You may have heard about menstrual cups from friends or online. A menstrual cup is a reusable cup that is inserted in the vagina like a tampon. Rather than absorb blood, a menstrual cup collects it and needs to be emptied. If you aren’t already using cups, here are four benefits that might persuade you.

They’re Extremely Safe

A recent report published on The Lancet looked at effectiveness and safety of menstrual cups. Out of over 3300 participants, only five reported toxic shock syndrome, and there was no increase in bacterial vaginitis, yeast infections, or significant imbalances in vaginal flora. This is because a menstrual cup does not have chemicals that might be present in a tampon or disposable pad (although a pad is not inserted, the chemicals in the pad are absorbed into the skin).

They’re Effective

The same Lancet study found that menstrual cups are at least as effective as tampons or pads at collecting blood and preventing leaks. Some studies have also found that they shorten periods and reduce menstrual cramps.

They’re Environmentally Friendly

Women use an average of 20 pads/tampons for each period. Considering that one menstrual cup can last you 10-20 years, switching to a cup can save you hundreds of pounds. And although menstrual cups, which are made of silicone, aren’t biodegradable, they are easily recycled. Menstrual cups are also a viable solution for women who may not have access to regular sanitary products.

They’re Not One Size Fits All

Menstrual cups come in a variety of shapes and sizes, just like women do. This means you can find a cup that’s most suited for your body. There’s a great tool to help you choose the right cup here.

What the Scholars Say

Your only hesitation at this point might be scholarly opinion. There is a a valid difference of opinion on the matter depending on the madhab you follow, ranging from permissible to disliked to outright not allowed.

My own personal take is that we lack female scholars who have an in depth knowledge of issues pertaining to women. Instead, we end up with male scholars who have a very limited understanding of female anatomy, and as a result equate period collection methods to sexual penetration. I feel like if we had more female scholars, or even more scholars with a qualified background in the female reproductive system, then we wouldn’t even have to question whether or not a safer, effective, environmentally friendly collection method would be permissible. But, c’est la vie.

What’s your preferred collection method? Have you had success with a menstrual cup or other method? I would love to hear your thoughts.