Join the thousands of women in Scotland who are already using menstrual cups.
Although it may look like a new concept, the idea of the modern period cup has been around for more than 80 years. So, what is a menstrual cup anyway? Apart from looking like an oblong-shaped boob, period cups are small, foldable cups that collect menstrual blood rather than absorbing it.
One of the most sustainable options when it comes to reusable period products, the menstrual cup can last up to 10 years. Based on a typical period scenario, a woman would have spent £440 on single-use period products in 10 years, but only £20 on average for two menstrual cups, a total saving of £420 over that time.
Read cup convert Donna's experiences of making the switch to reusable period products here.
Why the cup is a winner...
- Menstrual cups are made from medical-grade silicone and are just as leakproof as tampons and pads
- Minimal maintenance - it takes just a few minutes in boiling water to sterilise at the end of your period and you’ll only need to empty your cup and give it a quick rinse every 10 to 12 hours, depending on your flow
- Many cup users say that they forget all about their period because they can wear it for so long without changing
- Great for the environment – switching from tampons to the cup for one year would reduce the carbon impact of your period product by around 90%. Cups are the reusable option with the least climate impact, although all reusable options are better than disposable ones
Menstrual cup FAQs
You should always carefully read the instructions that come with your menstrual cup regarding how to properly use your cup. Some brands may offer online videos demonstrating best practice for insertion and removal of your cup.
Before you use your menstrual cup, you should sterilise it in some boiling water for three to five minutes, then you’re good to go. A top tip is to try it for the first time when you’re feeling relaxed and perhaps before your period comes, just to practice at putting it in without dealing with your flow too.
There are lots of different shapes and sizes of menstrual cups available on the market. For example, there are different sizes to go for depending on whether you’ve had children or not. Several retailers on the high street already stock reusable cups. Some people choose to try more than one brand to see what works for them. However, there may be another reusable option that’s better suited to you, so not to worry! Check out some of the other reusable products you could use for a comfortable, convenient and more sustainable period here.
The menstrual cup is the reusable alternative to a tampon. The cup is inserted just like a tampon but the cup collects the menstrual blood instead of absorbing it. The cup can then be easily emptied and reused and can last for up to ten years.
Menstrual cups are as leakproof as pads or tampons. Their shape and size means they are able to securely hold your flow between changes. If leakage occurs, it’s usually because the cup hasn’t been inserted properly.
The cup creates suction that holds it firmly in place, creating a no-fuss, leakproof period.
Depending on your flow, the advice on menstrual cups is that they can be worn for up to 8 – 12 hours. We would recommend checking with your chosen brand for their product specific guidelines.
Research which was reported on the NHS website in July 2019 showed that menstrual cups are a ‘safe and effective alternative to tampons. Reusable menstrual cups are made from medical grade silicone and can be hygienically used again and again for years.
Some reports have suggested that incorrect usage of a menstrual cup may lead to pelvic organ prolapse.
If you have any concerns about health and safety of using menstrual cups, then please speak to a healthcare professional or GP.
Reusable cups are durable and can last up to 10 years when they are looked after. To learn how to clean a cup, see 'How do I keep it clean?' below.
The first and most important thing you should do when removing your menstrual cup is relax.
Once you are relaxed and ready, find a method that works for you in removing your menstrual cup. For some, it’s easy to squeeze the tip and release or you could try pushing it to the side to remove the suction making it easier to remove. If you are having some difficulty, try lying on your back and tilting your pelvic bone upwards slightly.
If you are in public, try and find a toilet cubicle with a sink to allow you to empty your cup in the toilet, then clean thoroughly with warm water before reinserting. If this isn’t possible, we recommend carrying a small water bottle around with you to give it a rinse. You could also wipe it with loo roll. Just make sure you give it another clean when you get home.
Yes, when you’re in the bathroom, just empty it down the loo and give it a quick wipe if you can’t use a private sink. Also, because you can wear the cup for long periods of time, up to 10-12 hours, then you can manage cleaning it around your schedule.
To keep your menstrual cup super-hygienic make sure you sterilise it in between periods. You can do this in a variety of ways: boiling water in a saucepan, a sterilising cup you can buy for the microwave or sterilising tablets.
Cups are made from medical grade silicone which at the moment is not widely recycled. If your cup has had its full use over the years and its time to say goodbye, then it’s the general waste bin (for now). You’ll still be reducing your waste by avoiding throwing away disposables.
If you have an IUD then it’s best to seek advice from a medical professional before using a reusable cup.