Some of the main questions Ruby Cup users have when starting to use menstrual cups are related to how long they can be worn. If you are planning to make the switch to menstrual cups, there are important recommendations to guarantee you the best and safest experience. We’ve collected your cup safety questions, and asked Dr. Alice Byram to answer all of them for you.
Are menstrual cups safe?
Menstrual cups are safe when used correctly. There is a very small risk of infection if a menstrual cup is left in too long.
The Lancet, one of the most prestigious medical journals, published a review of all the research about menstrual cups and concluded that menstrual cups are an effective and safe alternative to other menstrual products.
How long can you wear a menstrual cup
One of the greatest benefits of a menstrual cup is the number of hours it can be used, but how do you know how many hours to leave it in for? Some period cups recommend emptying a period cup every 12 hours and others 8 hours.
Although cups have been around for many years, like many other period and menopause linked issues, there is a lack of data and studies about menstrual cups. Global standards on the material used and length of time cups can be left in are yet to be established.
At Ruby Cup, we take safety very seriously, we use a premium quality medical grade silicone for our cups and err on the side of caution by recommending that you wear your menstrual cup for no longer than 8 hours in line with the official recommendations for tampon usage.
It is worth noting that some regulatory bodies around the world, such as the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia (TGA), state that a menstrual cup should not be worn for longer than 8 hours.
8 hours is the maximum recommended time between emptying and rinsing your Ruby Cup. Many period cup users need to empty their cup more frequently than this if they have a heavy flow or on heavier days of their cycle.
Why is there a limit to how long can you leave a menstrual cup in?
Bacteria can grow on a menstrual cup that is left in for too long, increasing the risk of infection. The same is true for tampons, the FDA recommends that users change each tampon every 4 to 8 hours.
Ruby Cups are made from 100% medical-grade silicone and unlike many tampons they are blissfully free from plastics, latex, toxins and bleaches.
How to reduce risk of menstrual cup infection
You can reduce risk of infection by following these easy steps:
- Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling your period cup
- Rinse your period cup with water before and after use.
- Do not leave your period cup in for longer than 8 hours before emptying and rinsing.
- Disinfect your period cup at end of cycle - either by boiling in a pan for 2-3 minutes or by using a Ruby Clean.
Can menstrual cups cause TSS?
Toxic Shock Syndrome is a very rare but life-threatening condition where bacteria which usually live on the skin go deeper into the body. The risk of TSS associated with a menstrual cup is globally very low. Numbers vary between 0.8 and 3.4 of 100 000 people using menstrual cups compared to 6 to 12 people using high absorbency tampons in 1980 (source).
TSS can be avoided by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling your cup, and emptying and rinsing your menstrual cup at least every 8h. Read more about TSS and how to avoid it here.
Can you leave a menstrual cup in overnight?
Yes, you can wear a period cup overnight. However, if you typically sleep more than eight hours a night, you can use a reusable pad or period underwear instead since menstrual cups (and tampons) should not be worn for more than eight hours.
Does size affect how long can you wear a menstrual cup?
At Ruby Cup we have two menstrual cup sizes – small and medium. There are two factors to consider when you’re working out which size Ruby Cup will work for you: the amount of blood you lose when you have your period (your menstrual flow) and the location of your cervix.
The Ruby Cup Medium can hold more menstrual fluid, making it a great choice if you have a heavy flow. It’s also a good fit if you have a high cervix. If you have a light flow and/or a low cervix, we recommend you choose the Ruby Cup Small.
Find out more about what size menstrual cup fits you best in our menstrual cup size chart.
Our 100% money-back guarantee not only gives you time to get used to using your new cup, but if you think you need to order a different size, we’ll exchange it for you – or give you your money back – with pleasure.
How long does a menstrual cup last?
Your Ruby Cup should last for ten years when properly cleaned and stored, however you should replace your cup if it gets any holes, cuts or is in bad condition.
You may notice slight discoloration over time, this is normal and will not affect the effectiveness or safety of the cup.
Date last reviewed: September 2020
Reviewed by Dr Alice Byram Bsc Med & Surg UMA MA Hons MML Cantab
Dr Alice Byram was born in England to a French-British family. Following on from a degree in Spanish from the University of Cambridge, she went to Spain to study medicine. On her return to the UK, she worked in Emergency Medicine for several years before recently returning to Barcelona.