Menstrual cups!

There's been a bit of chatter about these in the birth control thread, so I thought it deserved its own topic! (Also, I love menstrual cups and think they always deserve their own topic.) Here's the basics: there's one disposable brand, Insteads, and a whole bunch of resuables: DivaCup (Canada), Mooncup UK, Keeper and Moon Cup by Keeper (US), Lunette (Finland), MiaCup, Femmecup, and Lady Cup. I'm pretty much going to talk about the reusables here because I know very little about the disposables. Most of them are available online and at least some are available in stores--the Diva and Keeper brand ones in the US and Canada and the Mooncup in the UK. All but the Keeper (which is latex) are made of medical grade silicone, I believe. The Livejournal community is a wealth of information: http://community.livejournal.com/menstrual_cups/

I love my DivaCup. I've been using it for about two and a half years and it is the best thing to happen to my period, including birth control pills. While cups are tricky to get the hang of, once you know how to use it, it's easy, simple, and comfortable. I often forget mine is in. And with my fairly light period, I only have to empty it once a day, and I can do it in the shower. They hold more than tampons and aren't dry like tampons can be if they're not fully saturated. They also have less of a risk of causing TSS, since they are made of sterile material and don't scratch you. Plus, there's almost no waste, so they're way better for the environment.

Anyone else here use menstrual cups? Anyone considering it?

Forums: 
MeiLin's picture

Most High

and LOVED it, but apparently I'm built kinda weird; over the years I changed and started getting UTIs from it, so had to stop. Sad It was the best thing that ever happened to my period.

Pinkyeti's picture

I just got my Diva cup two or three months ago, and I absolutely love it. Empty it maybe twice a day, it doesn't leak (unless maybe you have a super heavy flow), it's easy to put in, and yes, it isn't dry and scratchy like tampons can be. I actually got it at Whole Foods in the Feminine Health section. Granted, the friend I told about it think it's weird and dirty, because she isn't ok with putting her fingers "there", but other than her weird looks, it's amazing Wink

GreenGlass's picture

Supplicant

Lol, I am! I like the idea of one resusable cup. I need to find them though!

How can hey increase UTIs? I don't get how it could... unless there was bacteria growing and then getting into your body.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Don't get old. Failing that, make sure you don't have children and do your Kegels religiously.

Veritas's picture

I have to admit, I'm mildly disturbed by the idea - just not one for sticking things in there when it comes to my menstrual cycle. No, I'm not a tampon fan either, despite my comments that pads are like frigging diapers given how heavy a flow I get. Does it tend to be as messy as tampons can get?

Moo's picture

I never did like tampons, so I stuck to pads up until I realized that hey, sleeping with the boy on my period was not so much fun while wearing a diaper. So I switched to the DivaCup, and I've actually never had an issue with it. Best thing ever. And, after a good year, year and a half with it, the boy has gotten comfortable handling it, picking it up and whatnot. Originally, he was worried about bacteria, UTI's, etc. and that I'd be risking my health, but after reading about it (after I got it anyway), he agrees with me that it is pretty much the best period solution ever.

I've found that it isn't messy if you remember to empty it, or if you empty it over the toilet/in the shower. It doesn't smell like pads do (and possibly tampons?), and is less squicky to handle, once you've gotten used to it. I swear, I tried pads recently (due to parental issues, they don't know I use a cup and I'm living with them... they're kind of noticing an overall lack of feminine hygiene products in my quarters...) and they were just uncomfortable and itched and grrr, never again.

Last note: I recently tried Instead cups, for the sake of "clean" period sex, and no way did those things fit. Nope, not for me. So the boy finally got over that squickiness too. Smile

Ely's picture

Petitioner

Notwithstanding it's weird to have this conversation online and I feel a little self-conscious about it, cups are great. Comfortable, good for the planet, and excellent conversation-stoppers ; )

I've always had a heavy flow, and in the first months of 'wearing' my IUD it got even worse, but a security pad and emptying the cup every 3 to 6 hours made all the difference. Especially when not sleeping in my own bed and not being as worried as before of "accidents".

The added bonus is environmental: I had been distressed for quite some time by the amount of non-recyclable pads I was throwing away every month, but couldn't find a reliable alternative (and tampons tend to make the cramps worse). I also found out that my indoor plants loved blood as a fertilizer: as I can't afford giving them a kitten every forthnight, period blood is great for that. Weird, I know...

I got the hint through my best friend, and I've been advocating it ever since. Only caveats: you need responsive muscles "there" to put it out sometimes, and as it requires putting your fingers in a fragile place you need really clean hands, not just somewhat clean. So my period handbag went from "big bundle of pads and undies change" to "single pad and small hand-sanitizer bottle". Neat Smile

And my beloved doesn't like it; says that the blood smells worse than with pads. But as we live a country apart, that's seldom a problem Smile

Voyeur's picture

I've had my diva up since college and I LOVE it. It grosses my girlfriend out, but it's so much more comfortable than pads or tampons, also much more economical and better for the environment!

Willow's picture

Devotee

Yes, you are allowed to do that with the Diva Cup. They swore I needed the big size but I couldn't get it in and out without hurting myself. Ouch! I went back to organic tampons which are less messy anyway.

Clare-Dragonfly's picture

Supplicant

I think you can do that with any cup. Definitely the Diva and Mooncup UK at least--as long as you don't cut off the stems, since they use the returned ones as samples. (They don't resell them!)

The difference between the sizes is fairly minimal. It's probably an issue of relaxation and practice rather than size. If you thought it was a size issue, though, why didn't you try the smaller size, or a different cup? The Diva is actually the biggest one, or close to it. It's also not as squishy as some of the others, so a different one might work better for you.

Willow's picture

Devotee

...was really the stiffness. My hand couldn't manipulate it very much at all. I didn't know the other kinds would be different in any way. I wasn't really unhappy with tampons at all, and the cup was a pain to get and return (due to the Canada thing -I'm in the US) so I wasn't too keen to try again.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

That's what I used. It was soft, easy to insert, and made in the US of A, right here in Portland, actually.

Clare-Dragonfly's picture

Supplicant

You could probably try any other cup and it would work better for you. The Moooncup (UK) is supposed to be the squishiest. In fact, the newer version of the Diva is probably squishier than the one you tried.

Nye's picture

Supplicant

but I have a friend who loves her DivaCup. I keep debating... I have an odd layout in there, and can never seem to get anything inserted as far as it's supposed to go... I'm not sure they are for me, but the returnability makes me want to try it some day.

Pads itch, and tampons are uncomfortable (if sometimes necessary).

Clare-Dragonfly's picture

Supplicant

The cup doesn't actually have to go in very far at all. Mine would stick out a bit if I hadn't cut off the entire stem (because it was sticking out and poking me). You would probably want to get one of the shorter cups, like either Mooncup or the Keeper--not the Diva.

You should definitely give it a try! Another benefit I just remembered: at about $30 US per cup, they pay for themselves (by not making you buy as many pads or tampons) in a few months, and they last for ten years.

A's picture

Postulant

I love mine. It completely changed my attitude towards my period. I have heavy flows that gush like a damn geyser. One gush would spill right over my pad onto whatever clothing I was wearing. I went through a dozen pads per day on my first two days. I was in a constant state of anxiety when on my period because of it. Tampons? Ha! Dry, irritating, and the blood went past them like they weren't even there, seriously. I'd have one in and a pad. The pad would be saturated, I'd pull out the tampon, it'd be white and dry as a bone except on one side where the blood went right on by.

Enter the Keeper. No more surges, no more geysers. I empty the thing everytime I go to the bathroom, flush the blood harmlessly down the toilet, reinsert, and wash hands. That simple. I also have some Glad Rags reusable pads that I wear in case the keeper leaks a bit on heavy days. It leaks only if I haven't inserted it quite right or I'm flowing so heavy it gets full before I dump it. The Glad Rags are just as awesome. They are cotton and the most comfortable pad I've ever worn. I cannot overstate how comfy they are.

Every woman is different. I know a woman who absolutely could not get the Keeper in. She thinks her cervix drops down too far during her period. She uses a diaphram-like device instead.

It totally "healed" my bitter resentment and general hatred of my period. Seriously. I love it. I've never tried any other brand, I may try a silicone one one day when my keeper needs replacing, but no matter the brand, I think they're the thing to use.

Sea Sponges are an acceptable substitute, though they require more clean up and more frequent "emptying". I used sponges for a few months after I had a miscarriage and the Keeper didn't work anymore. I think it was the D and C procedure, personally, but for several months afterwards my menstrual blood went right past the Keeper like it wasn't there, just like with tampons. So I just used Sea Pearls and eventually, things went back to normal.

Lis's picture

I didn’t even know about this option; all of you are wonderful darlings, I’m so happy to find an alternative. I have awful periods, with puking, lethargy, and cramps like an animal clawing its way out of my gut. I have to wear a diaper pad coupled with a tampon just to get two hours of freedom, but the stupid things have really started to itch and bother me. And tampons make my cramps so much worse.

Why have I never heard of these before?

Nye's picture

Supplicant

for all those things you always wanted to know about menstruation but didn't want to ask... or just didn't know where to ask

http://www.mum.org/

It's the Museum of Menstruation.

The layout is horrible, but the stuff there is priceless. There is also a lot of info on menstrual cups, from their early days to now.

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

The layout is horrible

Oh, gods, yes. That thing is making my eyes bleed. Sad Add blink tags, an animated Under Construction gif and a funky background, and you're right back on one of those Geocities sites of the early and mid 90's...

A's picture

Postulant

They should be, but they're not.

Willow's picture

Devotee

I hope you people with heavy flows and bad cramps are okay. :O I complained to doctors for 13 years about that and was finally diagnosed with endometriosis.

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