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What’s better period cups or reusable pads?

When discussing the merits of period cups versus reusable pads, it’s important to consider several factors, including effectiveness, comfort, environmental impact, cost, and individual health considerations. Both products offer sustainable alternatives to disposable menstrual products and have their unique advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s talk about effectiveness and comfort

Period cups are small, flexible cups made of silicone, rubber, or latex that you insert into your vagina to catch menstrual blood. Many users find them more effective than pads because they can hold more blood, reducing the risk of leaks.

Cups can be worn for up to 12 hours, depending on your flow. They are often favored for their comfort, as most users don’t feel them once properly inserted.

Reusable Pads are made from materials like cotton, these pads are similar in shape and use to disposable pads but can be washed and reused. They come in various sizes and absorbencies. Some users find them more comfortable and less intrusive than inserting a cup.

However, they might need to be changed more frequently than cups, depending on your menstrual flow.

Environmental impact

Both options are far more sustainable than disposable tampons and pads. A single menstrual cup can last up to 10 years, significantly reducing waste.

Reusable pads also have a long lifespan, though not as long as cups. They require water and energy to clean, but their overall environmental footprint is still much smaller than disposable products.


The initial cost of a menstrual cup can be higher than a pack of disposable pads or tampons, but over time, it saves money because it’s a one-time purchase that lasts for years.

Reusable pads also have a higher upfront cost compared to disposables, but they are cost-effective in the long run.

Health Considerations

For menstrual cups, there’s a learning curve to inserting and removing them, and they might not be suitable for everyone, such as those with certain medical conditions or who are uncomfortable with internal menstrual products. When used correctly, cups are associated with a lower risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) than tampons.

Reusable pads are hypoallergenic and free from chemicals often found in disposables, making them a good choice for those with sensitive skin or allergies. However, they require regular washing to maintain hygiene.

Lifestyle Considerations

Your lifestyle and personal preferences play a significant role in choosing the right product. For instance, menstrual cups might be more convenient for those with an active lifestyle or who travel frequently, as they require less frequent changing. Reusable pads might appeal more to those who prioritize comfort and ease of use. Period cups might be good for those who are always on the go as cleaning is not as difficult and time-consuming.

Cultural and Personal Preferences

Cultural attitudes and personal comfort with one’s body can also influence the choice. Some may prefer pads as they do not require internal insertion, while others might find cups more discreet and efficient.

Ultimately, the choice between menstrual cups and reusable pads depends on individual needs, comfort, lifestyle, and personal preferences. Both are effective, eco-friendly, and cost-effective in the long term, offering viable alternatives to traditional disposable menstrual products. It’s advisable to try both to determine which one works best for you.

As with any menstrual product, proper hygiene and following the manufacturer’s instructions are essential for health and effectiveness.

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