Between being in diapers and being a woman, a girl sure goes through a lot of disposable sanitary stuff! The thing is, it wasn't always like this, there was a time when reusable sanitary supplies were the only option. I think it's time we explore this option once again!
One option that was not available 100 years ago (but that has been around longer than you would think) is the reusable menstruation cup, such as the Diva Cup, which seems to be the best known brand. There is also: the Femmecup, Keeper, Lady Cup (available in many different colors), Lunette, Miacup, and Mooncup (UK).
I learned about the DivaCup when one of my best friends, and oldest friend (we've known each other since we were 4!), told me about it. I was still very skeptical about it, and not ready for it. But now, I'm gonna try it out, soon, very soon. In the mean time, I asked her to come and talk to you guys about the DivaCup, and her experience using it.
My name is Isabelle, I am a childhood friend of Gen’s. I was kindly asked by my great friend to share my opinion and experience with one of my favorite products of all time – the DIVA Cup.
A few years back I developed an interest towards the importance of caring for the environment and in reducing my carbon foot print. While researching environmentally friendly products online, I eventually stumbled upon the DivaCup.
This product consists essentially of a silicone menstrual cup that you insert when you get your period and can be reused for years. The price ranges between 36$ and 40$ depending on the store. It might seem pricy but for the duration of the product, you save money as you will no longer need to purchase tampons nor pads. It’s also fantastic as you have no waste to dispose of except of course the period discharge.
My first experience with the Diva Cup: I went to the Market Organics Store in my city and purchased it (Gen adds: you can find a store that sells it near you through the DivaCup website Store Locator, or you can buy online). They had two sizes available: one was for women who have never given birth and the other is for women having given birth as it is slightly bigger. I purchased the first option.
I also bought the soap meant to clean this product. I still have it in fact 3 years later – it’s a good sized bottle that cost me 10$. Although the soap is great and can be used to clean your entire body, any mild soap will do to clean your Diva cup.
Prior to using the cup, I read all the instructions provided and visited their website which is really useful. To insert the Diva cup you have many options which are described in the manual as well as online. I found great YouTube videos where women demonstrate how to fold the cup prior to inserting.
I found myself placing the Diva cup under water to lubricate it, folded it and gently inserted it. Once in, you must seal it. To do so, you must rotate it 360 degrees to ensure it expands and creates a seal which will ensure there are no leaks. Rest assured, even if the seal is not fully done the leaks are minimal – I’ve never had a problem.
You can leave the Diva cup in all day. I normally empty it, clean it and re-insert it in the morning and repeat the process at night when I take my shower. This means you have no worries all day and night like you would with pads or tampons. I love it.
At the end of your period, all you must do is boil water and insert the Diva cup in the water for 10 minutes. This will disinfect it. Once completely dry, simply place the cup in the pouch provided and store it until your next period.
It’s truly an amazing product that I would recommend to anyone. The company suggests it be used for a year but I honestly believe you can keep it much longer it you care for your Diva cup properly. (Gen adds: I've seen you can use it for 5-10 years)I hope this will inspire some of you to try this fantastic invention and I would gladly provide more information to anyone who has questions.
What really had me hesitating in getting it was that I had first read that it was only good for a year. So the cost of the Cup did not justify me getting it for a year when it would cost me more than pads. But now that I've read it can be good for up to 10 years, I've changed my mind. It's definitely worth a try now! I've actually JUST bought it online, I never hesitate doing that when it's free shipping. So I'll definitely be doing an update once I've been using it for a few months and got used to it.
If you need more reasons to consider this option (completely unrelated to being green), here are some: you don't need to run to the drugstore to get more feminine products cuz you've run out; you'll save some money; you don't need to change it/empty it as much, only twice a day, so no worries during the night either; you can swim with it! and do sports no problem; if properly inserted, there is no leakage; it doesn't smell as it's not in contact with the air and so doesn't ferment; no bad chemicals stuck inside your body; no toxic shock syndrome like you may get with tampons; some women have even reported less cramping with the menstrual cup.
But if are still wary of the reusable menstrual cups, or for your daughters when the time comes, then maybe I can interest you in reusable pads?
LunaPads seem to be the big company that sells them. You have your normal maxi pads, for your periods, (light or heavy), post-partum pads, or pantyliners.
I've also seen them sell on Etsy. If I weren't getting a Diva Cup, I would totally get some of these, they are so cute! Actually, at the disclosure of proving too much information... I might still get some reusable panty liners.
There are a lot of options out there! Different thickness for different flows, different sizes and shapes, and some are one piece or changeable inserts. Here are 3 different types I've seen, click any of the shops here (or the Etsy link above) to explore what else they have and find the one that would be most suitable for your needs, and wallet.
from TrojacekFarms on Etsy; these specific ones are made from minky, but they have other choices too
Pleat on Etsy, have a TON of different types, mostly made from flannel; this one is a set of 3: overnight, regular and pantyliner.
These ones have a removable insert, Lili's Cameleon on Etsy)
Now I'm sure you're all asking how you wash these things, and carry them around, which is a very valid question!!
First, when you change out a used pad for a new one, you can roll them up like this to take home. You can also get a cute little bag to put them in. No mess! And they are so cute and pretty that it doesn't matter if you come out of the bathroom with it in your hand.
Pantyliners from MyPoshPads on Etsy)
You also need to prep new pads so they absorb well, much like you would cloth diapers. Then when it comes to washing the pads, there is generally 2 methods: either keep them wet until you wash them or dry them out. Eco Crazy Mom has a great post about all that stuff, so I'll just send you there ;)
So, are you gonna join me and change your period experience?? Or what would it take for you to do it? I really want to convince you!
Catch up with the 31 Days to Greener Sustainable Living series (must be on blog to see):
I party at these parties.