Science

How much can a menstrual cup hold compared to a tampon?

Tampons come in different sizes and with different absorbencies. This is so that you can find one that suits you depending on your flow during different times throughout your period. A menstrual cup with a capacity between 25 and 30 ml holds the equivalent of 3 large tampons.

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Menskopp vs Tampong

How much can a tampon hold?

What size should I use?

Does the size of my vagina matter?

How much can a menstrual cup hold?

Initially, it can be difficult to know what size of tampon to use.

Often trial and error is the only way to find one that works for you.

The size of the tampon has nothing to do with the size of your vagina.

Tampon sizes refer to their absorption capacity, that is to say how much blood they can hold.

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What size should I use?

If you have a tampon that is too small, it will be filled very rapidly and needs to be changed often.

If your tampon is too large it may hurt to take it out because it’s too dry and hasn’t been totally filled.

Taking out a dry tampon isn’t good for your mucus membranes either, and can lead to injury and infection.

Since people bleed different amounts during different stages of menstruation, you always need at least two sizes of tampons.

And it’s important to use the right size at the right time.

Take a look at the following tables to learn more about available sizes.

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How much can a tampon hold?

A tampon’s absorbency is measured in grams (g).

1 g is often equated to 1 ml (milliliter).

One milliliter is equal to one thousandth or 0.001 of a liter.

In the US, the FDA have established absorbency levels for tampons.

FDA

Food and Drug Administration.

In Europe, the HAPCO group has established their absorbency levels.

There is essentially no difference between them, other than how the information is presented.

Regarding the HAPCO group: The European tampon manufacturers have all gotten together to form a single organization – the HAPCO group (Hygiene Absorbent Producers Committee).

HAPCO group is part of EDANA.

EDANA

EDANA stands for the European Disposables and Nonwovens Association, and is the international branch organization for non-woven products and related industries.

Nonwoven is a type of textile material which is composed of fibers and predominantly used for hygiene articles such as tampons, pads, and diapers.

Tamponger

Image: Nonwovens used in tampons.

Binda

Image: Nonwovens used in pads. However, these kittycat-pads are not necessarily made from nonwovens. 🐱

Blöja

Image: Nonwovens used in diapers.

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Tables: Absorbency of tampons

Drops Grams
  < 6
    6-9
      9-12
        12-15
          15-18
            18-21

Table 1: Absorbency of Tampons, EDANA (Europe)

Absorbency Grams
Light < 6
Regular 6-9
Super 9-12
Super Plus 12-15
Ultra 15-18
Term N/A 18+

Table 2: Absorbency of Tampons, FDA (USA)

Light / 1 Drop are for the last days of menstruation when flow is minimal.

Many people find Regular / 2 Drops sufficient for most menstruation days.

Super / 3 Drops have somewhat higher absorbency than Regular / 2 Drops which some
people require during the first few days when they have heavier flow.

Some people may require Super Plus / 4 Drops if they experience very heavy flow at the
beginning of their menstruation.

Most people never need to use Ultra / 5 Drops.

There are even tampons that can absorb more than 18 grams (Term N/A / 6 Drops).

If you experience very heavy flow, these may be an alternative.

But ask your doctor first to ensure that this is the right choice for you.

Renée Voltaire Lingonvecka Tamponger Super Plus

Image: Absorbency listed on tampon packaging.

OB ProComfort Tamponger Super

Image: Absorbency listed on tampon packaging.

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Comparison of 7 different tampons and their absorbency

Here’s a worthwhile clip of a comparison between 7 different tampon brands and their absorbency.

A second test in the same video demonstrates how two different tampons leave behind different amounts of fiber after being submerged in water; particles your vagina would be better off without.

Syngyna Test

All tampon manufacturers must abide by a so-called Syngyna Test to confirm how much their tampons can absorb, measured in grams.

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TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome)

TSS is a very rare bacterial illness that can be caused by tampon use.

The risk of TSS goes up when the tampon remains in for longer.

To minimize the risk of TSS, you should make sure to change your tampon at least every 4 to 8 hours.

If you tend to sleep longer than 8 hours, you should avoid sleeping with a tampon in.

Remember to always have good hand hygiene when dealing with tampons, as well as other hygiene products.

How much can a menstrual cup hold?

Måttstreck

Image: Measuring marks / capacity indicators on a menstrual cup.

There are many advantages to using the menstrual cup.

I won’t go into all of those now as we’ve already published a long article about that issue in a previous blog post.

Well, one point that’s hard to avoid, since it’s part and parcel with tampon use is dry and irritated mucous
membranes.

This problem is avoided by switching to a menstrual cup.

OrganiCup answer the capacity question with the following explanation:

Organicup holds a volume of blood equivalent to up to 3 large, blood-filled tampons.

An average person bleeds at a rate of 3-4 tablespoons per period.

I like that they use terms like blood-filled tampons and tablespoons which are easy to relate to.

But it’s best to remember that this is probably based on their own statistics and likely apply only to the most common flows of menstruation.

So if you experience heavier than average flow, for example, you should give yourself some extra breathing room, or bleeding room, that is.

Want to know exactly how much a menstrual cup holds measured in milliliters?

Visit our menstrual cup database.

There we have over 150 different menstrual cups, with ml provided for most of them.

minmenskopp.se databasen startsidan

Image: minmenskopp.se database, homepage.

Sök menskoppar

Image: minmenskopp.se database, search and filter.

Jämförelse menskoppar

Image: minmenskopp.se database, menstrual cup comparison chart.

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Sources

https://se.lunette.com (image)
https://kaliboxes.com/products/kali-organic-tampon-box (image)
https://xleiax.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/kitty-kat-cloth-bindor-i-form-av-katter (image)
https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/news/a43348/tampon-disposal (image)
https://www.libero.se/blojor-byxblojor-och-babyvard/newborn/ (image)
https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tampong
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?FR=801.430
https://www.edana.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/tampons-code-of-practice-(english).pdf
https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-do-tampon-absorbency-ratings-mean-2721890
https://www.1177.se/Skane/Fakta-och-rad/Sjukdomar/Riklig-mens
https://www.1177.se/Skane/Fakta-och-rad/Sjukdomar/Toxic-shock-syndrome-TSS-tampongsjuka
https://www.organicup.com/how-to-use-a-menstrual-cup/

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