eyewatering, but it's unlikely you'll feel anything at all. Like tampons, the cup does need to be taken out and emptied on a regular basis for hygiene reasons. Cups come in a couple of different sizes, usually for women who have given birth vaginally and another for women who haven't.
If you're thinking about making the switch, not only will it save you some money each month as they're designed to be reusable, but you'll be helping the planet, too. It's estimated that one woman will use around 11,000 disposable tampons and pads in a lifetime, creating quite the environmental impact. According to Bustle, The Ocean Conservancy collected 27,938 tampons and applicators on beaches in a single 24-hour span in 2015. Menstrual cups may not be for everyone, but it's certainly worth a try.