Menstrual cup vs. period underwear: Which is better?


Menstrual cup or period pants? Considering switching to a more sustainable period product, but unsure which one to go with? 

Both menstrual cups and period pants have been gaining a lot of buzz over the last few years as more eco-friendly alternatives to sanitary pads and tampons. 

This blog will help you understand the differences between menstrual cups and period underwear and which option is best for you! 

#1 First things first, what are period pants and what is a menstrual cup?

Period underwear is an absorbent form of clothing designed to be worn during menstruation. It’s generally made up of multiple layers of microfibre polyester which is able to soak your period blood. 

A menstrual cup is a small, bell-shaped cup that can be inserted inside your vagina to collect your period blood. Most menstrual cups today are made from medical grade silicone.

#2 Which is more comfortable?

For most users, a menstrual cup is more comfortable than period underwear – this is because you cannot feel the cup once it is inside you. This means you can go about your day without feeling any discomfort at all.

On the other hand, while wearing period underwear, you would feel your menstrual flow in the form of moisture, just as you would while wearing a sanitary pad. Some users also report that period pants can feel a bit bulky compared to regular underwear, due to the multiple layers of absorbent material.

If you suffer from vaginismus or are uncomfortable with insertion, then reusable period pants may be more comfortable than a menstrual cup.

#3 Which is more sustainable?

Period pants can last you from 6 months up to 2 years - so you save between 90-360 sanitary pads or tampons. 

In comparison, one Asan menstrual cup can last you for up to 10 years, saving you from disposing of almost 2000 sanitary pads or tampons over the same amount of time - making menstrual cups much more sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives.

#4 Which is easier to use for beginners?

Period pants are easier to use for beginners as there is no learning curve as compared to inserting a menstrual cup. 

To use period underwear, simply wear them like you would with normal underwear – and you’re good to go!

One the other hand, menstrual cups come with a learning curve. You need to learn how to fold your cup and insert it into the vagina. After a few tries, this becomes very easy. 

beginners have used the Asan cup and once users get used to the cup, they never look back!

#6 Can you use both menstrual cups and period pants together?

Most people who use a menstrual cup don’t need any backup form of period protection.

That said, in some cases you might want to use menstrual cups and period pants together. 

If you are new to using a menstrual cup then period underwear can be used as back-up incase of leakage as your body adjusts to the cup. Some users with very heavy flow also tend to use both together as a form of backup protection.

#7 How long can you wear each product for? 

You can wear a menstrual cup for up to 12 hours. Most cups hold 3 times as much as a regular tampon or pad, so you won’t need to change as often.

For period underwear, you will need to check the absorbance to determine how long you can wear them for. Period pants come in many different levels of absorbency – the lighter absorbency may be less bulky and more comfortable, but you would need to change it more often.

Please remember to change your period pants or remove and rinse your menstrual cup within 12 hours due to ensure safe hygiene. 

#8 Which is more affordable? How many of each do you need?

Menstrual cups are far more affordable than period underwear.

You only need one menstrual cup, which will cost you between £20 and £30. And this one will last you up to 10 years.

In comparison, for every period cycle you need 4-5 pairs of period pants which will cost between £20 and £30 each. You will need to replace your period pants after roughly a year due to regular wear and tear.

#9 What materials are used in menstrual cups and period pants? Which is safer?

The Asan cup is made of Class VI medical grade silicone - which is the same material used in heart stents and breast implants. This material is certified as safe to use by medical authorities including US-FDA.

Period pants are made of synthetic materials such as multiple layers of microfibre polyester, which is a type of plastic that is able to soak moisture. As it is not a natural fabric, it can prevent skin from being able to breathe, and can in some cases cause irritation.

#10 Which is easier to clean?

Menstrual cups are much quicker and easier to clean compared with period pants.

There are two steps to cleaning your menstrual cup. In between periods, soak your cup in boiling water for 10 minutes, or use Asan’s one-drop cleanser to sanitise your cup. 

During periods, simply empty the cup and rinse with clean water, and reinsert straight away.

Cleaning period pants is a bit more time consuming. As soon as you remove them, wash period pants in cold water to remove most of the menstrual flow. Then run them in a cold, delicate cycle in the washing machine (use detergent as recommended by the manufacturer) which will ensure the blood comes out of the pants.

Finally, air dry your period underwear until completely dry before re-using. You can’t dry period pants on the radiator as this may damage the waterproof lining.

#11 Which is better for heavy flow?

Period pants made for heavy flow are made with extra layers, so they can feel bulky and uncomfortable. 

Asan has a special size for heavy flow which ensures that you do not need to empty it out frequently and it is super comfortable as you don’t feel it inside you. 

#12 Can you wear period pants and menstrual cups for swimming?

You can’t wear period pants for swimming as it will cause leaks and is unhygienic. 

Menstrual cups are perfect for swimming as they are insertable products and continue to collect your period flow while you’re in water. 

#13 Can you exercise in period pants and menstrual cups?

Yes, you can exercise using both period pants and menstrual cups. 

That being said, period pants can be quite uncomfortable whilst exercising as they will collect more moisture as you sweat. 

Menstrual cups are the most user-friendly option to use while exercising as you don’t feel it and can do whatever physical activity you like! 

#14 Can you sleep while wearing period pants and menstrual cups? 

You can sleep while wearing either period underwear and menstrual cups - however menstrual cups are much more comfortable to sleep with as you do not feel it inside you at all.

The verdict – choose the best product for your body!

At Asan, we are strongly in favour of menstrual cups due to the fact that they are more affordable, more eco-friendly and more comfortable compared to period pants, tampons or sanitary pads.

That said, not everyone is comfortable with insertion and period pants are more sustainable compared with tampons and pads.

The most important thing is to do your research and choose the period that is best suited for your needs. 

At all costs, avoid cheap period pants and poor quality menstrual cups which may contain harmful chemicals. High quality period products will work better, last longer and be safer for your body.