Menstrual Cup vs Pads (Sanitary Pads) - A Comprehensive Comparison

Team ujaas

Are you tired of the itching, prickling, and chafing that come along with the usage of a sanitary pad or tampon?

Or, maybe, you are worried about the plastic and toxins that are found in disposable menstrual products. In such scenarios, a menstrual cup may be the answer to all your woes. Here, we will take an in-depth look at menstrual cups vs pads.

To begin, single-use menstrual products do not offer you the comfort and safety that you need. And you know that you deserve much better. Moreover, you would want to switch to an eco-friendly product that ensures optimum health and complete freedom.

So, you would like to know which is better: a menstruation cup or a sanitary pad?

Ujaas, a menstrual health and menstrual hygiene initiative of Aditya Birla Education Trust (ABET), has distributed thousands of free sanitary pads across the rural regions of Maharashtra, with the ultimate aim to eliminate both period poverty and period shame.

Let us get started with a comprehensive comparison. That said, before we get there, let us first understand a little more about menstrual cups as well as reusable sanitary pads.

What is a Menstrual Cup?

A menstrual cup or menstruation cup is a reusable silicone cup of medical grade that fits with comfort inside your vagina and collects your menstrual fluid, without any alteration to your natural vaginal flora. You can surely wear a menstrual cup safely for as many as eight hours, before eventually emptying it. You may then wash it with clean water before reinsertion. You merely need to boil your cup between your period cycles to successfully sterilise it.

Ujaas, menstrual health and menstrual hygiene initiative of ABET, conducts workshops for women in rural areas to keep them informed on all things about menstruation.

What is a Reusable Sanitary Pad?

A reusable sanitary pad is a menstrual pad that is made from natural and washable material that successfully absorbs your menstrual fluid. It stays in a stable position because of the “wings” that fold around your underwear, snapping into its place. A reusable sanitary pad must be changed similarly to a disposable pad on the basis of its capacity to absorb and the intensity of your menstrual flow, then thoroughly washed and dried before making use of it again.

Now, let us have a comprehensive comparison between menstrual cups vs pads

At first glimpse, both menstrual cups and reusable pads seem to be ideal choices for a healthy and zero-waste lifestyle. However, there are several advantages of using menstrual cups over reusable sanitary pads.

Sustainability is Higher with Menstrual Cups vs Pads

Some menstrual cups can last you up to as long as 10 years, whereas a reusable menstrual pad needs sooner replacement, around 1-5 years based on the recommendations by the brand and how well will it eventually hold up under the strain of frequent washes. In addition, a single reusable sanitary pad will not last your complete period. You would need at least a few pads to serve as a replacement. Hence, at the end of the life cycle of reusable menstrual products, more pads will eventually end up in the landfill when you opt for sanitary pads instead of a menstrual cup. Moreover, after you learn to clean a menstrual cup, you will be astonished at how simple the process is in comparison to the use of a reusable pad.

Menstrual Cups are Far More Comfortable than Pads

Many women barely notice the presence of their menstrual cups. Once it is positioned inside your vaginal canal, a menstrual cup is almost imperceptible. In comparison, a reusable sanitary pad resembles disposable pads. Because they absorb menstrual fluid, you may still feel wet, sticky, and a tad uncomfortable with the added bulk, which further makes them far too noticeable under tight clothing. Moreover, a strong menstruation odour is much more likely to occur with both reusable and single-use pads because period blood comes into contact with air.

Menstrual Cups Need Less Frequent Change in Comparison to Pads

With a menstrual cup, you can successfully wait up to eight hours before emptying your period blood. Moreover, because menstrual cups are available with larger capacities; even those with heavy flows can relax and wait prior to emptying their menstrual cup. On the other hand, when it comes to reusable sanitary pads, healthcare practitioners suggest changing a pad once every four to eight hours.

To add to its list of advantages, menstrual cups are easier to clean, less likely to leak, easier to use on the go, and cheaper.

Now, let us look at some of the advantages of reusable sanitary pads.

Sanitary Pads are Less Intimidating than Menstrual Cups

Some women are far more body-conscious in comparison with others and have absolutely no qualms when it comes to inserting their fingers or menstrual cups into their vaginas. However, if a woman feels squeamish or even a tad intimidated at the mere idea of inserting a foreign object into her body, she is not alone. It could be that you are a teenage girl who has just got your first period. Or maybe, you have not had sexual intercourse yet or inserted anything into your vagina. In such a scenario, reusable sanitary pads come to the rescue.

You Can Come Up with Your Own Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Reusable Pad

Are you aware that you can create reusable sanitary pads? You can have them created for you by a seamstress, or you can make them yourself at home if you are well-versed in sewing. This will eventually save money, especially if you successfully recycle your used, natural-fibre clothing. Their effectiveness will depend on the type of material you use as well as how absorbent they are.

The Bottomline

Although it may seem that the advantages of using a menstrual cup can outweigh those of a reusable sanitary pad, it must be realised that each woman has unique needs. Therefore, when it comes to the eventual comparison, one must keep in mind that it may not have to be an either-or choice: one can successfully combine using both, using a menstrual cup on heavier-flow days and sanitary pads at the end of the menstruation cycle.