Menstrual cups have the potential to improve comfort and dignity for girls and women; contribute to increased female school attendance; improve confidence and concentration and thus support better educational outcomes; allow greater participation in sport and physical activities and reduce environmentally damaging waste. With the correct information, the demand for menstrual cups is high; while accessibility due to lack of trainers and affordable cups, is low. Quality, appropriate information and education supports uptake.
The Menstrual Cup Coalition connects people and organisations to share experience and knowledge on cup provision and use. By combining strengths and working together, the impact of their work can expand and improve even further. The Menstrual Cup Coalition aims to improve the quality and range of research, and build evidence on the valuable role menstrual cups can play to improve girls and women’s sexual and reproductive health, dignity and equity.
Members of The Menstrual Cup Coalition are committed to the promotion of informed choice, and the responsible and safe use of menstrual cups in an ethical manner. They work together on menstrual cup interventions to inform the policies, decisions and actions of stakeholders including governments, faith leaders and NGOs to support, fund and authorise menstrual cup interventions. Members share information, such as training materials, leaflets or booklets, research, data collection methods and protocols, and successes and challenges experienced in research, programmes, education and marketing. They advise each other on ongoing and future relevant activities; identify research priorities; and collaborate on joint research projects.
Many NGOs working on menstrual health offer only disposable or washable pads to girls. The Menstrual Cup Coalition challenges this limited approach and will help to better inform where misinformation about menstrual cups occurs.
The Menstrual Cup Coalition does not endorse specific menstrual cup products or answer questions from individuals or organisations. Further information about menstrual cups is available on members’ websites and Facebook forums, or by contacting member organisations via their websites or email addresses.
Safe, comfortable & convenient
A menstrual cup is a small container made from medical-grade silicone, rubber, latex or elastomer which is inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual flow. The cup holds about the same as 3 pads or tampons and and when placed correctly cannot be felt when inside. Hygienic, safe, comfortable, and producing no smell, the menstrual cup is emptied every few hours and washed in clean water. The silicone varieties are hypo-allergenic and contain no additives, perfume or chemicals, so there are no side-effects.
Quality menstrual cups are approved by the US Federal Drug Agency and used by women in over 50 countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Russia, and Africa (including South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi). Cup costs vary by brand, at an average of about US$10. They are reusable and last 10 years, so saving the cost and pollution of the 2,500 disposable pads or tampons a woman would use in that time.
The first Menstrual Cup Summit was held in Kenya in 2018. Here is the report.
All photos ©World Menstrual Network unless otherwise stated.