Making menstruation a little greener

Since I’m still trying to get my vacation summary post put together (hundreds of pictures from two different cameras take a long time to sift through let me tell you), I thought I’d talk about something else that has been on my mind lately. It may be TMI for some, but I’m not letting that stop me, so consider yourself warned. The topic is menstruation and reusable menstrual products.

Photo courtesy Greencolander

Photo courtesy Greencolander

Thanks to breastfeeding, I had many, many moons free of periods after Julian’s birth, but now my cycles are back I’ve been trying for the last few months to get the hang of using a Moon Cup. I am not a fan of disposable diapers for many reasons including the fact that they fill up the landfills, and don’t feel that disposable menstrual pads are much better ecologically either. So in the name of green living, I decided to try out a Moon Cup from Glad Rags that I received (while I was pregnant with Julian) to review. It’s just taken me a long time to get to doing that review (and I’m still not ready yet).

Truth be told, I’ve never been fond of tampons and have avoided using them except on rare occasions. I’ve just never liked the way they felt and preferred to use pads instead. So I have been a little reticent about trying to make the switch from pads to a cup that must be inserted and I haven’t found my happy place with it yet. I find it often feels like it’s falling out or it actually does slip down and starts to come out. Maybe I’m not inserting it high enough? Maybe my va-jay-jay isn’t right for a Moon Cup?

Any experienced Moon Cup, Diva Cup or Keeper users want to chime in? Has anyone gone from being a pad user to a cup user with success? I need success stories to motivate me to keep at this.

I’ve also considered using mama cloth (reusable cloth pads), but I’m not sure I want to go that route. I already wash cloth diapers on a weekly basis and am not sure I want to add cloth pads to the laundry list too. The Moon Cup would certainly be a whole lot less maintenance if I can get more comfortable with using it.

So what say you? I need advice. And if you don’t use reusable menstrual products, would you consider them? Once I get better with my Moon Cup I plan to have a challenge and a giveaway to help motivate you to give it a try too.

Help me have a happy, green period. ;oP

And while we’re on this subject, have you donated to Goods 4 Girls – a program to help young women in Africa gain access to better menstrual product – yet?

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71 thoughts on “Making menstruation a little greener

  1. I use cloth pads and absolutely love them.
    I bought a Keeper and it was just too much trouble.
    If anyone wants more info on cloth pads or menstrual cups, they can go to http://www.clothpads.org It includes information on cloth pads and menstrual cups.

  2. Maybe your problem is with the rim – Mooncup has the hardest and widest rim of all the cups, as far as I know. (Heard this from a friend who had problems with hers.) Apparently changing to a cup with smaller rim like the Lunette (http://lunetteinfo.com/) might help.

  3. Wow! Thank you so much to “crunchy…” for asking for advice and support on transitioning to reusable menstruation cups and pads. Thanks oh so much to everyone who shared their info, experiences and links. A while back I had searched online about products to have a greener cycle, yet was quite apprehensive about what to choose and its potential effectiveness. Especially because I have been having heavy periods lasting 7-10 days that on the heaviest two days require an ultra or super plus tampon with a pad as back-up that all would need to be changed at least 3 times each day. The detailed comments posted here as well as those I found on the links provided were so encouraging that I just ordered a Lunette and look forward to using it. Then once I’m happily and completely using my Lunette, maybe I’ll donate my stash of landfill supplies to a local women’s institute for their restroom with a flyer sharing the links about going femininely green.

  4. I have not used a Keeper, Diva, or Moon Cup, but I have and still use the Instead brand of menstrual cups that you can buy (or used to be able to anyway) at Kroger. I bought several boxes years ago with coupons that doubled and made the boxes nearly free. I wash and reuse them (even though they are designed to be disposable). I toss them after about 4-6 months or when they feel too stretchy.

  5. I have had a diva cup for around a year now, although with one pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage and currently being pregnant since May, I haven’t used it a whole lot. I have found that I just need to practice, practice, practice when I use it. The best way I can tell that it is in position properly is when the cup puts pressure on my tail bone, but that is just my body. I do prefer it over pads, especially the first couple days of my period, because I hate the slimy feeling. I haven’t found that it makes my cramps much worse but I haven’t had many problems with cramps since I had my daughter 2 years ago.

    I also use cloth panty liners and they are sooooo much better than disposable pads. Like many others have said, I too wash them with the diapers and in my opinion, a load of just cloth pads is not enough to justify running the washing machine.

    If you don’t ever get the hang of a cup, definitely give mama cloth a try.

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  7. Amy! Glad to have you back :)

    I love love love my diva cup. Seriously, LOVE IT! My cycle returned a year ago next month, so I’ve had 11 to adjust to my new size (but I went three years without, so who can complain!). Check out the online resources. I find the Diva much more comfortable and easier to use, not to mention that you don’t have to fool with it all day! In in the morning, out at night (except on the first day – I do one empty in the middle of the day). I also use GladRags, which I find to work OK. I use disposable pads on my first night when things are heavy, but GladRags any other time. it’s easy to just soak them in a cold water rinse in the sink, then toss in with your diapers. Truth be told, I toss them into the regular laundry after soaking ::blush::

    Good luck!

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  9. I have used a moon cup for almost three years now (give or take the long period of time I was pregnant and/or breastfeeding) and I LOVE it! Took a bit of getting used to but once I got the hang of it I found it so much more comfortable than a tampon.

    Try practising with it while in the shower, squatting while inserting and taking it out can also help.

    Go totally ‘stem free’ – there is no way it can get lost unless your cervix is dilating! Rotating a little as you insert it or to push it up into just the right place seems to help.. push up one side then the other a teeny bit at a time until it is high up and feels right…

    HTH

  10. I like the Diva cup. I use some thin cloth liners as “back up” but before the Diva I used mama cloth exclusively. I would soak/rinse in cold water and then toss them in the diaper pail. All got washed together in my regular diaper routine and I didn’t notice much extra laundry. I prefer WHAM made cloth over Glad Rags, but that’s just me. Mother and Maiden topped with bamboo velour are my favorites.

  11. I like the Diva cup. I use some thin cloth liners as “back up” but before the Diva I used mama cloth exclusively. I would soak/rinse in cold water and then toss them in the diaper pail. All got washed together in my regular diaper routine and I didn’t notice much extra laundry. I prefer WHAM made cloth over Glad Rags, but that’s just me. Mother and Maiden topped with bamboo velour are my favorites.

  12. I’ve used cloth pads from Gladrags for a few months now. They’re really versatile, and I don’t need very many to use for the full cycle. I love them. I’ve found that I definitely need to change the soaking water every day, or there is an odor. I got the odor mostly out by putting them in the sun for a few days. I think I’ll try hydrogen peroxide next cycle. They also make a neat carrying bag that you can carry clean pads in, and it has a waterproof bag that goes inside to hold dirty pads.

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  14. I used the Instead cups from 1998 to 2008! I recently switched to the Diva cup when my Insteads seemed to become really prone to leakage. I guess the shape of my insides have changed over time! They always did leak a little, like when I laughed, or exerted myself, but now they just leak all the time. The Diva cup leaks on me only when it’s time to empty it. (I bleed rather heavily.)

    I have to attribute the use of cups to leaning about my own cervix position! I never knew where it was exactly, but since you have to position the cup right over it, so that it hugs it roundly, you realize pretty soon where it is, when the cup stays put and feels right. It is really nice to know my body so well!

    It’s also nice to be able to see just how much you actually bleed!

    As for changing and rinsing — I’m a freelance consultant, and have to be in up to five different places during a typical day! So I don’t always have the luxury of a private bathroom in which I can rinse out my cup. My solution is to carry an empty water bottle in my bag, or grab a plastic cup. I wash my hands first, fill up the water receptacle, then use the water to rinse cup (and myself if necessary) in the toilet stall. It’s pretty easy. I also carry intimate wipes, if I feel like I need an extra wipe of clean on my way out. :)

    If you work in an office, nobody will think twice if they see you walk into the bathroom with your bottle of water. It’s easier than hiding a tampon! :)

    I also still carry an Instead in my bag, in case all else fails. I can always stick that in till I get a chance to really rinse my Diva. But that hardly ever happens. You get pretty resourceful with practice! For example, there’s always Starbucks! They always have a private bathroom with plenty of room.

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  16. I have used products similar to the moon cup. They do take some getting used to I agree. And they do have to be checked every so often during heavy flow because they fill up quickly. But if you can get past the awkward first stages, theres a lot of freedom in them. Not having to carry tampons or pads in your purse, and how about pulling one out for a quick trip to the ladies room. I used to use tampons but I like these so well that I don’t need the little cotton rolls anymore. It’s so much nicer to just empty the cup, put it back, clean up and go. Freedom!

  17. Although I currently wear the Diva Cup, I couldn’t for a long time because it would fall out. (Yup even size 2!) After breaking my tailbone and then getting in an auto accident, I wound up in physical theraphy. In the end, I found that I couldn’t wear the cup because my core muscles (those of which the vagina are part of) were too limp-weak-saggy-whatever. After lots of PT, core muscle exercises and the like, I can wear it with no trouble of falling out. You might try some core muscle exercises.

  18. I lurrrrrrrve my mooncup. Best invention scince sliced bread. Saves you lots of moneys, is great for the enviroment and sooo confy you don”t even feel it. Doing some research about tampons/pads i discovred that they put something in them that makes you bleed more therefor you use more of them, i was so shocked. After going onto mooncup over a year ago i have to say this is so true, my periods now last two days less and no way as painful. No more dry vagina or uncomfortable tampons in there, nothing but benfits. Only bad thing…..not having descovred it 15 years ago!

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