When it comes to menstruation, there’s no one right way to manage it—every person is different and every preference is different. As a result, there are tons of unique menstrual care options out there that are perfectly viable. The trick? Finding the one that works best for you.
Today, we’re breaking down two of the most common menstrual care options out there—tampons vs menstrual cups. If you’ve ever wondered what the benefits of each are, how they compare, and what kind of impact they could have on your period, then good news—you’re in the right place.
Keep reading to learn a little more about menstrual cup use, distinct differences between tampons and cups, and of course, some insight on how to use each.
Tampons vs Menstrual Cups: What are the Major Differences?
It’s likely that you’ve seen (or heard of) tampons and menstrual cups before—but at June, we’re all about building foundational knowledge, so we’re going to do a quick dive into what each of these menstrual care options look like.
Tampons are soft, narrow-shaped, single-use objects (usually made of cotton or synthetic materials, depending on what type you purchase) that are inserted into the vagina and act as a plug to absorb menstrual blood.
Menstrual cups, on the other hand, are small, reusable feminine hygiene products that are inserted into the vagina and form a seal against your cervix to collect menstrual blood inside its cup-shaped catch.
Every menstrual product has its own list of pros and cons, and certain products are going to work better for some than others—but in order to decide what works for you, understanding the differences among them is crucial.
More Info on How to Use a Menstrual Cup
Menstrual cups are generally considered to be low-stress, easy-to-use menstrual alternatives to more traditional methods like pads and tampons. Cups are inserted into your vagina (like tampons) but work by providing a seal against your cervix to collect menstrual blood in a cup-shaped catch.
Everyone is different, so every menstrual care product will work differently, but most menstruators who use menstrual cups laud the long list of benefits like:
- Eco-friendly and sustainable
- Leak-free comfort (when inserted correctly)
- Lower risk of TSS than other period options
- Can be worn up to 12 hours (all depending on your flow and fit, of course)
- Discreet to wear
- Fewer pH issues
Menstrual cups can be simple and seamless, but because they form a seal with the cervix, they need to be just the right fit to be effective. Tampons tend to be a little more universal in a pinch, too. Unlike tampons, menstrual cups require cleaning because they’re not single-use items.
Let’s Talk About Tampons
Tampons are pretty traditional menstrual care products and often, they’re one of the first methods that most menstruators are introduced to. As we mentioned before, they’re thin, narrow-shaped, single-use products that are inserted into the vagina and act as a plug to soak up menstrual blood.
Tampons are pretty versatile, tend to work for most people, and can be bought in all-natural, organic materials. Like every type of menstrual product, they’ve got their own list of advantages and disadvantages. Most commonly, menstruators appreciate tampons for benefits like:
- Widely available (you can probably find a box of tampons for sale at any store)
- They’re small, discreet, and there’s not usually a steep learning curve for insertion and wear
- Available in a variety of sizes designed to absorb specific flows
- When worn properly, they can be comfortable and convenient for a few hours
- Single-use so they don’t need to be cleaned or sanitized
For all the advantages, tampons do have some negatives to consider. They don’t require sanitization because they’re single-use, but they can have a much larger impact on your carbon footprint. Further, there’s a higher risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS, an infection that can occur when there’s an overgrowth of bacteria that releases toxins into the bloodstream) when using tampons—this means you’ll need to change your tampon more often.
More Questions? You’re Covered
We hope that this article gave you a little extra guidance on your menstrual care journey. Remember, there’s no such thing as the right or wrong way to handle your period—how you care for yourself and manage your menstruation is totally up to you!
That being said, if you’d like a little extra guidance on menstrual cup use, menstruation (in general), or what your care options could look like, our June team can help! Reach out to us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be more than happy to give you all the good guidance we can.Want more info? Check out our regularly updated blog for all kinds of menstrual health tips, insight, and advice.