What are the dangers of a menstrual cup?

The cup is a very fashionable sanitary protection that has quickly found its place as an alternative to pads and especially tampons. This method is indeed seen as safer since it is more ecological. But it is 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 sanitary protection. Unlike a tampon, it does not absorb menstrual discharge but retains it inside the vagina. It can be used by all women, even if its use is sometimes complicated, especially at the beginning. The cup is available in several sizes according to the abundance of your menstrual flow. The cup has many advantages, especially in terms of ecology and economy.

Why is the menstrual cup dangerous?

Despite the advantages of the cup, the danger of the cup is real for its users. Indeed, as explained previously, its use is not so simple as it seems. In addition, as with internal tampon alternatives, the cup represents a risk of developing toxic shock. Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is caused by the overgrowth of staphylococcus aureus, which is present on the skin or in the vagina. They are usually quickly neutralized by our immune system. But, during menstruation, the risk is multiplied since menstruation is a favourable culture site.
It was long believed that the composition and chemicals in tampons were related to the development of toxic shock. However, in 2017, a study showed that prolonged use of tampons could also cause the proliferation of bacteria and toxic shock, since blood loss stagnates.
So it's the same principle for the cup.

2020 study on the risk of misuse

A 2020 study highlighted the dangers of the cup if it is misused.
As for wearing a tampon for more than 6 hours, the cup must be emptied every 4 to 6 hours maximum, sterilized regularly, respecting obvious hygiene basics (wash your hands before and after insertion, even more valid in Covid period!). It is the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety that reminds users and manufacturers of these simple but essential precautions to avoid the development of a potentially fatal toxic shock.
In the same way the DGCCRF (general direction of the competition, the consumption and the repression of frauds) highlights the lack of information contained in the instructions for use of the menstrual cups.

How to reduce the dangers of the menstrual cut?

There are of course tricks to reduce the dangers of the cup and to use it without fear.

Our advice to use it correctly

The simplest advice is not to keep the cup 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 travelling, the solution is very simple: have several cups.

Be careful: wearing the cup at night is not recommended. The blood will stagnate inside your vagina for long hours, which will, once again, increase the risk of toxic shock. Prefer an external solution like menstrual panties!

If you have an IUD, wearing the cup is possible, but be careful: there is a risk of displacement orexpulsion of the IUD related to the use of the cup and more particularly during its removal.

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

Opt for an external sanitary protection

External sanitary alternatives such as menstrual pants are safe, unlike internal solutions. We recommend you to choose menstrual panties, made of organic cotton, respectful of your intimate area and zero waste!

The FAQ of the danger of the menstrual cup

Why is it dangerous to keep a cup too long?

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

Why not wear a cup at night?

At night, as you sleep, you keep your cup longer than during the day without changing it. So, to avoid any risk of bacteria development, it is better to use another external hygienic solution such as menstrual panties.