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[personal profile] youarefree
This post is going to contain a lot of information about my menstrual flow, maybe in what some would consider graphic detail. I don't really find anything about my menstrual flow to be graphic, but I realize that I'm relatively alone in this feeling. So, you are warned, and only proceed if you have a desire to! I should add that the topic of the post is using environmentally friendly menstrual products, so if you're not scared off by my warning and are interested in the topic, step inside the cut.

Those of you who have been friends with me for awhile will know that I've been using a DivaCup for the past two years. I decided to start using a menstrual cup for several reasons. One is that pads and tampons are expensive and once I got to college and I was the one buying them instead of my mother I realized this. The more important reason, though, is that regular commercial pads and tampons generate a LOT of non-biodegradable waste. Pads are all plastic-y and a good deal of tampons have plastic applicators. Even biodegradable waste isn't exactly great if there are ways to avoid producing any waste at all. So, I looked into reusable products. I settled on the DivaCup because I hated pads. It was difficult to get a hold of at first. The cup is bigger than most things you insert into your vagina, and you have to get it in just right so that the suction forms properly and it doesn't leak. But once you get a hang of it, it's a miracle! I could leave the cup in for 12 hours, so I only had to change it once in the morning and once at night. I hardly ever even noticed I was on my period, because I don't really get cramps.

So, yay, success story! But, boo, further developments. I've had a lot of problems with external yeast on my vulva. I would always wash my hands thoroughly before fiddling around with the cup, so I didn't think it was the cup that caused the yeast, but I was disturbed because the external yeast was usually worst after my period and would subside and then get worse again after my next period. So a few months ago I decided to stop using the DivaCup. Lo and behold, the external yeast disappeared. I was deeply saddened by this, because I loved the cup. I would still recommend it to anyone else, because basically no one in the world is as susceptible to fungal infections as I am, and I've never heard of this being a problem for anyone else.

For the past two months I've been using disposable menstrual products, but I just kept feeling awful about the waste, so I decided to try LunaPads. I was wary at first. The pads and liners seemed to be very thin and I just didn't see how they'd last for more than, like, an hour even though my flow is not very heavy. I tried it for the first time today, though, and it was miraculous! The fabric, though thin, was very absorbent, and about FIVE MILLION times more comfortable than the disposable pads which feel like wet diapers. The pad+liner I had on lasted me 8 hours, much more than a disposable pad ever has, though admittedly I change those more than necessary because they feel like fucking wet diapers. Anyway, I'm really excited about this and have just ordered a 3-pack of pads and liners from LunaPads so that I won't have to do laundry too often. I wanted to share because this is EXCITING.

I know some people are grossed out because you have to wash them and don't just get to throw them away and not look at your blood and bits of uterine lining ever again. I would have to say that I think that's a bit lame. Okay, maybe I'm getting a little hippie-mother-earth-etc here, but I really think it's beneficial to actually deal with what comes out of you. It's made me feel a lot more in touch with my body. And it's not like you have to rub the stuff all over yourself or anything. All you have to do is put the pad or liner in a bowl of cold water to soak until you can wash it. Plus it helps the environment! So, you should just suck it up and get over your societally-created need to hide or automatically get rid of everything that's ever been touched by your menstrual fluid. THE END.

That was a lovely and stirring parable, wasn't it, children?

My cough from the cold I had last week is lingering. I probably managed to contract tuberculosis. Or pneumonia. I really need to write up my philosophical treatise on hypochondria someday.

OMGLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOST.

Date: 2009-04-29 10:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thisaestus.livejournal.com
I wanted so badly to use a divacup but i had horrible experiences. I couldn't get it in for the life of me (until i finally discovered the punch down method). Once I got it in, it sat high. My fingers are very small, so getting it out was horrible also. Tears were shed on both sides of the equation. Once I discovered [livejournal.com profile] menstrual_cups I was fine.

For a couple of months. Then it began to create to worst suction possible inside of me. I was so uncomfortable all the time. Sadly, I gave up and went back to regular pads/tampons. I have a heavy, clotty flow so I use a pad with my tampons. I'd love to try the luna pads. I think people on etsy.com make them too - maybe I will check them out there.

Maybe there is another menstrual cup out there for me. My uterus is tilted - I don't know if that has anything to do with it.

Oh well. I enjoyed your entry :)

Date: 2009-04-30 09:27 pm (UTC)
ext_11045: (Default)
From: [identity profile] cetacea.livejournal.com
Ahh, that sucks! It was a sad day for me as well when I realized I had to stop using the Diva Cup.

Yeah, a lot of people make cloth pads! I know there's even an LJ community [livejournal.com profile] diy_pads for making your own pads. There's also Natracare (http://www.natracare.com/) organic and biodegradable disposable pads and tampons. They're more expensive than the regular ones, though, but they work well! Annnd Sea Pearls (http://www.seapearls.co.uk/) is a brand of reusable sea sponge tampons. I'm sure there are probably other brands.

I have lots of information, sorry! I'm in charge of the alternative menstrual products campaign for the feminist club I'm in, so I've kind of got a storehouse of this knowledge.

Date: 2009-04-29 10:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thisaestus.livejournal.com
I can't edit replies, but I know some people use their menstrual blood from their divacups diluted in water to feed their plants. I tried it once but never noticed a difference in their health.

Date: 2009-04-29 10:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] trivalent.livejournal.com
Oh man, the diva cup is my friend. Other than my first time, I don't really have troubles getting it in or out. And though I am much heavier flow, it still lasts a good long while, and it's way comfy once in right. I'm not a fan of pads really, environmentally friendly or not, but I don't have your yeast issue.

And man, money saved - diva cup totally paid for itself pretty quickly.

Date: 2009-04-30 09:27 pm (UTC)
ext_11045: (Default)
From: [identity profile] cetacea.livejournal.com
Yes, the DivaCup is amazing!

Date: 2009-04-29 10:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cacophonesque.livejournal.com
I have some cloth pads... can't remember the company at the moment, though. The problem for me is that they don't seem to have the right guard-area for me and the way my body moves. Actually, I've been feeling really shitty about using conventional pads and tampons lately. :( It's something that I should investigate further and try to figure out, because AUGH.

Date: 2009-04-30 09:29 pm (UTC)
ext_11045: (Default)
From: [identity profile] cetacea.livejournal.com
Ah, I hadn't thought of that, but it makes sense that it could be a problem. Have you looked into making your own cloth pads? I know a few people who do it and are satisfied with it. There's even an LJ comm: [livejournal.com profile] diy_pads. I've never tried because I have absolutely no clue how to sew, but if you do know how it would be easier to tailor-make them in a way so that they fit with your body.

Date: 2009-04-29 10:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rowena742.livejournal.com
This is the second post I've read today on traditional pad/tampon alternatives. I think the universe is trying to tell me something.

Date: 2009-04-30 07:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] raugust.livejournal.com
OSHIT WHAT IF THE INTERNET IS ALIGNING EVERYONE'S CYCLES? D: MADNESS.

Date: 2009-04-30 09:29 pm (UTC)
ext_11045: (Default)
From: [identity profile] cetacea.livejournal.com
It is! You must join our cult!

Date: 2009-04-30 01:13 am (UTC)
ext_71618: (Default)
From: [identity profile] sporkyadrasteia.livejournal.com
That definitely sounds interesting and I should check it out. Thanks for the info!

Date: 2009-04-30 09:30 pm (UTC)
ext_11045: (Default)
From: [identity profile] cetacea.livejournal.com
You're welcome! I'm in charge of the alternative menstrual products campaign for the feminist club I'm in, so I have a shit-ton of info on all different kinds of these things. Also, if you look into stuff and have any questions I am more than happy to answer them!

Date: 2009-04-30 07:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pumagrrl.livejournal.com
I must admit that I don't like the idea of having to wash used pads. And I would have tried the divacup if I could bear the thought of inserting things (which I absolutely don't).
So I guess there's one area where I'm not so eco friendly ...

Date: 2009-04-30 09:32 pm (UTC)
ext_11045: (Default)
From: [identity profile] cetacea.livejournal.com
You don't have to wash them by hand! At least, not with the brand I have. I just let them soak until I'm ready to do a load of laundry, then wash them with the rest of my stuff.

But, yeah, I know a few other women who have problems with insertion so the Diva Cup is totally not an option.

Date: 2009-04-30 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pumagrrl.livejournal.com
I still find the thought a bit icky. I guess it's my brain being so used to the idea that used pads are to be disposed of.
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