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Menstrual Cups - (Period Cup) Fact Sheet

by Miss Miva Martins (2016-09-28)


Menstrual cups (Period Cup) are made of rubber or silicone and are worn inside the vagina to catch menstrual fluid. They can be worn during activities such as swimming; however, they cannot be worn during penetrative sex. In the USA, UK, Canada and Australia menstrual cups are not commonly used.

Menstrual cups are sometimes called periods cups and may be classified as a medical device and must therefore be approved for sale by Health Canada or the Therapeutic Goods Administration . This means they are not always commonly available in supermarkets and pharmacies, however they are widely available to buy online. Menstrual cups come in different sizes. When selecting a size, women should consider factors such as their flow, their anatomy, the amount of physical activity they do, their age, and whether or not they have had children. It can take time and some trial-and-error for women to find a brand and size that is comfortable.


Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare illness caused by the toxins that are released by a type of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. It is believed that using a tampon absorbency that is too high (for example, using a super tampon when flow is only light), or not changing a tampon for a long period of time, can cause the bacteria to rapidly multiply, releasing toxins into the bloodstream. Symptoms include a sudden high fever, a rash similar to sunburn, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscular pain and headache. TSS can also cause kidney and liver failure.

The Fact is that TSS is very rare. Women can reduce their already low risk of developing TSS by choosing the lowest absorbency tampon necessary (using a mini tampon during light flow, a regular tampon during medium flow and a super tampon only during heavy flow); by washing their hands thoroughly before and after inserting a tampon; by using pads overnight; and by changing their tampons at least every three to four hours.

Recent studies show that women who have had TSS in the past may carry a higher risk of developing the condition again (16). Women who have had TSS should avoid using tampons and menstrual cups.

Parents of girls new to using menstrual cups may wish to remind their daughters to clean their cup regularly. 

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