Put A Cup In It

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.

12 Responses

  1. I’m using it.. and trust me it’s best thing ever for a woman..
    But I want to buy another one, but can’t find it anymore.. can you please suggest where we can buy it in India?

  2. Came across this article while researching where I might be able to find another of what I have, and I have to say, I strongly disagree.

    My valve menstrual cup is a godsend. I hike and camp often, and having the valve lets me continue my active lifestyle without worrying about having to pull out and rinse a cup in an outhouse (or in the wild). It is also my secret weapon when I travel. It almost never leaks (the key is to position the valve such that the squeeze points are lined up with your legs instead of front-to-back so you can’t accidentally squeeze it when sitting), and when it does, it’s never from the valve; it’s just like any other leak from my other (non-valve) cups. I always wear period-proof underwear as a backup anyway. I’ve been completely zero-waste for my period for years!

    Also, I’ve never had a smell issue with mine (I have the second-to-last pictured above, from AIWO). I rinse it regularly throughout my period and wash it thoroughly with diluted apple cider vinegar after my cycle.

    About the only issue I can report is that it’s not great for my early/late period when I’m drier (which is why I have other cups for those days). I find the valve can sometimes suction to my skin, which can pinch and hurt. But that’s rare.

    I would also argue that TSS is far less common in cups than in tampons, and the fact that you aren’t pulling it out as frequently would reduce the probability of irritation and abrasions on the vaginal walls that lead to TSS (not to say you shouldn’t still remove it and clean it regularly).

    I sincerely hope more companies invest in valve options, as it just makes it so much easier for us beautiful humans who bleed!

  3. They should make a Bell valve cup with a cap on the bottom…
    the only thing that would suck with them is they can’t be turned inside out.

    It needs a cap or else when it is too full it would just pour out 😀

  4. I used a cup with a bead which slides in and out of a locking position. It was a blessing. The main advantage was, the menstrual cup unfolded immediately upon insertion because of the air flow. I inserted the cup in unlocked valve position and then slid the bead in locking position. With a regular cup, the darn thing often did not unfold inside my body and stayed in the folded/pinched shape. It has to open up to collect the menstrual blood! The valve eliminated this problem! That’s why it’s revolutionary! In my case the valve was big enough to empty out the clots, or I slid a finger in and pressed the cup to empty it out. Then I slide the bead back in locking position. It never leaked. Now India has banned aliexpress, from where I ordered it. I needed a bigger cup. I don’t know when I can order it.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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