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14 November 2012 @ 08:57 am
Lately I've been pondering the thought about not using pads or tampons anymore. They're expensive. and yes this is embarrassing as my mother still sends me boxes of pads and tampons to my dorm room. I don't like it when she spends money on me.

I've heard about the Diva cup, sponges, and making your own pads. I'm mostly use pads or panty liner/pads with a tampon. I mostly wear tampons when I'm swimming laps or cycling. My biggest fear about the sponge or diva cup is that it would leak or be full and it comes out while i'm in the pool or something. If that makes any sense.
How would I deal with the Diva cup or sponge if I am backpacking/bicycle touring? I'm thinking about the leave no trace behind. do you just dig a hole and dump it in there and rinse it out? Normally I would just put my pads/tampons in a ziplock bag.

is there anything else besides the diva cup or sea sponges?

xposted to womenshealth and vaginapagina
 
Ashatenlegspider on November 14th, 2012 05:19 pm (UTC)
Well, there are a lot of reusable cups other than the Diva, but yeah I think your choices are cups, sponges or cloth pads.

Since you're comfortable with pads, I think reusable ones would be a good start. There are loads of people making them on a small scale and you can buy sample packs with different styles, or of course make your own. Then use a pad as backup while you try out a sponge or cup. I think there are people who've had their cup move during yoga or gymnastics, but cycling and swimming won't have any extra affect so if you're ok with it at school you'll be fine doing sports too.

I guess you'd bury your blood in the woods, yeah, or you could carry that zip-lock bag with a rag to hold the blood. It's worth thinking about hygiene since you'll need clean hands while handling your cup and it should be rinsed clean at least once a day. It's entirely possible, but a bit more effort than when you're at home. Bear in mind that switching to reusables doesn't mean you can never use disposables again. If you're more comfortable with tampons in some situations, get some tampons.
It's Not Fair, Laika.itsnotfairlaika on November 14th, 2012 05:57 pm (UTC)
You will be fine for swimming! I have worn my cup plenty of times in pools and in the ocean and have never had any problems.
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on November 14th, 2012 06:31 pm (UTC)
There are now two dozen brands of menstrual cups, plus knock-offs. Each brand is a different size and shape so use the size charts http://sizecharts.livejournal.com/ to figure out which brands would fit/suit you best. There are also Instead Soft Cups that look a lot like diaphragms that ARE re-usable despite what their instructions say. And there are many incarnations of sponges. (Personally, I think Insteads and sponges work better for light days than heavy.) There are lots of variations of hand made cloth pads on Etsy and other online sites. Edited to add: There are also (hand-made) reusable tampons.

There is no reason you can't mix and match methods depending on what you're doing. For example, if you don't trust a cup or sponge for swimming, it's OK to use a tampon that day. Or maybe you'll find that cups are more convenient for bicycling/camping than other products. You don't have to commit to any ONE method. :o)


Edited at 2012-11-14 07:05 pm (UTC)
juliiie87juliiie87 on November 14th, 2012 07:44 pm (UTC)
Cups are amazing, they have all the plus sides of tampons, without the downsides and even more (well, they hold more, and you can leave 'em in for up to 12 hours, depending on your flow rate). But modern cloth pads are already a huge improvement in terms of comfort, compared to their disposable counterparts. You've been given the all-important charts for cups, here are a couple ressources for pads :

http://www.ecomenses.com/
http://cloth-pads.livejournal.com/

There's a world of skilled, small scale, working at home cloth pads makers on Etsy and a few bigger scale (often slightly more expensive) businesses and brand names online (and the latter are not always worth it if you ask me). However, every person's need in terms of pads are highly individual, so you'll need to find out what your needs are and try a pad from here and there on a trial and error basis. Like if you need a super long pad, flared or straight, or super narrow, heavy flow or light, how you're built, what kind of material you'd prefer against the skin, trim or comfy, etc.
mkchimkchi on November 15th, 2012 06:29 pm (UTC)
I've been on a backpacking trip with a menstrual cup, and while there were some challenges, it was doable. There was a brief learning curve in which I decided the easiest thing to do would be just dump it out and then bury it after reinsertion, but I know other cup users who use a sock rag to soak up the blood and then tuck it into a ziploc bag. As mentioned by others, there are reusable pads/tampons that you can look into as well as reusable cups. I've never had my cup come out while swimming, because it sits around the cervix and the walls of the vagina sort of close around it. It would take a lot to get the cup to fall out. Cups hold more fluid than tampons and therefore your chances of leaking with a cup are slimmer than while swimming with a tampon.
teacupcake89 on November 15th, 2012 07:14 pm (UTC)
As well as all the great advice in this post, if you click on the 'dorms' , 'camping and backpacking' and 'sports and physical activities' tags at the bottom of the side bar there are lots of great tips there too! :)

There is a learning curve to using cups (approx 3 periods) so you might want to continue using tampons/pads for sports etc until you feel confident enough with insertion/removal etc :)

If you're still interested in getting a cup make a note of:

-how high/low your cervix is on your next period. This doesn't have to be exact but cups sit underneath/rim around the cervix. a high cervix/long vagina will need a long cup, a very low cervix/short vagina a short cup etc. :)

-how light/heavy your flow is so if you need/prefer a higher capacity cup. :)

then have a gander at the size charts (linked in one of the above comments) and compare them in the side by side photos here: http://menstrualcups.friendhood.net/f52-moderator-s-photo-library
ionracasionracas on November 15th, 2012 10:02 pm (UTC)
Sponges are pretty great, I have to use a cup now because of heavy flow, but sponges are my favourite. They are super comfortable, and cheap so you can have plenty of them. If you aren't in the position to rinse them immediately, you can just store them away until later. They work exactly like tampons so you shouldn't have any issue while swimming. Can't say enough good things about sponges!
gallifreystandsgallifreystands on February 24th, 2014 09:27 pm (UTC)
It's great that you're looking into alternative solutions! I have never used sponges, but i think that they should stay in place just as well as tampons. (Not an expert, though.)

I have a DivaCup, though, and it doesn't come out unless you take it out. The shape and the seal it forms with your vaginal walls make that pretty much impossible. The Diva has a VERY large capacity like most cups and will not need to be changed any more than tampons at the VERY least. I have a light flow and change mine 3 times daily, but even if I only changed it once, I don't think it would overflow. If you have a heavy flow, you might need to change it more often, but not any more than a tampon.

For camping, you can dump in a hole and rinse with potable water. If you want to clean it more thoroughly and soap is a hassle in the great outdoors, alcohol wipes work well if you let the cup dry COMPLETELY before you reinsert.

Good luck :-)