Categorized | Eco-Friendly Life

Menstrual Cups: What Every Woman Should Know

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 menstrualcupsfbAfter publishing my post about how much I loved my Diva Cup I was surprised how many of you wanted more information about menstrual cups.  At the time I wasn’t prepared to answer many of the questions because I had so recently started using one myself.  Since then I have tried a few more brands and have had enough time to get very comfortable with using a cup.  Enough so that I took out my video camera and filmed myself inserting one…………………………. into a wine glass.  I hope at least a few of you were shocked for a millisecond on that one.  In all honesty using a cup can change your life for the better.  All women should know this is an option, especially teenagers who have decades of periods to look forward to.  This video will answer all of your questions about how and why menstrual cups are the greatest things since sliced bread.  If not I have some more information for you to read in this post and links to even more helpful resources.  I’m also hosting a giveaway for 1 Diva Cup and 1 Lunette Cup (and extras) at the end of the post.

There are several brands of menstrual cups on the market even beyond the five featured in the video.  I showed you the Diva Cup, Lunette Cup, Keeper Cup, Fleur Cup, and the Moon Cup, and MCUK.  Other brands to consider are Meluna (the most customizable with options for soft/med/hard and different stems), LadyCup, and Yuuki.  Another option is the Softcup that is less bell shaped.  You can find a chart comparing several of these brands at The Eco Friendly Family.

Choosing a Cup

Choosing a menstrual cup can seem as overwhelming as picking a cloth diaper system.  Unlike diapers for your baby it makes more sense to pick one to try and hope it works, then if you find it isn’t the best fit for you, use what you know about the first cup you tried and work based off of your likes and dislikes to pick the next one.  For example, I started using a Diva Cup with great success with only one complaint- it felt a TEENY bit too long and without getting a very perfect insertion I would need to remove and replace it or else I would feel the end of it- even with removing the stem.  Knowing this I looked at other cups and read reviews and experiences from other women who, with the same issue, tried a Lunette cup which is slightly shorter.  I still prefer the Diva Cup and Lunette to the Keeper cup, mostly because they are more flexible.  I haven’t tried any others just yet.  If you are wondering if your vagina is short you can reach in; if you can reach your cervix easily with a finger then you might want to try a shorter cup or possibly use a Size 1, although most women who have given birth would be best to start with a size 2.

Other factors to consider are how soft or hard the cup is.  The Keeper cup is harder which can be better for women with stronger pelvic muscles or who have not given birth.  With the Meluna you can choose from different styles that would be a softer cup, regular, or hard.  With cups averaging about $30 each most people won’t buy multiples to try so being a vigilant researcher and informed consumer as well as learning more about your own body (even your vagina and your pelvic muscles) will save you money in the long run.

Using the Cup

A cup has a learning curve but most women will get the hang of it within 2-4 cycles.  Expect to have some amusing moments in the bathroom as you transport back to the first time you used a tampon and studied the booklet showing a line drawing of a teen going “Captain Morgan” over a toilet seat.  Seeing a cup you might expect that it is too large to insert and be comfortable but remember that you will be folding it, and even though it still has a wider circumference than a tampon it isn’t by too much and it is much smaller than a vaginal ultrasound wand and *ahem* other things.  You can find several different ways to fold a cup which is handy if you try one fold and it doesn’t work, try another!

menstrualcupclosed

Benefits of Using the Cup

There are so many benefits to switching to a cup.  I have my reasons, in order of importance.

Comfort- When I wear a cup I cannot tell it is there.  There are no strings, no weird cramps, and no pads that can be very uncomfortable.  I have forgotten I was on my period several times.  Some women report fewer menstrual cramps and a lighter or more regular flow after using the cup for a while.  Unlike tampons and pads, cups do not pull any moisture away with them and only hold your flow.
Less changing- I used to change tampons at least 4-6 times a day.  They just weren’t comfortable to wear any longer than that no matter how heavy my period.  I can go all day without changing my cup and usually change first thing in the morning and then before bed.  You could go an entire day of work or school without having to rummage for a tampon at the bottom of your purse in the public restroom.
Less waste- Since switching I have not purchased or wasted any more plastic packaged tampons.  No more applicators, packaging, or actual feminine products being tossed or flushed.
No more chemicals- Feminine hygiene products are exposing you to more than just cotton.
Stop the midnight Target run and save money- I haven’t had an “oh shit” moment when starting my period since using a cup because my cup is always right where I left it.  Running out of tampons and making my husband run to the store late at night is no longer an event we face.  If I only had one cup it would have paid for itself twice over since starting to use it.  Maybe even more.  You’ll need to replace your cup every few years but that is nothing like buying a box or more of disposable products each month.

 

Troubleshooting the Cup

Common problems when inserting the cup include the cup unfolding too early, the cup not unfolding when already in place, and the cup not creating a seal that can lead to leaks.  From personal experience I use a “two-handed” method to place the cup inside since my biggest problem has been the cup unfolding too early.  I hold it together with two hands, as I place it in I remove one set and keep the other on the end until far enough that I can let it open.  Twisting the cup will help if you have issues with it not unfolding and will help with your seal.  Trying new ways to fold the cup before insertion can affect how it goes in.  Each woman will find a fold that works best for them.

Other potential problems with the cup involve it sliding down which could mean the size is too small for you or that you need a softer or harder cup.  Sliding can also be a sign that you didn’t get a proper seal and it is moving down because it wasn’t placed in properly.

Leaking is also normally related to how it was placed and has little to do with your flow.  Most cups have ample room for an average flow.  On your heaviest day you might need to change an extra time or two than normal.

Getting over the ICK factor and “Owning it”

Cups admittedly involve more “face to face” time with your lady parts than tampons or pads.  Tampon applicators mean that even though you are inserting something you don’t have to touch it.  People- there are sinks.  Also, that vagina belongs to you and touching it every once in a while is OK!  You won’t go elbow deep, but you will have to go further than when using a tampon.  In reality it isn’t that far.  I just want to be real here and tell people that you will have to “go there” because everyone should know what they are getting into when switching to a cup.  There are good reasons to be familiar with your lady parts, how strong your muscles are or aren’t, and what is actually happening during your period.  You never know when this information will help you when a health issue arises.  Own it.

Where to buy?

You can find cups on websites like Amazon.com or buy from smaller businesses locally or online.  Many cloth diaper stores carry them like Kelly’s Closet, Diaper Junction, and Sweetbottoms Boutique.  I’ve included affiliate links in this paragraph only for anyone interested in making a purchase after watching such a fabulous video!  A small percentage of purchases will go back to Dirty Diaper Laundry and might just reimburse me for the 500 (okay, 5) cups I had to buy to make the video!

Win one!

Diva Cup and Green team Enterprises (distributor of Lunette in the US and other fun eco-friendly products) have offered to sponsor this giveaway!

From Diva Cup- 1 DivaCup and DivaWash!

DivaCup Box High Res

From Green Team Enterprises- 1 Lunette Cup, Lunette Wash, and Lunette Wipes!

lunettebox

The winner of each package will pick the size they need.  Open to US only.  Ends 3/6.  There are no mandatory entries in this one but I encourage you to like these pages and do extra entries for more chances of winning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All products used in this video were purchased by me.  No promotional products or monetary compensation was received and all opinions expressed in this post are my own.  

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Kim Rosas began Dirty Diaper Laundry in 2009 out of a desire to help more parents understand modern cloth diapers. She lives in Florida with her husband of 5 years and her two boys. Even though none of her boys wear diapers anymore she is still just as committed to promoting them. In her spare time Kim enjoys video editing, photography, and coffee.
  • Cerena Lynn

    Thank you for this! I’ve been wanting to try a Diva or Lunette cup, but wasn’t sure about shelling out $30 and then hating it… I was at the store and saw something called the instead Softcup. I thought, “I’ll try these out 1st and if I like them, I’ll get the diva cup!” Well, I hate them. Lol. But after watching this, it seems the Diva cup is MUCH different, and definitely worth trying. :) Also, I wasn’t sure what we were supposed to put in the last line about the youtube video comment on the raffelcopter. I just copied and pasted my comment, which is what I’m writing here, too. :) Please let me know if I need to write something different in that line to qualify for the give away! Tanks for the opportunity! :)

  • Heather

    Who won who won? :-)

    • kimrosas

      I just woke up…. I haven’t pulled a name yet. Still drinking my coffee ;)

  • Lauren

    Just order my first Lunette! So excited!

    • Lauren

      *ordered.

  • Kris G.

    Really excited about this concept. Heard about it from a rabbit trail off of ways to reduce your paper waste and thought, Oh my! Why has it taken me 37 years to hear about this? Thanks for the education before I make my first purchase! I have three children, but am still debating which size to buy.

    • kimrosas

      I think if you are worried about which size to pick, unless you know for a fact that you have a short cervix, a 2 should work. And if you have a heavy flow, definitely a 2.

      • Kris G.

        Out of curiosity, do you prefer your Lunette or your Diva? I’m leaning toward the shorter length of the Lunette, but I’ve read you can flip your Diva inside out to make it shorter/wider. Lunette is also in color, but more $. :)

  • Angela

    I have a Keeper and I love it! It’s getting kind of old though so I should probably replace it soon. But seriously I will never go back to tampons. Ever.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shana.trahan Shana Trahan

    A question about insertion, when you fold it up it gets really small. But then you have the thumb and pointer pinching it closed, so it is still bigger than a tampon. When putting it in, do you pinch at the bottom and push up, or do you have to put both fingers in too?

    • kimrosas

      I use two hands- one set hold the opening closed and the other holds it closed at the base. I start insertion and let go at the top then, still holding the bottom with my thumb and pointer and keep pushing it in. Once in I twist it as it opens. I do have to have my fingers in a small amount, like the very tips when holding the base, and I push it in higher. Afterwards, I hold it in place while I contract and release my muscles which sucks it in a little higher for the best fit possible. This is a more recent trick I learned from a friend.

  • emily

    I had the same issue with the diva being to long I don’t know if anyone posted this but you can turn the cup inside out and use it that way. Im allergic to latex so the diva is my only option and turning it inside out makes all the difference. Also there is an Australian brand called juju it’s medical grade silicon like the diva but it is a bit shorter and wider. I look forward for when They are able to sell to the states. But if you have a way for someone to buyy it for you and send it then deff try it out

  • Suhyun Jo
  • Pingback: Something all people with a uterus (esp ftm) should know exists! - Empty Closets - A safe online community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people coming out

  • pooja

    Dear Kim,

    Thank you so much!!! ..Today i am on the top of the world… I have been researching for such a long time to find a cost effective menstrual product that do not make that time of the month a hell for me. I saw your page about menstrual cup and it made me read more about it.. Last month after a lot of thinking i bought SheCup ( the only menstrual cup available in India) and today is the second day i am wearing it..To my amazement it is working out so well, you can hardly feel it, down there is dry and clean as if i am not on my periods!!!! The first two terrible days of my period is over without any leakage and i am officially saying goodbye to the Pads (which gives me rashes at times due to wetness) and tampons ( which is unbelievably painful while removing). Eventhough I admit the learning to insert it the right way was the hard part but its so worth it..!!! I just wanted to confess this to someone as , it is so exciting and liberating to me and yet sad that i cannot suggest this to so many girls around me as i am from community where it is a taboo to use penetrative menstrual products.. Thank you so much for writing this!!!!

  • michjenn

    This is my second month using a menstrual cup and I love it! Other than figuring out what technique works best for me for insertion and removal, the only other problem I’ve found is that it seems to slide down or even move around while it’s in. I’m using size 2 lunette and have had 3 kids. Any suggestions?

    • kimrosas

      Try bearing down while inserting, then let your muscles pull the cup higher for a better fit. My other video tries to explain this. Has been the best thing ever for me.
      Please excuse typos and brevity. Sent from my iPhone

  • Nathalie

    Awesome! I have been wanting to try out a cup, but was never brave enough to. This post and video made it all a lot more understandable, and now I’m ready to research so I can start using one myself! Thank you so much!!

  • Theresa Helms

    Thanks so much for your reviews, information and bravery ;) to share! I purchased a lunette cup just after originally reading your post. I have now had to a chance to try it (9 months postpartum)and I think I will be revisiting your blog posts for some tips! Thanks!

  • Amanda Alvarado

    I so wish I could use a Diva cup! It just doesn’t fit right and I leak! :-( I do use a cup though (Moon Cup)…just not a Diva! I’ve been wanting to try the Lunette but after spending the money on a Diva and it not working, I’m hesitant to spend the money again for something that’s going to collect dust!



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