This one’s just for the girls in the audience. The ones that aren’t squeamish.
It’s not exactly good dinner conversation, but this sure as hell ain’t dinner. Consider this your last TMI warning.
A short time ago, I’d never heard of menstrual cups, and now I’m wondering if I’d been living under a rock. I first heard about them via a post on Jonniker‘s blog, and my initial impuse was similar to hers: something along the lines of OH DEAR GOD NO.
The names of the brands don’t help any — scratch that — the names of the brands are nearly an insurmountable problem. The leader appears to be the Diva Cup. Ugh. I do not want my “sassiness” affirmed by anybody, much less by menstrual products. As if that isn’t bad enough, the Diva Cup packaging is so bad, so juvenile, that I think even Mattel’s Barbie packaging designers would reject it as being too little-girly. And — get this — it comes with a lapel pin that says “Diva.” Oh hell no.
The other contenders trying to get into your cooter are the Moon Cup and the Keeper. The whole thing smacks of hippy-dippy-ism — I’ve known and loved plenty of hippies in my life and they’ve got all kinds of great ideals, but when I think of hippies & menstruation, I think of sea sponges and cloth pads and yuck yuck yuck.
But here’s the thing — as long as you aren’t too squeamish about your own anatomy (and really now… if you are, you’ve got bigger issues to deal with than figuring out a menstruation solution), and dealing with fresh blood, this thing is the anti-yuck. It’s plastic! Long live plastics! Long live indeed — as a matter of fact, these suckers are supposed to last for up to ten years. They can be sterilized by boiling in a bit of hot water. It’s a whole lot more sanitary than having a bunch of moisture and rotting blood in your knickers. And that gross tampon string that’s always trying to get into your butt. Jeebus, they just make a hell of a lot more sense.
- You only have to change it twice a day. On my heaviest flow day, I did have to change it every three hours, but ordinarily I would have been changing tampons every half hour. HUGE improvement.
- No odor. Turns out that the odors that develop are due to the blood oxidizing. The blood doesn’t hit the air until you’re removing the cup, so there’s no smell, whatsoever.
- It’s very comfortable — I don’t feel it at all. 90% of the time, I don’t feel tampons either, but sometimes that damned string gets tucked somewhere weird, or the tampon rides down funny.
- It’s cheaper. It cost me about $30, and I don’t have to buy any more tampons ever again. In theory.
- No more loading up my handbag with an assortment of different sizes of tampons & pantyliners. No more taking up half a bathroom cabinet with boxes of same. No more going “argh!” in the grocery store when the only way I can get light-flow tampons is by buying a massive assortment pack.
- I don’t feel like there’s a swamp in my underpants.
- There’s a learning curve involved. Insertion, I learned, is no cake walk. Or at least it wasn’t for me — I’m a very undersized woman, and I’ve got some pretty seriously cramped quarters to contend with. I think if I had a more standard-issue anatomy, it might have been easier. Regardless, I got it figured out, and after a few days I feel pretty confident about using it.
- I hear tales of leaks. I had none, not even a little, not even when the cup was full to overflowing. That may be the plus side of my freakishly small anatomy, I don’t know. It sounds like any leaks that occur can be minimized by trying a different manufacturer or a different size, or just getting better at making sure it’s seated properly.
- Taking it out is messy, especially when it’s full. Yep, you’re going to get blood on your hands. But seriously — it washes right off, and it was just inside you. It’s not that bad.
Harry and his menstrual cup dress
If you want to learn more, here’s the Diva Cup website, the Mooncup UK website, and the US website for the Moon Cup and the Keeper. There’s a Live Journal group for menstrual cups that has a ton of useful information (though some of it gets a bit weird — people there actually wear their Diva lapel pins. And not ironically.). And then there’s this webpage at Roadside America about the Museum of Menstruation, which I’m only including because I found this awesome picture of an old guy holding up a dress made out of menstrual cups.
If nothing else, the fact that I’m willing to not only readily admit, but ANNOUNCE that I use a product with as dippy a name as the Diva Cup should tell you that it’s worth considering.
I’ve renamed mine the CooterMatic 3000.