Can You Use A Menstrual Cup for Heavy Bleeding?

November 16, 2020.

Menstrual cups have been around for decades. However, they have only recently become more commonplace among feminine hygiene products. Menstrual cups can be a beneficial tool to manage your periods. But, does a menstrual cup for heavy bleeding prevent leakage? Let’s take a look.

What is a menstrual cup and how does it work?

A menstrual cup is a reusable period product that is flexible and made of silicone or rubber. It is placed in the vagina when you are on your period to collect blood. The cup is bell-shaped, which fits in with the anatomy of the vagina. When it is inserted properly, the cup creates a seal near the cervix to prevent leaks. 

Many women are using menstrual cups because they have certain benefits that other period products do not.

Benefits of menstrual cups include:

  •  More time between refreshing your period product – Menstrual cups can stay inside the vagina for up to 12 hours. Tampons and pads need to be changed more frequently. 

  • No unpleasant odor at inopportune times – Sometimes, pads and tampons can emit an odor when exposed to air. Menstrual cups do not release an odor because they do not expose the fluid to air until you are emptying them. 

  • Maintain vaginal health – Tampons can change your vaginal pH and flora because they absorb all of your vaginal fluid. Menstrual cups do not disrupt your vagina’s ecosystem.

  • Environmentally friendly and cost-effective – Cups can be reusable for many years if they are maintained, whereas pads and tampons are one-time use products. If you want to reduce waste, limit trips to the store, and save cash, a menstrual cup just may be your solution. 

  • Ease of use – Women who have used tampons without applicators or diaphragms for birth control will have no trouble using a menstrual cup. However, if you have not used either tampons or diaphragms, they are easy to learn to use. 

  • You can’t feel it – When a menstrual cup is properly inserted, you cannot feel it at all. It sounds appealing compared to a bulky wet pad!

There are some disadvantages to using a menstrual cup as well, including:

  • Challenging to insert – Because of the nature of the cup, some women may have difficulty placing the cup. Younger girls and women who have never had intercourse may have more difficulty placing the cup and feeling comfortable with its placement. Women who have IUDs should also check with their doctor before using a menstrual cup as it may displace the strings. 

  • Challenging to empty – It can be a bit… messy when you are first learning to remove the cup. However, with practice, you will develop a system for removing the cup without creating a mess. Because the cup must be rinsed out before it is reinserted, some women may feel uncomfortable cleaning the cup in a public restroom which can create further challenges. Furthermore, the cup must be pinched at its base as opposed to pulled on. This can present a learning curve for how to properly remove the cup.

  •  One size doesn’t fit all – Some women’s anatomy is not conducive for a menstrual. For example, women with fibroids or a dropped uterus may not be able to fit the cup properly.

  • Sanitization – After you finish your period, the cup must be sanitized with boiling water before you stow it away for the month. 

Lena Reusable Menstrual Cup, Period Cup, Tampon and Pad Alternative, Super Heavy Menstruation Flow

Is it a good idea to use during perimenopause?

Perimenopause is certainly a good time to try a menstrual cup if you have not in the past. Indeed, it may even be helpful in reducing aggravating symptoms such as vaginal dryness because it does not suck away your natural vaginal lubricant like tampons.  

Does using a menstrual cup for heavy bleeding prevent leaks?

A menstrual cup is effective even if you have heavy periods. Much like a pad or tampon, you will likely need to change it more frequently on heavier days compared to lighter days. There are certain cups that are designed for heavier flows as well. For example, some may be larger whereas others may have a thicker rim to create a tighter seal around your cervix to prevent leakage. You may have to explore a few different cups to find what works best for you.

So tell us, what has been your experience with menstrual cups? Like them? Meh? Hate them?

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, does not take the place of medical advice from your physician, and is not intended to treat or cure any disease. Patients should see a qualified medical provider for assessment and treatment.

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Julia Walker
perry expert Julia (RN, BSN, BA) is a registered nurse based in Colorado. Julia's nursing background in women’s health has ranged from neonatal and postpartum care to labor and delivery, to outpatient gynecological medicine for both adolescent and adult populations. She specializes in helping women optimize their health during perimenopause and beyond.

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