What are the dangers of a menstrual cup?

The cup is a highly fashionable sanitary protection that has rapidly found its place as an alternative to pads and, above all, tampons. This method is seen as safer and more ecological. But it's not without health risks: you still need to know how to use it properly!

What is a menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is an internal hygienic protection. Unlike a tampon, it does not absorb menstrual discharge, but holds it inside the vagina. It can be used by all women, even if it can sometimes be complicated to use, especially at first. The cup is available in a range of sizes, depending on the volume of your menstrual flow. The cup offers many advantages, especially in terms of ecology and economy.

Why is the menstrual cup dangerous?

Despite the cup's advantages, there is a very real danger to its users. As explained above, using the cup is not as simple as it seems. What's more, as with tampon-type internal alternatives, the cup represents a risk of developing toxic shock. Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is caused by the overgrowth of staphylococcus aureus, which can be found on the skin or in the vagina. They are usually rapidly neutralized by our immune system. But during menstruation, the risk is multiplied, since menstruation is an ideal breeding ground.
For a long time, it was thought that the composition and chemical substances in tampons were linked to the development of toxic shock. However, in 2017, a study showed that prolonged use of tampons could also lead to bacterial proliferation and toxic shock, as blood loss stagnates.
The same applies to the cup.

2020 study on the risk of misuse

A 2020 study highlighted the dangers of misusing the cup.
As with wearing a tampon for more than 6 hours, the cup must be emptied every 4 to 6 hours at most, sterilized regularly, and the basics of hygiene respected (wash hands before and after insertion, even more so during Covid season!). The Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l'alimentation, de l'environnement et du travail reminds users and manufacturers of these simple yet essential precautions to avoid the development of potentially fatal toxic shock.
Similarly, the DGCCRF (Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes) highlights the lack of information contained in menstrual cup instructions for use.

How to reduce the dangers of menstrual cups?

There are, of course, tips on how to reduce the dangers of menstrual cups and use them without fear.

Our tips for correct use

The simplest tip is not to keep the cup in for more than 6 hours. You should even empty it between 4 and 6 hours, as often as possible. This prevents staphylococci from developing. If you are unable to empty and rinse the cup, for example when traveling, the solution is simple: have several cups.

Warning: we strongly advise against wearing the cup at night. Blood will stagnate inside your vagina for long hours, again increasing the risk of toxic shock. Prefer an external solution such as menstrual panties !

If you have an IUD, you can wear the cup, but be careful: there is a risk of displacement orexpulsion of the IUD when using the cup, particularly when removing it.

Any symptoms such as fever or vomiting should be reported immediately.

Opt for external sanitary protection

External sanitary alternatives such as menstrual pants are safer than internal solutions. We recommend that you choose menstrual pants made from organic cotton, which are gentle on your intimate area and zero waste!

Menstrual cup danger FAQ

Why is it dangerous to keep a cup too long?

When you keep your cup in for too long, menstruation stagnates inside the vagina, allowing the proliferation of staphylococci, which can be the cause of toxic shock syndrome, a disease with very serious or even fatal consequences.

Why not wear a cup at night?

As you sleep at night, you keep your cup on longer than during the day without changing it. So, to avoid any risk of bacterial growth, it's best to opt for another external sanitary solution, such as menstrual panties.