Menstrual Cups Vs. Pads – Which is Better?

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In Brief: Menstrual cups Vs. pads- which is better?

Menstrual cups are flexible, reusable, environmentally-friendly, cost-effective cups used for collecting menstrual fluid. It has lesser leakage and reduced infection risk. Conventional sanitary pads are disposable, non-biodegradable, have high lifetime cost, and increased infection risk. Organic sanitary pads may be environmentally friendly. A menstrual cup may be better than conventional pads, but the choice is a personal preference.

Menstrual cups, tampons, and sanitary pads are menstrual sanitary products. Each one of them has advantages and disadvantages.

Women may prefer one product over another, depending on several parameters. This article compares the features, pros, and cons of menstrual cups and pads.

Menstrual cups Vs. Menstrual pads- which is better?

ParametersMenstrual cupsMenstrual pads
PrincipleCollecting menstrual fluidAbsorbing menstrual liquid
Disposable/ReusableMajority reusableDisposable
MaterialsSilicone, rubber, latex, and elastomerRayon, cotton, and plastics
LeakageLess chanceMore chance if not changing often
Infection riskSterilized menstrual cups do not cause infectionsMore probable to allergies and infections
Environmental impactEnvironmentally friendlyHazardous due to plastics
FamiliarizationNot familiarFamiliar
DisposalCan be messy and need access to waterEasy

Menstrual hygiene is a vital part of women’s health. Sanitary pads and menstrual cups help in maintaining menstrual hygiene and live a healthy life.

Working Principle

Menstrual cups are bell-shaped or flexible, diaphragm-like, inserted into the vagina to collect the menstrual blood. The insertion could be painful at the beginning, which could be overcome by practice.

Sanitary pads are pads that could be stuck on the innerwear and worn. It absorbs the menstrual fluid and need not be inserted into the vagina. It is comparatively easy to use.

Reusable Vs. Disposable

The majority of the menstrual cups are reusable rather than disposable.

Sanitary pads are disposable as they are single-use products. It may not be suitable for some physical activity.


Menstrual cups are mostly made of silicone, rubber, latex, and elastomer. Most cups are naturally colorless and translucent.

Sanitary pads are made of a range of materials, including rayon, cotton, and plastics. The different types include panty liner, ultra-thin, regular, maxi, overnight, and maternity.


The initial purchase of the menstrual cup may be expensive. As it can be reused and can last for years, it tends to be cheaper.

Every month, buying sanitary pads may seem affordable, but the lifetime cost is higher than the menstrual cup.

Leakage Issues

Menstrual cups tend to have similar or lesser leakage and stains if appropriately placed. It can be used up to 12 hours.

Sanitary pads may have more leakage if not changed frequently. A study showed that sanitary pads need to be changed 2.8 times more often than menstrual cups.

Infection risk

The sterilized menstrual cup may not cause any infections. A study showed that the menstrual cups’ provision to the school girls for one year had a lower risk of STI and bacterial vaginosis.

It doesn’t alter the vaginal pH and microflora.

Sanitary pads may cause rashes, irritation, and vaginal infections. Also, certain chemicals in the sanitary pads are endocrine-disruptors, carcinogens, and allergens, causing health issues.

Environmental impact

Reusable menstrual cups are environmentally-friendly and a sustainable option as there is no daily waste and less amount of discarded packaging. They also help to reduce solid waste.

Majority of conventional sanitary pads take years to decay as it is made of plastics and non-degradable materials.

Some have switched to organic sanitary pads made of eco-friendly materials that may decompose under microorganisms’ action.


A menstrual cup is relatively new, and there is a lack of awareness about its existence. Women may take some cycles till then they become familiar.

Most women are familiar with conventional sanitary pads due to their convenience, accessibility, and ease of use.


After the use, removing the cup without spilling can be tricky, especially in public places. Cleaning the cup is challenging when there is limited access to water.

The disposable of the sanitary pads can be easy. It may be wrapped in a cover and thrown in the bin.


The menstrual cup may be better if looking for a reusable, cost-effective, safer sanitary product that is less hazardous to the environment and has decreased infection chance.

However, many women prefer conventional pads because of convenience, ease of use, and familiarity. The choice between a menstrual cup and organic pads may be a personal preference.