Reduce, Reuse, Re-cycle?
December 30, 2003 7:28 AM   Subscribe

The Diva Cup. For the ladies who are tired of tampons and pads, an alternative now exists that's both a little bizarre and a little intriguing. At the very least, it could ease this woman's supply gathering a little bit.
posted by Ufez Jones (55 comments total)
And yes, apparantly I am now MeFi's Guy with a Good Attitude Towards Menstruation. In all seriousness though, any MeFemales know of anyone that's tried one of these or a simliar product?
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:29 AM on December 30, 2003

Hmm, it holds one ounce.. i can see it now... bars in college campuses all over the nation will stock them as the new novelty shot glass...

/perhaps slightly bizarre, but not as tasteless as i could have been...
posted by twiggy at 7:36 AM on December 30, 2003

From the page: In 1998, 7 billion tampons and 13 billion sanitary pads and their packaging made their way into landfills and sewage systems in the USA alone!

Anyway, being a guy, I certainly can't comment on this with any authority. Seems interesting. No leakage? Comfortable? Hmmmm.
posted by ashbury at 7:54 AM on December 30, 2003

IANAW, but it seems like it would be awfully difficult to yank a rubber shot glass out of you wazoo without spilling the contents.
posted by planetkyoto at 8:02 AM on December 30, 2003

An environmentally conscious friend of mine uses this product and swears by it. According to her, it is indeed comfortable, easy to insert and remove, and fills her with some sort of womanly pride when she removes it to find just how much fluid she can produce. They are, however, a little pricey (I think they go for about $50 CAN). But considering that they are supposed to be long-term products, the price is slight in comparison to what one spends on tampons and pads in any given year.

That being said, I still feel icky about using one myself...
posted by Ms Snit at 8:09 AM on December 30, 2003

planetkyoto, you are so not a woman... [deletes tampon stories too graphical for boys ears]

Must be a pretty soft cup that, I know I want to give it a try. Can't wait 'til they arrive on these shores (I don't fancy paying import tax on that 50...Or worse getting it stuck in customs.)
posted by dabitch at 8:15 AM on December 30, 2003

see also: Instead softcup. It's not reusable, but works in the same way.

My wife has used Instead for many, many years and finds it a great alternative to tampons and/or pads.
posted by jazon at 8:19 AM on December 30, 2003

I can't see how this thing would be easy to deal with in an office building communal bathroom. It's easy enough to use "regular" protection in a stall, but this cup needs to be washed out first to be re-inserted. How would one manage that?
posted by scalz at 8:24 AM on December 30, 2003

scalz, they address that on the usage page: On the occasion you need to empty it in a public washroom, use a dry or damp tissue to clean the cup, and wash well with hot soapy water at the next convenient time.

So apparantly it's okay to just wipe it off and reinsert for a short period of time.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:29 AM on December 30, 2003

There's a similar product called The Keeper that's been out for quite some time.
posted by Sangre Azul at 8:43 AM on December 30, 2003

Working in a youth travel oriented place, people are always asking us to send items they forgot back to them, like cameras, cellphones, jackets, shoes, etc. Imagine then, the squick factor of a request to send home a reusable rubber menstrual cup that was left in a room. Gah.

This has happened twice now, so if that's any indication of growing popularity...
posted by romakimmy at 8:43 AM on December 30, 2003

i have one of these, and i *love* it. i have never had a problem yanking it out of my wazoo and spilling the contents everywhere -- it does create suction, and uh, slides out with a minimum of mess.

you can take it out and wipe it down if need be, but really, if you put it in first thing in the morning you don't need to worry about it for the rest of the day. i wore it the day of my wedding, and i didn't have to worry at all.

and when inserted correctly, you don't feel it, just like a tampon.
posted by sugarfish at 8:53 AM on December 30, 2003

My wife uses and loves her Keeper.
posted by terrapin at 8:55 AM on December 30, 2003

"From the makers of the SnotBucket (tm), comes the Diva Cup (tm). Act now and get a free ear wax retrieval and storage unit, absolutely free."

Ewww. Just ewww.

Some things were just meant to be disposable, environment be damned.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:01 AM on December 30, 2003

This is cool. You're working on a menstruation trifecta, Ufez. Keep up the good work!

While I don't think it's a great idea to have a wad of cotton stuffed up my hoochie all day, I don't think it's a great idea to have plastic or rubber stuffed up there for days on end, either. There are only a very few select things I allow to be stuffed up there, and this diva cup ain't gonna be one of them.
posted by iconomy at 9:02 AM on December 30, 2003

Genesis 4:9 - And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's Keeper?
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:16 AM on December 30, 2003

iconomy: the divacup is actually made of medical grade silicone. just fyi.
posted by sugarfish at 9:18 AM on December 30, 2003

Remember that scene in Up In Smoke where Tommy Chong spills the Ajax and it winds up getting snorted?

Well, that thing looks unnervingly like a cocktail glass, and some folks are partial to Bloody Marys....
posted by jonmc at 9:28 AM on December 30, 2003

Here's a link to another MeFi conversation about The Keeper.
posted by anastasiav at 10:18 AM on December 30, 2003

Thanks, sugarfish - I was looking for the section on what it was made from but couldn't find it. I still wouldn't use it though. I use pads that I made myself in one of my more inspired crafty moments ;)

The comments from the Vanessa Tiegs thread (the second link in ufez's post) are hysterical.
posted by iconomy at 10:26 AM on December 30, 2003

Uhhh, I bought a Keeper almost a year ago, but I've been too chicken to try it. It seems like a wonderful idea, but the actual reality... yeah, anyway. What about those Lions, eh?
posted by greengrl at 10:30 AM on December 30, 2003

iconomy: making cloth pads is on my terribly long crafty to do list. i definitely think they are a better option than store bought stuff.
posted by sugarfish at 10:37 AM on December 30, 2003

I wasn't too convinced at first, but after reading the testimonials I think I'm going to give it a try. Well worth the $ if it does work. Never thought I'd be getting menstruation advice from a man, Ufez - keep it up!
posted by widdershins at 10:44 AM on December 30, 2003

I can't see how this thing would be easy to deal with in an office building communal bathroom. It's easy enough to use "regular" protection in a stall, but this cup needs to be washed out first to be re-inserted. How would one manage that?

The Diva, along with the Keeper and Instead are all safe to wear for 12 hours at a time, so most women are able to get through a work day without having to empty it.

I use the Instead and have for years with no problems and nothing but praise for it. For you squeamish men out there, Instead (unlike the Keeper or the Diva) allows for blood-free intercourse during "that time", which may be a selling point. For the squeamish women out there, for heaven's sake, it's your own bodily fluid, why feel "icky"? I recommended the menstrual cup to a friend of mine who still has two un-toilet trained young'uns....she changes diapers, cleans barf, wipes noses, etc, and still shuddered at the thought of handling a Keeper. I just don't get it.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:47 AM on December 30, 2003

I hear they were first invented by a woman in the 1800's who made her living trading beaver pelts.

It was called the Trapper Keeper.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:54 AM on December 30, 2003

I have a Keeper and have not had great luck with it. It might be me, but every time I use it, even when I'm not flowing particularly heavily, it leaks. Not so much that I have to initiate Menstrual Emergency Protocols, but enough that I am washing out my underwear more than I normally care to. I still use it when I need a little more freedom from my period than Glad Rags (my preferred menstrual collection method) afford me (running, places where I'd rather not carry a big purse) so I might give the Diva Cup a try and see if the different materials make it work better for me. (Ohhhh I also just read the "sizing guidelines" and I guess I've aged into a size 2 since I bought the Keeper. *sigh* This might do the trick, then.)

Ms. Snit: From this site: The DivaCup retails for only US$25.50 (CDN$37.50 if you are in Canada).
posted by jennyb at 10:55 AM on December 30, 2003

O mr_crash_davis made me laugh soooooo much.
posted by iconomy at 11:03 AM on December 30, 2003

Women that are on the Pill have the option of not menustrating at all. The squeamish ones might consider it.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:35 AM on December 30, 2003

Uh sure, but that carries health risks I would rather not try.
posted by agregoli at 11:39 AM on December 30, 2003

I wouldn't say I'm squeamish as much as I am sort of afraid that I'll never get the Keeper back out again. Silly, I know, I mean, it's not like it's going anywhere -- that's the problem though, the whole "suction" thing kinda freaks me out.

Yeah... how about those Tigers...
posted by greengrl at 11:51 AM on December 30, 2003

Proponents of menstrual suppression point out that until recently most women only had about 40 periods in their entire lives. The rest of the time they were either pregnant or nursing. The average number of periods is now up to about 250 in industrialized countries due to improved education and birth control. It's not clear whether frequent menstruation or menstrual suppression is the healthier option.

Then there is the issue of girls & women who regularly miss classes and/or work because of painful menstruation. That's been called something like "the cotton ceiling".

This probably deserves its own FPP, but since we already have this thread, here's a link.
posted by alms at 12:14 PM on December 30, 2003

allows for blood-free intercourse during "that time"

How? Wouldn't this get in the way?

/me thanks the good lord for his penis
posted by dr_dank at 12:21 PM on December 30, 2003

alms - the thing is that you have to take more hormones to suppress your period. The health risks associated with *that* (as opposed to simply having fewer periods) is what freaks me out. Aside from the general embolism and heart risks, there is the concern about long term effects that large quantities of hormones, or disruption of natural cycles might have on various brain areas associated with memory. Understandably, pregnancy and nursing throw those systems out of whack too. However, my understanding is that there are some natural compensatory mechanisms that kick in during those circumstances.
posted by synapse at 12:38 PM on December 30, 2003

My wife uses Insteads and thinks they are the bee's knees. She can't use tampons, and pads are messy. As the sex goes,

How? Wouldn't this get in the way?

No, the Instead product is very much like a diaphram in size, placement and construction. You may feel it, depending on your, shall I say, angle and depth, but it generally does not interfere. Also being vigorous may cause leaks. You cannot have sex with the other cup products mentioned.
posted by urlnotfound at 12:56 PM on December 30, 2003

I use the Keeper and I love it. It's cheap, convenient, better for me than tampons (minimal TSS risk and the Keeper doesn't aggravate cramps the way tampons do), and there's nothing to fill my wastebasket every month. Plus, I can leave it in a good long time without leakage or discomfort, so I don't have to think about it at work or on long plane trips. I find it easier to insert than Instead and easier to remove than a contraceptive sponge.

In short, I have no complaints. It's a good product and well worth the money.
posted by stefanie at 1:11 PM on December 30, 2003

It's not "large amounts of hormones," and it's arguable that having a more steady-state hormone level is healthier.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:22 PM on December 30, 2003

I don't fancy paying import tax on that 50...Or worse getting it stuck in customs

well, i never heard it called THAT before
posted by rswst8 at 1:27 PM on December 30, 2003

There are benefits to having some periods. No periods? That's not biologically normal, and therefore, in my mind, can't be healthy. And being on pills to supress a naturally occuring event doesn't seem right to me either. I guess you could argue that BCP supress a naturally occuring event anyway (conception and birth), but that's a different story. At least right now I'm having one period a month, regular and stable, and I feel far too healthy to mess with that.
posted by agregoli at 1:47 PM on December 30, 2003

The DivaCup, Keeper and similar products have held interest/appeal for me for some time from the standpoint of less waste and escaping the various annoyances of "feminine products." The utter repulsion of several close female friends (and my boyfriend) to such a system has held me somewhat in check, but the more I read the more it seems like something I should at least try, it's really not that much more pricey than a few months worth of tampons, and it seems more practical.

From alms link: "The best thing about a menstrual period is - nothing" but how about a regular monthly reassurance that you're not pregnant? That, and the idea of four months worth of uteral lining piling up (seeing as Seasonale is just normal BC w/o the placebos), just waiting for the "seasonal" period in which to let free the deluge, makes four such periods probably a whole lot more troublesome than thirteen regularly scheduled ones.
posted by nelleish at 2:40 PM on December 30, 2003

I've been thinking about getting one of these for a while--I dislike spending $5-10 a month on tampons, and while I do have some cloth pads, I dislike them. My only main concern is the learning curve in terms of getting it inserted and placed properly.
posted by eilatan at 3:18 PM on December 30, 2003

eilatan: it is a simple process, not difficult at all. you fold it in half twice and then give it a turn once it is inserted to create the suction.

also i found a bit of water on the rim helps with uh lubricative properties.
posted by sugarfish at 3:30 PM on December 30, 2003

Is it safe to have that stuff sloshing around inside you all day? It seems that whatever is being expelled from your body should be either absorbed or removed, not left to sit there.
posted by amberglow at 3:33 PM on December 30, 2003

I only have about 4 periods per year due to debilitating migraines (and other stuff) every month, and my 4 periods are the same as when I had 12... The uterine lining doesn't "pile up" like that, and there's no "deluge", just a normal period.
posted by doubtful_guest at 3:49 PM on December 30, 2003

Keeper rocks. That's all I'm sayin'.
posted by JanetLand at 3:51 PM on December 30, 2003

I'll pitch in for the pro-menstrual-suppression-via-the-Pill side of the discussion. for the past couple of years I've had only about three or four periods annually (and yes, psychologically it was strange at first not to have the monthly proof of not being pregnant) and love it. A few days of cramps every season rather than every month or so (I was always fairly irregular)? Yeah, baby. It probably helps that (for me, at least) the seasonal "deluge" isn't much worse than the monthly one.

If it's any reassurance, my doc says she does the very same thing.
posted by scody at 4:34 PM on December 30, 2003

My wife hasn't had a period in over eighteen years. She has regular pap smears and checkups, and no doctor has yet freaked about this side-effect of The Pill.

Our experience is that not having periods is wonderful.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:59 PM on December 30, 2003

Is it safe to have that stuff sloshing around inside you all day? It seems that whatever is being expelled from your body should be either absorbed or removed, not left to sit there.

Safer than a tampon that's been bleached and contains dioxin. And the stuff has been sloshing around in your uterus for a month before it gets to the Keeper, a few more hours won't hurt, it doesn't seem.
posted by Oriole Adams at 5:47 PM on December 30, 2003

doubtful_guest, scody: I should have said before that my reaction to Seasonale is based soley on my own experiences of attempting to skip a period using normal BC (while the week in question had no bleeding, I made up for it by bleeding heavily the next three weeks which was especially alarming given how light the Pill has made my periods otherwise, thus I imagined the lining was "piling up." Overall it scared me very badly as I have been anemic in the past, and I had spoken to my doctor before the experiment and been given all the assurances I would be fine).

I think the lesson here is every women's menstration is as unique as ever other part of her, and obviously I'm not right for skipping it, but it's perfectly possible others are, and yes, I'm jealous of you.
posted by nelleish at 5:55 PM on December 30, 2003

Normally, the hormone level goes up for three weeks, then drops to zero, triggering menustration: ie. 180 mcg norgestimate during the first seven days, 215 mcg the next seven days and 250 mcg the next seven days, and 0 the next seven bloody days.

Most women go 180, 215, 250, 0 (bleed), repeat.

My wife goes 180, 215, 250, 0 (no blood), repeat. It just struck me that she coule probably go on straight 180s. Hmmm.

Seasonale goes 180, 180, 180, 180, .... , 0.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:57 PM on December 30, 2003

Never trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn't die...
posted by LowDog at 8:45 PM on December 30, 2003

Anyway, Nelleish, I'm wondering what your attempt to "skip" a period went like.

If you were doing 180, 215, 250, 180, 215, 250, ... (ie. no "0" weeks), then I can't imagine how you managed to bleed: if the 250->180 transition didn't trigger a period (you say it didn't), then the 180->215 couldn't have. How on earth did you menustrate for three weeks?!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:14 AM on December 31, 2003

Sometimes your body does what it wants, hormone therapy be damned. The months I choose to have a period, it's usually because my body just starts, and I go along with it. It never starts *after* I have started the placebo pills, always before I even get to that week. And that's how it's always been -- Even when I had a monthly period, it always started before the placebo week, if I was going to really have one. Hormones are not an exact science... That's why there are so many different formulations of birth control pills. Everyone's body reacts differently to them.
posted by doubtful_guest at 12:32 PM on December 31, 2003

Nelleish -- Have you had your thyroid checked? I only found out I was hypothyroid after trying to have fewer periods per year, only to bleed for 3 months straight instead. They tested me "just in case" it was thyroid-related (the other option was that my body just wanted to have a period every month, no matter what), and I'm now on thyroid meds. But I'd always had irregular periods, even on the pill, so I probably should have been tested years ago...
posted by doubtful_guest at 12:37 PM on December 31, 2003

doubtful: Ah. Okay.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:17 PM on December 31, 2003

i love my keeper. while 50 bucks seemed expensive to my college student self five years ago, not having to buy any pads or tampons since then makes it a pretty solid investment. i've used Instead as well, and I liked it too, but it's unnecessary thanks to my keeper cup. what i find most interesting is that now I see just how much fluid is really expelled. It always seemed like way more using disposable products, and now I know that it's not.
posted by melissa at 5:02 PM on January 1, 2004

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