Candidiasis. Yeast Infections. Itchy-burning-uncomfortable-fungal situations.
No matter what you call it, yeast infections happen pretty commonly—and if you’ve had one, you know they are no fun. The good news? Certain period products (when used correctly) might be able to help you combat—or at least prevent and avoid—yeast infections.
One of the most notable options? The menstrual cup.
We are going to give you a better look at menstrual cups, their many benefits, how they’re designed, and why they might be able to help you avoid the unfortunate—because we’re willing to bet the fewer yeast infections you have, the happier you’ll be.
What is a Yeast Infection?
First things first—what exactly is a yeast infection?
A vaginal yeast infection—also known as vaginal candidiasis— is technically a fungal infection that can cause irritation, discharge, and sometimes intense itchiness of the vagina and vulva (the tissues at the vaginal opening).
Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of yeast called Candida albicans that occurs naturally in us. The presence of this yeast is normal—the overgrowth is where the issues arise.
Here’s the thing about yeast infections—they’re very normal. Three out of four people with vaginas will experience a yeast infection at some point in their life, and most will experience it at least twice.
Sometimes, yeast infections just happen, and while they can sometimes point to personal hygiene, diet, or lifestyle, they’re also things that occur every so often because of random or normal circumstances, like:
- Regular fluctuations in your hormone levels (like during your menstrual cycle, for example)
- After sexual activity (a yeast infection is not an STI)
- Antibiotics, cortisone, and other drugs
- Prolonged exposure to moisture
In other words, yeast infections sometimes happen, even if you don’t do anything to “cause” them.
The good news? There are some steps you can take to prevent yeast infections, especially when it comes to your period.
How & Why Menstrual Cups Combat Yeast Infections
Menstrual cups can be a great way to prevent yeast infections from occurring and can even help combat yeast infections while they’re happening.
First, a high-quality menstrual cup will be made of medical-grade materials that are breathable, comfortable, and clean. When used properly (and cleaned correctly), menstrual cups should be able to help you avoid the buildup of yeast and bacteria as well as allow your vaginal pH to remain balanced.
Sterilizing and cleaning your cup between uses are both impactful parts of this, though. Inserting anything into your vagina as part of a menstrual care process should be clean (using proper, vagina-safe products). Using a menstrual cup that’s not been cleaned or sterilized could lead to an imbalance in pH, an overgrowth of yeast, or another type of infection—in other words, things you don’t want.
And here’s the deal about yeast infections—these infections thrive when non-breathable materials are involved. That’s why when a yeast infection occurs, it’s ideal to wear breathable underwear and be especially mindful of hygiene.
This gets more complicated when a yeast infection occurs during menstruation. Often, pads, panty liners, and underwear can make the situation worse because they’re not breathable and can promote the growth of more yeast. But menstrual cups can help remedy that issue.
Because high-quality cups are made of medical-grade material designed to help (and never hurt) you, they’re often more breathable than other menstrual cup options, won’t accumulate buildup, and won’t promote more yeast growth.
Always make sure to sterilize your cup after using it during your yeast infection—otherwise, you could reinfect yourself and create a nonstop, uncomfortable, unhealthy cycle.
A Few Other Benefits of Menstrual Cups
Menstrual cups can definitely help combat yeast infections, but that’s just the beginning of their long list of benefits. They’re great, comfortable, sustainable options for menstruators for many reasons, like:
- Eco-friendly and sustainable—if properly cleaned and cared for, you can use the same menstrual cup for years (and years!)
- Enjoy leak-free comfort (when inserted properly)
- Lower risk of TSS than tampons
- Vagina friendly—no pH issues (AKA fewer yeast infections)
- Depending on your flow and fit, cups can often be worn for up to 12 hours at a time—AKA you’ll change it less often
- Discreet wear
- Easy to clean and easy to use
- Cups are safe to use with an IUD—but consult with your doctor if you’re concerned
More Menstrual Questions? We’ve Got You Covered
Feeling a little unclear about all the benefits of menstrual cups? Our team can help clear it all up for you. But that’s not all we can help with. In fact, we encourage anyone and everyone to reach out to the June team with questions and inquiries—we’re more than glad to impart some menstrual health wisdom, share product information, or provide any other info you might be after.
Send us an email any time at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible. Otherwise, we recommend giving our regularly updated blog a read for insight, updates, and info.