Presumably you read the title of this post, so you won’t be too surprised if I write a post that includes phrases such as “tilted cervix” and “menstrual”. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
After learning what I did about the dangers of Toxic Shock Syndrome and how it isn’t just for those with poor hygiene or someone who leaves a tampon in too long, I now have the responsibility to have a safer period by using products that don’t put my body in danger.
Although I have to say, I thought I had a little longer to think about this before it happened. I am still breastfeeding Little Lady about 25%-30% of the time. (more info: breastfeeding the 2nd time around) I thought for sure that my period wouldn’t come back until I quit breastfeeding, like it did with Little Sir. However, I’ve somehow had 2 periods in the last 3 weeks. No idea what is going on. But it has given me the opportunity to try out the alternative menstrual products I thought I was going to be using to have a more healthy and eco-friendly period.
DivaCup reusable menstrual cup
I had just assumed that instead of tampons I would use the DivaCup reusable menstrual cup. Little did I know that there are actually 18+ other brands of menstrual cups. DivaCup was the easiest for me to find last-minute when I randomly started my first period, because I could just go to our local Central Market and pick it up. (For freaking $42!!)
You put this cup in over your cervix and it collects the flow. Then you remove it and dump it out (it can stay in up to 12 hours), wash it and put it back in.
SoftCup disposable menstrual cup
Let me preface the DivaCup fiasco by saying that I used disposable Instead cups, which are now called SoftCup, for years. These cups are a good solution if you want to be sexually active during your period without dealing with blood (I TOLD YOU ABOUT THE TMI). I actually love SoftCup so much, it works great and is comfortable and easy to insert. But it is disposable and the fact that I am throwing away plastic always bothered me.
My experience with Softcups and my years practicing the Fertility Awareness Method to check my cervix regularly made me think that a DivaCup would be no big deal. Just pop it in!
Wrong. As promised, here is where I talk about my tilted cervix. Or uterus or whatever – something in there is tilted and apparently having two children hasn’t made it less tilted (and yes, I am using a Size 2 which is supposed to be for women over 30 who have had children). After about 4 weeks of trying to use the DivaCup several times each day, talking to my midwife, and spending the last week on the LiveJournal Menstrual Cup Support Forum, my conclusion is that my cervix is so tilted that the DivaCup is actually turned sideways so that it spills as soon as it starts to fill, or pops out even before then. This makes me really mad because I spent a lot of money on this thing and I really wanted it to work.
True story – one time I put the DivaCup in before going to drop my kids off at Mother’s Day Out. As I was pushing a stroller into the building I felt things start to slip in there. By the time I got to the toddler’s classroom, the DivaCup had popped all the way out and was hanging out in a very wrong place, entirely external to my body. I had no choice but to go through the drop-off process with both kids and then attempt to find a bathroom at the church where I could take care of it afterward. Not my favorite memory. Very awkward and uncomfortable. This popping-out happened many times in the process of trying to use the DivaCup but that was the only time it happened in public!
After the second week of trying with the DivaCup, I finally went out and bought some organic tampons (because those are the only TSS-safe tampons). I am sorry, but I just hate using pads when I have heavy days. It’s gross and there is a high likelihood of leaks. Also with two babies running around, I can’t get to a bathroom more frequently than every 4-5 hours, really, and the pads do not last that long. The main disadvantage of organic tampons is the cost. I think it is around $5 for 20 tampons. I’d need at least 2 packages per period, possibly more.
If you are still reading this, hooray for you!
I am still distressed by the fact that I spent $42 on something I can’t use, and that I failed in trying to have a more “green” period. I am back to using products that I have to throw away (pads, SoftCup, organic tampons), but at least I know I’m safe from TSS. I will probably go and buy a package of SoftCups for my next period, and possibly a case of the organic tampons off Amazon (affiliate link). I’d also like to work on slowly building my stash of cloth pads for backups. Right now I don’t have enough larger sized cloth pads to work as a backup for heavier days.
I’d love to hear about anyone else’s experiences with eco-friendly period products, especially if there’s something I’ve missed and could try next cycle!
NOTE: I did not receive any compensation or free product from any of the companies or products mentioned. That was my own money in all cases. Although if another brand of menstrual cup would like to give me a product to try, I would totally take it!