By Andrina Adams
Until recently, I suffered through heavy periods every month.
On days 2 & 3, I normally had to wear a tampon AND a maxi pad. In addition to this, if I didn’t change that lovely combo every 2 hours, I had the “pleasure” of a major clean-up and possible leakage. — I’d tell you about my pads-only nights; but, I don’t want to make you weep. 🙂
Of course, everything I’ve mentioned so far made me dread, and sometimes skip, work / personal events – especially the ones that required long periods of sitting and / or frequent use of far-away public restrooms…that is, until I stumbled upon menstrual cups on Amazon.com.
MENSTRUAL CUPS – Where have you been all my life?
While checking things out on Amazon one lovely, lazy vacation day, something led me to the sanitary products page. That’s where I saw them for the first time… I’m telling you, angels played harps and sang while a voice (in my head) said, “Behold…the DIVACUP and SOFTCUP.” LOL
I didn’t know it at the time; but, these wonderful items would soon change my life forever. They’d give me a sense of freedom I never thought possible during “that time of the month.”
Because I’m me, I researched the daylights out of both products and read many reviews that day (and in the following weeks).
Key points and comments that apply to BOTH products included:
– Up to 12 hours of protection
– Virtually leak-free
– When inserted properly, you shouldn’t feel them.
– UNLIKE TAMPONS, they aren’t associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) and don’t cause dryness or irritation.
– UNLIKE TAMPONS AND PADS
*Menstrual flow is captured and held in the cup until you remove and empty it.
*There’s no scent since the contents of the cup don’t come in contact with air until the cup is removed.
*Reusable DivaCups cost around $30 online (including here at www.bepreparedperiod.com) and can be used for a year or more before replacement.
*Disposable Softcups cost around $6 (also available at www.bepreparedperiod.com, and at various drugstores) for a box of 14. One box can get you through 2 – 3 periods depending on your flow. (You can pick up a Softcup Sample Pack for just $0.99 + shipping and give them a try with your next cycle!)
*Both options pay for themselves within a few months when you compare their cost to the cost of tampons and pads.
– They can be worn overnight.
– No more period panties, “dark clothes only” days, or restricted movement.
– FREEDOM >> Did I mention “up to 12 hours of virtually leak-free protection?” LOL
Naturally, I rushed right out and bought a box of Softcups and also ordered a DivaCup online. I was determined to try them both and see if they lived up to their great press…and they did! Hallelujah!
The first time I inserted it, I knew almost immediately that it wasn’t inserted correctly because I felt it. After repositioning the cup, all was well.
As a test, I went to the bathroom every two hours to check for leakage, and there wasn’t any. Yay! …but wait! There’s more! 🙂
When I got home 8 hours later, I decided to remove, wash, and reinsert the cup for the night. That’s when I learned that they really mean it in the instructions when they say not to pull it out by its stem. (LOL) Doing so creates serious suction which, when released externally, causes a mini-mess. Instead, use the stem only to locate the cup. Afterwards, pinch the cup just above the stem to release the suction and then slowly remove it. Once out, empty its contents in the toilet, wash it as directed, and then reinsert. NOTE: I’ll provide a few tips on how to accomplish the wash step in public restrooms.
After a leak-free night, I was excited to see how day 2 would go. I had already learned how to insert and remove the cup properly, so all that was left was to figure out how long I could go without emptying it on a very-heavy-flow day. — That day, I averaged 8 – 9 hours and it was WONDERFUL!!! NOTE: I’ve also made it the full 12 hours several times since then.
During my next cycle, my department did a team outing that required an hour-long bus ride each way and several hours at a sporting event. I wasn’t worried, though. I knew I could trust my DivaCup to get me through the trip with no problems – and it did. No hassle, no constant bathroom trips, no worries… It was great!!!
Now that I’ve seen how well the DivaCup works, I plan to never…never ever ever use tampons or maxi-pads again…
I was a little leery about Softcups at first since a few reviews mentioned a mess, retrieval issues, and more. In addition to this, I thought I’d have the same difficult insertion / retrieval issues I had with the diaphragm years ago due to a “tilted uterus” (I know…TMI). — I was wrong.
Since my next period spanned across a weekend, I decided to give Softcups a chance. I’m so thankful that I did. Although Softcups didn’t last as long as the DivaCup did on my heavy-flow day; it was the perfect, no-hassle solution for light days and overnight. REMINDER…My heavy days may be heavier than yours, so don’t rule out trying Softcups based soley on my experience. You never know…They may be perfect for you throughout your entire period. You owe it to yourself to find out.
While testing Softcups, I definitely loved that I could swap them out with the same amount of effort and time it took to swap out tampons. Since they’re disposable, just empty and toss the used one out (preferably wrapped in tissue or the pouch the new one came in), insert a new one, and you’re good to go.
Here’s something that’ll blow your mind… While using Softcups during my last period, I actually kept forgetting it was that time of the month. Unbelievable, right? It was WONDERFUL!
TIPS & BEST PRACTICES
If you decide to try these products, and I hope you do, here are a few tips and best practices to make your life easier.
– For public restrooms:
*Keep a few inexpensive disposable gloves or baby wipes in your purse to keep your hands clean during removal / insertion.
*If you’re unable to wash your cup, empty it and then use toilet paper to get it as clean as possible before reinsertion.
*If you have access to disposable cups and hot water, take them with you into the stall and swirl your DivaCup in it before reinsertion to remove any remaining residue.
– On light days, I normally use disposable Softcups so I won’t have to worry about washing them.
– On regular / medium / heavy-flow days and days when I’ll be away from home for long periods of time, it’s DivaCup all the way. 🙂
– At bedtime, I prefer Softcups since they don’t appear to shift when I move around in my sleep.
As women, we have enough to deal with between giving birth, working, managing households, dazzling the world with our brilliance, and more. With all of that, we shouldn’t also have to deal with embarrassing leaks, the risk of TSS, etc.
Menstrual cups, in general, have been around since the 1930’s. These awesome game-changers have been a well-kept secret for far too long, so I’m doing everything I can to get the word out. In the past few months, I’ve shared the great news with friends, co-workers, women in the ladies room, strangers in the tampon aisle, my Twitter followers, Facebook friends, and more. If you happen to try menstrual cups because of my review and end up loving them, please pay it forward and spread the news.
You owe it to yourself to at least learn a little more about menstrual cups before ruling them out. There are a handful of brands on the market. Right now, I can only vouch for the two I’ve tested so far: DivaCups and Softcups. Both of these are reliable, cost-effective, worry-free options that can make your life easier.
If you’re still not convinced to give menstrual cups (our third option) a try, check out these websites for additional information:
– Menstual cups on Wikipedia
– The page that started it all for me on Amazon.com
– And of course here at Be Prepared. Period.
Thanks for taking the time to read my review. I wish you the best of luck for your future, whether you try DivaCups / Softcups or not.
Have a wonderful week!