How switching to a menstrual cup helped my home: A TMI adventure #Style & Grooming#bathrooms#hygiene Updated Dec 14 2015 (Posted Mar 30 2012) Guest post by Elizabeth Uselton Menstrual cup coaster available from Etsy. Related Post What are you favorite offbeat or non-aluminum-based deodorants? I sweat a lot, but I try to avoid aluminum-based deodorants/antiperspirants. But I'm a teacher and I usually resort to Secret or something else standard... Read more So there are some people who are a little embarrassed to hear about, um, well…ahem, "feminine issues." This is not an article for them. This is an article for the other people who like to get all in other people's personal business, but understand that because of the constraints of polite society, they can't always ask all the questions they like. There's this thing called a menstrual cup! You may have heard of it. It's a reusable alternative to pads and tampons in the form of a cup that fits comfortably up in your vagina and collects rather than absorbs menstrual blood. Different brands are available in both silicone and rubber, but it's not my purpose to endorse any particular brand, just to tell you about the ways switching to a menstrual cup had a positive impact on my housekeeping. Sponsor: Bathroom storage I have a tiny bathroom in an old building where storage is at a premium. A big box of tampons would take up approximately 60% of all hidden bathroom space I have. Having a single menstrual cup has allowed me to free up that area for toilet paper storage, hair products, the boyfriend's shaving accoutrements, and bathroom cleaners. Sleeping in I love sleeping in. It's one of my greatest joys and greatest talents. But if I wanted to sleep in on a heavy flow day, tough luck! I had to get up to change my tampon, or my bed sheets would pay the price. I have not conducted rigorous scientific double blind studies, but my menstrual cup has never failed me in this regard. If I want to be a lazybones who sleeps for 12 hours straight, I can without staining my sheets. By: Michelle Tribe – CC BY 2.0 Money A menstrual cup generally retails for $20-$30 making it a little pricier than a big box of tampons right off the bat. But your box of tampons will run out. I will never have to buy another menstrual cup unless a) lightning strikes my current one or b) I decide to have kids, in which case I'd have to move up to a different model. I've been using my cup for 6 years, and I've saved tons of cash. Trash Blood gets stinky really fast. Ask anyone who works in the restaurant industry, and they'll tell you, their least favorite job is cleaning out the tampon boxes in the bathroom. Since a menstrual cup collects blood, rather than absorbing it, I can just pour it out and flush it. My trash still smells like regular trash, which isn't great, but is a world better than decaying tampon smell. It's reusable! After a simple cleaning with hot water (and soap if you like), a menstrual cup is sterile and ready to be used again, as opposed to a tampon which goes straight in the trash with the thousands of its brethren that the average woman will go through in her life. I know that if there's one thing all our offbeat homies seem to have in common, it's that they care for our global home. And for extra bonus hippie points… Gardening So apparently menstrual blood is an amazing plant fertilizer. I know, it sounds gross, but let's put that aside and just think for a moment. It's a uterine lining. Your body was planning on growing a frickin' baby in it. So it can probably grow some plants, right? I don't have a garden to try this myself, but I have friends with menstrual cups who have done this, and swear by it. Many people might have knee jerk reactions to this — hell, I do and I'm the one who brought it up — but blood decomposes quickly, which makes menstrual blood seem pretty innocuous, especially considering some of the chemicals that commonly turn up in commercial fertilizers. Have questions? Now is your chance to ask things you'd be embarrassed to ask about in person, through the magic anonymity of the internet! Elizabeth Uselton Elizabeth is a dirty hippie who loves all alternatives to disposable consumer culture. She also likes to know everyone's personal business, so it's only fair she give everyone the chance to know hers. PREVIOUS Offbeat Mama Kid's Mix Vol 1: songs for and about the road NEXT Outdoor TV, kawaii piggy bank, and one big pink house in this week's reader photos Show/Hide comments [ 430 ] When I had periods pre-IUD, I LOVED my cup, once I got the hang of it. It's really not as "gross" as some people may think, especially when compared to the alternative. http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/ I'm not affiliated with it or anything, but this site really helped me when I was first starting using the cup, especially when it came to picking one out, because one size does not fit all. Thanks for this post! Did you stop using the cup because of the IUD? I had my IUD inserted a few months ago and have continued to use my Diva cup…I asked my doc about it and he said it was fine. I stopped using mine, since I read a lot of scary sounding things about the suction of the cup pulling on the IUD and moving it around… I used a diva cup with my IUD for 4 years and it never moved. My doctor also said it was just fine, and when I go back to an IUD after we start our family, I'd do the same thing again. (I believe the IUD and the diva cup are fairly far apart anyways – the cup sits pretty low and the IUD is higher up) I never had a problem with the suction pulling at the IUD when I had one… But what I had to watch out for was the IUD threads. They were a bit long and I sometimes managed to pull them when removing the cup. I meant to go and get them shortened, but before I could make an appointment, I pinched and pulled too hard while one of the threads was in the cup and the IUD came out. Not very pleasant. But had the threads been a bit shorter, I'd still use both IUD and cup. It was fine! Eeeek! I just asked my doctor about this because I'm thinking about getting an IUD and I love my DivaCup. She said that the strings shouldn't even be able to be pulled without a special tool, so as long as they are trimmed properly, there shouldn't be any issue with using DivaCup with an IUD. I'm going to the OBGYN next month to see about getting an IUD so I'll share more info here if they say anything else about using them together. I surely know accidentally pulling out an IUD does NOT sound like fun. Owwww. My cup pulled my mirena out! I couldn't use the cup when I had it in only now i no longer have the mirena. I think that she meant she stopped using it when she got an IUD, because she no longer got periods. Yeah, I don't have periods anymore because of my IUD, so my cup is waiting for that fateful day…. Depends on the IUD. Mirena (hormone-based IUD) will have similar results to a hormone-based pill (lighter menses, etc.). But for the copper IUD (Paragard), the opposite tends to be true. I have the copper IUD, and my menses are, not kidding, about 10x heavier. While on NuvaRing, I could go with one "regular" (as opposed to 'light' or 'super') tampon per day; with the copper IUD, I literally go through an 'ultra' every two hours. I still prefer it over the hormone-based birth control, but it's something that users should consider if they have IUDs. Probably not worth avoiding unless you have the string issue, but everyone is different. However–who doesn't flush a tampon?? That's the only thing I'm hung up on from the article. People who have not so great plumbing don't flush tampons! I had horrible plumbing in my house growing up so I never flushed tampons and would never chance it now. We had in our old house an electronic toilet, no flushing tampons…paper only! you should NOT flush your tampons. even if your plumbing is totally ok and PVC and new, it's likely that somewhere along the line to the sewer that is not the case and buildup can do serious damage. and if your pipes aren't PVC and/or you live in an apt building, the damage will disrupt your life. in other news, my period is also MUCH heavier now but I read that pain relievers can help decrease your Paragard flow and have been taking naproxen and I swear it's helped. It is nev safe for your plumbing to flush anything besides toilet paper! Ask any professional plumber. Ohhhh, no no no. No wastewater treatment plant is really designed to handle anything except the three P's — poop, pee, and paper. Breaking down tampons is an expensive and time-consuming process, and they eventually just get sent to a landfill anyway — exactly where they'd go if you just put them in the trash. And that's if they make it out of your building's plumbing system at all. Plumbers say that a tampon is one of the most common causes of clogs when they get a house call, because it won't dissolve if it gets caught on a root intrusion or something in your pipe, and then other stuff builds around that until you can't flush. Got all that right here. http://jezebel.com/time-to-accept-reality-and-stop-flushing-tampons-down-t-1566737300 I'm on a septic system and unless I want to pony up the cash to have the tank pumped more often, nothing but paper down the potty! I am a professional plumber. And flushing tampons is ok. The signs that say only paper are for the women who attempt to flush extra large pads with paper and whatnot else at once. They do not damage the plumbing, But will clog the toilet. Beyond the toilet the pipe is 3-4 inches wide, only getting wider and can accommodate large "deposits" lol. The problem is that people use too much paper and then throw in a tampon or a pad, maybe some paper towels and baby wipes along with your "deposit" And wonder why the toilet clogs. It's just easier to say paper only. But if you learn to courtesy flush multiple times when you add items to the bowl. You will have no problems. Aside from filling the septic system faster if you don't have sewers, But if you use biodegradable stuff it shouldn't be a problem there either Same here! I used to use my diva cup with my IUD (my doc said it was okay) without any problems. I only stopped because my periods got so light I didn't see any reason to bother. I use pantiliners if I need them, but that's it. I am a professional plumber. And flushing tampons is ok. The signs that say only paper are for the women who attempt to flush extra large pads with paper and whatnot else at once. They do not damage the plumbing, But will clog the toilet. Beyond the toilet the pipe is 3-4 inches wide, only getting wider and can accommodate large "deposits" lol. The problem is that people use too much paper and then throw in a tampon or a pad, maybe some paper towels and baby wipes along with your "deposit" And wonder why the toilet clogs. It's just easier to say paper only. But if you learn to courtesy flush multiple times when you add items to the bowl. You will have no problems. Sry it went in the wrong area. I HAVE ONE! I would NEVER go back. . . heck of a way to find out you have a latex allergy, though. . . I love my silicone cup – never even messed with the latex (I have copious amounts of skin allergies). I too will never go back! Which brand is made of latex? The diva cup is silicone and the Keeper is made from natural rubber, as in, tree sap from the rubber tree. Is there a third brand? I don't know of others. Natural rubber is latex. jess, here's more info re materials used to make the keeper: "Although The Keeper is made from natural gum rubber (versus a synthetic polymer), it is still made of rubber, which is also called latex. To be conservative, don't use it if you are allergic to rubber or latex, or think you might be." http://thekeeper.com/faq.html#latex there are over 20 brands: http://sizecharts.livejournal.com/ for more info. The Keeper is the only latex one. Everything else is made of silicone or thermoplastic elastomer. I use a "LadyCup" that I purchased from eBay. It must be latex free because I have a latex allergy! Speaking of "a heck of a way to find out you have a latex allergy"… A coworker of mine burst his achilles' tendon a few years back. After surgery, the Art teacher asked if she could paint his cast. She primed it with latex paint. And she must have really coated it good, because it softened the cast. 6 hours later it was still soft and his leg started to itch and burn and he went to the Emergency Room, and it turned out that he was allergic to the latex paint. They had to remove the cast, clean out the softened cast material out of his surgical wounds, and put a new cast on. I bought the silicon DivaCup and will NEVER go back to pads or tampons ever again. I've also posted a status on FB telling the entire world how wonderful it is. I don't want any of my lady friends to suffer through using tampons or pads EVER AGAIN. I hope people reading this will see all of our comments about how amazing they are and try it because I've only had mine for this one cycle so far and it has already changed my life. While a great option for MANY women, this is not a product for women experiencing vulvadynia, vaginismus or vaginal atrophy. If you are experiencing any other lady-health problems, talk about this option with your doctor to see if it's right for you. Or a wholly displaced cervix. Your cervix needs to be located in the upper 3/4 of your vaginal tract for this to be usable. Waiting on the solution for that one. :< Good points! Adding to the list, the cup is also not a solution for women with cribriform or microperforate hymens. Or septate virgin hymens! When it tore, it broke an artery, I lost a unit of blood, and had to go to the ER to stop the bleeding. However, I my Diva cup now. I will never go back to yucky pads or scary tampons. Yay for septate hymens. lol. I've never heard someone else say they had one before 🙂 I finally bucked up the courage to get my gp to cut my separate hymen 2 months ago. Hurt like bitch! I couldn't even use tampons before I got it sorted, so cups definitely wouldn't be an option haha DootsieBug, I don't have a displaced cervix, but I recently read reviews on another blog about Intimina which is a kegel exerciser. Some of the women reported relief of prolapse and other conditions including leakage of urine. I have a wimpy pelvic floor, so bought one about a month ago and have had impressive results. Not knowing what your issue is, I can't say whether or not this will help, but a strong pelvic floor has the ability to solve many problems. So, I read this week that hooping can really help strengthen the pelvic floor! http://www.northernstar.com.au/story/2012/08/29/circular-sensations-causing-a-big-hoopla/ You can find more info on hooping at Hooping.org or HoopCity.ca. I had a prolapsed uterus (now repaired), and I actually love my cup. It kind of worked as a pessary to keep my uterus up where it should be. Tampons, though, killed me. But it may be different if your cervix is naturally low? BUT: Diva cup hurt me (and still does) a lot – I had to go with a Meluna, which is super small and soft. natural sea sponge! doesn't matter where your cervix is as long as you don't have sex while its in if you have any cervical disorders its fine i have used both and while i liked the cup the sponges relived me of ALL cramps love them biodegradable easy to use wash carry etc not quite as able to sleep in on a heavy cycle perhaps but the lack of cramps means you can sleep….lol yes definitely recommend sea sponges 🙂 I can't get over the whole using the skeleton of an animal inside me, part. Otherwise it sounds like a good idea if you have the ability to rince it out often I started using the Diva Cup because I had soooo many lady parts problems for over a year, which have left me hyper-sensitive in the whole area. The fact of not using tampons, with the risk of toxic shock syndrome has actually saved me! The one time in the past 18 months I had to use a tampon because I had left my Diva Cup at home, I got a vaginal infection that lasted 10 days! I am never going back to tampons and pads! Hurray for menstrual cups! FYI, I will walk to the public bathroom sink to rinse my cup if needed, and I will tell everyone there why they absolutely need a menstrual cup, if it changed my life, it can change someone else's as well! 🙂 FYI, Toxic Shock Syndrome was associated with one brand of super absorbent tampons in the 70s that was discontinued as soon as they realized what it was doing. They still put the warnings on all tampon packaging and recommend frequent changing, but modern tampons are not going to cause TSS. I know of someone who got it from forgetting to remove a tampon. Admittedly it was in there for like a week or two, which most people aren't going to do. There are about 3-4 cases per 100,000 tampon users annually. I work at a hospital and they released an article on our employee portal online about tampons. TSS isn't an issue anymore, but the article discussed all of the chemicals and bleaches used on cotton that is then turned into a tampon. Imagine what that does to your va-jayjay 🙁 You can get unbleached organic cotton tampons. They are much friendlier to your V than standard bleached tampons. I wish that were the case!! But I met a girl 4 years ago who had left it in for not even a full DAY and got TSS and was hospitalized. One of my friends died from TSS from a tampon. The hospital didn't realize that was the problem until it was too late. She was 20. This was a few years ago. Her mother and sister are now educators on the dangers of TSS. Cloth pads are really great though, even if you have those problems (or can't use tampons for any other reason)! I switched a little over a year ago and would NEVER go back to disposables. amen to that! cloth pads are 1000 times more comfortable, less leak-prone, etc. cloth pads and the diva cup together have made my period a non-issue. they have convinced me if i ever have kids their butts are going in cloth too. while we're on the tmi boat, menstrual cups are also WAY less inconvenient to work around your sex life. none of that "but i just put in a brand new expensive tampon!" (i hope i'm not the only person who has had that dilemma… i'm pretty cheap) also, just a tip – if you do get a cup, don't ever put it in a plastic bag! it will get moldy. and that is GROSS. i had to throw it out and get a new one. yes! sex with the cup is wonderful! No strings–no shitty dry-ness feeling that comes with tampons! that was the first thing I noticed after switching to the cup–tampons dry you out! My gosh, YES!!! THIS!!! Because it's all nestled up to your cervix doin its thing, there's not a wad of cotton in there drying up your vag moisture as well as the blood. I NEVER used to be able to enjoy anything sexual while on my period, would get all raw and uncomfortable, could feel the tampon sticking straight up all day until it got wet enough to settle in… Just before I switched to the cup, I was so dry that I was having to moisturize with lube or organic raw yogurt several times a day. And crying inbetween. >.< But, um, what if you're tending on the small side, and your partner is capable of hitting said spot without really trying to? Would the cup rub too much, or feel weird? to tlars699 : the reusable cups aren't intended to be used while having vaginal sex. I've experimented with it and not had any luck and I have a pretty long vagina (at least that's what I think. I could not possible cut the stem on my cup and still get it out of me). I -think- what this thread is talking about is how much easier it is to take the cup out/not waste money on a tampon you've used for only an hour and how much less dry you'll be. there are instead cups, which -are- designed to be worn while having vaginal sex. they are basically shaped like and work like diaphragms (which people have also used as menstrual protection, though the INSTEAD CUPS DO NOT PREVENT PREGNANCY). I've also had problems with my partner uncomfortably feeling those, but my cervix is tipped so the cup can't sit as far back/up as it's "supposed" too. i think when it sits correctly, the worst that would happen is your partner my hit the soft part of the cup, but they'd basically also be hitting your cervix, so I think that wouldn't be an issue. YES. The cup is a godsend for my sex life. My boyfriend and I don't live together yet, but we often spends weeks at a time at each others homes. Before I got the cup I always had to make sure I had a sufficient stash of pads packed, and then worry about changing and disposing of them while not in my own bathroom. And even though my boyfriend is probably the most down to earth and sympathetic guy in the world, I was always uncomfortable with the whole situation. The cup really just eliminates all those problems. I had to use a pad once since I got my cup, and I had forgotten how annoying it is. I was paranoid all day about leaks and the whole thing was just so /messy./ I felt like I needed to shower every time I went to the bathroom. The cup is so much neater… i might have to try it just for the sex issue. not so much because i'm cheap about the tampons, but they HURT to pull out when they're not ready because they just suck the moisture out of everything. :C If you do go for snoo-snoo with cup, insert it inside out so the "stem" is in the cup. My Other Half says that on occasion w/ my Fleur Cup right way out he gets stabbed, but the Diva Cup is also so large on me that I can't do anything with it in at all. It can still leak depending on the angle and force of the sexy times too, but we just toss down the Sex Towel and go ahead. A friend sent me some cloth pads, and they were great! So much more comfortable than disposable pads. At least for a while. They reach a point where, even after lots of washing, they acquire a smell that does't go away (as mentioned in the article, blood gets stinky). Darn it, I wanted them to last forever! It is also a great option for transgender men and genderqueer people who menstruate… 🙂 Pardon my ignorance, why are cups a great option for transgender and genderqueer people? Is it less conspicuous? I thought I'd rather ask than wonder, and I know that I'd get some great answers from here 🙂 I'd say less conspicuous, yes. No need for supplies to be in the bathroom/medicine cabinet, or to buy them at the store or online. No string or bulk in the underwear. It's also a gentle reminder that it's not only women who have vaginas and who menstruate. 😉 Too true. I bought my Diva Cup prior to becoming sexually active and discovering a plethora of pelvic pain issues that hadn't been bothered by regular tampon use. Unfortunately, although a lot of these issues have been resolved, I still have yet to be able to use my Diva… There are many other brands with different sizes and shapes. Read through all the comments and you may find the one just right for you. I had this experience also. I suffered through for about a year with the diva cup, but the pain was unbearable. There is a site which will turn up through a quick search that provides dimensions for tons of different brands of cups. I ended up going with a Lady cup, imported from the UK and my symptoms totally disappeared. You can find a cup that fits your body! Did this with the Fleur Cup (French but less than $20 and comes in different colors). I don't know, I have vulvodynia but not problems with my menstrual cup. I think it really depends on the individual. I have vulvodynia (vulvar vestibulitis, to be exact), and the Diva cup works fine for me. It really depends on what exactly is wrong with your bits, I think. Excellent point, though of course it depends on the severity of one's conditon. I have mild vaginismus. I CAN have sex, but it HURTS and there is no other medical condition that my OB/GYN can figure out. Dispite this, I can use a DivaCup fairly comfortably. It is actually more comfortable for me than tampons. I have just been diagnosed with vaginismus, and since I've been considering a menstrual cup for awhile figured that I'd struggle with one. But you've given me hope! Still considering, but that's one less thing to worry about in my consideration process. I've mostly recovered but I absolutely can't use tampons, so I know I wouldn't be able to put a cup up in there! True! Having struggled through vaginismus myself, I use cloth pads and I love them. I just wanted to note that I have vulvadynia, specifically Vulvar vestibulitis, and using a cup is no problem for me. It can be uncomfortable to put it in, but once it is in it's no problem. Taking it out can also be uncomfortable, but again, it's quick and not too bad for me. On the other hand, tampons are so painful for me they are just not even remotely an option. Though I think my case is not as severe as others can have, if a woman has it, cups are definitely not out of the question unless they try it and see for themselves. I have one too and, of course, I love it! 😀 Do you have any more info on the gardening part of this whole story? Thanks! (Btw, I have a Mooncup made out of medical silicone. Yep, I'm over-sensitive to latex, too!) My friends who were using menstrual blood for gardening were using it to fertilize the soil around flowers, not food. It seems like fertilizing around food would be fine as long as you're fertilizing the soil, not missing and smearing it on the food plant itself, but I'd love to have someone on this thread jump in and say "I'm a doctor or other healthcare worker and I endorse/warn you away from using menstrual blood to fertilize food." True! Hepatits can, in fact, lived in even dried blood for years. Ok, thanks! Yep, I agree, more info from someone in the business would be much appreciated! Wouldn't it attract animals? I love this idea, but the thought of my dog getting into my flower bed and coming in covered in my menstrual blood grosses me out. 'I read somewhere their periods attract bears. Bears can smell the menstruation.' Bears can smell the blood. Was I the only one to catch this!? Tee hee! our ancestors would send menstruating women into the fields to dance and thus fertilize the soil. Yeah, but our ancestors also threw the contents of their chamber pots out into the street. Just because people did something historically, doesn't mean that it was a good idea, or even safe. Which ancestors, documented? Seriously curious…sounds a little too romantic. many peoples consider menstrual blood unclean and would never, ever fertilize food with it. the ancient and anthropological record is kind of mixed on this kind of thing and may not be the best guide to what we should do in this particular case. But you have to love, going off in the hut while your period lasted. Nothing to do but sleep, eat and talk to the other ladies in the hut. I wish we still did that. Sigh…. I'm loving the gardening idea. It seems it would be better than blood meal and people buy that. But my question is, how do they get it there? I've been using the cup for over 10 years and still remove it over the toilet because I always make a mess taking it out. I didn't put it on food plants. Usually I only put it on houseplants. I'd use one cup's worth diluted in my watering can, then water as normal. Can't say if I noticed any difference in the plants, but it made me feel like an extra-good hippie. 😉 I have been wanting to try one of these for years, but my periods are VERY heavy, I go through a super plus box, half a super and half a regular box of tampons every period. Does anyone know if this would work for me, that cup looks so small, I'm afraid I'd be in the bathroom all day! Ugh… (TMI comment, I'm sorry!) The cup can hold about 2x as much as a super tampon. So if you change a super every hour you'd change a cup every 2 hours. You can always use a pad or panti-liner as backup for long meetings/flights/classes etc. one thing I noticed whee switching over is that what seemed like a lot when it was absorbed by cotton didn't seem like that much in the cup. You may need to empty it frequently the first couple days but, after so long of using it, you can "feel" when it's time. The first couple cycles transitioning to the cup can be. . .messy. . .but once you know what to feel for, it's smooth sailing! I had the same experience – what seemed like "too much" for a cotton tampon was suddenly manageable with the cup. I often have extremely heavy periods, and they are much easier to manage with my diva cup than they were with tampons. I second this! Seriously!! I thought I had a heavy flow because of how many tampons I went through, but when I got a Diva cup I would downright forget I was on my period! I have a crazy heavy flow, too, and it's FINE. At the peak of my flow I sometimes will have to change it every hour or two for a day, but usually, I can leave it in for 6-8 hours. Bonus: my cramps got wayyy better! Heck yes, the cramps almost DISAPPEAR as soon as the cup is in for the week! It's kind of like the science behind those anti-snore things. Opens you up and props everything just right so it's not working as hard to do what must be done. I have an average-flow period, and I find I only need to empty mine twice a day on my heaviest-flow days, and once a day after that. I usually do it in the shower. I would guess with a very heavy flow you'd maybe have to change it 4-5 times a day, but you'd be in the bathroom peeing that much anyway! Also, if I know I might not have the chance to change it one my heavier days, I use lunapads or lunapanties (lunapads.com) for any leaks that might occur. Reusable cloth pads and panties! If you go to the website, they'll send you a cloth pantiliner for free, or you can buy a set with a divacup and some cloth pads or panties! I have fairly heavy periods on the first two days. I've noticed that I have to change the cup a little less often than I had to change my tampon. Just take cup out, empty, rinse, insert cup again. It takes a minute or two longer to do the cup than to just insert another tampon but it's not a really big difference. I must say though, that when you're first getting used to the cup you'll want to remove everything from your lower half and do it in the shower or the tub. I had a hard time getting the hang of the Softcup, which is wider and more shallow than the Divacup and I would spill it nearly every time. You don't want to be at the office the first time you've got to take the cup out. You will ruin your shoes or drop it in the toilet. Once you become a pro at it (I'd say two, maybe three cycles) you can do it anywhere. I'd just recommend a "family" bathroom so that you can walk to the sink to rinse the cup without people giving you horrified stares. You don't have to rinse it every time you take it out. Toilet paper or just dumping out the contents and sticking it back in are both fine. If you want to rinse it, you can also bring a water bottle or something like that into the stall. No need to horrify anyone. I've used a diva cup for more than a decade, and the same one at that. The instructions told me it would last until I turned 30 and my hips widened naturally with age–which was true. Toward the end of those ten years I started getting more frequent issues with yeast infections, which cleared up when I replaced it with a new one. The new cups come with different instructions now: they say to replace the cup once a year and boil it after each period. I do think that being extra fastidious is going to improve the length of time between replacements, but that is a big difference. I am going to monitor myself and if I start getting monthly infections again I'll be replacing the cup. Once a year seems like lawyer advice. Over the years I too discovered the shower was the best place to dump it out (using a toilet FILLS it with blood–two flushes if you have someone waiting to use it after you who doesn't want to see that sort of thing. The shower cleans up easily and makes rinsing it in hot water a seamless part of the process. PS – it is best to poop with the cup out. Otherwise your pooper is a bit, ah, restricted. I mean you still can, it's just not the same… at least for me. TMI!!! If I recall correctly, when I got my first Diva (in maybe 2006 or 2007?) they still weren't officially marketing them in the US. At the time they said you could keep int for 10 years before needing a replacement. I would guess the major change came when the FDA approved it for sale. Granted, I didn't save my literature from when I bought it (as a college sophomore I was a little anxious about having stuff like that lying around my dorm room) and anything I search on the internet gives only the current regulations, so I don't *know* why or when exactly the change came about, but I have a strong feeling it has to do with the new widespread US availability. Good grief I has my last one for 8 years, I felt it was getting more difficult to keep cleen, it smelled even after disinfecting, so I got a new one this one for 6 years, mne is a mooncup from mooncup.co.uk. I do sometimes have to get out of bed quick on very heavy days and find I am leaking a little , but never found that problem during the day, you can feel when it's time to empty it. I never boil it, I just pop it in an old cup with a Milton tablet, (baby bottle sterilizer) at the end of my period, leave for a day and is done. I have a Keeper and I know that they have a three month guarantee so that you can try it for a while to see if you like it and feel comfortable with it. If you're not happy, you get your money back. Maybe other brands have a similar guarantee? I have endometriosis, so periods are not just heavy, but long (sometimes 10-14 days… none of them light). The great news is that it DOES work. The cup does look small, but honestly, I've gone 12 hours without a leak before. Now, on your heaviest days, you may want to change every 6-8, but overnights have yet to be a problem for me. Even if you're changing it every 4 hours during the day, you're still looking at a LOT of money saved. It took me about two cycles to get used to the timing for when to empty it (and to stop checking every 2-4 hours like I would with a tampon) and just relax and not worry as much. Honestly? It was a huge relief to change over. 🙂 For a lot of complicated reasons, I had a period that lasted for 4 months (I know, right?!) and I used my DivaCup. (&/or Luna Pads- cloth pads & pantiliners). I haven't calculated how much money and waste I saved, but for people with long periods, menstrual cups are the logical way to go as long as your body allows it! They are also so much less obtrusive for camping, or if you are transgender or genderqueer. No bulky products to carry about. I have had cycles where I bled through super-gigantic-mega-plus tampons in less than an hour. I use a cup now, and I just empty it out every 6 hours or so on my super heavy days. It hold a fair amount of fluid. much more than a tampon can absorb. ME TOO! Super my ass… And even on the beginning days of my period, I'll check the cup after 14 hours (!!) and it's just barely full. I think we bleed less than we think we do, lol. It's also fun (for me) to monitor my flow, consistency, color, etc. Imma geek like that. Most women are only supposed to bleed about 1 ounce through the entire process (diva cup holds a full ounce), but every body is different so I can't vouch for that in any sciency way. What I do know is capillary action and tampons is a mind screw. Ever step in a puddle with jeans that we're too long and had what looked to be a teeny tiny splish of water work it's way UP the jeans to the back of your knees? (I love my jeans to be too long so this is me EVERY time it rains) That's capillary action at work and it does the same thing in those cleverly marketed cotton balls we call tampons. It only takes a small amount of liquid for those things to become fully engorged with colour and smell (eww). TMI: I had problems for years with tampons looking "full" but being a pain in my arse to pull out and drying the heck out of my poor innards all the while. I just bought a DivaCup but haven't had my cycle yet, but I expect it soon now. It's quite exciting for me as I too enjoy monitoring my bodily functions and now I can do that easier! I also want a basal thermometer to better pattern my cycles too. Other than that YAY for other people being weird like me! Heavy periods was the reason I switched to the cup and it has seriously changed my life. I will add that as you get used to the cup, you will be able to "feel" when it is about to overflow. I can only describe it as a "squelchy" feeling. A panty liner handles the overflow and I make a quick run to the bathroom. SO much better than tampons! The wonderful, no waste solutions almost work for me, but not quite. I have SUPER heavy periods, I can't even pretend to use tampons – they're a guaranteed fail, it's as if the fluids slip around the tampons like they're not even present. I have a DIVA Cup that I can use on the days other than my heavy days. I've found that the capacity just doesn't do the job for me, especially if I have to leave the house and deal with the DIVA Cup in a public restroom, ugh. If I could stay home on my heavy day I'd use cloth and be perfectly happy about it, but I can't do that. I'm in school, I have six hour classes with a couple of short breaks. A combination of pads and cup seems to work best for me – it took a while to figure that out though. Thanks to the person who posted the size chart. I just ordered a XL MeLuna that has a larger capacity than the DIVA Cup, I'm hoping that it's greater size will suit me better. MeLuna http://meluna.eu/ If I know I'm going to be out in public I try to have a water bottle in my purse so I can just rinse it out in the bathroom stall. It may not be for everyone, but it works for me. Thanks for that suggestion! I now live in an live/work art-loft with a shared bathroom where the sink is separated from the toilet like a public restroom, and I'm the only bleeder living here. I love my Diva cup, but I have overnight issues because of a heavier flow. I have been thinking about getting the XL Meluna (I got the large before they had XL and quickly discovered the volume issue). I like the feel of Meluna better than Diva, but I was wondering about the capacity. How has your new cup worked for you? The XL MeLuna Is working out, it's very comfortable and easier to get a grip on for removal. Ok, I was totally lurking in the comments so I could ask: I had a DivaCup for about a year. I had one too many issues of having it get stuck waaay up in there after an overnight shift and it taking, oh, a half an hour to yank the thing out. So when the year was up I ended up tossing it and going back to tampons – I didn't want to have to go to an ER and ask them to remove it! Has anyone else had this problem, and do y'all think switching to a different brand would fix it? I get very heavy periods, changing tampons on the hour for most of it, and the diva cup was a great solution. I can't go the full 8 hours they say you can before changing it, for me it's more like 3-4 hours, but as a student, 3 hours vs. 1 is a life saver! I also had a tear down there that healed funny so I leak a little, but I usually wear a light panty liner with it and don't have an issue. I've been thinking about cloth pads though… I'm a super plus girl and have *loved* that the cup holds me all day. I only dump it once in the morning and once before bed. I used to have to change a super plus, every hour on the hour as I felt it leaking. I have extremely heavy periods too (in fact I started using a menstrual cup to measure the flow as I had already spoken to my gynaecologist about heavy bleeding and he blew my concerns off). The menstrual cup has been a god send. On heavy flow days (I have 2-3 each cycle) I have to change the cup approx 5 times in 12 hours, but that beats leaking tampons/pads and being scared to sit down in case seepage stains my clothes. My cup has only overflowed twice, and both times were on heavy flow days where I was unable to change it for a few hours (was in a car). I don't wear mine at night as I am scared it wouldn't cope with 6-8 hours, but I guess it all depends on how heavy your flow is. BTW, I used to work for the World Federation of Hemophilia (they are a non-profit that work to support research, diagnosis and care for all ppl with any bleeding disorder), and menorrhagia – or heavy bleeding – is generally diagnosed by the amount of pads you go through a day as well as size of clots. The menstrual cup is a good way to measure flow – most people apparently bleed 1 -2 oz in their whole period. With the cup you can see what your flow is each day and have data for your medical professional if you are worried about heavy flow. There are many reasons for heavy flow (polyps, uterine problems, bleeding disorder, hormonal imbalance), if you haven't yet had yours checked out you should. Yes. I regularly bled through a super tampon in an hour for most of the course of a 5 day cycle (and I can't sit down wearing those bastards either!). The larger capacity cups will hold about 1/3 of the average fluid lost during menstruation, which usually gets me at least 3-4 hr between cleanings. Tip: In a public bathroom, wash your hands first, then take a damp paper towel into the stall with you. Once you dump the cup you can wipe it off and still have a corner of the towel to wipe your hands. I tend to notice more mess on my hands after cleanings on the heavier days. BUT, if you also clot heavily, they don't cause leaks with a cup like they will with pads and tampons. Despite what everyone says, I've had no luck with the cup because of my heavy periods. I use ultra tampons, and I experience insane leakage with the cup vs. ultra tampons. Who wants to change out the cup every hour or less? I use the cup at home for environmental and financial concerns, but use tampons when I'm out and about for security. Which cup do you use? If you're experiencing leakage, it's possible your cup is too small. There are many, MANY brands and sizes out there to choose from. I've heard that two great capacity cups are the Luv Ur Body cup and the SuperJennie. I love, love, LOVE my Diva cup! I tried the Keeper, didn't work well for me, but the Diva cup is great! Only drawback is, on my heavy days I CANNOT go longer than 3 hours before emptying it, or I have a mess on my hands. However, with pads it was 1-2 hours, so…. I have a couple of cloth pads (disposable pads rip up my ladybits badly) which I use for backup on heavy days when I'm not sure I'll be able to change my cup, or days when the cramps prevent me from putting anything inside me. Bonus: cloth pads come in, squeee, all the colourrrrs! (I get mine from etsy seller Popples: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Popples , OMG all the cute!!) Agreed. I tend to leak at night but the cloth pads are a lifesaver. I use velour reusable pads from Lilyapads on Etsy….so absorbent, plus bleeding on velour makes me feel like royalty!! I would not go back. I've had mine for 3? years. I use mine with LunaPads as a backup, but only have leaks if I was too lazy to do the full rotation…and definitely WAAAAAY less than with tampons. Certainly has freed up time, space, and money. And no late night trips to the corner store anymore. I have a DivaCup!!!! It changed my whole life, forrealz. I would trust it with a heavy period, absolutely. It'd just be a matter of checking on it periodically (HAH) to see if it needs emptying. I found that the DivaCup is pretty much down for whatever…dancing, swimming, sleeping in, camping, etc. I have NO desire to go back to disposable products. 😀 My comment is purely marketing rumination humor – the name "Diva" cup always makes me laugh, because all the (self-categorized )Divas I know are high-maintenance and squeamish ladies who would throw up at the idea of this nifty little chalice. I guess Diva Cup makes bleeding into a plastic receptacle sound more glamorous? (I'm neither sold nor unsold on the idea by the way. I've never tried it but I have many friends who swear by them.) I have also wondered about the marketing choice on that brand. Squeamishness is the most common reason I hear people not wanting the cup (some of the legitimate medical conditions mentioned above are also good reasons) but it always baffles me, because if you're the type of woman who is grossed out by your period, I find tampons way grosser than anything else in the world. At least you throw tampons away, though. I think it's the washing and reusing that grosses a lot of people out. When I bought my Diva cup in 2004-ish, the website described it as a "Dependable Internal Vaginal Alternative," aka DIVA cup. And mine came with a little pin of a pink flower with the word "Diva" printed in scripty letters. Very empowering to walk around my high school halls with that pinned to my backpack. 😉 I LOVE my cup! I do have to monitor for leakage on my really heavy days, but a pantiliner for a couple of days sure beats tampons for a week! Never going back! I grow ever more interested in this cup thing as time goes on. I only use pads, so it will definitely take some adjusting, but I think I might give it a whirl. I also have a very light period generally, only change pads once a day. After more research of course, hup hup! I could only use pads before I started using a menstrual cup – every time I tried to use tampons I would get symptoms of toxic shock syndrome (never the actual thing, but light-headedness, nausea, lower back pain, etc.). It took some time, and one brand change, but once I got used to the cup, I absolutely LOVE it. And, bonus!, I have fewer and less severe PMS symptoms than before. Yup, I also only used pads before switching to a cup! Hey light lady, I love the idea of something like this but I worry that it is overkill for my minimal flow. I am in my late 20s and am still using those teen-first-time pads, and only one a day even on heavy days. I tried mini tampons a few times to allow me to go swimming etc, but have been off them for years because I had to leave them in so long to make them confortable to take out, and even then… Is there any discomfort with cups the way a dry tampon hurts to remove? And can anyone suggest the most petite brand for me? Thanks ladies! I have been wondering for years but my friends and family can give no advice as they all have 'real' periods not like my pretend ones 🙂 I know you posted this a while ago, but… due to my hormonal contraception, I only have very light periods (if any). I have a menstrual cup, use it for those very light periods, and it's fine. There's no problem with dryness. There are two types of discomfort I've experienced: – when the cup's in wrong, it makes the cramping worse. (On the other hand, when it's in properly, it makes the cramping stop.) – getting it in and out is about as comfortable as you'd expect it to be to put things in an unaroused vagina. My brand of choice is MeLuna; I've got a small, soft one with a ball end (to avoid being jabbed by a stick-type end). They might suit you! Question for you light ladies too: I am super light…I mean, maybe one large dribble on heaviest day, but otherwise mainly just drips. However, I find that because of my shape, tampons leak like crazy no matter what size I use, so unless I want pads, the cup is the way to go – and I LOVE it, it's totally made me not hate every 4th week! But I sometimes wonder if I *really* need to change it every 12 hours since there's like nothing there…I mean, no company can endorse that for legal reasons, and since there is *no* risk of TSS, etc…what's the harm? I accidentally did it the other day without any problems…but long term, is there something that could go wrong? I don't know, but I'm not willing to risk my health finding out. I'm not exactly sure how I'd be potentially risking my health, but I'm still not going to go against the instructions on this one. I know what you mean about it seeming pointless when there's so little fluid, but 12 hours is a pretty long time; cleaning it once in the morning and again once at night doesn't seem like that much trouble to me. The other thing is that you're essentially keeping bits of dead stuff warm. I suspect it wouldn't be very pleasant to change if you left it much longer than recommended. Oh, a funny thing. A friend of mine desperately wanted to use them but was too scared. She was convinced that the cup worked by having the rim create a suction cup effect around your cervix. So, it "stuck" in place by latching on like a little remora or a baby on a nipple or something. She was afraid that if she grabbed the end of the cup and pulled she'd yank on her cervix and maybe would pull too hard and pull it all out! The cup *can* create some suction actually and you can get hurt if you don't use it properly. That's why they say to pinch the base of the cup to break the seal before you pull it out. I've never had a problem though doing that. 🙂 I sort of love how many people think the hoohaa is just filled with loosely-assembled meaty bits that will leak puss if you knick them. This is a system built for carrying sometimes a DOZEN POUNDS OF BABY. It is a series of muscles, not an ooky cave of terror. Hahahaha! Cat you are too funny! But you are also correct about this. It's a pretty foolproof organ system down there. OOKY CAVE OF TERROR is the best thing I've read in AGES. I'm not allergic to anything, but I couldn't use this for a couple of reasons. I tried a Lunette cup, but I ran into problems with persistent yeast infections. It also made my cramps significantly worse, even though I'm on birth control. They were slightly less than when I've taken emergency birth control, but not by a lot. I've never had problems with any infections before, but I also don't use tampons regularly, so I think it just threw things off. If you are sensitive to any changes in your lady parts, make sure to get the medical-grade silicone and consider carefully before investing. That being said, expect to take a couple of months before you get the hang of it. There may be an inevitable (literal) brought-to-your-knees moment of pain when you insert it improperly, or it pops open before it's fully inserted, but as long as you're not prone to infections, you should be fine. The natural latex one I had WAS brutal when it snapped into place. . . the silicone one I have is MUCH softer and more comfortable 🙂 I had the same problem with the cup. I used it for two months, ended up with two UTI's. The problem is that in smaller women, the cup presses against the back wall, which constricts the flow of urine out of the urethra, which is on the other side of that wall. It doesn't empty properly and BAM — UTI. It's the same problem/warning they give about diaphragms. Take it out when you pee. I had that problem with my lunette…switched to a soft meluna and no more constant pressure on my bladder, need to pee now! Feeling! I LOVE the soft meluna! hmm … I've been wanting to get one when my period starts back again, but I am exceptionally prone to yeast infections (tend to get at least a minor one every period) as well as being pretty small (in reference to the comment below). Maybe I should just stick to pads (but they're so gross!) :-/ I've been thinking about checking out cloth pads once my finances settle a bit more. They're more expensive than regular pads, but it's the same idea & I've heard good things about them. GladRags seems like a decent alternative if you're curious; they come with travel bags & you rinse them in cold water, then throw them in the washing machine/dryer. With other laundry! The convenience! Their website FAQs are quite informative: http://www.gladrags.com/s-11-gladrags-pads-faq.aspx#FAQ1Det If you hadn't seen, someone posted this link for some cheaper pads.. I ordered a couple seem OK so far for a pantyliner for my new cup, I don't have other cloth liners to compare to though 🙂 http://www.etsy.com/shop/MamaBearBabyWear?section_id=5887106 I have heard some people with persistent yeast infections say the cup has actually helped prevent them. It depends on your body. Before I started taking Depo-Provera and basically didn't have to worry about a period any more, I used to have terrible yeast infections or icky scratchy pain /down there/ very often while using pads or tampons. Something about the materials just constantly irritated me. When I switched to a Diva Cup, it seriously made all those problems go away. It made me ridiculously happy. If you have persistent yeast infections – I suggest you might give these a try, as mine really did help me. I've been using a Diva Cup for about 5 years now, and I love it. My wife also uses one (we have our own of course). We boil them for about 10 minutes in between periods to keep them clean, and then store each one in the little fabric bag it came in, then rinse before using it. Back when I used tampons, I got horrible yeast infections all the time. I think they were a huge contributing factor. I will say, the best thing I ever found to kick a yeast infection, whether it's at the very beginning when you're just noticing the slight itching or later on, is to use plain, unflavored (and un-sugared! VERY important!) yogurt. Apply directly to your vulva and inside your vagina, if you like. Tons cheaper than Monistat or Diflucan, and it works better too. It's naturally cooling and the live culture rebalances the yeast imbalance. Another tip: when you buy one, looks online for different ways to fold it to get it inside of you to find one that works for you. The directions that come with it say to fold it half, then in half again to make a U shape for insertion. The first time I tried to do that, I thought I had made the wrong decision in choosing the cup, since it was so painful to put in! Once I found a fold that worked for me, it was so much better. Also, make sure you keep it out of reach of your pets. Even sanitized, there must be some yummy smell left to it–I've lost one divacup to my cats and another one to my dogs. Blegh Yes! I used the U-shaped fold from the original cup directions for a couple of years, but it was so annoying! Never hurt, I don't think, but kept popping out of shape! I finally thought to do some research, and found a 7-shaped fold recommendation, which I love. It makes the top sort of pointy, which I find much easier to insert, and I can hold it in shape with just a pinch towards the bottom. Better in every way. I LOOOOOOVE my DivaCup! However! It is worth noting that I've been warned by a friend in the women's health field that keeping it in for too long could allow bacteria to breed, resulting in yeast infections. When I went to do my on research, I found that a lot of women who used SOAP to wash it regularly experienced frequent yeast infections. I haven't experienced ANY of this, and have had nothing but good experiences. I usually DON'T keep it in for super long, and I have found it to be WAY less messy than tampons. I know someone who uses this and gets an infection unless she sterilizes it between cycles. The silicone ones can be boiled, which works like a charm. For some reason I don't have the same problem. I'm gonna have to say here, I think everyone should sterilise between cycles. It doesn't take much effort to boil your cup once a month, and having been covered in your menstrual blood and discharge I think it'd be pretty likely to have something nasty living on it if left unclean and reinserted weeks later. How could bacteria breeding lead to yeast infections? Different organisms… The same could be said for a tampon, anyway – and really, what with the larger surface area of a tampon, that seems the more likely scenario. While yeast and bacteria are of course different, one infection could be mistaken for the other. Boiling the cup should destroy both. Yes different organisms but with a weakened and imbalanced system because of one, the other may be able to flourish. Just a theory. Though I do agree with Marlene. It's probable that one could mistake a bacterial infection for a yeast infection and vice versa. I went ahead and purchased the DivaWash, which is PH balanced for your tenders. And smells amazing. =) I empty mine only at home if I can help it. Maybe at work if I'm heavy, but we have a 1-person bathroom. NEVER in public, creeeps me out! I wash it with hot water and a dab (goes a long way) of Divawash every time and sterilize it after each cycle. Never had infection. I would be interested to examine the statistical correlation between those who get infections and what kind of soap they use to clean the cup… I would bet 10 to 1 it's the cleaning product (or lack thereof) that was never meant to go that far up your cooch. I use only Dr Bonners Baby Soap to wash my Diva Cup. If I have to empty it and I'm not at home, I just rinse and re-insert. It not taking chances with harsh soaps since just about any other soap irritates my vulva to no end. I have a Divacup and I love love love it! My periods used to be so annoying and now I barely even notice I hate it! Oh! Another reason to love the cup – a tampon absorbs EVERYTHING – menstrual fluid and cervical fluid, drying you out completely and making removal/insertion of a new tampon or, you know, whatever, even more uncomfortable. A cup (I use Diva) does not. I was seriously just about to ask this question. Thank you for preemptively answering my questions 🙂 You're welcome! Oh yes, I always used to have problems with dryness before I got my mooncup, but no longer! Yep, that thought makes it sound even more appealing! One of the worst things about my period is when it just gets so sore from constantly changing tampons and getting dried out. Then of course I spend the week after my period turning down sexy time because I'm sore! Thank you so much for posting this – I have been curious about cups for a while. I really hate how much space pads and tampons take up not to mention the increased trash. The cup sounds like less mess and easier clean up than cloth pads. Another great reason to switch to a cup: a lady in Texas found mold growing on her unopened tampons: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/28/moldy-tampons-tampon-danielle-parr-woman-black-spots-kotex-product_n_1386388.html?1333033603&icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl4%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D147579 When I read that yesterday, the only response I could formulate was, "AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!" I've always been really interested in trying a menstrual cup, but haven't actually gotten up the gumption to just do it already. I have always been more comfortable with pads personally (tampons don't work great for me for some reason). I switched to Luna pads (which I love), but having something a little bit easier to maintain would be nice. I tried disposable SoftCups and they're horrible. They're one size, but they're so large I had a hard time getting it all the way in and under my pubic bone, and at times they even popped right out. (Anyone else have that happen?) The ring is also super stiff and hurts and they sorta gave me cramps. However, I just bought a MeLuna soft cup and classic in a small and a medium, as well as another brand that's supposed to be softer and one-size fits all to see if any of them work for me. $60 for all three, but if I find one I like I'm totally sticking with it. I use maybe 10 tampons a month, but if I don't have to use them at all that'd be a-w-e-s-o-m-e. Hate how dry they make me. Uh huh. Me too. I HATED softcups — so if you're interested in switching from tampons, just go straight to something someone here recommends. Human bodies are all so different that what works really well for one person is a total fail for others. Some people swear by SoftCups – awesome! Others prefer one or more of the many brands of cups out there – also great! But there's really not a one-size-fits-all solution. That's very true – I love, love the SoftCups – so much so that I bought a lifetime supply of them several years ago when there was the possibility that they would be discontinued. We'll see how they'll work with my now postpartum vagina – I hope they still fit! I actually had the oppposite problem! They were supposed to be one-size, but they would never stay in place and I was forever leaking with them. I assumed it was because I'd given birth (um, 2 years previous), and thus my vagina canal shall never be the same. I love the DivaCup. I occasionally have trouble getting it to seal right, but it's still a million times better. I had that exact problem with SoftCups. I'd think "Hey these things are great, my cramps aren't as bad… whoops!" Pop! Even when they managed to stay in, getting them behind the pubic bone was a chore. I'd probably have tried one of the silicone cups if I hadn't switched to skipping my period. As it is, I have enough of an emergency stash of O.B.s that I'm not going to worry about switching for a while. I hated them too! I could never get them to go in right and stay put, and I just ended up making a huge mess everywhere. I think I need to do some research, and next payday get myself something better. I like Softcups for a few things better than my Diva cup. 1) camping or other outdoor activities. It's not always possible to rinse out your cup without carrying it through a semi crowded area. 2) Sex for us is more comfortable with the soft up than the Diva cup. We had the same "jabbing" problem and my hubby swears now that soft cups are the greatest thing in female reproductive health products since the epidural. And 3) soft ups make it easy to "spread the word" about how awesome cups are compared to pads and tampons. I've given at least a handful away to friends who didn't want to buy a whole box but were curious. Definitely can't do that with my diva cup! I love my Diva Cup! One suggestion is not to use soap but to use a non-soap wash (the Diva Cup has a wash – the Diva Wash – but I also buy non-soap unscented wash for my skin that works). I always rinse and wash with the non-soap wash and have had no increase in any infections or any discomfort. Also, you can cut off the handle of the Diva Cup (probably the other cups too) if it is too long. The handle was rubbing and causing me a lot of pain, but once I cut it off I was fine. Slight correction to two points. First, I don't know about all brands but the DivaCup does recommend that you replace your cups once every year or two. Second, with the medical grade silicone cups at least, you are not supposed to use hot water or regular soap (not castille, scented, or antibacterial) to clean them. Once commenter upthread mentioned that using the wrong cleanser can cause infections. I think this is because soap residue gets left behind and messes with vaginal PH balance. Thanks! Copyeditor Caroline caught these things because she's awesome, and I clarified with Elizabeth. She testifies that her instructions are a bit different, and some of this a bit YMMV. Yes, they do have a life span, however I personally think the DivaCup recommendation is overzealous. The Keeper claims their lifespan at around 10 years, and a survey of my friends with cups (including myself) reveals that their cups have not turned into pumpkins if used for years and years. Both the DivaCup and the Keeper website recommend soap and water, so that's what I decided to put here. Absolutely, there are some soaps that will not be great for that, and the instruction booklet will go into that in more detail than I can fit in an article. It's really good that you brought that up though! I noticed that the DivaCup recommendation has changed over the years, too. When I got my first one, the instructions said it would last 5 years. When I moved up a size ~4 years later, the instructions said to replace it every year. I figured they were trying to get people to replace them more often to make more money. I've gone through 3 cups over the last 9 years (1 keeper and 2 diva cups), and I found that you'll know based on staining and smell if it's ready to change out. I can never remember things that are supposed to be done annually, or worse every two years (bad adult!), but I know that if it's not smelling so good and boiling it doesn't help, it's time for a new one. I have the Diva Cup too and the insert that came with it said replace it every 10 years. But I bought it 7 years ago.. actually probably 8! I looked online, and they now officially recommend replacing it once a year. BUT the product manufactured 8 years ago and now is identical. So I'm guessing that the FDA or whoever got involved and told them they had to recommend replacement at one year instead of 10 because 10 is not "tested" to be safe. By the way, mine is perfect after 8 years! Just a bit yellowing from discolouration. I boil it once a month and use soap but I'll look into this residue issue and maybe use water from now on… This completely explains my experience if the insert has changed. When Cat brought it up to me I was like 1-2 years? That can't be right? I don't not follow instructions THAT badly. Sadly, my feeling is that it's maybe less an FDA thing, and more of the company saying "Crap! We forgot that when you make a reusable product people aren't buying all the time! Let's say it's less reusable!" The Keeper is based in the US, and none of their cups have the same recommendation. Lunette is also FDA approved, and they say the following: "We are aware of the issue with the one-year-policy, but we don't think it is necessary to replace the cup that often. The Lunette is made of the best possible quality of medical-grade silicone, the same kind which is used in heart valve devices and artificial joints. You can safely use the Lunette menstrual cup for several years – there is no need to replace it every year. The FDA recommends replacing the cup every two to three years." (source: http://www.lunette.com/index.php?id=29) The Diva folks have claimed this is an FDA thing, but I don't buy it. Yeah, I'd take that the way I do the instructions about the SoftCups. When they were first sold, the instructions said that you should toss them after each change (!) but I – and several people I know – would re-use them for the length of a cycle. Now, I think, the packages say that this is okay. I find it interesting that there's so much concern about these reusable, sterilizable products, while things like pads and tampons are completely unregulated. I could be wrong but I think the DivaCup used to state they lasted up to 10 years, but recently Canadian Health regulations have forced them to change their recommendation to one year. I tend to replace mine every 1-2 years or whenever it starts getting harder to clean. I figure I'm still saving tons of money so I can afford to be on the safe side and support a wicked awesome mother-daughter owned business. 🙂 Yeah, in general I think you're better off keeping regular soap away from your girly bits and using something specially formulated for the area, and one that takes into consideration the pH. I use Sliquid Splash and it's great! It's definitely decreased any yeast infections and makes things feel better. After reading all the comments on not to use soap, I'm going to have to test this next month- I've always used soap and water and never had a problem, but after having my son, I've gotten a yeast infection after EVERY period and couldn't figure out why. My OB said that sometimes having a baby could change the PH of your vagina and that maybe using the cup was causing infections and to try a pad the next time. Yea, I used a bad for one day and couldn't do it I went right back to the cup!! So far I've been ok, but I will have to try a special wash next month and see if that does the trick. Using one, and I love it! Use the blood to fertilize our homegrown herbs and plants, and they seem to love it as well. Two things I would like to add: 1 – The manufacturer of my cup suggests that cups should be switched about every ten years, material wear or something. Even at that rate they are less expensive and produce less waste. 2 – The instruction leaflet also recommended sterilizing the cup before using it (i.e. at the beginning of your menstrual period), by boiling it in a pot with water for a few minutes. Which adds to the bonuses, since tampons and pads are not produced under sterile conditions. Just don't boil your latex Keeper – I think the instructions said it would melt! You can boil a silicone cup (like the diva cup – which I boil regularly) but I did once deform a keeper (natural rubber) by boiling it…. I have been using the Diva Cup for a few years now and absolutely LOVE IT! My flow has never been consistent, sometimes heavy, sometimes not, (even on meds). Since using the DC, everything seems better. My cycle is only 4 days per month now, consistently, instead of 7 and I don't seem to have any cramps (although they were never bad when I did have them). I don't have a lot of products floating around in my purse anymore(once I accidentally pulled out a tampon at a restaurant to pay) and vacation packing is great. The cup takes up very little luggage space and I'm not as worried about going to the beach during that time of the month. I don't feel like bait floating in the water anymore =) I was sorta curious but still kinda scared about this concept for a few years… About 3 months ago I did a bunch of reading and decided the only way I'd know if it'll work for me is if I try it. And really, what is there to lose? I ordered a Lunette, and it is amazing. The first time I tried it was during a massive road trip (we're talking 13 hours per day in a car) and it was the easiest, most painless period I think I've ever experienced. It was a complete non-issue. I kept FORGETTING THAT I WAS BLEEDING! I can't BELIEVE it took me until the age of 30 to try this, and I am convinced that the only reason they're still considered pretty "offbeat", is because tampon/pad companies are worried about losing their 'captive' customers. Seriously. Amazing. re: Gardening – I haven't tried it, but I've heard of it, and it doesn't freak me out (granted, very little does). I mean, in general, animal poo is considered to be a pretty great (and common) fertilizer, so… How is blood any worse/gross/weird than that? I have endo, has anyone with endo used a cup? I'm reading that it would reduce cramping and such but I'm making the assumption that is for someone who doesn't have a medical condition tied to their lady parts, I could of course be wrong about that but I'm not finding a lot of information in relation to endo. I am not worried it would make things worse as endo occurs inside the body and generally doesn't affect the cervix or the vagina, there are exceptions to that but not in my case. Can anyone shed any light to using a cup and having endo. It shouldn't make much of a difference, I'd suspect. FWIW my cramps haven't gotten any better with the cup, but no worse either (it does seem like my period is shorter, though- I think the suction action of the cup might actually slurp the blood out faster.) I've got endo and have used a diva cup for a couple years. No problems once I got the hang of it. Before I was on low-dose birth control, my periods were crazy heavy and tampons didn't cut it. The diva holds wayyyy more so that worked out great. I do. I tried Softcups a year or so ago and they helped with the cramps a lot, though I wouldn't recommend the product. One size fits most, not all, and definitely not me. Currently, I'm suppressing my period, or I'd get one of the silicone cups. I think they'd be great. Great Post! I have been meaning to buy a Divacup for ages and after reading halfway through this post I surfed over to drugstore.com and finally made the purchase. Incidentally they are running a special right now for free standard shipping (regular $5.99). Awww, I didn't read carefully enough and thought that the cups were on sale for $5.99. I work at Whole Foods, and I'm debating whether or not I can handle walking through the line at my store with one or not. I pressured a friend into spontaneously buying one at a store like whole foods and the cashier woman commented on it as "the best decision you'll ever make!" So you may uncover a secret legion of cup-users! I have a LadyCup and I loooove it. It's silicone (I don't have a latex allergy but I'm not interested in developing one :-P) and I've heard they're more flexible than some other brands. You can boil it, too, which is nice- I usually boil it at the beginning of every period and then use soap and water throughout. Mine occasionally leaks a little when I get up in the morning (the cup shifts position, I guess) but it's only ever an issue on the first night or two of my period when it's pretty heavy- I wear a liner as back up all the time anyway because there's often a little blood leftover around the vaginal walls and stuff after you empty the cup and it can get on your undies otherwise. But overall, it's waaay better than tampons. I was totally sold as soon as I heard that there were no reported incidents of TSS with the cups. Only problem I ever had with it is it being too slippery to grab and pull out. I'd end up having to crumple the thing inside, which then, of course, spills the contents. Would be nice if they adjusted the design so that the post on the end included a loop or hook of some kind. I think you can find info on each of the brands here- and some having different shapes on the end. I think the meluna has a little ball? http://sizecharts.livejournal.com/ I end up filing the stem off completely, and I can't imagine how uncomfortable a loop or hook would be!! This may be a stupid question, but is it possible to use a cup with an IUD? (Another decision I'm trying to make, but also keep putting off.) So great to read all the positive feedback–maybe I'll get up the nerve soon! I've read that it's a bad idea, but I did it for 5 years with no problems. I was just extra careful to check for the IUD at the end of my period. If you're just getting an IUD, I'd suggest giving it a couple months to let the strings soften/wrap up before trying the cup as well. NOT a stupid question. I have two friends who've had trouble with the interaction between IUD and menstrual cup — in both cases the suction from removing the cup popped the IUD out. I've heard not everyone has this problem, but my anecdotal experience would make me worry. Which sucks, because they're both awesome solutions to ladyparts concerns. That totally bums me out… The post and comments were getting me excited about it, but I have a low sitting IUD- the doctor even said it could be removed and a new one put in because it's so low, but it didn't NEED to be… so I haven't since it wasn't the best experience to get in! And the strings are long. So I worry there would be too much of a risk of it coming out 🙁 I read up in the livejournal communities and ordered one anyway…. doesn't seem to have affected my IUD at all so far, but I've had it for 5.5 years so it's not like it's new! Just FYI for the IUD gals- if you're considering it, do plenty of research and make your own informed decision! I've read good and bad, decided to go for it, if it turns out badly… I'm the only one to blame 🙂 I'm an obsessive menstrual cup advocate, but I'd recommend not using one with an IUD – my bestie pulled her IUD out while using a menstrual cup and it was, apparently, rather uncomfortable to say the least! Talk to your doctor and get his/her advice. I used a cup with an IUD for 4-5 years without any problems. I find that I need to "break the seal" before I remove it anyways so I never pull when it has suction anyways. Also I used the cup for about 4-5 years before I got an IUD so maybe being used to it helps to minimize that problem. Or it might just be that women with certain shapes have that issue and others don't. My IUD sat so high that I couldn't find ever find the strings for my IUD on my own (it takes a miner's helmet, a willing partner and a bit of wine), while the diva cup sits super low so for me, I don't think they were in the same ballpark. Sorry for the blatant overshare – I guess what I'm trying to say is that this worked for me, but maybe not for everyone. I have a Diva cup and I have to say it is probably the best purchase I have made in my entire life – no joke. It's even better than my car or laptop! You do have to get used to it, and learn how to properly use it. For me, that took maybe two or three periods. Also, my lady parts like to, umm, suck the cup inside of me, so my diva cup will sometimes seem to get 'stuck' because I can't reach the stem and pull. However, if you just 'bear down' (yay for wonderful birth muscles), the cup will eventually move into a position that you can remove it easily. I have a medium to light flow, so I stick it in each morning and empty it once I get home – usually eliminating the need to empty the cup in a public bathroom. But if you do and are a little squeamish about that, just wipe the cup out with toilet paper and put it back in. I'd recommend a panty liner or something equivalent in that case, but you can still do it. I usually empty and reinsert in the shower as then I can fully 'clean' my vagina so there is no residual period stuff that leaks outside of the cup. If I can't do that, I just wear a really thin panty liner just so stuff doesn't get on my underwear. I really forget that I even have the diva cup inside me. Occasionally it does make me want to pee a bit more (makes sense, a little extra pressure on the bladder) but often I can completely forget. And they work when swimming. Perhaps the most fantastic part about a menstrual cup is that you can use it when you're not actually bleeding yet – it doesn't dry you out like a tampon. I'm on birth control so my periods are pretty steady now, and I just know that I need to put in my cup before I leave the house on Friday. Before I was on birth control, my period was really, really random (PCOS) and sometimes I'd feel like maybe my period was going to come, but maybe it wasn't. With the diva cup or any menstrual cup, it doesn't matter. If you feel like maybe your period is going to start, you can put it in, and if it doesn't, no matter, you can take it out and not worry about a thing. And finally, you can defecate while wearing a menstrual cup, just in case anyone was wondering. Sorry, I really, really love my diva cup. Thank you! You answered my big question of "uh sometimes you can't be in a private bathroom." Would it stand up to high intensity kickboxing? I can only imagine what it would be like with one over enthusiastic kick. Unless you are bearing down when you kick, it should stay in place. I've worn it running, swimming and biking and never had an issue. I've also emptied it in a porta-pot and found that to be no problem. Everything in there came out of me, it can go back in me if it isn't perfectly clean. I accidentally tried to do the splits once with it in (Umm, falling can be interesting!) and had no problems! I've run, rock climbed, done Pilates, and gone on several hiking/backpacking trips. Although I've never done kickboxing, or any particularly high impact sports, I doubt you'd ever have a problem. At least for me, I cannot get the cup out just by pushing, I have to tug it out (although I imagine this could be different for others), and while like I mentioned before my cup has a tendency to travel up, I've never had leaking problems from moving in different ways. I don't kickbox, but I do bike commute, and I have yet to find a thing I can do that will make my cup come out of place. I do karate, and my Diva cup is perfect for it. I usually wear a panty-liner too if I am training on a heavier-flow day just in case (all white outfit does not lend itself well to any accidental leaks!), but otherwise, I haven't had a problem. I am so fond of my Diva cup. I'm like a menstrual cup evangelist. It really changed everything for me. I never have to worry about scraping together $$ for tampons, and I hated how much they dried things out. "menstrual cup evangelist" I love that term. This article was actually inspired by a good friend of mine who always ends up extolling the virtues of menstrual cups when drunk at college parties, where for some reason she does not find a receptive audience. My theory was that internet anonymity and offbeat people could get a different more excited fanbase. Love this article, love it even more for the fact that, as I read it right now, I am wearing my Mooncup (UK)! 😀 hey! fellow mooncupper!)) I have a Diva Cup and love it. I just wanted to add that it may not be necessary to sterilize your cup. (Hey, I don't sterilize my hubby's penis!) I wash it thoroughly at the end of my cycle, leave it to air dry, and store it until next month. I have no infection issues, and I assume, my Diva will last a long time! It also helped me with my weak bladder,a friend told me to try it so I did,now no more pads Curious, can you say a bit more about how it helped? How does your friend collect her menstrual blood for use on plants? It sounds good in theory, but I'm having images of a "blood jar" that lives by my toilet…not pretty. I was wondering the same thing. Welll… you're going to want to refrigerate it if you're not going to use it right away. And pouring cold liquid on plants' roots is BAD! Pests are drawn to blood, and menstrual blood, doubly so. So you don't want to put it outdoors in a garden "raw", anyway. The best method would likely be to either put it in a compost pile or dry it out completely to create something like blood meal. But since you can't prevent coagulation, you'd probably have to boil it out and then bake the rest? I'm not really sure. My main point here is that to be safe for other people and to prevent animals from flocking to your yard, you might have to go to a lot of work for a minor payoff. I believe my friend added it to water for watering the garden, but I'm not clear on the specifics were of storing it until then. Knowing her, my guess is that it was a glass from the kitchen that she washed well afterward and didn't mention to her housemates, but I'll be sure to ask next time I see her. LOVE my divacup. Wearing it right now in fact. I boil mine at the beginning of each cycle and wear cloth pantyliners as back up but I've only had it leak once when I was on my heaviest day and well over the 12 hour limit, trapped on a bus with no restroom :S Swimming, running, sleeping on my side! Going 12 hours without thinking about my period. Life-changing is not an overstatement. Some people have said there are no reported cases of TSS with various cup-products. Anyone in the medical community out there know why there should be such a difference with a plastic (silicone, latex, whatever) cup worn for many, many hours versus a tampon worn usually for less time? Just curious how that works out. My understanding is that TSS is caused by a combination of two things: the bacteria building up in your menstrual blood, and the microscopic abrasions caused by the overdrying that occurs with use of tampons. By using a non-absorptive collector, you avoid the overdrying, thereby preventing bacteria from entering your bloodstream and causing TSS. Exactly. Also, due to the shape of the cup, the blood is mostly out of contact with your vaginal walls anyway. I've also heard, from a medical research-type person (no idea of her actual title), that the strings from the tampon also help bacteria get into the vagina, and possibly the uterus, increasing the chances of developing TSS. The materials the tampon is made of also helps. Most of the other people who have commented have already done a fine job extolling the virtues of menstrual cups, so I'll just add that I got a DivaCup about 6 years ago, and it's not an exaggeration to say that it totally changed my life and the way I view my period, in a very good way! Haha omg i was recently reading about the Diva cup and thinking about switching to it. I have in the last year. Started using cloth pads as a sort of joke. My friend had gotten them as a gift and thought they were weird. She was about to chuck them after she showed them to me. I thought they were cute and funky and gave them a try and loved them. But i have recently thought about an alternative to tampons and saw the cup. I have been skeptical about it, so thanks for all this info. You answered tons of questions one brand site couldn't answer. I am gonna give it a go! 🙂 Just a note on how much trash you are saving by using a cup… I was a Peace Corps volunteer on a remote island where the choice was to burn your garbage or throw it in the ocean. I chose what I felt was the lesser of two definite evils, and burned. And every single time, the last thing at the bottom of the pile that did not want to burn were the used tampons and pads (which were dried out by then- gross, I know). This experience lead me to think about other options, like getting a cup, which I plan to do once I have this baby! You forgot another benefit! Virtually no risk of toxic shock syndrome from leaving in a tampon for too long! I don't use a cup, but I do use Party in My Pants washable pads on my light days (haven't bought the bigger ones yet, partially because I'm a very heavy bleeder and nervous to leave my fluffy cotton Always behind), so I've cut my pad/tampon use down quite a bit. I have the biggest size pads from Party In My Pants, and they've worked really well for me for heavy days. I used to have to wear the biggest size of Always with a pantyliner added on the back, and these cover just as much, and I find they're less likely to leak. I looooooooooooooove my Diva!!!! Has anyone used one of these who feels discomfort with Tampons? I would imagine it is a similar feeling. Could anyone direct me to a good resource for cloth pads while I'm asking? Bonus points if it's a DIY pattern! There's a massive thread (or possibly two?) over on craftster.org with cloth pad patterns and discussions about their virtues, and also other pad and tampon alternatives… (i think i remeber reading something about using sea-sponge as a tampon alternative? that icked me out a bit…) Ha ha, I remember reading up on sea sponges once, and the site said you had to wash/boil them first to clear out any sand or sea creatures that might be inside… and I promptly crossed them off my list of options! I cannot wear tampons because they make my cramps 100x worse. I am a happy cup user. I think they're better for me because a) they're much more flexible and b) they don't dry you out. I use pads from Party In My Pants, and they're so awesome they make me look forward to my period. I'd used other cloth pads before, but they always just leaked through. PIMP pads have a waterproof layer, and that makes all the difference. Wait. There is a brand called "Party in My Pants?" Amazing. This made my day, cuz a bar/club/cafe thing, that was supposed the be geeky nerdy thing, but just ended up full of hipsters, just opened recently in Adelade south australia, it's called PIMP pad…. In the book Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World there is a pattern to make your own cloth pads, including recommendations for various fabrics. I could not use tampons due to a light flow (even the "light" absorbency ones were too absorbent), so I had used disposable pads up until last year when I bought the Diva Cup. I love the Diva! I don't have any problems with discomfort and no longer have to deal with the icky feeling of sitting on a nasty pad. I made my own cloth pads and were trying them for a while, too, before I bought a cup and they're not so bad. But I hated having to keep them around in cold water until I washed them. I feel the Diva Cup is just more convenient and comfortable all-around. 🙂 Any advice for someone with very light periods that don't even come every month? A menstrual cup doesn't seem worth it. Personally I find my cup shines when it's a light day – I put it in and forget about my period entirely. I agree! Also, my period isn't super regular, and I love my cup because (as someone said earlier) I can put it in if I think I am going to get my period, just in case. Well… I read about cloth pads many years ago, and while i liked the money- and environment-saving aspects, the thought of carrying blood-soaked rags around in my handbag seriously icked me out. On top of that, i worried about the level of absorbancy for my heavy-end-of-adverage flow… until recently i was using these amazing paper-thin, super-absorbant, perfectly proportioned disposable pads… but, as with every product i've ever liked…. they stopped making them 🙁 I've been struggling for the last 6 months to find a new brand that i like, to no avail, and have resorted to over-night pads cuz day-time ones all seem to be too short (i get leakage over the front and/or back…) I've never liked tampons for all the reasons mentioned above… These cup things sound like they may be a viable alternative and the solution to all my problems…. and i think i could handle using cloth-pads just as a back-up leakage catcher… amazing… One thing I'd like to add is that while some people have reported lighter cramps or shorter periods with menstrual cups, that definitely doesn't happen for everyone. My cramps are the same (aka horrid) and my period lasts the same amount of time. We're all different! yes, this! My cramps are significantly better (2 days of horrid gut-splitting pain instead of 4), but… yeah. There are still 2 days of horrid gut-splitting pain. I've been using a Keeper since I was 19 (I turn 33 next week). When I was 29, my first Keeper started not working as well, I did some quick calculations and was like holy shit I've been doing this for ten years. (What happens when I say not working as well is that the seal isn't as consistent or long lasting.) These are great products. I'm super happy to see so much positive feedback here. Menstrual cups are one of those simple, elegant environmental solutions that work. Again nothing really to add, just really happy to see this. I have a lunette that I adore (and they come in fancy colors!) http://www.lunette.com Also, for the staining issue- stains don't mean it's time to get rid of the cup! from what I've read, leaving it in the sun for a a few hours will actually naturally bleach out all but the worst stains. I was super nervous about using a cup at first, but once I got the hang of it (I have an easier time inserting it if I'm sitting down than the standing that worked for tampons)I wouldn't go back, ever. no mess, no fuss and it holds way more than tampons. I have PCOS, so my periods are irregular in timing and flow, but it's really easy to tote the lunette around with me 'just in case'. Even in public restrooms, wiping it with toilet paper and then just rinsing it properly the next time works fine. Seriously, it's worth the investment. I can't say enough good things. Ooh, baking soda is good for stains in silicone cups (don't know about rubber)! Scrubby it out with baking soda, then rinse it really really well. I always had such a horrid time with tampons (always leaked), and pads were constantly overflowing and leaking on me since I always sit crooked for some reason. I started with a Diva, no luck, and used the MC Sales community to trade around until I eventually found one I loved (large Fleurcup). You do have to be patient and find your "goldilocks cup" as it's put. It's great, since I feel like I'm not on my period the whole time, instead of that awful wet sweaty grossness I had with pads. That, and it's saved me so much money considering how often I had to change pads. On the IUD subject, I think there was actually a study done with tampons and cups about expulsion rates, and they really weren't any higher for cup users than the general population, some people are just prone to expulsion from what I gather. On staining! A very mild solution of water and a little bit of hydrogen peroxide gets rid of most stains, as well as sunning your cup. I only got rid of one of mine because it was ripping (manufacturing defect). In short, love them, and never going back! You traded cups??? Are people willing to do that since you can boil to sterilize? I ordered a size 2 Lunette and it's too long 🙁 So I'd be interested in some way to find other ones without having to shell out another big chunk of change…. i got my lg Fleur from the LJ MC sales comm. I cleaned it with alcohol a couple times, boiled it a couple times. It's been my favorite heavy flow cup. oh man. I just got my diva cup and i WANT to love it but we don't have a great relationship just yet….after one menstrual cycle, i'm still using tampons here and there. I've tried a few times and it is just as messy, if not more messy than tampons. I'm going to keep trying til I get it but the removal is not as easy as i thought it would be. I'm kind of bummed but i believe you all! Which is why i will keep trying! Everything I saw before I bought mine said give it at least 2 cycles to get used to it. it also takes a while to figure out what works for you in terms of folds for putting it in and grip taking it out. I find it's not messy at all if it hasn't leaked and I manage not to tilt it too much when I'm taking it out. the secret for me was taking it out/putting it in sitting down, but that's peculiar to me and the lunette, I don't know about anyone else or any other cups. (also I find sitting on the toilet works because if I DO spill, it's no big deal. And SO FAR I haven't dropped it in. >.>) I was telling my fiance about them the other night and of course he said, "what about when you drop it into the toilet at work?" uuuugh yeaaaah…. I didn't have a great relationship with my cup at first, either. But that was almost 7 years ago! Some choice excerpts from my old journal: "Second removal: in the shower. NOT FUN!!!! so.. it was finals week, i had places to go, and things to study. i couldn't really reach the damn thing, and then it hurt my hand trying to shove my thumb and forefinger up there. i fought with it for about 5-10 minutes… got pretty stressed, though to myself 'Fuck this stupid bitch! at least tampons come with strings!' and I then FINALLY got it out. it had cool stuff in it (read: blood!) and it was like a nifty surprise (in a nicely-contained-package-thing), so i was like, 'heh, neat' and put it back in, without any regards to my feelings 2 minutes earlier." If it's in right, it should "pop open" and feel completely circular. When mine is not in right, it feels like there's a dent in one side with my cervix poking out over the edge. Good luck getting the hang of it! I'm in a similar position, have not had the best experience with my MoonCup. It leaked all the time and I have just as much blood in my underwear as in the cup. The cup was comfortable and I could feel it had a seal, but it still was as if I was not wearing anything. I used it for about 6 months and then finally switched back to pads. I think I needed a different size of cup. So while it might mean spending more money, from this thread I've learned it might be worth it to try some more options! Thanks guys! Try MeLuna (http://meluna.eu/) They have some sales with 2 sizes of cups for less price 🙂 They also have different end options..I like the ring one, because it makes it easier to grab on when you are trying to get it off. I first tried the silicone Keeper, and, let's just say, things were NOT easy or successful. Leaking, discomfort, all of that. After three cycles I said screw this, and switched to the Diva cup. HUGE difference, MAJORLY better. Night and day, really! However, although I love my Diva cup, I do still have some problems with leaking if I'm not careful, so I might change to another brand in the near future. Sometimes you have to try a couple to figure out which one is best for you! The two big reasons I love my Lunette: no more dried out vagina from tampons, or blood-matted pubic hair from pads. I've worn it breakdancing and to acrobatics classes, never had a significant leak. Oh god, it's been so long since I've worn a pad that I forgot about the blood matted pubes. Thanks for the trip down menstrual memory lane. Well I'm totally sold on the virtues of the cup, but I'm so thrown by all the choices! I've seen a heap of comparison charts with the dimensions etc but don't understand how to choose one off that information…do I need long or short, wide or not, silicone or latex? How did everyone else figure out which brand would work best for them? I read all the charts and finally decided on the lunette, both based on size and the flat tab on the bottom (which is trimmable, unlike some of the others, so if it was too long I could adjust it) and some people had noted some of them had raised writing which made them harder to clean. In the end though, I think there isn't as much difference between them as you would think. If you know you're generally a small person, maybe choose a shorter one (or longer if you know you're bigger framed, taller, whatever) or if you know you have very heavy periods, maybe choose a slightly bigger one, but generally I think most cups would work for most people. If you have a big problem, it might be time to look at those charts and reevaluate, get one that solves whatever issue you're having, but the initial choosing, there isn't a huge difference. I'm just trying out my Lunette this week… I wasn't sure how long I needed and figured it would hopefully be OK since it's shorter than the Diva.. but it's too long. The bottom of the cup sits below my pubic bone and just won't go up further. So with the ridges on the bottom it HURT. But I saw someone on here suggest to someone to turn theirs inside out, so I tried that and it's definitely better. It still sticks out, but at least it's soft and smooth, and there's no handle sticking out too. It'll do for now, but it's still kind of uncomfortable because it's too long… bummer! 🙁 I guess that's what I get for not waiting for a period and measuring before i ordered one! It helps if you know where your cervix sits during your period. I wasn't really aware of it before using a cup, but mine sits waaay down low. I had to cut the stem off my Lunette as it prtruded out to far and was uncomfortable. Mostly you should just follow your instinct, and if in doubt pick one that's mid-range in everything (length, softness etc) and go from there. My concern would be having plastic or silicone up inside my lady-parts. What say you, good people? I'd say it's a world better than chemical bleached cotton. I know the silicone cups I've seen are all medical grade silicone, I don't think there's any risk associated with them. If the objection is having ANYTHING up there, then maybe stick with cloth pads, but I can't see cups being anything but better than tampons which dry you out and are full of chemicals. I don't use tampons, only organic, unbleached, cotton pads because the chemical factor frightens me. Latex doesn't seem any better. The medical grade silicone is safer you think? For me, I have had no ill effects what so ever for the last 3 years I've been using my diva cup. It's medical grade and therefore could, theoretically, be used as an implant for at least a small time. The silicone is not reactive towards your body at all, and it's really safe. I'd say if people can get silicone permanently implanted into their bodies, that we can temporarily contain it within us for a few hours a day. We have to do SOMETHING about our periods and this one seems less of a hassle overall than leaky tampons. I can't do pads because I'm too heavy so this sounded perfect. I am sold that i can adjust to the differences. i mean, australia doesn't sell applicators with their tampons ( so i've heard ) so using a cup sounds a lot better than that to me. also-think of all the other surgical materials that they can implant into people. steel plates in brains and other locations. at least we can remove it Tampax is the only brand we get in aust. that comes with applicators, but the one time i used them the applicators just tore the things to shreds… better to just use a finger. Medical grade silicone is perfectly safe. Latex is fine if you're not allergic to it, it's the same stuff that most condoms are made of. It is possible to develop an allergy to it over time though, so i'd steer away from it if you're the type of person who gets alot of allergies. Ugh just thinking about Tampax makes me cringe, and look forward to getting my first cup in the mail! My office kindly offers free tampons in the bathrooms, but they're standard Tampax in cardboard applicators, and when I unfortunately forget to bring my own tampons with me… too many times I've had the sensation of cardboard sticking to dried out lady bits! OW! It's not the same as a cup, and it is disposable, but I like the Instead. I use one per period, and like your cup, I wash it out and reuse it and throw it away at the end of that period. It is maybe a little less convenient to grasp, but it does seal very well and the only leakage I see is when I go to the bathroom because the muscles that hold it in are relaxed. I don't worry too much anymore since my birth control has caused my periods to stop, but if I change my BC I will continue using the Insteads or maybe try the cup thingy. Either way, I much prefer them to tampons. I have personally never tried a Diva cup. I use the reusable Instead Soft Cup and I love it. I have a hard time reaching all up in there to grab things at it is so being able to stick a finger in and grab the rim is nice. The other added benefit is that while you can wear the same cup for your entire cycle, you can also have sex while wearing a Soft Cup. That, as far as I know, is one of the cons of a Diva Cup and the Moonbeam (I feel I got that name wrong). I don't know about any of you other ladies, but when I'm surfing the crimson tide I'm super HORNY. The fact that I have a clean alternative to sex without the mess makes the Soft Cup great for me. I pay about $6 and change every two months to buy a two pack of the reusable ones. I was so excited when I bought my Diva Cup… but then my period never came and it turns out our son will be coming in June! I know the first few weeks of bleeding post birth require pads (anything going up there is a big no-no) but has anyone used it a few weeks after birth? I've been warned I may bleed for 4 weeks or so. Stick to pads? Any reusable/washable pads folks have heard of? Hi! Lunapads makes cloth pads, as does Glad Rags. You can find any number of cloth menstrual items on etsy too, just please check their feedback first and don't go with stores that have not had a lot of sales yet. Mama Bear Lady Wear is a good one: http://www.etsy.com/shop/MamaBearBabyWear?section_id=5887106 Good luck! Congrats on your baby and making a switch for the better with your personal products. =) Thank you for this link! I keep looking at cloth pads (to go with my new cup!) but not ordering any because I feel like I would need to order a ton of them and that would be a lot of money, but the great price and fast dry aspect of these definitely make me want to give it a try! And that they have the Try Them 3 Pack with one of each size… neat!! 🙂 Just adding myself to the chorus of people who love their cups. I've been using mine (Diva Cup) for about 8 years now and it has made my period a complete non issue. I've found it particularly useful for travel. Since I got mine, I've done extended trips to places where it was recommended that I bring my own feminine hygiene products. Packing 6 months worth of pads vs tossing my cup in with my toiletries was a total nobrainer for me. I wouldn't go back. Like everything else out there, a cup may not be the right tool for everyone, but if you're interested and think it might suit you, it's totally worth checking out. I find that a combination of mooncup and lunapads works for me. I always sterilise between periods by boiling it or using baby sterilising solution. However it is quite stained now and I'm hoping to get another different brand (I've heard the JuJu is quite good). I tried a different fold recently, and it really helped with insertion. I only use hot water to wash it during my period, and I've had no problems with yeast or UTIs. i love love love my diva cup! been using it for about 6 years. i have insanely heavy periods and the diva cup has made my life livable during that one week a month. no more bunchy pads or uncomfortable tampons. it's one of the best things i own I've never HEARD of these things but I always wondered what I could do (as far as period things go) to help the environment. I tried using 'ob' brand tampons since they didn't have an applicator…I figured that was one less piece of plastic in the dump. I'm pretty stoked about giving one of these bad boys a whirl and if I like it I will DEFINITELY convince others to get on board. But I can't believe I have never heard of any of these products! I also wanted to input on the IUD. I had one for two years. Loved it as I didn't have a period…however it made me depressed. I guess it happens to one in a million or whatever…but it was night and day when I took it out. I had a therapist that wanted to put me on anti-depressants and I said: "lets just get all the crap out of my body and see what happens". So after 15+ years of bc pills and (at that time) the IUD…I stopped and the depression went away. Funny thing is…the docs DID NOT want to take the thing out (which is what I read in other forums) and each check up they try to 'sell' me on it. I'm all for BC but I'm an adult I can practice safe sex with my husband people! LOL Have you considered the copper, non hormonal IUD? or are you just all for having nothing? 🙂 Just had to add that I have had a diva cup for 5 years and was starting to get mild leakage issues. I bought a new one and it feels less flexible then the old one. No leaks through the rest of my period 🙂 Does anyone with sensitivity/texture issues have any recommendations? I cannot abide by pad – I went to tampons on like my 3rd period because I could feel the pad there the ENTIRE time. I've found that if I use o.b. tampons, I don't have that issue. (Other brands seem bigger maybe?) Since I'm really sensitive to different stuff touching me, I was really hesitant about trying a cup, and the one time I did, it nearly drove me bonkers. It was like having a small child do the "I'm not touching you!" game. Does it get any better? I started using my diva cup in 2005, so about 7 years with the same cup. I adore so many things about it, most of which have been mentioned by others. About a month ago, my husband said "Why don't more women use cups? We save SO much money, and I never have to run out for tampons! I mean I want to tell people about it." I love that it is so awesome that even my husband is enthusiastic about it. 🙂 I'm excited! Even though some people put out warnings for cup + IUD, I looked around some other communities for a bit and figured that I'd give it a shot anyway. I've had my IUD for 5.5 years now, so hopefully it will be fine! I ordered mine the other day and am excited to try it out! Though I fear accidentally making a mess! Haha, I'm thinking I might just try it out weekend and nights and not wear it to work until I'm used to it. But I also wanted to pass along that I was at drugstore.com ordering Sliquid Spash ladybit cleaner and I was looking around for something else to order to get free shipping and I thought to look for cups there… and I found a Lunette, and right now they're giving a free gift of the Lunette cup cleaner solution, normally $10, for free! So that's cool! I compared the cost at other sites and decided to go for it given the free stuff, I'm cheap! I don't think I've ever been looking forward to getting my period so much… I'm not counting on it, but if it helps my cramps that would be AWESOME, and I have a heavy flow, so… I'm excited! Thanks to this post and all the awesome comments!! Thanks all! 🙂 Aw dang, you guys have convinced me – I need one of these! I've been thinking about getting a Diva cup for years, but I've never had the time to try it. I was in college, then working in a kitchen with a bunch of men, and now I'm back in school. I never seem to have those 2-cycles-worth of time to adjust to a cup… and I can't imagine dealing with it in a public bathroom right before I go teach a bunch of freshmen. I think I'd freak out. But someday, someday… I dream of freedom from tampons! Maybe I'm special or something, but it only took me a day to get used to. And unless you're really heavy on flow, you only change it in the morning, when you get home, and once before bed to make sure. Try it! Try it now! =D NEVER, EVER going back to tampons. Even if at some point the Cup can't work for me, I will do menstrual cloth pads. So enjoying my Diva! It was the testimonials on the site, like the ones here, that convinced me. I love the pretty little bag, I keep it in my purse at all times and never have to remember to stock up or start carrying products. My periods have been so easy that my husband won't know I'm on unless I say something or leave the bag out! I'm happier, can swim, dance, exercise, go on long outings, hanky panky, and so much else. If you don't care for the yellowing and discoloration, soaking in hydrogen peroxide will take care of the staining. Worked for mr and my Diva cup. My cup is also going on its sixth year of use, and shows no signs of wear or tear. Interesting that at thir your hips widen and you need a new one, will keep an eye on that next year! Can anyone direct me to an extremely, explicitly clear set of instructions on how to properly use a cup? I mean, finding all your own bits, insertion, removal (preferably without pouring everything everywhere.) How does this work for any of you heavy girls out there? To be perfectly frank, big girls don't have easy access to our inside parts. How long does it take to change? I've got an impatient 18 month old who's always in the bathroom with me. I'm REALLY interested but hesitant to spend the upfront money and not be able to use it. I'm a rather full figured girl and it works well for me. For insertion I usually use the toilet for balance, sitting over it in kind of a Plie position, then bend forward at the waist. I'm able to reach perfectly well that way, you might just need to experiment with some different. Strategie (sorry, I was typing on my phone and it cut off my comment) You might want to try a few strategies for yourself before you buy it, just practice with a tampon or don't worry about using anything at all, just figure out comfortable positions for reaching. I'll admit I did that a few times before i bought one. It takes slightly longer than changing a pad, but never added any significant amount of time to my routine. For insertion, you should roll or fold the cup in to a U or S shape (there are a lot of ways to fold it, everyone finds their own preference.) then relax your pelvic muscles and slide it in, aiming it toward your tailbone, NOT aiming up the way you do with a tampon. Keeping hold of the end of the cup, rotate it to make sure it's open. If you can reach, try to feel if it's still folded or if it has popped open. If it's open then you're done. For removal, find your comfortable position again and feel for the cup. If you can't reach it well right away, use your pelvic muscles to bear down. This will make it descend slightly. Then pinch the bottom of the cup (the bell of the cup itself, NOT the stem) and compress it. You should be able to feel it loosen. Then you can slide it out. I reccomend having some toilet paper in the other hand, and have it ready to catch any spillage. As you're sliding the cup out of place, angle your wrist down, this should help keep everything inside the cup. Then just empty it in to the toilet, clean yourself up if at all necessary, rinse the cup, and put it back in place. There are detailed instructions for use http://www.divacup.com/en/home/faqs/ here. Though that is just the Divacup brand. They all work generally the same way, but each brand's instructions might be slightly different. I've heard that many women have a very specific position which they always use. Some stand and put their foot up in the toilet or a counter. Some kneel or squat, and some just sit on the toilet. I don't use a cup. Never bought one. I use cosmetic-grade sea sponges, from the health-food store like tampons. They can be squeezed out (the moon blood) into the houseplants, washed out into a jar for watering the houseplants or garden, or washed down the drain (which at my house goes into the septic system and out into the leechfield and feeds the grasses and trees! <3 ). I wash them out with castile (or whatever natural) soap. Sometimes I soak them in white vinegar–for an extra cleaning. When they get TOO old and funky I burn them in the woodstove (could put them in the compost or bury them, but the woodstove is handy!). I love my sea sponge "tampons"!!! I found a really BIG cosmetic-grade sea sponge meant as a bath sponge, at the health-food store. It cost ten dollars, and I cut it up into like eight or nine "tampons". The smaller cosmetic-grade sea sponges that I usually buy at the health-food store for "tampons" cost about three dollars a piece! I love finding bargains! 🙂 Please make sure that you wash any cosmetic-grade sea sponges that you might want to use for tampons before using them, and frequently during use. Make sure to wash them, sterilize them in vinegar sometimes, and switch them out. ALSO–one time I got one shoved up in there (either I forgot I had one in and put in a second–or I left one in and then had sex and THAT pushed it up there!). I didn't know it. I couldn't figure out why there were such FUNKY smells (and colors!) coming out of my yoni! It was a bit embarrassing to have the doctor pull it out (and then quickly tie up the garbage bag and get it out of her office! THAT made me blush! 😉 )…but she said it happens all the time to people using tampons. Before I turned on to sea sponges, I got tired of paying lots of money for cloth moon pads (not that they are NOT worth it!). I found that cheap white washcloths work just as well. I fold two of them into each other if I need extra padding. I spread my labia and put the washcloth "pad" snuggly between them, if I have problems with slipping. But mostly–just sticking them in my panties works just fine. They can be soaked and (guess what I am going to say!) the water can be used to feed houseplants or the garden! I LOVE nurturing and nourishing my plant friends with the food for the babies that didn't get made that month! I also have it on good authority that pouring moon-blood water around the edges of your property will keep away unwanted animals and people. I use it (and pee) to discourage the cougars and bears (and bad vibes people!) from coming too close to my house! TMI? Maybe–but people oughta know this stuff! 🙂 Blessings to all, and happy bleeding (and plant-feeding!)! <3 I use GladRags and water my plants with the soak water- it does indeed do awesome things for plants! One tip is if you are on hormonal BC then don't water edible plants with it, as you'd get a secondhand dose of hormones down the line. I am ready for a menstrual cup- love your list of advantages! Ok ladies, you had all convinced me to finally try a cup. I bought the smaller of the Divas and… I'm not entirely sold. I know you have to wait a couple periods and I will but what's driving me crazy is that I can feel the end of it pushing against the opening of my ladybits. It's the feeling I would get when my tampon needed to be pushed up. Except that I can't push it up any more! I tried cutting most of the stem off but it's still driving me bananas. The instructions say if you can feel it it's in wrong but there's nowhere else for it to go. It seems to be doing its job well, as no leaks or issues in that regard. No problems with mess or removal. I want to love it but my gosh I don't think I can stand this versus the "not even there" feeling tampons gave me. It definitely shifted down during kickboxing yesterday but no leaks there either. I did look at the size chart now and I see the Diva is one of the longest. Will going smaller solve my issues? Or are there other solutions? Being able to feel it even the slightest would probably be a deal-breaker. I got a small MeLuna and a medium MeLuna and I like them a lot. They're not as long as some of the other ones and you can choose if you want no stem, stem, ball or a ring on the bottom. I have a small MeLuna with a ball and a medium with a ring. Need to wait for a period to decide which I like best, though I did try the small one yesterday out of curiosity. Couldn't feel it. It was great. I ordered them from femininewear.co.uk I think going smaller probably would, but if you want to test that theory, I've heard people say with the Divas they have worn them inside out and that's solved the length issue. I imagine that makes it a little more difficult to remove, but if it's sitting that low, it might be fine. It would at least shorten it some and let you know if that's comfortable. I know with mine, sometimes I have to sort of scoot it up, with my pelvic muscles but I don't think that will help if it's just too long for you. I've heard people say with the Divas they have worn them inside out and that's solved the length issue. THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING. I just got a Lunette and it's too long. I tried the inside out tip and it DEFINITELY helps, but the cup itself is still too long. I can at least use it now, but it's not a permanent fix. I'm having the same problem as you Anabelle… the cup itself sticks out a bit and the ridges on the bottom were hurting. It's actually EASIER for me to remove it inside out too! I went out and bought a Diva Cup as soon as I read this last week. It's completely changed everything! I will NEVER EVER EVER go back to tampons. So horrid and painful and dry and blehhh. I only had leakage problems the very first time I used it. I readjusted and no problems since! Removing is a bit difficult the first few times, but eventually you get the hang of it. Thanks OBH. Alright. Y'all talked me into it. Mine should be here in a couple of days. (Let's hope I picked the right size. I have an awkward vag). Me too! Y'all talked me into it. Mine came in the mail yesterday. WHOOO Yeah, I got mine (Lg Lunette) in at the end of last week, gave it a shot yesterday with a big fat FAIL! I'll try again after I find my fingernail clippers… I stabbed myself A LOT trying to figure out if it was in right, and trying to get it back out…. I'm not sure if it wasn't in right, or if it's too big… :-/ I'm so inspired! After reading all of these comments, I went and bought my first Diva Cup! Thanks for posting this– I never, ever would have considered trying a new method otherwise! Hopefully I'll be back to rave about it in a month or so! I don't know if they were already mentioned, but I swear by MeLuna. They are a German brand, with the option of soft and normal cups..and they recently had a new design out, with even more size options. They also tend to have sales 🙂 http://meluna.eu/?___store=english&___from_store=english I've been using one since I was 18 (I'm 30 now) and I love it. I preach about it to people all the time and seriously, will never go back to tampons! More comfortable, more convenient, better for the environment, way cheaper than anything disposable. amen, amen amen! I have one of these, but it's been in my cupboard for about 4 years unused. One day I was at work and the thing tilted inside me, spilling a whole lot of blood out and into my pants. What a mess!! At least with a leaky tampon the accident amount was much less. I may try it again though it was way nicer to use. Oh my Goodness! I just had to comment on here that I have owned a Diva cup for about 6 years and I have NEVER been able to successfully use it…until NOW! After reading this post and comments left by others I came to realize the key to my problem with the Diva cup, the fold! With the help of this…http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/453392.html and all of the positive comments here I gave it a go once again. I am half-way through my first successful period with the cup and I am finding myself squealing with excitement when I am able to insert it correctly and go about my day. The "origami" fold is the key for me. Thanks for this great post and for all the positive feed back, it was just what I needed to be able to do something that I have wanted to do for 6 years! THANKS! :oD I think the Origami fold is what I use. You flatten it, and then fold one of the corners down like a triangle? That's what I do, and it makes a smaller point for easier insertion while also popping open easier. It's been eight months and I'm going strong! Haven't used a tampon since April and feeling great about it! I give this post most of the credit :o) Why had I not heard about these before?!?? I ordered one (i opted for the DivaCup brand), and I absolutely love it. It's easy to use, doesn't go to the dump like tampons, and gives so much more freedom since it only needs to be emptied twice a day. Thanks for the info!! I have heard many recommendations for menstrual cups and have highly considered getting one myself. But one thing keeps holding me back- how do you rinse it out in a public bathroom? I would be mortified to rinse mine out in the sink while the lady next to me is washing her hands and would be similarly grossed out if someone was rinsing theirs out next to me. They hold a lot more than tampons, so it's much rarer to have to change/rinse one in a public restroom, but if it comes up, just take it out, dump it in the toilet, wipe it with toilet paper and then put it back in. you can wash it the next time you take it out at home. Seriously though, it's hardly ever an issue, as they do hold quite a bit. i wouldn't say it's much rarer to have to empty in a public restroom. i have a very heavy flow (sometimes having to empty my lg Fleur every hour or hour and a half) so if i'm away from home, i HAVE to deal with a public restroom situation. and i work from home…if i had an outside-the-home job, i'd be emptying in a public restroom a lot more often. I was thinking compared to tampons, since the capacity of them is so much more (even the biggest tampons only hold 16-18 Ml and pretty much every cup holds at least 1/3 more than that, usually closer to double it). You're right though, everyone's mileage will be different. I was thinking of times I would go through the biggest tampon they make in 40 minutes and I'd have to change it, with my lunette I can change it every couple hours. This wouldn't necessarily save you from public restrooms (as you say, at work, or even out at a mall or something) but I think it was such a difference for me, and it's so easy to do in a public restroom, that I forget I still do it all the time even if it is less. Actually, I feel like the cup is a lot easier in a public restroom than tampons are, in the sense that you don't have to have your purse with you if it would be weird to take it, and there's no crinkly noisy wrappers or anything you have to throw away (I shouldn't be embarrassed about normal female bodily functions, but I like it much better if crinkly wrappers aren't announcing to everyone else in the ladies room that I have my period) Thank you so much for your comments Kaledrina- you convinced me to get one and now I am very happy with it! i just wash my hands before going into the stall, remove the cup, dump it into the toilet and re-insert. Then i wipe my hand with a bit of toilet paper if need be and then go wash my hands again. I have a DivaCup and love it! When I purchased it, the DivaWash was out of stock, so I purchased a non-antibacterial, fragrance-free bodywash by Tom's of Maine for it, which has been working perfectly. I ALWAYS boil it at the end of my cycle, also. It might just be me, but I'm still very skeptical about sticking a cup in my hooha to catch my menstrual blood. I have a very heavy flow (thank you, endometriosis) and I have an 8+ hour a day desk job out of my home. I'm also extremely prone to UTI's and stuff. It sounds like a combination that isn't really conducive to making a cup work, as much as I'd like to use one in place of the millions of stupidly expensive tampons and pads I go through in a year. Anyone have a similar situation that worked out? I can't speak from experience, but I've heard from other people who are prone to UTIs, yeast infections, etc, that te cup is the way to go. A tampon is very drying, and it introduces all kinds of funky stuff to your body (seriously, leave on in a glass of water for 4 hours, and then see how murky the water gets). A menstrual cup is medical grade silicone, so nothing is getting leached out into you body. As for the heavy flow, I'd heard rave reviews from people wit heavy flows, because a DivaCup (or other brand) holds a LOT more than a tampon. Like, they go from changing a tampon every 40 minutes to emptying the cup every couple of hours. Some people even say they have shorter periods. But, again, I can't speak from experience because I tend to have lighter flows. I still love my DivaCup though! This article (and all the awesome commenters) finally convinced me to take the plunge and buy one. This is my first period since I got it, and so far, my feelings are cautiously optimistic. My period always starts with a couple days of spotting, and it was really nice not to have to worry about wearing a pad during those days. Now that it's a heavy flow day, just not having to freak out about whether my tampon is leaking or that's just the string is making me much less miserable. I have to say, it's been a challenge to figure out the best way to get it in place, and I did actually give up once. Overall though, I think this experiment might just work out. Thanks, OBH!!! UPDATE: My feelings on this topic are still mixed. The cup fills up in four to six hours on my heavier days, and it is definitely messier to dump that than it is to change a tampon. I've gotten pretty good at it, though. I did end up with a wicked yeast infection at the end of my period, though – I'm not sure what that suggests. I'll definitely be using the wash I bought with the cup more frequently during my next period. I think I may also stop using the cup toward the end of my period and allow the final spotting to be caught by a pantyliner. Overall, I'm not sold yet, but I do appreciate not having to cart supplies around with me. Update to the Update: I used the cup again this month, and this time, no yeast infection! I did a couple of things to actively avoid getting one. First, I washed the cup at least twice every day of my period with the fancy wash made by the cup company. Second, I rinsed the cup in vinegar water after washing every evening (gotta keep that PH low!). Third, I stopped using it when my period had slowed to spotting and the blood was no longer bright red. YAY for no yeast infection!!! However, after folding it for insertion I'm starting to have trouble getting it to pop open, which is leading to more leaks. So I'm still not 100% on board. Does anyone else have these problems? I'd love to know how you manage them! Getting it to pop open: If you can breathe in and UP, lifting your diaphragm, your whole "assembly" of lady-parts will lift up, and try to suction air into the vag–I find this to almost-always allow the space for the cup to pop open. Then you can bear down and press a little of the air out, so that there's more space inside the cup–otherwise, when it gets fuller, some air will bubble out and create minor leakage. I've been using my DC for five years. Totally life changing. 😉 Thank you for the article, and thanks to all you readers who posted comments!! I started thinking about reusable menstrual products to put in my go bag. (I figure when the zombie apocalypse hits I'm not going to be able to buy tampons anymore…) And my google searches led me here! I decided to take the plunge, and bought a Moon Cup, and several pads from Party in My Pants. I can't wait for my period!!! I'm actually getting impatient for once, and so is my husband. He wants to know how well it works too haha. Thanks again!!! Long live the menstrual cup!! I've had my Diva since 2005 and it has literally changed my life. I haven't replaced it– I just rinse with hot water during the cycle and soak it overnight in a hydrogen peroxide and water mixture to clean it and unyellow it after each cycle. No problems with my IUD either, although I do have to be careful when I break the seal so I don't suction anything out I guess. In public restrooms I just get a wet paper towel before i go into the stall and cean it that way… I do find that I have to change it fairly often, but I think it's mostly because im paranoid… The thing is rarely actually FULL when I feel like I need to dump it, haha. I'm also a huge advocate if cloth pads. It feels amazing to know that I produce no unnatural waste simply by being on my period, Thanks to all you ladies who have been posting about the wonders of a menstrual cup I was brave enough to go out and get my own Diva Cup and I must say I am LOVING IT! The first day or two were a little rough- there is a reason they give you multiple fold and insertion options… I had to find the combo that worked for me. I was having trouble getting it to fit in correctly the first day and was having some leakage but once I figured out how to place it correctly it has been great! I can't even feel it and I only have to replace it twice a day which is WAY less than the disposable products I used to use! I have been considering this for years and didn't know anyone who could give me a recommendation until now. Thanks again everyone!! 🙂 I'm pretty stoked to see that this has become one of Offbeat Home's Top Posts of All Time. Also, my dog totally chewed up my Keeper so now I'm giving the Moon Cup a go. Ladies: Keep you menstrual cups away from chewy dogs! Love my Diva cup! I've lost track of how long I've been using one. I started with the Keeper; then my dog got hold of it. I started out with the after-childbirth DC but it was too wide/long, so I switched to the before-childbirth model, I'm 50 and have had 2 kids, and it works perfectly. But, yeah, keep them well away from your pets. I lost one that was in an overnight bag that got left open and another one when I set it on the edge of the bathtub and forgot about it. Oops. I found them for $20 at, I think, Vitamin World or the Vitamin Shoppe online. The local health food store was selling them for $38. My fiance can't understand why everyone doesn't use them; he thinks they're the coolest things ever. LOL I had a brain surgeon friend who who drift casually into the blood bank at the hospital on Friday afternoons and emerge with a bagful of all the expired blood units. He sprinkled them around the border of his vegetable garden to keep out predators like bunnies and woodchucks and skunks—even deer. It totally worked! In regards to menstrual blood being used as fertilizer, given that I imagine you'd want to dilute it before applying it anyways, seems to me that you'd get the same effect by soaking reusable pads and using the soak water as a fertilizer. Confirmed. This is what my mother does. I am 46, have had heavy periods all of my life, I am at the very beginning stages of menopause, it has caused me to have more "normal" periods, less heavy but more frequent, not a problem though. I researched these and have wanted one for quite some time, I finally purchased one (Diva Cup) and I am wearing it right now for the first time, well it's been a couple of days now, my first Diva Cup period. 🙂 I must say that the first few times I inserted it and removed it, there was a learning curve, I am very comfortable with my body and touching myself, so that helped tremendously! Now I'm removing it, cleaning and inserting it like a pro, I love it and will not go back to tampons. It is going to make trash disposal much easier too, we don't have a trash service, we have to take care of it ourselves, we separate the burnables from the non-burnables, not having to worry about nasty bloody tampons is going to be great. 🙂 Wretha I purchased one of these for all the obvious reasons, but have a hard time fitting it properly. It either constantly feels like it is about to fall out or it becomes difficult to remove. Advice? Natalie, go to YouTube and do a search for the subject, you will find lots of videos with hints, tips and tricks. I am a newbie about all of this and it helped me tremendously. I have just gone through my first Diva Cup period and I like using it, much better than tampons. Wretha I stumbled across this page via pinterest. Great topic and a lot of useful info. I'm wondering how this divacup differs from the Instead cups they sell at Walmart and such. I've tried those but they leaked horribly and couldn't understand what the rave was about when folks talked about how great cups were. Have any of you used the disposable ones from Walmart and how do they differ? Most disposeable cups are kind of like little plastic bags with a stiff rim to hold them in place. But the Divacup and others like it are made entirely of rubber or silicone, and hold their shape. They are flexible enough to be comfortable, but they do not fold or crinkle once in place. They are also worn in a different position. I had terrible leakage the last time I tried a disposable cup and couldn't get it to sit right ether. But I've never had any leakage with the diva cup. Well! I just (finally) purchased my first Diva Cup, Thanks you all guys for talking me into it, I'll post back once I get it! It came in the mail last night! I was about 24 hours into my period already, so i went straight into the bathroom to install(?) it! used a pad as well just in case. I don't think i got it in quite properly, and we did get just a little leakage last night, but i emptied it in the shower this morning and it did carch an awful lot more than it leaked! win! so i think i've got it back in properly this morning so i'm excited to see how we go tonight! but so far… I love it! I found the Diva cup hard to remove and would shift down on me during the day. Instead I got a diaphragm for $20. Really great capacity and as an extra bonus (if you empty it first) it works great for sex during your cycle. If you forget to empty it beforehand you might get a little leakage. You'd be hard pressed to have sex with a Diva cup in place. If you haven't gone the IUD route you can use it with spermicide for contraception at other times of the month. Personally I found sex was one thing that would help alleviate cramping and the diaphragm makes it mess free. I just got my Mooncup about a week and a half ago, and as if waiting for the perfect timing, got my period later that evening. I can honestly say I have never had a more comfortable period in my life. This thing is a godsend and I wish I hadn't waited so long to get one (they're notoriously difficult to find/expensive in Australia, so it was actually more cost effective for me to get one from England but I kept putting it off) Guys…. guysguysguysguysguys…. do you know what's amazing!? Having a bath on the first day of your period! never done it before cuz didn't want a bath full of blood…. not an issue with Diva Cup! Read more comments 1 2 › Comments are closed.