Reusable Menstrual Cups and Pads

Ghoti Ichthus

Pray so they do not serve alone. Ephesians 6:10-20
Here's the thread I promised elsewhere.

WARNING: Content could be embarrassing to some, but it's part of life.


Pads, tampons, and disposable menstrual cups are expensive, and like disposable diapers, take up lots of resources and landfill space. These days, supply chain issues, too.

Solutions: reusable (cloth) pads and liners, and reusable (silicone, rubber, etc.) menstrual cups. They haven't been as popular in the US as they are in other parts of the world, and they have been used for many decades around the world and female military (especially when deployed).

The reusable cups have been around for a very long time and actually more comfortable than a tampon when fitted and placed properly. They last a lifetime (or many years), except that you may/will need to get a different size and/or shape after having a child or gaining/losing a massive amount of weight. At least 2, and preferably 3, for each lady (and future lady) in the household. If you need to change in a public restroom, porta potty, or old fashioned outhouse, much easier and sanitary to have a second one available with you in the stall. However, no problem dumping, wiping or rinsing with water out of a bottle, and reusing the same one. If you drop it on the floor or in the toilet, sanitize it according to manufacturer's instructions before using it again (don't put it back in the carry bag/case, put it in a plastic bag so the carry bag/case doesn't get contaminated with whatever). Always ensure hands are clean before touching/changing, and only rinse with potable water. After your period, sanitize and store the cups per manufacturer's instructions.

Can't post links to brands or sources per forum rules, but there are many brands, materials, sizes, and shapes. Be sure to read reviews about different products and how to use/features of cups in general before selecting one to try. There are many different fits and everyone is different, so you may have to try a few to find one that works for you and is comfortable. When you find one you like, buy two more so you have 3. Reference virgins, no different than tampons. If you have a latex allergy, make sure what you buy is specifically latex-free.


Here are a couple of websites with information about menstrual cups (both are massive, but look at both because the first is more about products and the second more about use).

https://menstrualcups.wordpress.com/

https://emmareed.net/all-you-need-to-know-about-using-a-menstrual-cup/


There are a lot of websites with information on them, but many are produced by companies make them and some that sell them. There are also some patient websites with information, but a lot of them seem to be written by men because "no clue." Some websites decry the cups using the same arguments that were used decades ago against tampons. Other websites are OK.


Read reviews about cloth pads and liners, as well. There are significant differences between some of them in materials, fit, comfort, bulk, etc. There are also free patterns online to sew your own. Even if using a cup, there will be times that you will need pad(s) (post-partum, infection, post surgery, etc.)
 

SarahRose

Well-Known Member
TMI warning:

I highly recommend the reusable cups. I have a very heavy period and it was so embarrassing sometimes the amount of changing I had to do and the leaks…I wish I would have known about the menstrual cups when I was younger because it would have saved me a lot of tears. But very glad to have them now! I can play sports, hike, swim and not worry about it.
 

rubyx1

rubyx1
I will stick to the pads. tried using tampons before and it just feels very uncomfortable to me and the feeling of something being stuck there. same with the cups dont want to see pooled blood in a cup I get squeamish. I have heavy flow too but the pads are comfortable and adequate since they make the extra heavy overflow size 5 super long ones now. I may be in the minority though.
 

Ghoti Ichthus

Pray so they do not serve alone. Ephesians 6:10-20
Wish those were around when I was young. Sounds like they much more comfortable. I never heard of them until a few years ago snd never seen them in the grocery store until a few years ago.
Some stores only sell the disposable cups :frown Some sell both reusable and disposable. Need to check the package.

I've only seen a couple brands available in brick-and-mortar stores. Many more choices (of reusable) online.
 

Ghoti Ichthus

Pray so they do not serve alone. Ephesians 6:10-20
Wish those were around when I was young. Sounds like they much more comfortable. I never heard of them until a few years ago snd never seen them in the grocery store until a few years ago.

I didn't find out about them until in the military.

:bluesclues :pink I'm old enough that no longer necessary :pink :bluesclues
 

Andiamo

"Let's go!"
I tried it back in the day. I found it impossible to use in a sanitary way if I was going to have to remove it in a public bathroom (wash hands + touch stall door = Nope) Putting it in was awkward and uncomfortable and removing it was a real mess and gave me the Heebie jeebies.

( I wonder why the autocorrect capitalizes Heebie? :thinking )
 

alisani

Well-Known Member
I will stick to the pads. tried using tampons before and it just feels very uncomfortable to me and the feeling of something being stuck there. same with the cups dont want to see pooled blood in a cup I get squeamish. I have heavy flow too but the pads are comfortable and adequate since they make the extra heavy overflow size 5 super long ones now. I may be in the minority though.
Same here. I use pads and period panties for the lighter days. The period panties also help keep the pad in place. Mine is so heavy that cups would not work for me. I can fill one of those size 5 overnights in less than 30 minutes so...I don't wish for THAT particular cup to runneth to overflowing! :lol
 

fl2007rn

Well-Known Member
I am glad I don't have a period anymore! I had no idea what a menstrual cup was and I had to look it up. It seems like that would be a mess if you needed to change that out in a public rest room.

I can't imagine what women had to do hundreds of years ago. I suppose they had to use wash cloths.
 

Ghoti Ichthus

Pray so they do not serve alone. Ephesians 6:10-20
I am glad I don't have a period anymore! I had no idea what a menstrual cup was and I had to look it up. It seems like that would be a mess if you needed to change that out in a public rest room.

I can't imagine what women had to do hundreds of years ago. I suppose they had to use wash cloths.

Button-in sewed cloth pads (reusable). Girls learned sewing skills making them.
Natural sponges
Rags
Tampons made of wood and lint or papyrus, etc. (ancient Greece and Egypt)
Cloth pads


History of menstrual cups
https://www.lunette.com/blogs/news/short-history-of-menstrual-cups

Museum of Menstruation website. Not well organized, but exhaustive. There's a search function (make sure searching the website instead of the whole web) http://www.mum.org/

13 Bible verses about menstruation
https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Bible-Verses-About-Menstruation_KJV/
 

alisani

Well-Known Member
Button-in sewed cloth pads (reusable). Girls learned sewing skills making them.
Natural sponges
Rags
Tampons made of wood and lint or papyrus, etc. (ancient Greece and Egypt)
Cloth pads


History of menstrual cups
https://www.lunette.com/blogs/news/short-history-of-menstrual-cups

Museum of Menstruation website. Not well organized, but exhaustive. There's a search function (make sure searching the website instead of the whole web) http://www.mum.org/

13 Bible verses about menstruation
https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Bible-Verses-About-Menstruation_KJV/
Yes and they washed their menstrual rags out by hand. :confused2
 

MapleLeaf

Well-Known Member
It will have to be the zombie apocalypse for me to consider the reusable stuff. I know they say to use them when they're as heavy and clotty as mine but mine can be almost miscarriage-level bad and the thought of having to dump out some of the things that come out of me make me gag. On my worst days I honestly just close my eyes and hold my breath. I have thought about purchasing some of the reusable stuff for the sake of my prep shelf though. In times of need I would be grateful for them. I am way too squeamish otherwise. I wish there was a way to treat my cycles rather than fake hormone stuff. I have had bad experiences with "the pill" in the past. I never reacted well. And it never helped with the heaviness then. Now that my heaviness is worse I just don't want to bother. And the horrific mood swings were too much. An ultrasound showed the heaviness is likely coming from scarring I would have got either from a D&C for a miscarriage I had before my daughter or the c-section with my son. But as I never had this after my son and I got pregnant with my daughter straight after the D&C I am guessing it is from the latter.

Edited to add: I would have died from blood loss in pioneer days as no one would feel sorry enough for me to let me lie in bed a few days a month.
 

Andiamo

"Let's go!"
It will have to be the zombie apocalypse for me to consider the reusable stuff. I know they say to use them when they're as heavy and clotty as mine but mine can be almost miscarriage-level bad and the thought of having to dump out some of the things that come out of me make me gag. On my worst days I honestly just close my eyes and hold my breath. I have thought about purchasing some of the reusable stuff for the sake of my prep shelf though. In times of need I would be grateful for them. I am way too squeamish otherwise. I wish there was a way to treat my cycles rather than fake hormone stuff. I have had bad experiences with "the pill" in the past. I never reacted well. And it never helped with the heaviness then. Now that my heaviness is worse I just don't want to bother. And the horrific mood swings were too much. An ultrasound showed the heaviness is likely coming from scarring I would have got either from a D&C for a miscarriage I had before my daughter or the c-section with my son. But as I never had this after my son and I got pregnant with my daughter straight after the D&C I am guessing it is from the latter.

Edited to add: I would have died from blood loss in pioneer days as no one would feel sorry enough for me to let me lie in bed a few days a month.
:hug That sounds horrible.
I had a friend like you that decided to just wear adult diapers 2-3 days per month, just to escape the constant bathroom trips, changing of the pads and all the worries. Did nothing for the misery, of course.
 

MapleLeaf

Well-Known Member
I'm grateful that I can stay at home with the kids so I take about 2 days to just rest in bed and stay near the bathroom. A diaper would send me over the top, to be honest. I already feel gross with what I do use. I have found that doing moderate exercise routines between periods (I can't do them during because it only makes the blood loss worse) helps with the breathlessness and strange heart beats I get due to my anemia. I used to lie in bed feeling like my heart was about to stop on my heavy days. It was super frightening. The exercise has helped with that even if the flow is still terrible. And it's only like that for 1 day really. This week was 2 days but the rest of the week it's almost nothing. It's like I get a week's worth in 24 hours.

I can't do extensive cardio though, no matter how often I do it. It's what led me to discover I had anemia. I was getting weaker with each day which is the opposite of what you'd expect. So I do more dancing/walking style workout routines as long as there isn't too much jumping. It takes longer to build up endurance that way but anything harder weakens me in the long run.

I have long joked that the tampon companies owe me some free stock for how much I am keeping them in business.
 

Ghoti Ichthus

Pray so they do not serve alone. Ephesians 6:10-20
FWIW, when I was young, my periods were absolutely horrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrible.

They got better when I was older (30s and 40s), but then during times when I was severely hypothyroid (post-thyroidectomy thyroid medication dosing issues, off thyroid meds for scans the old way, etc.), they got horrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrible, again.

I'm so happy to be done and not named Sarah :lol
 

crunchymama

Well-Known Member
I have a really heavy flow. Well, did. I recently found that dairy was a big cause of my heavy flow. I stopped eating dairy 9 months ago and I went from 7-day periods, 3 days very heavy, to 3-day periods, 1 day heavy.

I've been using a Diva cup for 16 years. I have overflowed it on my heaviest days (sometimes in only 2 hours), so it is possible, but I wear a pad on those days as backup. As far as squeamish- you don't have to look at it- I don't lol. Just take out and dump contents into toilet without looking, then rinse and insert. As far as public bathrooms- keep a small pack of wet wipes in your purse or just get some paper towels wet and soapy before you go into the stall. Use these to wipe your hands when you're done, and then wash your hands when you leave the stall. Technically, you don't need to rinse the cup everytime you empty it, so in a public bathroom you take out, empty, insert, wipe hands, wash hands. It's not any more work than a tampon once you get the hang of it. It does have a bit of a learning curve, but really, once you get the hang of it, it is almost like not having a period at all. It is much more cleaner, and my DH couldn't even tell I was on my period most times.

A lot of women also find they have less cramps when using a reusable cup. That has to do with the position of the cup against the cervix and also likely the chemicals used in making disposable feminine products. I noticed my cramps greatly reduced about 95% after a few months of using the cup, and I was one of those had-to-miss-school-every-month girls because my cramps were so bad. And the chemicals used in disposable products aren't good for you.

There's also near zero chance of TSS, unlike with tampons. You can leave the cup in all day, you can use it when you're expecting your period but before it actually starts, sleep in it 12 hours. I do use a pad during the heavy days when I'm not at home and heavy nights, because I will overflow in the morning when I get out of bed. But I'm only using 3, maybe 4 pads a period instead of a whole pack.

I absolutely love my Diva cup but it did take a few months to get the hang of.
 
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