- With Mayo Clinic gynecologist and obstetrician
Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D.read biographyclose window
Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D.Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D.
Dr. Mary Gallenberg is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine and medical oncology.
An Antigo, Wis., native, Dr. Gallenberg is a consultant in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and an assistant professor at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Gallenberg has been with Mayo Clinic since 1990. She was on the Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource editorial board and has been honored for excellence in teaching. She also won a Mayo Clinic Excellence Through Teamwork award.
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- Menstrual cup: Good alternative to tampons?
- Asthma: Why are symptoms worse during my period?
Menstrual cup: Good alternative to tampons?
What can you tell me about the menstrual cup?
from Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D.
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A menstrual cup is a bell-shaped device worn inside the vagina during menstruation to collect menstrual fluid. Menstrual cups provide a viable alternative to pads and tampons.
Menstrual cups are typically made of silicone or other nonlatex materials. Some menstrual cups are reusable — either one cup for an entire menstrual period or one cup for many menstrual periods — while others are intended for one-time use. Examples include The DivaCup, The Moon Cup and Softcup.
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 when it's full and replace it with another cup. 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 be worn about twice as long as a tampon — up to eight to 12 hours at a time.
A menstrual cup can be left in place during urination or a bowel movement. Some menstrual cups can be worn during sex, while others must be removed first.
Menstrual cups don't offer protection from pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. Check with your doctor before using a menstrual cup if you use an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control or you've experienced toxic shock syndrome.
Menstrual cups are available over-the-counter in pharmacies. Menstrual cups can also be purchased online. If you decide to try a menstrual cup, read and follow the product directions carefully.Next question
Asthma: Why are symptoms worse during my period?
- 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.
- About Softcup. Instead Softcup. http://www.softcup.com/content/what-softcup. Accessed Nov. Feb. 3, 2012.
- Softcup instructions. Instead Softcup. http://www.softcup.com/content/instructions. Accessed Feb. 3, 2012.
- The DivaCup features. Diva International Inc. http://www.divacup.com/en/home/diva_cup. Accessed Feb. 3, 2012.
- FAQs. Diva International Inc. http://www.divacup.com/en/home/faqs. Accessed Feb. 3, 2012.
- Questions and answers. The Moon Cup. http://www.mooncup.com/q&a.html. Accessed Feb. 3, 2012.