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I've been meaning to write this post for a while now. I'll put most of it behind an LJ cut to save the squeamish, but if you're a menstruating woman, especially if you use tampons, I think you should consider using menstrual cup, and here's why!

I know I was pretty skeptical about using a menstrual cup. I had heard about them through different sources, friends of friends LJ entries and such. They aren't broadcasted in any major magazine and they aren't really advertised but let me tell you this: using my keeper (actually it's a moon cup) has pretty much changed how I view my period.

I know, I know, it sounds so hippy-dippy at first. "Oh you're saving the environment by consuming less resources and throwing less things away!" "You're more in touch with your body!" "Yay mother moon!" and stuff like that. Screw all that nonsense. Here's why it's really awesome:

1) No chance of TSS (toxic shock syndrome)

2) Does NOT need to be changed every 4-8 hours. THIS IS SO AWESOME. For me, even on my heaviest days, I empty the cup twice: once in the morning when I wake up and once again in the evening either when I get home or sometime before bed. Because the bathtub is right next to the toilet, I just rinse it out there before I reinsert. Sometimes I do it in the shower because I can get all clean at the same time.

3) I can put the cup in BEFORE my period starts. If you're like me, you can kind of tell when your period is going to happen. However, if you only use tampons that means you have to wait for it to really start before you can insert one or walk around with a pad all day just in case. With the cup, you can put it in and don't worry about it. It's not going to leak and if your period doesn't start it's not a painful mess to remove.

4) No nasty smells. Your menstrual linings are all kept inside your body and away from the air. Because there's no leaking, nothing gets on your skin or *ahem* hair (if you don't trim). There's no pads sitting in your garbage, no applicators or anything.

5) NO MORE BUYING PADS/TAMPONS. Seriously, that shit adds up. Menstrual cups run the price range but I think mine was $30. I paid that once, about two years ago. Haven't had to buy a box of pads or tampons since. AWESOME.

Here's some skepticism I had that got quickly washed away after using it:
But isn't it messy? I don't want to get that all over my hands!
It's no messier than using a tampon, in fact I think it's cleaner. With pads, you see that lining sop up every time you change your pad. With tampons, it's there in the toilet. With the cup, there might be a bit on your fingers but that's easily washed away. However, if you put a tampon up your cooter, you shouldn't feel grossed out by putting a cup up there.

What about using a public bathroom? I don't want to have to rinse it out every time!
I don't have to change my cup while I'm at work, even on my heaviest days. However, every woman is different and if you feel your period is heavy here's what you can do: bring some handiwipes with you to the bathroom. Empty the cup. Clean off the cup with some toilet paper. Insert cup. Wipe off your hands with the handiwipes. Your cup will not be contaminated with any nasty stuff in the few seconds it takes to empty, wipe, and reinsert. Your vagina is one of the cleanest parts of your body, even during your period.

does it leak?
To be honest, it might when you're first using it. THis is just a learning process that comes with putting it in. For your first few times, you might want to wear a panty liner just to be safe but after you figure out the right way for you, it won't any more.

I can't tell you how easier my life has become with the cup. I don't worry about messes, I don't worry about running out of pads or tampons. I don't have to get paranoid about TSS or anything like that. I don't have to worry about annoying dangling strings or smelly garbage. When I'm done with the cup, I wash it, put it away, and every now and then give it a soak in diluted vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.

I know that menstrual cups aren't everybody's cup of tea but I can't tell you how easy it's been for me. I don't feel it. I don't smell it. I don't have to buy anything anymore. If you have any questions feel free to ask me. But I do hope you consider getting one. IT'S JUST SO AWESOME.
Hmm. Very informative. Thanks, dude! Two questions: Is it hard to insert? And can you have sex with it in?
1) I don't think they're hard to insert and it can depend on the cup you buy (there are a ton of different cups out there. I use the moon cup by the keeper, but there's diva cups, luna cups, and instead (which are kind of different). I fold my cup in half and insert kind of like I would a tampon without an applicator. Like with your first ever tampon, it'll take a bit of practice but by the end of your first cycle you should be able to get the hang of it.

2) I would imagine that having sex with a cup depends on the cup. The instead websites boasts that YES! YOU CAN HAVE SEX WITH IT! WOOO!!!! My cup has a kind of "tail" (makes removing it easy) on it that would probably make it VERY uncomfortable for my boy. Perhaps there are different cups with different shapes that would allow you to get your groove on while sloughing your uterine lining.
As Meg said, Insteads are designed so you can have sex with them inserted (they're shaped more like a diaphragm) while just about all of the other cups are somewhat of a bell shape and aren't really designed to allow for sex as well. Although, I've read a couple of accounts where some girls wound up having sex with theirs in accidentally.

As far as insertion goes, it's pretty easy once you get the hang of it. And since they can be inserted when you're not on your period, you can practice once you get it before you really need it. I've heard that using a bit of lube helps to get it in if you're feeling a bit dry.
LOVE MINE!!! I've been using mine for, oh gosh? 4-1/2years now? That's 4 freaking years or not buying pads or tampons (except for this one time when my period snuck up on me at school and I didn't have time to run home and get my cup). I wound up buying a 3-pack trial of OB (first time trying aplicator-free ones) and I was practically crying as I did because I felt like I was cheating on my diva.
Sounds very intriguing. But my first thought was "you should write advertisements!"

But what would I do with all those tampon coupons I keep finding?
Between pregnancy and breastfeeding, I haven't had a period in a year and a half. Win!
I hate you just a little for that :-P