Safety assessment scheme for menstrual cups and application for the evaluation of a menstrual cup comprised of medical grade silicone

Vincent P. Sica, Maria A. Friberg, Amber G. Teufel, Jan L. Streicher-Scott,d Ping Hu, Ursula G. Sauer, Kady L. Krivos, Jason M. Price, Timothy R. Baker, Joan M. Abbinante-Nissen, and Kara E. Woellerg

Background Ensuring menstrual cup safety is paramount, yet a menstrual cup safety assessment scheme is lacking. This paper presents a quadripartite scheme, showing how it can be applied.

Methods The Tampax Menstrual Cup was evaluated in the safety assessment scheme: (1) Biocompatibility and chemical safety of cup constituents. Extractables were obtained under different use condition; exposure-based risk assessments (EBRA) were conducted for extractables exceeding thresholds of toxicological concern. (2) Physical impact to vaginal mucosa. After physical evaluations, the Tampax Cup and another cup were assessed in a randomised double-blinded, two-product, two-period cross-over clinical trial (65 women, mean age 34.2 years). (3) Impact to vaginal microbiota (in vitro mixed microflora assay and evaluation of vaginal swabs). (4) In vitro growth of Staphylococcus aureus and toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) production.

Findings Biocompatibility assessments and EBRA of cup constituents showed no safety concerns. In the randomised clinical trial, all potentially product-related adverse effects were mild, vaginal exams were unremarkable, no clinically relevant pH changes occurred, post-void residual urine volume with and without cup were similar, and self-reported measures of comfort along with reports of burning, itching and stinging between cups were comparable. Cup use had no effect on microbial growth in vitro or in the 62 subjects who completed the trial or on in vitro TSST-1 production.

Interpretation The quadripartite safety assessment scheme allows evaluation of menstrual cup safety. The Tampax Cup is safe and well-tolerated upon intended use. As with all feminine hygiene products, post-market safety surveillance confirmed this conclusion.


EpiVaginal (VEC-100), vaginal irritation, Tampax menstrual cup, Always Feminine wipes, adverse effects, sesame oil, saline (0.9%), extracts, biomedical device screening, 8 mm punch disc, extractables, feminine hygiene products, vaginal tolerability

Materials Tested

Tampax menstrual cup, Always Feminine wipes

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