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You are going on with your day, and at one instance, it hits you, ‘Oh dang, I left my Diva menstrual cup in for 24 hours.’
It can feel quite stressful, even if you forget it just a couple of hours more, and not to mention longer than that. This can happen easily, mainly because they are so comfy that you may forget you have one.
But fear not, because, in this article, you will find everything you need to know if you leave your menstrual cup for 24 hours (or more).
Keep reading to find out about:
- What to do if you leave your menstrual cup in for too long?
- Importance of timely cup removal
- Possible concerns when leaving your cup for longer
What to do if you leave your menstrual cup in for too long?
First, don’t worry – it can happen to the best of us! Accidentally leaving your menstrual cup in for 24 hours isn’t ideal, but it isn’t that terrible in most cases. Just perform the following steps:
- Remove the cup ASAP: Gently remove it by squeezing the base and sliding it out. Ensure your hands are clean. Relax and take your time during the removal process to minimize discomfort.
- Check for any issues: Leaving your cup in for a long time might cause discomfort, irritation, or odor. Keep an eye out for any of those or other unusual symptoms.
- Clean it thoroughly: After extended use, clean your cup properly. It would be ideal to empty the cup in the sink or toilet, thoroughly wash it with a natural, fragrance-free mild soap, and then boil the cup to sterilize it. Place the cup in a pot of water and bring it to a gentle boil for 4-5 minutes to help eliminate any bacteria or lingering menstrual cup smell.
- Monitor your health: Pay attention to your menstrual cycle and if any changes appear. Look for pain, fever, or unusual vaginal discharge. Consult your gynecologist if you experience any uncommon symptoms or persistent discomfort.
Importance of timely cup removal:
Leaving the cup in for an extended period, such as 24 hours, may increase the risk of particular health concerns.
That’s why emptying and cleaning your menstrual cup every 8 to 12 hours is extremely important. You can take it out sooner, too, especially if you have a heavy flow.
The tricky part is that menstrual cups are super comfy. While I never left my menstrual cup for 24 hours, I unintentionally left it for 14-15 hours a few times because I forgot it was there.
Once it hit me, I removed it immediately and washed it well. I didn’t boil my cup again because I didn’t feel any discomfort, but if you leave it for 24 hours or more, it will be best to sanitize it in boiling water for a couple of minutes.
Possible concerns when you leave your cup for longer:
If you leave your menstrual cup for extended periods, such as 24 hours, it may increase the risk of specific health concerns, like:
- Vaginal irritation or discomfort be due to the cup pressing against the vaginal walls or the accumulation of menstrual fluid for an extended period.
- An unpleasant odor, which can result from the menstrual blood being exposed to air for a prolonged duration.
- The prolonged presence of menstrual fluid can increase the risk of bacterial or yeast infection.
- Disruption of the natural pH balance of the vagina that can lead to discomfort or increased susceptibility to infections.
- Leaving a menstrual cup for longer slightly increases the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). TSS risk is still smaller than if you leave a tampon since cups are silicone or rubber and aren’t absorbent like tampons.
While those possible side effects are rare, it is possible to experience some of them. In case you do, it might be best to seek medical advice, especially if the symptoms persist.
On a positive note…
I was curious to see how often it happens that girls forget about their menstrual cup and keep it in for longer than 12 hours.
After researching Facebook groups and forums like Reddit, It turned out that many menstrual cup users experience that because of how comfy the cup is.
A user left her menstrual cup inside for one week, another for two, and a few for a month! Luckily none of them (or any of the comments, sharing similar experiences) had any severe effects afterward. The worst was some mild rash but nothing more.
How to prevent future mishaps
To prevent similar incidents in the future, the easiest thing you can do is to set reminders on your phone to remove your menstrual cup when you wake in the morning and before bed each day. You can set up repeat reminders for a specific time each day and set them to end after 4-5 days to align with your cycle.
Can I keep a menstrual cup for 15 hours?
Emptying the cup every 12 (or fewer) hours is recommended. While leaving the cup for 15 hours shouldn’t cause any serious issues, and if you wear your cup for over 12 hours, you will most likely be fine, and there won’t be any complications. But try not to make it a habit.
Is it bad to wear a menstrual cup when not on your period?
Wearing a menstrual cup when not on your period is generally not recommended. That’s because it can disrupt the natural pH balance of the vagina, increase the risk of infections, and potentially compromise the cup’s integrity. That’s why it’s best to use menstrual cups only during menstruation.
Is it safe to wear a menstrual cup overnight?
Yes – it is safe. You can wear a menstrual cup for over 8 hours (and up to 12) to change it once before bed and after you wake up.
Based on your comfort, you can change how often you empty your menstrual cup. I feel safe and comfortable emptying mine every 12 hours, but you can choose what works best for you.
How long do you boil a menstrual cup?
It is crucial to boil your cup between cycles, twice – before and after your period, to minimize the risk of bacterial growth.
You should follow the manufactures recommendation, which for most menstrual cups is to boil water and place the cup for 3-5 minutes. This will sterilize the cup effectively and prevent irritations or infections.
Is it normal to fill a menstrual cup in 3 hours?
Filling your cup every 3-4 hours might mean your flow is too heavy, and the cup’s size might be too small for you. In that case, you can get a larger cup or empty it more frequently to prevent leakage.
I have an article with 6 menstrual cups for heavy flow, so if it is something you want to look further into, you can check the article and find a better fit.
Is it necessary to discard a menstrual cup left in for too long?
If you have a reusable menstrual cup made of silicone or latex, there’s no need to throw it away. You can clean it and sterilize it in boiling water.
However, if you have concerns or notice a persistent foul odor even after sterilization, it might be better not to risk and purchase a new cup.
Remember, everyone makes mistakes, and if you accidentally leave your Diva cup, AllMatters cup, or any other brand in for too long, don’t panic.
All you need to do is to follow the steps for removal & sterilizing and address any concerns promptly.
By implementing these preventive measures, you can minimize the chances of future mishaps and enjoy the benefits of using a menstrual cup.