Menstrual Cups Safe, Effective, But Not Widely Known

Menstrual cups pose no increased risk of infection.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Reusable menstrual cups are safe and just as effective as sanitary pads or tampons, the first scientific review of the devices showed. 

AFP reported that according to the research published in The Lancet Public Health journal, however, only one out of five women on average, even in wealthy countries, were aware about menstrual cups.

“For consumers purchasing menstrual products, the results highlight cups as a safe and cost-effective option,” Julie Hennegan from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health was quoted saying in The Lancet Public Health.

The study, which reviewed 43 earlier studies with data on 3,300 women, is the first to look at menstrual cups.

The research reportedly showed no increased risk of infection from menstrual cups, which were also found to be as effective or even better than tampons or sanitary pads in preventing menstrual blood leaks.

But five cases of toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a potentially fatal condition caused by bacteria entering the body through foreign objects, were reported. Researchers could not compare this to tampons, known for an increased risk of TSS, because they did not know the overall number of menstrual cup users.

According to the study, the cup costs less than US$1 in some countries and as high as US$40 in others. The menstrual cup is reusable and can last for up to a decade, making it cheaper than disposable tampons or pads in the long run.

Menstrual cups are made from medical grade silicone, latex, or rubber and come in two types: a bell-shaped vaginal cup or a cervical cup placed around the cervix high in the vagina. A menstrual cup collects blood when it is worn inside one’s vagina during her period, compared to tampons or pads that absorb blood.

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