science of us

Even Scientists Are Onboard With Menstrual Cups

Photo: Bortonia/Getty Images

I knew when I woke up this morning that it was going to be a great day, and lo, I was right: The influential medical journal The Lancet just issued a big report on menstrual cups. Their restrained but smiling verdict: “Menstrual cups seem to be an effective and safe alternative to other menstrual products.”

Well, yeah! I’ve known this personally since May 2015, and I reinforced my conviction earlier this spring with a big menstrual cup manifesto, of sorts, inspired by Tampax’s entry into the menstrual cup game. (The phrase “but their carcasses remain,” however — from a microbiologist speaking about the bacteria that potentially collect on the cups’ surface, even after boiling — has been haunting me monthly since that story’s publication.)

The Lancet report notes that 70 percent of menstrual cup users wished to continue using them, that menstrual cup usage had no negative effect on vaginal microflora, and that leakage rates with a cup were “similar [to] or lower” than leakage rates with pads or tampons. The report also noted that “peer support improved uptake,” i.e. knowing someone who won’t shut up about how great her menstrual cup is can be valuable if you’re curious about trying one yourself. The report doesn’t mention, however, that knowing a menstrual cup evangelist can be annoying once you’ve decided that a cup isn’t for you, although maybe that’s because it’s been confirmed as gospel by now.

Even Scientists Are Onboard With Menstrual Cups