Author Topic: Menstrual Cups  (Read 21435 times)

Offline AvenueQ

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Menstrual Cups
« on: March 19, 2014, 08:38:18 PM »
I've seen menstrual cups mentioned in other threads on the forum, but there doesn't seem to be one dedicated specifically to them. This is my intention in creating this thread: To have a one-stop shop for information about them. They seem like a great item that every lady prepper should at least consider trying, if not using one part or full time. This is a place to share your experiences and ask questions.

I am thinking of switching over to these permanently when my current stock of tampons runs out. So, let's start off with any recommendations (I am under 30 and have not given birth or even been pregnant). I know that everyone is shaped slightly different and different brands and materials work better for some. What has been your experience? If you buy one and it's not the right fit does the company give a refund?

Does anyone have a good list of current products available?

Offline LittleOwl

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2014, 09:13:55 PM »
Lol this should have a warning label on it "Not for the Faint of Heart". My period was a two box a week tampon habit ALWAYS backed up with overnight pads. I moved to the Diva Cup some time ago, and have never looked back. I do back up with panty liners, but they're usually unnecessary. I wish I'd found the Diva Cup when I was twelve. No pain - even on extraction - which I could never say for sure with tampons. The suction means less clotting and "mud".

Nope, the nature of the product is such that there's no refunds. Point being, would you want a cup that had been up a stranger's nether regions? But they're usually about $20-$40, and I promise, they pay for themselves. And there's way less discomfort than with tampons. They're smoother, have less pressure and are not shaped like a freaking stick... Whoever dreamed up the cotton stick on a string was a savage lol.... I can't help laughing about the post about the cattails -tampons growing by the creek! (I literally can't stop laughing)  You don't even notice the cup once its seated properly!
« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 09:28:23 PM by LittleOwl »

Offline mountainmoma

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2014, 01:36:41 AM »
I have used one in the past, but it has been a few years.  I never heard of them when I was younger. I bought a newone for my dd, but I cant get her to try it. Besides her probably thinking that it is another one of moms eco- things to push, she is extremly active. Has anyone have experience using these when doing any sports ?

Offline Frugal Upstate

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2014, 04:58:41 AM »
I bought one (diva cup).  Took me about 6 months to work up the courage to try it.

Getting it inserted & seated correctly at first was a little weird-but after a try or two got it down.  For removal it helps to sort of pinch before pulling on it-breaks the suction :).

I've used it at home and while out, but when I knew I could leave it in the entire time and deal with it when I got home.  I like to rinse & wash after I empty it before reinsertion, and I can't imagine doing that in a public multistall bathroom.  They don't need to be emptied often at my flow rate, and it's possible that I'm being over cautious.

Offline AvenueQ

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2014, 06:51:47 AM »
Lol this should have a warning label on it "Not for the Faint of Heart".

I mean, I thought the title would be a dead giveaway ;)

I've used it at home and while out, but when I knew I could leave it in the entire time and deal with it when I got home.  I like to rinse & wash after I empty it before reinsertion, and I can't imagine doing that in a public multistall bathroom.  They don't need to be emptied often at my flow rate, and it's possible that I'm being over cautious.

From what I've read they can be left in for 12 hours as long as they don't overflow, unlike tampons which have to be changed every 6 hours or so. Definitely with you in that I wouldn't want to have to rinse one in a public bathroom though.

Offline LittleOwl

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2014, 10:20:51 AM »
I use mine while training horses, hunting, mucking barns... (pretty much life goes on as normal when my moontime comes now). I've never had it do anything unexpected.

Offline mountainmoma

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2014, 10:58:50 AM »
well, that's good to know. Likely if she was doing normal body position sports it would be fine. I think I still see her point for things like gymnastics and dance

Offline AvenueQ

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2014, 01:25:43 PM »
I have used one in the past, but it has been a few years.  I never heard of them when I was younger. I bought a newone for my dd, but I cant get her to try it. Besides her probably thinking that it is another one of moms eco- things to push, she is extremly active. Has anyone have experience using these when doing any sports ?

FWIW, I would never have even considered one of these as a teenager either. Not because of the eco-thing, but more along the lines of "I have to put that WHERE?!" :o

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2014, 01:43:12 PM »
TMI alert....


my first period, I had a water activity planned, so my mom (who had had a hysterectomy years before) bought this new-fangled thing called a tampon.  I remember vividly sitting on the toilet and her inserting it.  I remember crying and crying.  Looking back, I do not think she had ever heard of a hymen or the pain when it is broken.  I did not attend my activity, but I did try tampons again a year or so later, lubricated with KY jelly to help them go in.  My point in this story, is that sticking something there could be a new and somewhat painful experience for a young teen.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2014, 01:53:26 PM »
so... thinking this might be something to look into for my wife, i know am clawing out my eyes :jaw-drop:

lol... at least i have a product to recommend to her...

Offline mountainmoma

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2014, 08:00:04 PM »
The ballet/gymnastics/swim team teen girls use tampons, if they didnt, they would be out of their sport as they cant just take 4 or 5 days off like that. But that is a trusted thing to use that they all use, they no doubt would be unsure about a cup, If a cup moved it could spill, while the tampons absorb and hold it

As other women use them more and the issues are known, or they get known no tot have issue, they will get adapted

I worry about the menstral cup getting moved because they do such extreme movements, and I have some vague recollection of the warnings on that birth control thing that is very similar, the cervical cap. Seems kind of like the saem thing but the cup part reversed on which side it's on
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 08:05:12 PM by mountainmoma »

Offline Aniera

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2014, 01:24:04 PM »
I definitely have to put in my vote for the diva cup.  I have been using it for more than a year now with no qualms about what sorts of activities I have been doing; yard work, swimming, hiking, and all sorts.  It turned out to be the best thing especially for when I have gone camping and using composting toliets, all you have to do is wash it out.  That beats packing used items back out with you for sure.  Though yeah I haven't done any sort of gymnastics as a previous poster mentioned, but I can't imagine there being any issues there, I have had no leaks so far using it.  I am using the one for the "not been pregnant, under 30" crowd and it has been very comfortable.  You really forget its even there once you have got it situated right.  Even if its not in the best (most comfortable) spot when you put it in, it ends up in the right spot just with your body movement.  And yes the first time you use it, it takes a little manuvering to realize how you are supposed to hold it and all, but once you figure it out, its second nature.  Really can't recommend it enough.  Also I think if you are trying to get a teenager to use it, maybe having them try a tampon and then one of them will show them the difference once they get past the squeamishness (which they need to get past anyways!). 

Offline Dainty

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2014, 03:50:45 PM »
This livejournal community has the most comprehensive info on menstrual cups. Browse the topics on the right hand column. The brand comparison charts can be really helpful, as well as just reading everyone's experiences.

I am thinking of switching over to these permanently when my current stock of tampons runs out. So, let's start off with any recommendations (I am under 30 and have not given birth or even been pregnant).

I'm in the same category, and also have a hymen to navigate (to anyone who thinks this fact divulges information about my sexual history, go educate yourself :P). I've been trying menstrual cups on and off for about 6 years, now.

Even though I was adept at using tampons, menstrual cups are a whole different animal. I'd strongly recommend you get a cup long before your current stock of tampons run out, to allow time for a learning curve. Figure out how you like it, how it fits you to prevent leaks, if you need to try a different brand, etc.

As much as I love the concept of menstrual cups, it took me several years and 4 different brands (over $100 total including shipping) before I found one that works okay for me, and even that I can only use for about 24-36 hours of my period. Used too early, I risk setting off my famously extreme menstrual cramps, and after a point the bleeding is too light to be worth the discomfort of insertion and removal. So during to sweet spot of that inbetween, I use a cup and love it. :D

I leave a cup in for up to 24 hours. I'm sure someone somewhere doesn't recommend that, but after hearing the horror stories of women "loosing" tampons for over a month inside them and still being okay, I cannot imagine some old blood and silicone is going to cause any harm. There are no known cases of TSS with menstrual cups.

My first experience was the UK's Mooncup, chosen because at the time I thought it was the smallest of them all.



The ridge just below the lip was incompatible with my hymen. Insertion wasn't too bad, but removal was AWEFUL. A multi-hour ordeal, every time. I'm not kidding. By about the third time I had come to accept that I'd need a different one.

Next I tried the Ladycup:



Smooth sides. Unfortunately, I encountered other issues. Discomfort with insertion was high, though once it was in I thought it was comfy and fantastic. Within 2 hours, though, I began having severe balance issues. I wasn't dizzy at all, I just kept falling over, with no inkling of which direction I should lean in to correct it. By the time I realized the symptoms could be connected to the cup I couldn't even sit up against a corner by myself. I had no internal concept of up or down, and it's like my brain would be thinking it was doing what it should to stay upright when in reality it was aiming for tipping me over, or throwing my head into the wall I was leaned against.

After removing the cup the symptom eased over the next few hours.

The symptom recurred briefly about a week later, as I was boiling the cup. I was distracted, busy with other stuff, I'd just lifted the lid to check it and turned to do something else when I simply fell over, to my complete bewilderment. It took a few minutes to recognize the connection.

I tried another cup after that, forget what the name was. Anyway, the silicone was really hard, upon insertion it would open with such force that it was quite painful. So that was out.

The Si-Bell is my success:



Smooth, super soft, small, no weird reactions. The stem is a too pokey for my taste, but I can live with that. Or cut it off. Or use it inside-out.

Softer cups don't hold themselves open as well, so there's more of a risk of leakage. My experience with leakage is it only happens before the cup has migrated upwards, or if it's too full.

Like I said above, even though it works for me, I can only use the Si-Bell as a partial solution to my menstrual cup needs, due to the discomfort of removal and insertion, as well as its tendency to set off a severe menstrual cramp crisis if used too early in my period. There was this dream that it would replace all other menstrual products, but my reality worked out differently. *shrug*

If you buy one and it's not the right fit does the company give a refund?

Not that I know of. However, if you can get into a group of like-minded people there are usually some used menstrual cups people are willing to trade around for cheap. ;)

Offline tippy the hippy

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2014, 04:33:45 PM »
I love my diva cup. I would say you could go for a size one with that brand. Maybe get 6 cloth pantie liners for back up. :)  Good luck! It took me one or two days to get used to inserting it correctly. After that it was smooth sailing

Offline TheBippy

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2014, 09:13:30 PM »
I switched years ago and couldn't be happier. One thing I don't see mentioned that often is cramping- mine is WAY LESS (70% less) with the cup vs. tampons. Some months the first day or two I'll use pads if the cramping is really horrible, but I've had cramps that will knock me off my feet- just walking down the street and then BAM, on my knees having trouble breathing. My poor hubs once had to explain to some officers that I wasn't drunk.

I've had them overflow a few times, but then I was a two-box-of-ultra-heavy-tampons-and-a-box-of-overnight-pads-a-period sort of girl, so it's really not a big deal.

It took me a full cycle to get used to it, though, so if it's super weird the first time, just... keep at it.

I wouldn't go back to paper products even if they were free at this point. The cup is MUCH more comfortable.

Offline DixielandDelight

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2014, 03:30:59 PM »
Maybe this is a silly thing to ask...but how long do they last? Like before you have to buy a new one?  Has anyone used one that long yet?

Offline Dainty

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2014, 02:31:13 AM »
Maybe this is a silly thing to ask...but how long do they last? Like before you have to buy a new one?  Has anyone used one that long yet?

There's sort of two answers.

1) They'll last forever.

2) If you boil yours frequently, it'll get squishier over time. Some people need their cup to be fairly firm, and will experience leaks with softer cups.

So, technically, if you put your cup through the wringer all the time, you may end up discovering you need to buy a new one eventually. I know this from boiling cups for days on end to "age" them enough to be chemically tolerable to me. They definitely ended up softer.

IMO there's really no need to boil them except for initial sterilization if receiving a previously used one.

Another thing that happens is discoloration. This can be greatly reduced by always rinsing/washing the blood off with COLD water first, just like when removing bloodstains from fabric. Other people also use bleach to keep their cups looking nice. If using a less-than-pristine looking item bothers you, then I could see wanting to buy another one.

Offline AvenueQ

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2014, 05:28:01 AM »
Maybe this is a silly thing to ask...but how long do they last? Like before you have to buy a new one?  Has anyone used one that long yet?

I just bought a Diva Cup and the instructions say it can last several years if taken care of properly (rinsing it as Dainty mentioned, proper storage, etc.). The instructions of course recommend replacing it every year, but if it's still in good shape by then there's no reason to.

Offline Theswerd

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2014, 07:00:44 AM »
Ok... sooo...


*cough*


My knowledge of female-specific anatomy is more towards the ... er... interactive side of thinks. Which means I don't know a lot of what I should for when I have a daughter or when I am dealing with health stuff with my wife.


That said...


How the heck do you pee with that thing in? Wouldn't that go badly? (no pun intended)


I would love to introduce this to the wife since we could cut out part of the recurring spending in the budget, and she might prefer it. But I don't want to spend money on something she won't use because it is not convenient for her.
Do you remove, do the deed, and reinsert? Am I mis-understanding some basic plumbing?  :o

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2014, 07:10:00 AM »
Do you remove, do the deed, and reinsert? Am I mis-understanding some basic plumbing?  :o
yup this.  the sushi is very different from where we pee (there was a freshman with me at my women's college that insisted there was yet ANOTHER hole where we have sexual intercourse, different from our menstruation "hole".  She was insistent because "my dad's a doctor, and I know these things" - he was  a high-end anesthesiologist.  That conversation still makes me laugh!)

edit: the auto correct on this forum just introduced me to another one, and here I thought I knew them all.  not sushi v-a-g-i-n-a   :spit:

Offline Theswerd

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2014, 07:26:20 AM »
edit: the auto correct on this forum just introduced me to another one, and here I thought I knew them all.  not sushi v-a-g-i-n-a   :spit:


Yeah, I was gonna say, never heard Sushi used in that way...
:P


Ok. So. Different plumbing. Cool. I'll have to bring this geegaws up with her. (and then deal with the "How did you hear about that?" question... :D )

Offline DixielandDelight

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2014, 03:42:11 PM »
There's sort of two answers.

1) They'll last forever.

2) If you boil yours frequently, it'll get squishier over time. Some people need their cup to be fairly firm, and will experience leaks with softer cups.

So, technically, if you put your cup through the wringer all the time, you may end up discovering you need to buy a new one eventually. I know this from boiling cups for days on end to "age" them enough to be chemically tolerable to me. They definitely ended up softer.

IMO there's really no need to boil them except for initial sterilization if receiving a previously used one.

Another thing that happens is discoloration. This can be greatly reduced by always rinsing/washing the blood off with COLD water first, just like when removing bloodstains from fabric. Other people also use bleach to keep their cups looking nice. If using a less-than-pristine looking item bothers you, then I could see wanting to buy another one.

Awesome! Thanks so much for the input. Yeah, it won't see the light of day most of the time so I won't care how pretty it is HAHAHA.

Offline DixielandDelight

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2014, 03:43:29 PM »
I just bought a Diva Cup and the instructions say it can last several years if taken care of properly (rinsing it as Dainty mentioned, proper storage, etc.). The instructions of course recommend replacing it every year, but if it's still in good shape by then there's no reason to.

Ahhh, I got ya.  Okay, cool--thank you!

Offline AvenueQ

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2014, 11:32:37 AM »
My first experience was the UK's Mooncup, chosen because at the time I thought it was the smallest of them all.



The ridge just below the lip was incompatible with my hymen. Insertion wasn't too bad, but removal was AWEFUL. A multi-hour ordeal, every time. I'm not kidding. By about the third time I had come to accept that I'd need a different one.

Just had this problem with my Diva cup this morning. I managed to get it in just fine last night, but it took 90 minutes to get it out, extremely painful. I think it migrated up through the night or something, and then it was lopsided when I tried to pull it out. I also had a hard time just getting a grip on the damn thing. I will still try again at a later time, but not a good first experience for me.

Offline Dainty

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2014, 04:19:08 PM »
Just had this problem with my Diva cup this morning. I managed to get it in just fine last night, but it took 90 minutes to get it out, extremely painful. I think it migrated up through the night or something, and then it was lopsided when I tried to pull it out. I also had a hard time just getting a grip on the damn thing. I will still try again at a later time, but not a good first experience for me.

I'm real sorry to hear you had a bad first experience. :( They happen. A couple things to mention - the cup ideally sits right below your cervix, nestled up as high as it can possibly go. So migrating up is generally considered a good thing, in that thy can't be up too far...some women with a tipped uterus find they need to adjust the angle once it's as high as it goes to get it positioned properly around their cervix. Since the cervix isn't always static - for example, it tends to tilt and recede with arousal - its relation to the cup and the cup's actual position are likely to shift around throughout wear. The key to the right fit is getting a cup that's the best shape, size, and firmness level to work just right with your specific body type. IMO it's practically impossible to get the right cup first try.

But I shouldn't be so dismal. Is there any chance you tried the cup without your period? The community discussion threads I've read strongly recommend against "dry runs", because of extensive anecdotal reports of how the body is more "open" to the cups when actually bleeding.

Another thing I  keep in mind is that while it can be folded for insertion, pulling it straight out is certainly larger than being folded. Arousal can assist with this, or I find attempting to partially re-fold it and then remove at an angle along the fold is the gentler method. These days I only ever attempt to remove a menstrual cup during a hot shower when I'm fully relaxed. Occasionally I find I should give up and try again in a few hours. I'm a big fan of being kind to my body.

One thing to look for is some cups have textured stems that make them easier to remove than others.

Menstrual cups can be finicky and the experiences highly subjective. Having a bad experience doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you or your body, it just means there's more to figure out. :)

Offline AvenueQ

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #25 on: July 04, 2014, 07:48:05 PM »
I did go and read some of those discussion threads, and several of them mentioned enlarging the anti-suction holes at the top since the ones on the Diva are notoriously small and prone to plugging. I feel better after reading them since now I know there's plenty of others that struggle with them too.

Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #26 on: July 04, 2014, 08:03:39 PM »
I haven't had need of one in years, but I have to admit I'm curious - how do you know when they're... full?  I would think "trial and error" would be a really crappy way to learn, and the amount would change all the time anyway.

Offline AvenueQ

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #27 on: July 04, 2014, 08:18:18 PM »
Most of the cups hold about an ounce, and the typical period is 1-2 ounces total, so most women don't have trouble with it overflowing (you're supposed to empty it every 12 hours). It will leak if it's not seated correctly, another joyful thing to figure out.

Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #28 on: July 04, 2014, 08:45:47 PM »
Oh, okay!  Thanks!

Offline Dainty

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Re: Menstrual Cups
« Reply #29 on: July 05, 2014, 07:59:25 AM »
I've ordered a SoftCup (previously known as Instead). The only somewhat rigid portion of it is the ring, the rest of it appears to be little more than a plastic bag-type thingie.

People say the "disposable" ones can be reused a few times, and even the "reusable" version is meant to be thrown away after each cycle.

So they're disposable, somewhat pricey (at least online) and aren't my ideal materials. But if they're comfy I'll take it! It was under $3 total to order a "sample" so we'll see.  :-\

I've kinda accepted that no single product is going to serve as my panacea. I'm now aiming for more of a variety of solutions that, together, amount to a pleasant and reliable system that's hopefully prep-friendly and doesn't break the bank.