Period Underwear Vs Menstrual Cup _ Pads Vs Tampons Vs Menstrual Cups

Summary: Choosing the right menstrual product can be challenging, especially for those making a switch from traditional pads or tampons. Two popular options are period underwear and menstrual cups. They both offer environmental and financial benefits compared to disposable products. In this article, we will compare and contrast the two products based on their effectiveness, comfort, ease of use, cost, and environmental impact.

1. Effectiveness

Period underwear is designed to absorb menstrual blood, similar to pads. They can hold 1-2 tampon’s worth of liquid and come in varying absorbency levels. Many users find that they can last for up to 12 hours without leaking, which makes them an excellent option for overnight use. However, the effectiveness can vary depending on the individual’s flow and fit of the underwear.

On the other hand, menstrual cups collect menstrual blood directly from the source and can hold up to three times as much fluid as a tampon. A well-fitted cup is highly effective as it creates a seal inside the vagina, preventing leaks. While some women may experience a learning curve when mastering insertion and removal, the majority of users find cups to be more reliable than pads or tampons.

Ultimately, the effectiveness of both products comes down to personal preference and individual needs.

2. Comfort

Period underwear comes in various styles, including high-waisted, bikini, and boyshorts, so it’s easy to find a comfortable fit. They’re made from soft, breathable fabric and tend to feel comfortable throughout the day. The only potential downside is that they feel bulkier than regular underwear, and some women may not like the sensation of wearing a pad-like product.

Menstrual cups are made from soft, medical-grade silicone, rubber, or latex, which makes them feel soft and pliable. They’re flexible and adjust to the body’s shape, so many women forget they’re even wearing one. However, some users may experience discomfort or sensitivity when inserting cups or removing them.

In general, both products are designed to be comfortable for wearers, but it is essential to size properly and understand how to use them correctly to ensure maximum comfort.

3. Ease of Use

Using period underwear is as simple as putting on regular underwear. It does not require any additional steps or insertions. After use, the underwear can be rinsed with cold water to remove excess blood before being washed in the washing machine. One potential drawback is that it takes longer to dry than regular underwear, so users may need to have several pairs on hand.

Inserting and removing menstrual cups can be tricky for women who have never used them before, but with practice, it becomes more manageable. Once inserted, a seal is created, making it incredibly unlikely that the cup will shift or cause leaks. After 12 hours of use, the cup needs to be removed, emptied, and washed with soap and water before reinsertion.

Period underwear is the winner when it comes to ease of use as it requires minimal changes to daily routine.

4. Cost

Period underwear can last up to two years, depending on how often they’re worn and correctly taken care of. The initial cost of purchasing multiple pairs can be higher than traditional pads or tampons, but over time, they save users a considerable amount of money. The estimated cost over ten years is around $130-300, depending on the brand and the number of underwears you purchase.

Menstrual cups are even more cost-effective as they can last up to 10 years with proper care. The initial cost of a cup can be higher than period underwear, but it will save users money in the long run. The estimated cost over ten years is $30-40.

Both products offer financial benefits compared to disposable products, but menstrual cups take the top spot when it comes to cost.

5. Environmental Impact

Both period underwear and menstrual cups are beneficial for the environment as they reduce waste produced by traditional pads or tampons. According to estimates, women use around 12,000 pads or tampons in their lifetime, most of which end up in landfills or oceans. Food and Drug Administration reports that roughly 20 billion pads, tampons, and applicators are discarded each year in North America alone.

Period underwear’s environmental impact is limited to washing the underwears, which requires water and energy consumption. On the other hand, menstrual cups do not require any additional resources other than cleaning with soap and water. Over ten years, a single person using disposable pads or tampons could generate over 160 pounds of trash; by comparison, the impact from the production and disposal of period underwear and menstrual cups is minimal.

Both products are eco-friendly, but menstrual cups have a slightly lower environmental impact.


Both period underwear and menstrual cups offer environmentally and financially sustainable alternatives to traditional pads or tampons. When it comes to choosing between the two, it ultimately depends on individual needs and preferences. Period underwear is effective, comfortable, and easy to use, making them an excellent option for those who prefer a hassle-free period. Menstrual cups provide reliable protection with a low environmental footprint, and although they can be intimidating to some users, most find them comfortable and easy to use with some practice. Ultimately, whichever product you choose, the move to reusable menstrual gear is an excellent way to reduce your environmental impact and save money in the long run.

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