Believe it or not, the menstrual cup has actually been around for a century. Yet even though this period protection device has been embraced by devoted fans in the last decade, its popularity still lags behind that of pads and tampons.
But that just might change now that one of the world's biggest feminine product brands has come out with a cup of their own.
Tampax has just released the new Tampax Cup, the company's first ever menstrual cup. They say it's a game changer when it comes to comfort and reliable protection thanks to its improved design and functionality.
"We were able to leverage the size of the Tampax brand to really dig into the research and see what the current state of the cup market was like and what people thought of cups and then try to design something better," Rebecca Stoebe-Latham, senior scientist at Procter and Gamble (Tampax's parent company), tells Health.
Stoebe-Latham says their research turned up three main findings. Most cups on the market are shaped too long (making them uncomfortable), and cups with a rounder base put pressure on the bladder. Also, while women prefer softer cups, those tend to slip and can be harder to grip for removal.
So the Tampax team designed a product that solved all of those issues, says Stoebe-Latham. The lower third of the vagina contains the greatest concentration of nerves, she explains, which is why the Tampax Cup is shorter than most cups. That means it won’t rub up against your sensitive spots and make you uncomfortable.
Tampax also took MRI images of women wearing various forms of the cup to develop a shape that won’t put pressure on the bladder. The solution the team landed on was making a more V-shaped product as opposed to the traditional bell-like cup design.
For the final fix, Tampax chose a silicon that’s softer than most but added extra grip rings to make it easier to pinch the bottom of the cup for quick removal. The scientists also opted for a sturdy shape and robust rim to avoid slippage. Like many other cups, the new cup is reusable and offers up to 12 hours of protection.
Stoebe-Latham says the team’s main goal was to invent a new cup that makes menstruation easier for all women. "We really hope this product can make periods more talked about and empowering instead of something that’s a drag and taboo," she adds.
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