Awareness and adoption of menstrual cups, a more cost-effective period product, at an academic center

From the 2023 HVPA National Conference

Clarissa Ren, Medical Degree (Johns Hopkins School of Medicine), Danielle Nicklas, Pathobiology, Valentina Vanos Public Health Studies, Ibrahim Jehanzeb, Public Health Studies, Alexis Lowe, Biomedical Engineering, Mostafa Borahay, OB-GYN

Background:
Menstrual products are a necessity for approximately half of the population, yet there is still a lot of stigma and silence surrounding menstruation. Menstrual cups have been identified as a more eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to traditional menstrual products. However, adoption of menstrual cups has been slow and awareness does not always translate to adoption. Our study aimed to understand awareness and adoption of menstrual cups and pain points in current period products among menstruating individuals.

Objective:
The objective of our study was to assess the awareness and adoption of menstrual cups among menstruating individuals and to understand the pain points in current period products.

Methods:
We conducted a study at Johns Hopkins University campuses by sending out a mass email to students and staff, inviting them to participate in an interview about menstruation and menstrual products. We interviewed adult menstruating individuals and asked about their awareness and adoption of menstrual cups, pain points in current period products, and their education on menstruation.

Results:
Our study found that education on menstruation was highly variable, and often inadequate. Awareness of menstrual cups was high, with over 90% of interviewees being aware of menstrual cups and their benefits, yet less than a third had ever tried the product. Concerns about comfort, ease-of-use, and convenience were the primary reasons for the lack of adoption of menstrual cups. Our study suggests that increased education on menstruation and menstrual products, as well as designing menstrual care products that address the concerns towards adoption, could lead to an increase in adoption of menstrual cups.

Conclusions:
Our study highlights the need for increased education on menstruation and menstrual products. Despite the high awareness of menstrual cups, the adoption of menstrual cups was low due to concerns about comfort, ease-of-use, and convenience. Addressing these concerns could lead to an increase in adoption of menstrual cups and ultimately reduce the costs of care to patients. Menstrual cups are a more cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to traditional menstrual products, and an increase in adoption could lead to a reduction in healthcare costs related to menstruation.

Clinical Implications:
Our study has important clinical implications, as increased adoption of menstrual cups could lead to a reduction in healthcare costs related to menstruation. Menstrual cups are a more cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to traditional menstrual products, and an increase in adoption could lead to a reduction in healthcare costs related to menstruation. By addressing the concerns towards adoption of menstrual cups, healthcare providers can promote the use of menstrual cups and ultimately improve the quality and safety of patient care and the patient experience.

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