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Menstrual cup: Good alternative to tampons?

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 28, 2020.

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. There are two types: vaginal and cervical. The vaginal cup is placed in the vagina, and the cervical cup is placed around the cervix, high in the 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. Devices can last up to 10 years. If you're using a disposable menstrual cup, you discard it after using it.

The menstrual cup should be emptied every four to 12 hours, depending on your menstrual flow and the type of cup being used. Research suggests that leakage from a menstrual cup is similar to or less than that from using pads and tampons.

If you have questions about using a menstrual cup, talk to your health care provider.

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