What can you tell me about the menstrual cup?
Answers from Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, M.D.
A menstrual cup is a flexible device worn inside the vagina during menstruation to collect menstrual fluid. Menstrual cups are an over-the-counter alternative to pads and tampons.
Menstrual cups are typically made of silicone or rubber. During your period, you insert the menstrual cup into your vagina. If you're using a reusable menstrual cup, you empty the cup when it's full, wash it and then place it back in your vagina. If you're using a disposable menstrual cup, you discard it after using it.
How often you need to empty or replace the menstrual cup depends on the size of the cup and your menstrual flow. Generally, a menstrual cup can hold more menstrual flow than a tampon and can be emptied less frequently than you would need to change a tampon or pad.
Check with your health care provider before using a menstrual cup if you use an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control or you've had toxic shock syndrome.
March 06, 2015
Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, M.D.
See more Expert Answers
- Stewart K, et al. An alternative to conventional sanitary protection: Would women use a menstrual cup? Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2009;29:49.
- Stewart K, et al. Women's experience of using the Mooncup. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2010;30:285.
- Howard C, et al. FLOW (finding lasting options for women): Multicentre randomized controlled trial comparing tampons with menstrual cups. Canadian Family Physician. 2011;57:e208.
- Wiebe ER, et al. Does using tampons or menstrual cups increase early IUD expulsion rates? Contraception. 2012;86:119.
- Frequently asked questions. Especially for teens FAQ049. Your first period. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Your-First-Period-Especially-for-Teens. Accessed Feb. 13, 2015.