What’s the Deal With Valve Menstrual Cups?

Valve Menstrual Cups Found on Alibaba and WishA valve menstrual cup is one that has a valve, or otherwise open, straw-like stem, that is meant to make it possible to empty the cup without having to remove it. We often see cup users (and the cup curious) excitedly asking for reviews of valve menstrual cups because it seemingly makes the cup even easier to use. It also alleviates concerns and fears about the often dreaded idea of emptying a cup in public.

How Do We Feel About Valve Menstrual Cups?

In short, we don’t support or recommend valve menstrual cups and the base reason is quite simple — safety. All menstrual products carry an inherent risk if used improperly and promoting emptying without removing also encourages extended wear (even if unintentionally), which can be dangerous or even fatal if TSS were to become a factor. While valve cups do say to wash every 12 hours we feel that extended user wear is a very real possibility. This risk seems especially unnecessary given the fact the vast majority of cup users can go 8-12 hours without needing to empty their cup.

Other Considerations:

  • Valves will most easily empty a thin, very liquid menstrual flow
  • For those who can comfortably wear cups with stems intact, the body of the cups are often reported as a good, comfortable fit
  • Valves are not ideal for typical thick, viscous menstrual blood
  • Clots cannot pass
  • Stems can’t be removed for comfort, or even trimmed in most cases
  • They must still be removed and washed every 12 hours
  • Feedback on the valves seem to be that overall they are simply unreliable. (Some users report that the valve works. Some say that it is too hard to open. And others say that normal wear can pinch the valve enough to cause excessive leaking.)
  • No reputable brand we’re aware of markets a valve cup (possibly for some of the above reasons?)

We love to see innovation in the menstrual cup space, but for now we are official out on this concept. If longer wear is something you need, we suggest checking out higher capacity cups on our Menstrual Cup Comparison Chart.

Have you tried a valve cup? Let us know what you thought in the comments.

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7 Comments

  • I have tried this style cup and the verdict was that in all honesty, I didn’t feel safe using it. I was afraid to accidentally squish the valve while sitting and making a mess. When I tried to empty it, it was a big ordeal because my flow was too thick and I had to finagle the darn stem and wound up pulling the cup out. I’m definitely a no stem wearer so this cup wasn’t a good fit at all.

  • Have to disagree. I have a Tulip valve cup and it is a godsend. I can easily check and empty at midday in the office loos without needing a sink, and it has never leaked either. I understand it may not work for everyone (those with thicker flow perhaps) but it’s so handy I’d definitely recommend trying it – just follow the safety instructions to change regularly as with every product.

  • I almost gave up on menstrual cups altogether until I discovered the valve cups. They are better for me because they are much, much, easier to insert and get seated properly. I used to have problems getting the cup to open up after insertion, but with the valve I can get the air that I need in the right place for the cup to open up fully. Then close the valve and it’s in place. I have never had problems with leakage. Also, it’s much easier to empty. I prefer to empty the cup prior to removal to eliminate potential messes.

    • Yes! Agreed! What brand do you use? I have used Floweret Cup. They’re ok, but problematic with faulty valves and the smell.

  • I love the valve cup. It prevents me accidentally dropping the cup down the toilet on removal, which is what has happened a few times in a public toilet and then left me with no sanitary protection! It is lifechanging. I am a teacher and days on my period can be a nightmare just getting to the toilet, or needing to be quick in the toilet. Also, rinsing a cup out in the staff toilet sink is not an option: this would be viewed as unhygienic and I would be prevented from doing so. This allows me to wear a cup, which are leakproof, basically; it allows me a quick, unmessy toilet break without feeling judged by other toilet sink users and generally allows me to feel more comfortable about being on my period.

    Leaving it in too long isn’t an issue: you want to remove and clean it at the end of the day anyway. Tampons, non valve cups and sponges always get forgotten about towards the end of a period when you are spotting, anyway!

    The issue I have is the smell of the silicone is so disgusting even after just one period and also I have cups with faulty valves. For the former, you cannot get rid of the smell, no matter how much you clean it or how often you change it! I wish more companies would make these so the material used to make them is better, and also so that the technology to make the valves is less hit-and-miss. I currently don’t use them, mainly because of these two reasons. Instead, I use tampons, which are not as leakproof as a cup but allow me quick and easy changing in public toilets with little mess.

  • I have tried some of the cheap versions pictured above. When I first heard of menstrual cup, I thought it was a great idea. I loved the idea of not forgetting to have brought tampons and the stinky smell I get after, but the downside was definitely taking out the cup in a public restroom. So I didn’t buy any. I saw the cheap one pictured above and give them a try. I only fell in love with one of them, but it started slipping. I wish there were more cups with valves that are more firm and have shorter stems.

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