May 24, 2024
Menstrual Cups

Menstrual Cups: An Eco-Friendly Alternative to Conventional Period Products

Menstrual cups are emerging as an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to conventional period products like sanitary pads and tampons. Made from medical grade silicone, latex or thermoplastic elastomer, menstrual cups are placed inside the vagina during a period to collect and hold menstrual fluid. Once full, it can be emptied, rinsed, and reinserted. Growing awareness about the health and environmental impact of disposable pads and tampons have made menstrual cups popular in recent years.

Why Menstrual Cups?

Menstrual cups last for 3-10 years, making them far more cost-effective than pads and tampons which require regular replacement. This also makes menstrual cups much more sustainable as they produce very little waste. A typical menstruating person will use over 11,000 disposable pads or tampons in their lifetime, which ends up in landfills. Menstrual Cups generate no such non-biodegradable waste. They are also more environment friendly as most pads and tampons contain synthetic materials that take 500-800 years to decompose.

Health Benefits

Menstrual cups have certain hygienic advantages over pads and tampons. Since cups are placed low inside the vaginal canal, there is no risk of leaks even with heavy flows. They can hold more fluid (around 2-4 ml) compared to a super tampon, so needs to be emptied less frequently, usually every 6-12 hours. This eliminates discomfort from wearing pads or tampons continuously. Menstrual Cups do not lead to drying out of the vaginal area or cause irritation like some people experience with tampons. The risk of toxic shock syndrome is also eliminated as cups do not absorb blood like tampons.

Types of Menstrual Cups

There are generally two main types of menstrual cups based on their size –
Teen/Youth Cups: Smaller in size, suited for those who have not had children. Popular brands include Lena and Juju.
Regular/Large Cups: Slightly wider and longer to fit comfortably inside the vaginal canal. Suitable for adults or those who have given birth vaginally. Popular brands are Diva Cup, Lunette, Mooncup.

Cups also vary based on their firmness – soft, firm or extra-firm cups. Softer ones are easier to insert and remove for beginners while firmer ones may last longer between emptying. Choosing the right size and firmness takes some trial and error. Reusable discs that fit around the cervix like Flex Cup are also available as an alternative.

Getting Used to Menstrual Cups

Menstrual cups require a slightly different technique than pads or tampons for insertion and removal. Getting accustomed to cups can take some practice at first. It is important to fold or squeeze the cup into the right shape before inserting it high up in the vaginal canal. A gentle push or twist may help it reach the right position behind the pubic bone.
When full, the cup is broken suction from the vaginal walls and pulled out. It is a good idea to check that the ring at the bottom of the cup is still partially visible before inserting it back in fully. Regular washing and cleansing with mild unscented soap is important for hygiene. With use, most people get comfortable using menstrual cups within a few periods. Any initial spills or leaks reduce significantly over time as the learning curve is crossed.

Popularity and Future Potential

Market research shows menstrual cups have grown in popularity over the past decade as more women adopt sustainable period care alternatives. Certain countries including the UK have seen sales of cups double in the past few years. With greater awareness through online communities and influencers, menstrual cups are becoming a mainstream option. An expanding array of brands and product types now make cups accessible to broader demographics.
If current growth trends continue, experts estimate menstrual cups and other reusable period products may eventually replace disposables for a significant portion of the menstruating population worldwide. This could yield huge environmental benefits by reducing plastic waste from sanitary pads and applicators that end up in landfills. Ongoing research is also focused on extending the longevity and comfort of menstrual cups. Their wide adoption signals a welcome shift towards greener solutions for basic female healthcare needs.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research.
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it.