It is with some…umm…blushing…that I write this post.  I should point out it is intended for women, so if you do not fit into that category, you probably don’t want to read any further.  Unfortunately, giving details is just a fact of a woman’s life!

If you do fit into that category, I just wanted to share that I think I have found the ultimate solution to our monthly visits from old Aunt Flo!  Mind you, I have tried pretty much every version of traditional feminine product out there.  As we all know, that “week” is dreaded.  Oh, the mess, the leaks, the risks, the limiting what colors we wear, keeping our purse (and car, and trunk, and bedside table, and every bathroom in the house…..) stocked with plenty of supplies…..it’s an endless pain in the neck!  A blessing sure, but a pain at the same time!  Oh, and the cost of those supplies really add up over time!  Even buying in bulk from the local warehouse store is expensive.  Not to mention the waste going into the landfills every month!  In fact, check out this link to see the estimated financial and environmental costs, first hand:

http://www.keeper.com/photographs.html

So, in an effort sparked by a combination of wanting to save money, reduce my environmental waste, as well as make “that” week easier and less, umm, time consuming (between bathroom visits and extra laundry), I went on the hunt for alternative options.  That’s how I discovered the reusable Diva Cup!

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 There are actually about 8 different brands of these so-called menstrual cups.  If you google “menstrual cup comparisons” or “reviews,” you will find plenty.  Unfortunately, of these brands, only 2 are available in the U.S– the Diva Cup and the Moon Cup (aka the Keeper, which is the original latex version). 

First, let me explain how they work.  (oh, and if you are a guy and have managed to read this far, don’t say I didn’t warn you!)  The cups are made of a medical grade silicone.  You simply fold to insert, insert, and it pops open automatically.  You then adjust, check for a tight seal, and voila!  You are now protected for the next 12 hours.  After 12 hours, you remove, empty the contents, rinse, and re-insert.  If you happen to need to empty while in a public restroom (and can’t rinse it), you can simply wipe it out with a tissue and clean later, when the situation is a little more private. 

What is my opinion of this little contraption?  I LOVE it!  I LOVE it!  I LOVE it!  Can I scream from the rooftops that ” I LOVE it!” ?  (Not that I would.  I am way more bold with some online confidentiality than in person!)  Seriously though, while this is my first time using it, it has been the easiest visit by Aunt Flo I have had in many years!  Now I don’t have the time to go into tons of detail comparing the two brands, but I will say there are differences.  Of the reviews I read, most women who tried both preferred the Diva.  I haven’t actually tried the other though, so I can’t say.  I will tell you the pros and cons of the Diva, though:

Pros:

  • No more paper products (unless you just want to add a pad for extra mental security)
  • No more late-night runs to the store for supplies
  • No more leaking onto a friends chair (oh..that was so embarrassing!)
  • No more plundering in an aquaintance’s bathroom cabinet, searching for an unexpectedly needed tampon or pad.
  • Perfectly comfortable.  Once inserted, you don’t even realize it’s there.
  • Very secure, leak-free seal.  I even wore a solid white skirt one day without thinking about it!
  • Has a convenient little “stem” to help make removal easier.
  • Stem and base of cup has little grips to help make removal easier.
  • If stem happens to be a bit uncomfortable (I have not had a problem, but I hear some do), then stem can be easily trimmed to a more comfortable size.
  • Very simple to clean–no ridges or edges for messes to get caught.  It is just clean, smooth silicone.   While there are some tiny holes that help with sealing it, they are flexible, can be stretched as needed, and also easy to clean.
  • Menstrual Cups have been around for many, many years (I can’t believe I haven’t heard about them!), and have never shown any risk of side effects.  Tampons, on the other hand, have been linked to TSS.
  • Does not cause the drying that can occur with tampons, or the mess and itching that can occur with pads.  On all accounts, you feel the same as you do every other day of the month–complete with natural moisture.  There just happens to be a little cup that needs to be emptied when you wake in the morning, and before bed at night.
  • Cup has little measurement lines in the event you are curious about your, uhh, production capabilities.
  • One-time investment of around $35.

Cons:

  • Can be a bit uncomfortable to insert (not painful, just not all that comfortable).  This is temporary at insertion though, and gets easier with practice. 
  • Can be a bit difficult to ensure a good seal.  This seems to improve with practice though.
  • Can be difficult to remove, but again, practice makes perfect. 
  • Must be removed for intimate moments.
  • If you have a weak stomach, you may not want to look when you empty the contents! It’s pretty bad!
  • The stem can cause a sensation that might feel like you are leaking.
  • Not completely fool-proof.  If you get in a rush (or are just learning) and don’t get the seal right, leaks can happen.
  • Up-front investment of about $35.

While I have only used it for a short time, I love this new device.  Of course, like anything made to deal with Aunt Flo, it has its ups and downs.  However, the pros for this option definintely outweigh the cons!  I can literally keep this tucked away in my purse when I am expecting a “visit,” and it’s all I need.  No more feminine pads or tampons laying around or being discovered by my kids; no more emergency trips to the store; no more covering myself with a sweater or wearing only black for a week.  Best of all, no more waste in my landfill from my monthly visits.  These are known to last upwards of 10 years!

I would highly recommend this product to any woman suffering the untimely messes of womanhood.  Remember, it takes practice, so if you aren’t sure, just wear a back-up pad until you get more confident.

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