Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cloth Pad & Diva Cup Update - TMI ALERT

This will be talking about my menstrual cycle - if this turns your stomach I suggest you stop reading now!

I recently wrote about how I purchased my 1st set of cloth pads here & have written a bit about my experiences using a Diva Cup here and here

Diva Cup Update

I've been using the Diva Cup since August of 2009 and could not be happier with the switch.  I find that I feel cleaner, more confident & less limited while using a menstrual cup instead of a tampon and/or pad.  I still find that on my heavier days I'm able to fill the cup quickly and need to empty it & wear a panty liner or light pad for just in case.

The Diva cup has changed the way I travel, snowboard & camp.  All the activities that became very difficult during my cycle are now within reach.  The clear downside is the cramps! 

Snowboarding with my Period - then and now
In the past I'd load my snowboard outerwear pockets with tampons and many times find that I'd get to the bathroom just too late.  I'd have a mess, no easy way to get out of it, and feel damp and nasty.  Not to mention - the tampons would be crushed 1/2 the time from falls or awkward movements.  Now I don't have to worry about that.  During my heaviest days I still take a few more breaks than maybe necessary just to make sure I don't have any accidents.  I also wear a pad or liner just in case. 

Camping & Rafting with my Period - then and now
I love camping and a rafting trip is always part of the itinerary.  In the past I had to make frequent trips to the camp bathroom which was always damp, dirty & the opposite of private.  After washing my hands of all the camping grime, I'd have to change my tampon.  Before I knew it, I was back in the bathroom doing it all over again.  During rafting trips I regularly found myself hiking my way through poison ivy looking for a private place where I could fish the zip lock baggy of tampons out of my lunch sack and do an exchange.  It was gross and the opposite of ideal.  Now I'm able to bring 2 Diva Cups with me.  I wash 1 while wearing the other and store it in my toiletry bag for when I'll need it next.  If I have access to a bathroom, I empty my cup, rinse it and pop it back in... if I don't, I remove it, clean it off with toilet paper & keep it to clean more thoroughly later while popping in the clean one.  During rafting trips - I just don't do anything at all.  I haven't found the need to change it during the 4-6 hour trips!  It's great!

Traveling with my Period - then and now
Traveling used to be such a hassle... I'd never know if I was going to have my period or not.  I'd take a bag of feminine products only to not need them... then on other occasions have nothing and need them desperately.  Now I have my diva cup (2 in fact) and I just pop it into my toiletry bag and I have it wherever I am.


How I clean it
The directions say to boil the diva cup at the end of your cycle to sterilize & to wash it during daily use in the Diva Cup soap ... or a non oil based soap that is unscented.  I almost NEVER do this.  I use some unscented Dr Bronners baby soap and water... that's it.  I've been doing this with the same bar of soap I purchased in 2009... and I still have about 1/2 left.  I've seen no degrading of my Diva Cup and the cost savings are obvious.  I know that the website discourages this but many people have used it finding it to be fine!


Why I do it
I use a menstrual cup for many reasons and I will list them below:
  • I am reducing my carbon footprint and my contribution to landfills
  • It does not contain leaching chemicals, synthetic materials, dyes, etc.... that have been identified by some as a carcinogen (read here)
  • I feel cleaner & it makes my life easier
  • I'm more comfortable
  • I have less accidents
  • I save tons of money!

Cloth Pad Update

I am immensely enjoying my cloth pads.  The only down side is that I wish I had more of them.  I purchased a starter pack from Pleat on Etsy for about $24.  They came with an overnight, a regular & a liner.  I've used all three and have found them to be very effective.

I used the regular during the day during my heaviest day in conjunction with my Diva Cup.  It stayed in place and was very very comfortable.  I did not get any discomfort that I usually get when wearing a maxi pad (especially with the dry weave).  In the evening I wore the overnight pad and found it to be absorbent enough, but a little short.  I leaked a bit similar to how I leak with a disposable.  I found that I'd need an extra long pad for over nights.  The light pad I used during the day to supplement my Diva Cup during a moderate flow day.  I found that it helped up quite well.  There was a tad more shifting compared to the regular & overnight sizes, but still found them comfortable.  The biggest down side was not having enough.

Today I put in another order with Pleat for 2 more liners and 2 more regular pads.  I believe these will be great to use in conjunction with my Diva Cup during the day and for the tail end of my cycle when I prefer just to use a liner.  I did not choose to order another overnight pad as I felt they were too short.  Instead I will look at longer pads through other vendors.

I am currently looking at the Pink Lemonade Shop at Etsy for their 11 inch over night pad & their 13 inch post partum pad.

How I use them
I use them no different than you would a normal pad.  They law on top of your panty and have a small snap to attach underneath.  I don't even feel it there.  When I need to change it, I rinse it under cold water and throw it in the garbage pail that I use for my family cloth wipes in the bathroom.  I find that because I use them to supplement my Diva Cup, I do not have to change them while I'm at work.

How I wash them
Because I rinsed them, they are usually a bit damp.  I throw them in the wash with the rest of my family cloth & run them through a regular cycle.  I use my regular homemade laundry soap & vinegar as a fabric softener rinse aid.  Then I line dry them like I do mots things.


So far I've been beyond satisfied.  Would you try any of these things?  Do you think they are just crazy?



Alison Coughlin said...

I got a diva cup last year and I used it for a day and didn't really get into it. But I think when the time comes again I will start using it more seriously. I'd like to try the cloth pads too... I have to start saving money in any way I can...email me your recipe for homemade laundry soap. How do you feel it works? Is it as good on stains as any other detergent?

No Te Enredes said...

Thanks for sharing these useful tips. I completely agree with you. I will recommend these tips to my friends to let them informed about proper use of tampons.
uso tampones

Lilia said...

Really - I'm surprised you didn't like it, Alison. I was an immediate convert. I will email you the recipe. I find it works fine with mostly all the things I wash. The only time I think it isn't as good is when things are heavily stained... I do keep some detergent on hand for the occasional hand washed item or very soiled item (soccer stuff).