The holiest of grails...The Menstrual Cup – part two
Blood and GAWH!
In my last post, I discussed the significant negative impact that single-use commercial feminine-hygiene products are having on our environment, on our health, and also on our purses.
Unfortunately, most of us haven’t even considered these issues — let alone the extent of them! Because (unsurprisingly), at this time of the month, most women are more concerned with the inconvenience, the discomfort, the pain (and obviously halting the blood flow), than they are about what happens to their tampons once they disappear from sight (whether inserted or disposed of).
However, I also proposed that if we weren’t always in ‘damage control’ mode, and we actually prepared for our menstrual cycles ahead of time — we might then base our purchasing decisions on entirely different objectives. We would focus on our environment and our health. And we would also find an option that is cheaper and more convenient.
For more information, please refer to my former post : The Menstrual Cup — part one
Sanitary products or insanity products?
I also brought your attention to ‘The Great Wall of Jy-na’ — the ridiculous range of commercial feminine hygiene products available at the supermarket. This overwhelming choice of numerous shapes, sizes, absorbencies, and chemical technologies is obviously designed to distract you from what’s most important at this time.
Tear down the wall!
It's actually rather 'Mickey Mouse' to use tampons if you ask me!
*WARNING — DO NOT READ THE FOLLOWING IF YOU POSSESS A PENIS*
If I may be so bold, and correct me if I’m wrong ladies…
Removing a blood-sodden and warmed-to-body-temperature tampon is much like pulling a dead, wet, manky mouse from a leaky faucet — by its grotty tail!
Note: I’m a big fan of metaphors.
A menstrual solution that all boxes should tick!
There’s a menstrual solution that is an alternative to tampons and pads. It’s a reusable cup made from soft medical-grade silicon, and it only comes in two sizes. It holds up to 30ml of blood, and can be left in for 12 hours before it needs to be emptied & washed (and reinserted)1.
It sounds like an excellent overall solution to everything I outlined in my previous post, but is it really up to the task? Is it worth NZ$77?
I decided to try one out for myself. I also asked for three volunteers (who I each gave a NEW Diva Cup) to try out for themselves, and to report back to me. I was also lucky enough to have a number of women contact me ‘behind the scenes’ to provide me with some additional information about their experiences with menstrual cups. The huge majority of these women wouldn’t be without them. Read on to find out why!
Note: Thank you to all the helpful ladies who emailed me regarding their experiences with menstrual cups (mainly the Moon Cup). And a big thank you to my Diva Cup volunteers. PS: I also want to give special thanx to the wonderful person who made me giggle with her menstrual cup experiences — you know who you are! x
Win one of two Diva Cups!
The two winners will be drawn Sunday 7 December — so check back after 8pm on that night!
You’ll also need to be a lisasaid.so subscriber (if you’re not already).
The Diva Cup — 2 sizes fits all!
Model One For women under 30 years old who have never delivered vaginally or by c-section.
Model Two For women over 30 years old and/or for women who have delivered vaginally or by c-section.
The girls say
I’ve compiled everyones feedback (including my own) and this is what the general consensus was:
It's up for the task!
01—Read the instructions... and follow them!
For example, you are given two methods to determine your ‘insertion’ preference. To stress the importance of finding the right method for you, I thought I’d borrow this quote from some of the feedback I received:
“DEFINITELY insertion method: No. 2!
Insertion method No. 1
(folding opening end in half and then in half again)
a) did NOT want to slide comfortably in (being that the overall shape of the now distorted object was not in the least bit aerodynamic), and
b) it created so much suction as the cup reformed, that I literally feared my ovaries might be sucked clean out of my ‘Lady Garden’.
This was not the case with insertion method: No. 2!”
Note: I’ll admit I also didn’t read the removal instructions, and my ‘Lady Garden’ nearly suffered the same fate! Always squeeze the cup gently to release the seal… Always squeeze the cup gently to release the seal… Always!
02—It's just like riding a bike...
After a couple of ‘cycles’ you’ll have it sussed!
03—It's comfortable to wear, and it's effective!
The cup is supple (your body temperature increases this effect).
Menstrual cups don’t cause irritation (or any resulting itching).
“They don’t make your bits hot — like sanitary pads!”
As long as the cup is inserted properly, and emptied before full, there are no concerns with leakage.
A tampon tends to dry out if your blood flow isn’t sufficient. It feels like it has adhered to your mucous membranes when you try to remove it. Fabulously, this cup doesn’t dry out. You can remove it at any point, without that horrible feeling that you’re going to pull your ‘insides’ out along with it!
Note: I’ve had numerous reports that the length of the stem on The Moon Cup poses a problem with comfort and therefore needs to be trimmed. Some women also prefer the Diva Cup as the cup is taller. Therefore the Diva Cup holds more fluid, meaning it doesn’t need to be emptied as frequently. Also, the emptying itself is less messy – as the outside of the cup is cleaner.
04—You really get to know yourself
Because you can see the contents of the cup, you can ascertain how much blood you actually lose, how quickly you lose it, and you can correlate this to specific days of your period. This process puts you back in touch with the true wonder of it all…
Note: One person’s feedback was that menstrual cups are handy for ‘clotty periods’. The cup can actually catch these, compared to tampons which can’t absorb them. And, also that you can easily empty the cup as frequently as required.
Convenient things to have in your handbag
These suggestions are primarily for when you’re using public facilities (and you’re not comfortable quickly using the disabled toilet), or when you’re in a position when you have no basin readily available to you (someone else’s house).
Note: The more women who start using menstrual cups, the more demand there will be to add sinks to all female public toilet cubicles. And, people may consider installing small basins into their toilet (rooms) at home!
To clean your hands — not the device.
02—A water bottle
To rinse the device, should you not have appropriate facilities.
Note: if you are in a situation where you can’t rinse/or wash your cup before reinsertion, you can simply use toilet paper to wipe it down/out. You can clean it properly at the next appropriate time.
This is in case you accidentally drop your cup somewhere unhygienic!
Menstrual Cups are handy wee contraptions
Regardless of how heavy your period is there are further benefits to using The Diva Cup:
There will be no more emergency runs to the supermarket for supplies! And there will be fewer items in your usual shop.
02—If you have a light-medium flow
You needn’t wake in the night to empty, and you needn’t empty frequently on a long-haul flight.
03—If you have a heavy flow
You needn’t empty quite so often, and should you need to empty during the ‘wee small hours’ you needn’t desperately fossick around (half asleep) trying to locate a replacement tampon.
Every menstruating woman should have a Diva Cup
Menstrual cups are not only better for you (your health and your pocket), but it’s better for our environment. And, it’s a real no-brainer — in so many regards!
Yes, it will take some time to get used to. But, it also took time to get used to our period, and to tampons in the first bloody place!
Menstrual cups aren’t foreign, difficult, or ‘ew’! They’re simply new to you. (They have been on the market for a good 10 years or more.)
Please make the effort (even if it’s just in some capacity). It actually makes for a pleasant distraction at this time of the month. Instead of feeling resentful, and put-out… you feel quite virtuous, because you are becoming ‘one with nature’!
Note: I wouldn’t bother purchasing The Diva Wash. Simply use a mild, unscented soap.
There are a few of things to consider during your ‘familarisation period’:
1) Because you’ll only have one Diva Cup, you’re going to have to anticipate your period! There is no point in having your period in one place, and having your Diva Cup in another.
2) Familarise yourself with the menstrual cup’s instructions before you get your period. Revisit these when you actually need to use it. Hopefully, you won’t be put under pressure this way.
3) When you first start using your menstrual cup, do so in a safe environment, or use it in conjunction with a back-up pad from Natracare2, or use it with a reusable towel. As necessary, a client of mine uses: http://www.honouryourflow.co.uk.
4) When you’re doing your experimenting (discovering how to insert and position the cup, as well as how-to and when-to remove this device), you can get a little sore. I definitely recommend having short nails, and persevering for the greater good! It will get easier with time & practice.
Choose the next best option
If you’re not interested in using a menstrual cup, at least consider your next best option — organic tampons and pads3. Yes, they may be more expensive but at least they’re not causing harm to your health, or to the health of our planet. (FYI: Organic tampons are around 57c each compared to commercial tampons which are around 25c. Organic pads are around 60c each compared to commercial pads which are around 30c.)
Note: Depending on how heavy your period is, or depending on your lifestyle, you might like to consider alternating between a menstrual cup, and conventional methods…
Let's stop making our monthly cycles 'Tab-ew'!
We girls need to discuss our periods with each other. They are a huge part of our lives.
Perhaps if more of us discussed our ‘monthlies’ (and the lead-up to them) then we might find out sooner if we have a problem in any of these areas.
Perhaps we could compare and question things more e.g where do our used sanitary products go to die?
Perhaps then, we wouldn’t make such a hefty contribution to landfill, and to the pockets of disposable-feminine-hygiene-product-producers?
Perhaps then, we wouldn’t be insidiously exposed to harmful chemicals?
Perhaps then, I wouldn’t have needed to write this blog-post?