They are inverted bell-shaped, flexible, silicone or thermoplastic elastomer. Menstrual cups, or “cups”, designed to collect menstrual blood as it enters the vagina, are increasingly used as menstrual protection. But if you are a carrier of an intrauterine device (IUD) or IUD, some precautions are necessary, recalls the independent medical journal Prescribe in its February 2021 issue.

A risk of unwanted pregnancy

It all comes down to removing the cup, according to the review. Abrupt removal exposes in fact to a displacement of the IUD, or even to a decrease in its effectiveness and therefore to a risk of unwanted pregnancy, alert Prescribe.

How then to remove it safely? Do not pull on the rod but pinch the bottom of the cup so as to lift it from the walls of the vagina. The air that will get between the cup and the vagina will then allow it to descend effortlessly.

To read also: Tampons, towels, cup … which to choose?

Warn at the time of IUD insertion

Prescribing, dispensing or inserting an IUD are opportunities for caregivers to warn women of this risk, and to encourage them to avoid abrupt withdrawals from menstrual cups (…) or to prefer wearing external protection which do not expose to this problem“details the review.

What does she mean by “external protections“? The classic sanitary napkins of course, but also, more ecological and more economical, washable sanitary napkins and period panties.

Also watch out for toxic shock

Another advantage of these external protections: they eliminate the risk of toxic shock. A risk that exists for both menstrual cups and tampons, when these internal protections are worn for too long.

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Toxic shock is usually linked to two types of bacteria: streptococci and staphylococci. If these bacteria are found “trapped” in a vagina blocked by a tampon or a cup, the toxins they produce will accumulate and pass into the blood, causing fever, vomiting, headaches, or even a reduction of limb irrigation and, in the most severe cases, death of the patient.

To avoid the risk of toxic shock, wash your hands thoroughly before handling your cup or tampon, empty your cup every four to six hours, and change tampons every six hours.