[related-post align=”right”]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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!
Comments on How switching to a menstrual cup helped my home: A TMI adventure
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!
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.
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.”
there are over 20 brands:
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!
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.”
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.
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 🙂
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 =)
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