Simply put, periods are not fun, it's not something I ever look forward to. I hate the tampon commercial with the slogan "Have a Happy Period". My period has always been longer than most lasting 7 days but over the last 2 years it's gotten longer... Yippie... Lasting 7-10 days and in the middle its very heavy...
In the beginning I used pads which I hated! Once I learned to use tampons that's what I suck with for lack of knowing another option. About a year ago I heard about Menstrual Cups.
A menstrual cup is a flexible cup or barrier worn inside the vagina during menstruation to collect menstrual fluid. Unlike tampons and pads, the cup collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it. They are usually made from medical grade silicone which is a safe and hypoallergenic material. Menstrual cups are more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly than tampons, as they are reusable, and can be used for up to 5-10 years. They have greater capacity than tampons, and can be emptied every 12 hours, unlike pads and tampons which require more frequent changing. A woman need only wear the one cup and clean and empty it at the end of the day rather than carrying several replacement pads or tampons. By keeping menstrual fluid away from the vaginal walls and vulva and unexposed to air, menstrual cups have less odor associated with their use than with the use of tampons or pads. When using a menstrual cup, the menstrual fluid is collected away from the cervix and held in liquid form as opposed to it being absorbed and held in semi-coagulated form against the cervix as is the case with tampons. More
My first initial reaction was "Yuck", I didn't want to have to empty it, clean it, Eww! So I dismissed it and kept using tampons. My cycles have been so screwed up lately that I kept looking for natural remedies to help and again stumbled upon Menstrual Cups and decided to do some research. If you really think about it (what a tampons made of), I'm sticking "that" up "there" is that really the greatest thing to be doing?
I remember seeing a forwarded email a few years ago about this...
I finally decided to try out a menstrual cup, there are a lot of different brands and types out there most look quite similar with only slight differences. There is one brand (SoftCup) that is disposable and different from the others. I don't think it looks like it would work as well as the others. You can order them online but I wanted to try to find it in a store, which was not easy... Other than the SoftCup which I didn't want. I finally found one in a Organic store and got the DivaCup brand. I started using it in December and I found I hate my period a little less. I have also learned a lot about my period since I started using the DivaCup. You may not want to know this, but when using a cup you are able to actually see (the cup has measurements on it for 1/4, 1/2, 1oz) the amount of your "flow". I learned mine is more than the norm... I have been keeping track of the amount, so if I decide to go talk to my Doctor again about my crazy periods I have a better frame of reference...
Why use a Menstrual Cup?
- You only need 1 cup & it last 10 YEARS = less waste!!!
- Wear up to 12 hours at a time
- Wear during ANY activity (sports, swimming, sleeping)
- Eliminate menstrual odor
- Be good to your body = no link to Toxic Shock Syndrome
- Save money $$$
Using a menstrual cup definitely takes some getting use to. I had a few leaks in the beginning and figured the cup must not be opening all the way or in the right position. The directions say to rotate it a full 360 degrees which I tried and I couldn't tell if I was turning it or not. I found if I move/wiggle the stem around a bit it helps the cup open all the way.
I bought mine several weeks before my period was supposed to start so I could practice getting it in and out without any mess, which I would strongly recommend. The best part, if I'm not going to be home, I don't have to take extras with me like with tampons & pads. Except for my 1 very heavy day I only have to empty it morning and evening. On my heavy day I empty it around noon. There is no "guessing game" with which absorbency to use at any given time like with using tampons & pads. Ever taken out a tampon that was dry after having it in for several hours? It does not feel good at all. I want to encourage all the women I know (who have periods) to use a menstrual cup. Do research for yourself, decide which brand you like the best and give it a try! I will never go back!
This is a really great page, lists the good and bad aspects of all the menstrual product options. Specifically the image below (screen shot taken from the page) lists how BAD tampons are for you (click it to make it bigger). Thanks Random Girl.com
I also found another blogger who reviewed the Diva Cup, Olivia @ I am Still Learning