TMI on menstrual cups and eco-friendly periods

photo by Flickr user Danzden

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!

Organic Tampons
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!

9 thoughts on “TMI on menstrual cups and eco-friendly periods

  1. Natalie Kemp says:

    Wow! You deserve some type of award for effort!! When I saw your post about pads, I was  wondering how you deal with them. I really dislike pads, sitting in it all day is no fun.

    I was also wondering about the washing and rinsing of your homemade pads and this cup. Can you stand it okay? Do you leave them in bags until you get around to washing laundry?

    I have a retroflex/tipped/tilted uterus too! So does my mom, granny, and my cousin. Seems to run in the family!

  2. Jes says:

    OMG, this made me laugh out loud: “If you are still reading this, hooray for you!”

    I’m really fascinated by all of this, because I’ve heard people SWEAR by the DivaCup (I had never heard of anything before Jonniker wrote about it a couple years ago), but I’m way to grossed out at the thought of inserting and removing a cup (doesn’t it spill when you’re removing? And then you get it all over your fingers! Ewwwwwwwwwww.) for myself, but I still really love reading about other people’s experiences with it. Weird, I know.

    And I’ve never heard of a tilted cervix. How do you find something like that out? Did your doctor/midwife tell you? Did it affect your births/deliveries at all?

  3. conscientious says:

    I knew it was tilted very early in life because every time I’ve ever had a pelvic exam from an OB or midwife the first thing they say when they go in there is “wow, you have a really tilted uterus”. I didn’t even know what that meant until I started doing Fertility Awareness, but yeah it’s pretty tilted. As far as I know it doesn’t affect anything except the DivaCup, it completely didn’t matter at all when conceiving and giving birth that I could tell.

    Yes, you do have to be comfortable with fishing around “up in there” to use the DivaCup or even SoftCup. I was familiar with it from doing Fertility Awareness anyway so it’s no big deal to me. I really don’t care if I get some blood on my hands, it washes right off. The majority just dumps right into the toilet, though. SoftCup is less messy than DivaCup, for me, though!

  4. Ashleigh Lankford says:

    Good to know because mine is tilted too! Haha. Although not gonna lie, I’m good with tampons. I’m green in other areas though! Have you seen on where she talks about using cloth pads and reusing them? Maybe that’s a good solution for you.
    Also two periods in three weeks… you sure you aren’t pregnant again? Implantation…

  5. conscientious says:

    Yea, I like the organic tampons just fine too, and smaller to carry in my purse! Make sure you get organic to protect yourself from TSS! (more on that in my post about TSS – I had no idea it was so common!)

    I have a limited supply of Lunapads and others I made myself. I’d like to try and make more since they are so expensive. They weren’t difficult to make, although it would be nice if I had a serger.

    Oh man, I was so scared that it was implantation the second time but it got so heavy that there is no way it could have been. Thank the Lord. I am seriously over being pregnant right now!!

  6. Jill Krause says:

    Great post! But now I’m worried that I, too, have a tilted cervix… for many reasons. I guess I’m off to google how to figure that out before I order a Diva Cup.

  7. TRS - single solitary things says:

    $42!!! I got mine for about $10 less on Amazon.   Still, not too shocking a price when you consider what you’d spend on tampons in a year. 

    I love my diva cup.  
    I wonder if you’d have better luck with a different brand? 

    speaking of TMI – is there a particular reason soft cups accommodate ‘activity’ over the Diva Cup… or are they both ‘accommodating’?  (I’m single so it’s just wishful thinking anyway!)

  8. conscientious says:

    Hi TRS! Yes, the Softcup is almost flat, with the bowl part being made of extremely thin plastic almost like ziplock baggie material. There might be pictures on their site. I think the fact that it hangs down from the cervix less, and what does hang down is soft is what makes it work well for intercourse. That’s my guess, at least. I think maybe the fact that it’s flatter might also be why I can use it with my tilted cervix. Sure wish I could use that DivaCup, though!! I wish they made flatter non-dusposable cups!

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