Are menstrual cups safe for more than 12 hours of continuous wear? Since both the DivaCup and Diva Disc are internal medical devices, there are regulations around their safe use. We do not recommend wearing your DivaCup or Diva Disc for longer than 12 hours at a time.
What Does This Mean?
Menstrual cups and discs are safe for up to 12 hours of continuous period protection. Depending on your flow, cleanse and rinse your cup or disc a minimum of 2-3 times daily. Many menstrual cup users will remove their cup before its full, empty the menstrual blood into the sink or toilet, and rinse it out before inserting the cup again.
If your menstrual flow is light, this means that you can choose the best times throughout the day to empty and rinse out your cup or disc. If you have a heavy flow, this means less risk of overflowing throughout the day or having your menstrual disc auto-dump while urinating.
What To Do If You Leave Your Cup/Disc in For Too Long
As soon as you realize you’ve left your menstrual cup or disc in for more than 12 hours, wash your hands, pinch the base, and remove it. Empty the cup in the sink or toilet and thoroughly wash it with pH-balanced, oil-free, mild cleanser, like DivaWash. For extra measure, sanitize it in boiling water for 5-10 minutes to eliminate any lingering menstrual cup smell or discoloration.
My Diva Cup Smells
While reusable menstrual products are great for cutting down on time and disposable pads and tampons, they do require changing periodically. Leaving your cup in for longer than 12 hours may result in odors and staining. If this smell or staining lingers, try thoroughly cleansing and boiling your cup again.
Depending on the individual’s vaginal pH and menstrual flow and volume, staining can occur. This will vary from person to person, however, and can be minimized through regular and proper cleansing and care.
If you find your cup or disc smells or is becoming discolored, never soak it in hydrogen peroxide. This (along with several other ingredients) is unsafe for the vagina and its microbiome.
Menstrual blood contains blood, tissue, mucus, as well as naturally occurring vaginal bacteria. While this is all normal and healthy, it’s meant to be eliminated and can be problematic if held in for too long. Wearing a menstrual cup for longer than 12 hours can increases chances of infection. Although in comparison to other period products, these chances are still quite low.
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a risk often associated with tampons. TSS is a life-threatening disease caused by the vaginal colonization of Staphylococcus aureus. This occurs most often when menstrual blood-soaked tampons remain inside the vagina for too long. When oxygen is introduced by the tampons to the anaerobic vaginal environment, Staphylococcus aureus can use it to produce TSS toxin 1, leading to menstrual induced TSS.
While the occurrence of TSS has diminished since the 1980s due to warning labels and greater awareness, the chances of it occurring with menstrual cups and discs has always been significantly lower. This is because these devices are made of solid, flexible materials that don’t absorb menstrual fluid or contain any oxygen. This makes it much more challenging for the virus to reproduce in this environment.
Why Are Menstrual Cups Safe for Up to 12 Hours?
Menstrual cups and discs are made from bacteria resistant 100% medical grade silicone. As an internal menstrual device, we have designed them with body safe medical grade silicone and pigments. This means that they are safe for direct body contact for prolonged periods of time. They are entirely safe to be worn for up to 12 hours of continuous protection, thanks to these materials and the care that we have taken to develop and manufacture them.
Both the DivaCup and Diva Disc are Health Canada and FDA approved. However, these approvals come with regulations, and wear beyond 12 hours is not deemed safe or recommended. Medical grade silicone is designed not to interfere with the vagina and its microbiome when it’s taken care of properly. This includes regular cleansing and proper storage in a breathable cotton bag (never an airtight container), and periodic emptying and rinsing.
Remember to always care for your menstrual cup or disc properly, so that it can properly care for you in safe and reliable ways.
If you ever have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to our Consumer Experience Team for their help and expertise.
- Christian Neumann, et al. “Menstrual Cup-Associated Toxic Shock Syndrome.” European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine, no. LATEST ONLINE, 22 July 2020, https://doi.org/10.12890/2020_001825. Accessed 25 June 2021.
- Schlievert, Patrick M., and Catherine C. Davis. “Device-Associated Menstrual Toxic Shock Syndrome.” Clinical Microbiology Reviews, vol. 33, no. 3, 17 June 2020, https://doi.org/10.1128/cmr.00032-19.
- Schlievert, Patrick M. “Effect of Non-Absorbent Intravaginal Menstrual/Contraceptive Products on Staphylococcus Aureus and Production of the Superantigen TSST-1.” European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, vol. 39, no. 1, 18 Dec. 2019, pp. 31–38, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10096-019-03685-x. Accessed 22 Sept. 2020.