Menstrual Cups: A Tampon Alternative
So It's That Time of the Month Again...
...and you are at the store looking at the many choices of feminine hygiene products there are. You are looking for your usual brand and style. But you realize the store has reorganized the shelves. Now you feel as though you'll have to hire a P.I. just to find them. Pads, pantyliners and tampons. Regulars, juniors, or supers. Cardboard, plastic, or no applicator. They must be sold out. It is enough to make your head spin.
Then you think, "Do I even have enough money to buy my normal brand?" So now you start looking through the shelves again trying to find something as simular to your brand but maybe for less money.
You finally find one that you are almost willing to try and they don't cost all to much, right? You get up to the counter and stand in line. The old lady, who is finally paying for her goods, looks in your hands and gives you a sympathetic smile. There are 2 little boys standing behind you and they are giggling and chattering back and forth.
You just want to go home and get the next few days over with, just like alot of other woman would love to do.
Safer & Greener
So now you are sick of spending $3 at the dollar store to $17 at the grocery store (sometimes more). You also realized that disposable tampons and pads are made with bleached cotton that may have been grown with pesticides. You want to do something different that is safer and more healthy for you and maybe a little cheaper if you can find that possible. Also if it is something that can reduce the trash from your house, that would make it much better.
Well I have some news for you! There are alternatives. And the alternatives would fit each of these aspects.
Wash & Wear pads are specially lined cloth pads that you wash after use. They are not as bad as it sounds other than when you are out and have no place to put you used ones. You can buy a few and they will last you a long time. They are alot cheaper in the long run of things.
Sea Sponge Tampons are sea sponges of a particular size. They are used just like a cotton tampon except you get it damp and wring it out before inserting. Then you take it out and rinse it before wringing and reinserting. These are good too but you have to replace them every 6 months. They will save money too.
Then we have the menstrual cup. These are cups that you insert with certain folds and can leave them in between 6 and 12 hours. You take it out and empty it and put it back in. They need replacing every 10 years.
Here we will talk about the menstrual cups. They are by far my favorite.
Your Control - How do you handle your monthly?
What do you use to control your periods?
Moons and a Diva
I have the Diva model 2. I love it. The price isn't that bad for 10 years of use.
A Clean Demonstration
Yes I know the title is a little bit familure. No worries as it has nothing to do with that other thing.
This video shows a lady explaining the Moon Cup with a wine glass. It is a very good video and the quality is decent enough.
There is more than one way
There is more than one way to "fold" a cup. You will need to experiment and find one that is comfortable to you.
For step by step images (where these images come from) visit Menstrual Cups-Folding tecniques on livejournal.
First is the C Fold:
This is an easy fold but does not work well for everone. You fold the cup in half and then again to form a "C" shape with the rim.
Now the "7" fold:
This is just like the "C" fold but the second fold will be more down forming a 7 with the rim.
The "Punch-down" Fold:
This one you want to push the edge of the rim in and to the base. Squeeze tight.
The "Origami" Fold:
This is a complicated fold and I think is best explained on the livejournal page I linked above.
You wouldn't be here if this wasn't on your mind.
Now you know a little bit about the menstrual cups. You are wondering how does this benefit me. Well we will start with a little money math.
Every month that you have your period, you buy a box of pads or tampons right? Each box costs between $3 and $17. We will go about a 10 year span.
10 years x 12 months x $3/$17 = $360 to $2040
1 time purchase of $15-$40 (depending where you go) that last 10 years. = You saving alot of money.
Now how about my safety? Well unlike pads and tampons that are made with bleached cotton that will leave strands behind and are highly connected to TSS (toxic shock syndrom), the menstrual cup is made with silicon (except the keeper is made of natural gum rubber). Diva, Moon and Lunette can all be used by woman with latex allergies, the keeper can not.
Greenness? Well... 1 box of tampons/pads per month per menstruating woman. That is alot of trash. 1 cup per 10 years per menstruating woman. Plus you don't have to worry about guests seeing the wrappings and wads of TP in the trashcan.
I have been using the Diva Cup 2 since June (2008). All I can say is that I am absolutely loving the difference. Easy to carry in my purse. No yucky trash left in the bathroom. Very comfortable once I learned to put it in right (may take some time). Not as gross as I thought it would be.
Some advice to help you if you are just starting with the cup.
If you are thinking about buying a cup, have bought one and haven't used it yet, or have used yours but are having some trouble. Here is some tips to help you out.
- If you have not used your cup yet and have a few doubts on inserting, take some "dry" runs. Get used to how it is folded and inserted. Learn which position is best to comfortably insert and remove.
- If at first you don't succeed; try, try again. I know it is so cliche to say, but in this case it is true. You may not get it right the first time. You may not get it right for your whole first period. Don't loose hope. Keep trying and you will find how to work it.
- Wear a pantiliner or pad for a while until you do feel comfortable with your insertions. You will learn how to make a nice seal soon, but don't have an accident while you are learning.
- Buy a pack of individually wrapped wet wipes. Use them to clean yourself off while learning or when you're out of the house. They are wonderful, don't take up too much room, you don't need many of them (specially as you improve your insert/removal techniques), and they don't cause alot of waste.
Where I will answer any questions that I can
I received a comment with concerns about the feeling. I thought it would be best to answer within the lens instead of being lost in the comments.
Can you feel it when you have the cup in and if it hurt or is it hard to take out?
Once the cup is inserted properly, you can not feel it inside you. There is no uncomfortable feeling, it is not awkward when sitting or standing. It does not bother when you are doing physical activities whether it is work or sports.
It does not hurt to take out unless it hurt when you put it in. This is usually from the learning process and once you get used to the insertion, you will know. Most of the time, it will hurt a little while learning because of fear of doing it wrong.
It is not hard to get the cup out. Each cup is built with a stem. You may want to cut the stem down a little because they are kind of long, but some women need the extra length. If you do choose to cut it down, be sure to only cut off a little at a time until you get it to the point that is best for you. It is better to not cut enough than to cut too much. Removal can be done by finding the stem with your thumb and finger (don't worry, it isn't too far in) pinching the stem and pulling it out.
Now that you have gotten a bit of information, please consider. Leave a comment on your thoughts. Thank you.