Menstrual cups are safe, reusable and cheap: study

They collect blood rather than absorb it, and last longer
Inexpensive and reusable menstrual cups are safe and as unlikely as disposable pads or tampons to leak, according to the first major scientific review of the devices, published Wednesday.
Some 70% of women who have tried menstrual cups said they would like to continue using them, researchers reported in The Lancet Public Health , a peer-reviewed medical journal.
A safe, affordable and long-lasting alternative to pads and tampons, in other words, has the potential to change the lives of millions. The new research — a review of 43 earlier studies gathering data on 3,300 women — is the first to evaluate menstrual cups. Made from medical grade silicone, rubber or latex, the cups collect blood rather than absorb it, as pads and tampons do. They are inserted into the vagina and emptied every four to 12 hours. There are two types: a so-called vaginal cup which is generally bell-shaped, and a cervical cup, which is placed around the cervix high in the vagina much like a diaphragm for contraception. In four of the studies reviewed, the cups were found to be as effective or better at collecting blood than sanitary pads or tampons. The research showed no increased risk of infection. There were, however, five reported cases of toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a potentially life-threatening condition caused by bacteria getting into the body via foreign objects. Since the overall number of menstrual cup users is unknown, researchers could not determine how this compared with tampons, known to boost the risk for TSS. The cup is reusable and can last for up to ten years, making it cheaper in the long run that disposable alternatives.

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