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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Bodies » Menstrural Cups - Pros and Cons?

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Author Topic: Menstrural Cups - Pros and Cons?
Mandy08
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Hi all,

I've been considering getting a menstrural cup for a few months now. I've looked at the various websites that carry them, have read other articles about them, among other research. They sound absolutely wonderful and I was delighted to find out that they sell them at my favorite organic foods grocery store!

I was wondering if I could get some personal accounts on menstrural cups, though. I like to hear the pros and cons that people have experienced. A lot of the customer reviews and such are mostly pros, though.

I asked my mom-in-law (well, she is sort of my MIL) about menstrural cups because she always has very wise input on a lot of things. [Smile] She told me they were absolutely horrible because they have the tendency to overflow and leak a lot.

I am very tired of having dryness and cramping caused by tampons and I absolutely hate how messy maxi-pads are. And the aspect on not having to worry about TSS is very nice.

I just wanted to make sure I'm not wasting money when I go to buy one.

So menstrural cup Pros? Cons? Oh, and if there are any specific brands you like? I'm specifically looking at the DivaCup.

Thank you!

Sincerely,
Mandy

[ 11-01-2009, 04:54 PM: Message edited by: Mandy08 ]

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Heather
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Was your MIL using the disposable cups or the reusable ones? I ask because they are VERY different, and the disposables do tend to leak a lot.

It's tough for me to list any cons: I have been using pretty much nothing but sponges (started w/those in 88), washable pads (moved to those just after college in '92) and cups (oh, for the last ten years) most of my life. I don't see any pros to tampons compared to any of those, personally, save being able to get them if you need them easily for a quick fix. Disposable pads make no sense to me at all when you've got washables (which are much less messy, FYI, b/c they absorb flow better).

So, in my book, good for the environment, way better for my body, easy to combine or trade off with washable pads, buy once and you're pretty much set for a lifetime, less likely than tampons to cause cramps and vaginal dryness, far, far cheaper over time.... from a personal standpoint, I have nothing but pros.

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About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Mandy08
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My MIL was talking about the re-usable ones, not the disposables. She also said that they were messy. Hmm. That is very strange. She said that a friend of hers recommended the cup to her and she used one for a while and didn't like it at all. But then again, she might not have been using it correctly or something like that or might have actually been using a disposable one.

She also told me that her friend liked to um, keep her menstrural fluid. That kind of weirded me out.

I am getting more and more convinced to get a menstrural cup.

I didn't know that reusable pads weren't as messy as the disposable ones. I was always discouraged from using them for that reason. That is very interesting!

And as I said before, I've been looking at the DivaCup specifically, but there are some other kinds that are shaped differently. Do the different shapes make much of a difference?

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LollySocks
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I own a Divacup, and have for nearly 7 months now. I thought it would be great, because I hated thinking about all the chemicals and waste involved with tampons. I have had some major issues with it. I have tried everything to insert it in a way in which it won't leak, but it still does. It doesn't even leak because it's full, it hasn't ever gotten even halfway full. Getting up from a reclining position on my heavy days? Forget about it; leak city! I use it on my really light days (toward the end of my period) and opt for organic tampons the rest of the time, for the most part. I still use it in alternation with organic tampons but, overall, it has been really been a disappointment for me and I have heard many other women who have the same problems (like with leakage when coming from a reclining position). However, I have also heard women say it has been the best thing to happen to them. Regardless, good luck finding a solution that works well for you!

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KittenGoddess
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I'm a huge fan of the menstrual cup and reusable pads. I started using a cup probably 10-ish years ago and cloth pads shortly thereafter.

Like Heather, I have a hard time coming up with cons when it comes to menstrual cups. For sure, the disposable ones are pretty much junk...but the reusables are great. It may be a little messy while you're learning, but after a month or two when you get the hang of it for YOUR body it's no big deal. I've never had one leak or overflow. My only complaint has been that I couldn't use the cup when I started menstruating again after my son's birth. My cervix was super sensitive the entire time I was breastfeeding and even the gentle suction it creates was too much.

There have been a million more pros than cons. I'm doing something nice for the planet and for my body. It's saved me a ton of money over the years. I don't have problems with leakage as long as I've got it inserted correctly with the gentle suction created. This was a huge pro for me since I've always had problems with clots that went out and around tampons. I don't smell funny or have problems with irritation after periods...all in all it's been great!

I'm actually getting ready to order a new cup in the next couple of months. I had a Keeper, but since I've been pregnant, I need the bigger size...so will be getting a DivaCup.

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Sarah Liz

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atm1
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I'm another person who loves my menstrual cup (a diva cup).

My key to preventing leaks is simply sliding my finger up around the edge of it, and making sure that I can't feel my cervix--that it's definitely up above the rim of the cup and that the cup isn't tilted to the side or anything, and that it's nice and high up there. So far, when I remember to do that, I've never had a leak (I've been using my cup for almost two years).

I also really like it for camping or traveling to other countries long term. For camping it means you can avoid the unpleasantness of packing out used pads/tampons (ewww), and it was fantastic when I was in south america for a summer--no need to haul months of pads/tampons with me.

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bluejumprope
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I got a DivaCup about six months ago and haven't been able to really use it. I need some decent warm up for vaginal entry with anything larger than a finger (tampons are no problem for me) and I found the cup to be too big, and somewhat irregularly shaped, for comfortable regular use. I'm planning on practicing some more with it at some point, but I think it may just not be for me.

Also, the way you insert it requires folding the cup in on itself and then it sort of pops open inside of you, which is a sensation I found a little disturbing.

Everyone else I know who has one loves it though, and in theory I'm a big fan. Washable pads have been an awesome investment for me.

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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LondonBlue
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I have a DivaCup and I love it. I've been using it for maybe 8 or 9 months now.

Everyone has pretty much summed up the pros of the cup so far...it is much neater for me than tampons, because I have a very heavy flow which would always soak through tampons, necessitating pads for backup (with the cup I'm 100% dry. In fact, I've noticed that on cycles when I use the cup, my anatomy all stays much cleaner and nicer because with tampons, the fluid just collects and sits around and touches everything, while here it doesn't touch anything past my cervix. So it's more hygienic for me in that sense). It instantly improved the bad cramps I used to get from tampons...it pays for itself within a cycle or two (especially with a cycle like mine) and you can use it for something like 10 years. It's easy to empty and reinsert once you get used to it, and if you're in a public space where you don't want to wash it in the sink, I'd suggest having some moist towelettes on hand so you can just wipe it and your hands off.

The only con I think is worth mentioning is the potential for problems with insertion. I actually have had my cup for a few years, but I was unable to insert it until I succeeded with sexual penetration this year. I think this was mostly about A) having confidence that it could fit in there, being smaller than a penis, and B) knowing the proper angles and how to position my legs and all that to make insertion best. There is still a moment of pain every time I insert it (and I have to use lube at the beginning and end of my period when I'm dry), but it's just a little threshold I have to pass and then it's in and it's no problem. I really don't mind it at all because the benefits of the cup are so great. But I would caution you as a first-time cup user not to get discouraged if you can't insert it easily at first (and bluejumprope, you should try again every once in a while too, because once you figure out something that works for you it'll be great!); also, be prepared to have lube on hand, because many people seem to need that for insertion (Note: be sure to use water-based lube with the DivaCup and other silicone cups as silicone-based lube will interact with it weirdly).

As for leaking, I have not had any real problems with that. I have a very heavy flow, so on my heavy days I have to be careful to empty my cup every 4 hours or so if I don't want it to overflow. I have only had it overflow once, and that wasn't devastating--I knew I might be unable to change it for more than 4 hours, so I wore a pad and it just leaked a little on the pad, no big deal. Refer to atm1's explanation of how to prevent leakage--I do the same thing. Once I get the cup unfolded (bluejumprope, I disliked the popping too, but I fold it in a U-shape now and it usually just unfolds without fanfare rather than popping), I just run a finger around it. It sits quite low in me, but running my finger around it actually kind of helps seal it and if I can feel it's completely open I know there's no danger of leakage.

I am actually on my period now and using the cup and was happy to see your question with all the supportive posts following. I am also a yammerer and can't shut up about my cup, so hopefully my post wasn't too long, haha.

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Heather
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In hindsight, seeing some of these posts, it's perhaps worth mentioning that for myself, I had used a diaphragm on and off for many years before I used cups.

And putting THAT in is far more challenging, which may be part of why I never had an issue using cups.

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About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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atm1
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I might as well mention that I went the other way--I used a cup before using a diaphragm, and I think the experience with the cup made learning to use the diaphragm easier.
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Mandy08
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Thanks a bunch for the advice and tips, everyone! It will prove very useful. I intend on going to get a DivaCup the next time I go grocery shopping. I've discussed cups with some other women on another forum I visit, and the pros definitely outweigh the cons. I've made up my mind. [Big Grin] I am so excited!

I just hope that the employee I ask won't feel too embarrassed. After all, I am visually impaired and I need help finding things at times. lol

Maybe I can change my MIL's mind about cups as well. [Smile]

I want to get my cup before my next moon/period comes, and I was wondering if I could practice folding and inserting it before then? I don't think it's going to cause any problems and it would reduce the er, awkwardness when I do start bleeding.

Sincerely,
Mandy

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welly
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I've been using a diva cup for around a year now and I like it much better than tampons.

Leakage: It took a few tries to learn how to get it in properly, but after the initial learning period, I've only had it leak once and that was my own fault (I always wake up if I'm asleep and need to change a tampon or empty a cup-it's like how you wake up if you have to pee- and I kept going back to sleep instead).

Comfort: for the most part, I can't feel it at all. Occasionally if I put it in a little funky it feels funny but generally will shift into the proper place. One of the best things about menstrual cups is that if I need to remove it, unlike a tampon, it will never scrape cottony dryness against me, eurggghhh! Make sure you get the right size- you're a size 1 unless you've given birth or are over age 30.

Cleanliness: you may get blood on your fingers when removing the cup, especially if it's full or you are still learning how to remove it. Still, I figure I'm going to wash my hands anyway. Also, I've never noticed any smells with the menstrual cup, unlike pads.

Cost: Even if you buy a cup for full price, it pays for itself really quickly- usually I would go through a 7 dollar box of tampons per period, and at 13 periods a year it's easy to see how it adds up. I bought my divacup on sale and it was only $16- not bad at all! The price has gone up a little, but here's the site where I bought mine: http://www.southcoastshopping.com/si/10072.html
I hope it's okay to post a link.

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LondonBlue
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quote:
Originally posted by Mandy08:

I want to get my cup before my next moon/period comes, and I was wondering if I could practice folding and inserting it before then? I don't think it's going to cause any problems and it would reduce the er, awkwardness when I do start bleeding.

You absolutely can practice before your period comes (one pro of the cup is that you can put it in before your period starts if you're expecting it, which is not really an option with tampons). However, if you have problems with insertion when you practice, don't get discouraged, as I've found it's way easier when I am on my period. Everything is just looser and the fluid helps lubricate things.

Good luck! [Smile]

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Mandy08
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welly,

Wow, you got your cup for only $16? That is amazing, since the online vendors that I saw sold it at ~$35. I'm not going to buy online for reasons that I will not list here. My absolute favorite organic food grocery store isn't my favorite just because it has a good selection. It has THE BEST prices on both non-organic and organic food that I have ever encountered. I'm sure they sell the DivaCup at a pretty good price. I'll keep you guys posted on that. I am also considering getting a disposable pad if the cup isn't too expensive.

I get leaks at least once when I use tampons. When I use pads, it's way more often. It doesn't seem to matter how often I change it or whether it has wings or not.

LondonBlue,

Thanks! That makes me very glad that I can practice without being on my period.

Yeah, I really understand the cottony dryness of tampons. I use the silky OB variety, which aren't as bad as some of the more expensive brands.

So sometime within the next couple of weeks, I'll get one. I am really excited!

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Mandy08
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Okay, I FINALLY got my DivaCup! Woot!

And I just realized that I've been kinda dyslexic lately. O_o I've been combining/adding letters to words, so I've been having spelling issues. lol

Back on topic!

When I went to get groceries yesterday, I found the feminine product section, and lo and behold, it was there! I was so happy, I wanted to dance with joy. lol

It cost me $33, which disappointed me a little because my favorite organic grocery store usually has such wonderful prices on things. Well, you can't have it all, I guess. It won't pay for itself for about two or three cycles because ever since I started taking the Pill, I've had medium-light flow.

They also had the Keeper, which I opted not to get since I find that rubber irritates my skin.

I am just glad that I decided not to get it at Market Of (Little) Choice! I would have hated to see the price on it there!

So when I got home, I showed it to my boyfriend (yeah, I'm weird), and he looked at it with an expression of "Holy crap, if I were a woman, I wouldn't want that thing up there!" I still laugh to myself about it.

I also "practiced" with my cup, too. It was awkward indeed, and I am yet to actually get the hang of it, but I'm sure I'll be fine. Thanks for the tip on using lube. I had more trouble with removing it, though, as it creates a trubo-suction, lol.

I am not going to have my next period for another week and a half or so, so I have more time to get used to it. [Smile]

Again, thanks a bunch for the advice, everyone! I really appreciate it!

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LondonBlue
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I definitely can't get mine out without breaking the seal, because of the turbo suction, lol. I find it's best to kind of push one side in until the seal breaks, and that puts my fingers in perfect formation to fold the cup as I pull it out.

This thread got me inspired and I ordered some washable pads online the other day. I'm so excited for them to come.
Enjoy your cup, yay! [Smile]

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forspecial
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I've been considering getting a DivaCup for a few months now, and I'm almost sold. My only concern is my age- I'm only 16, and kind of concerned about the size of the product.
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Heather
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There are only two sizes of the cups: for women who haven't given birth, and for those who have.

Many women don't realize that age itself doesn't make any difference in the size of someone's vagina. It's a flexible tube of muscle (not just a passive tube of skin), and childbirth is about the only thing that can make any difference. Even then, it's usually pretty slight, and also doesn't always make a difference.

So, the difference between your vagina at 16 and the vagina of someone my age who hasn't had kids is usually pretty much the same.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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StrangePudding
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I'm also way interested in a menstrual cup now, although I've never really had many problems since I switched to exclusively tampons. But...I'm on the ring. How would that work with a cup? I mean, this cycle I was done with my period by the time I inserted a new ring, but some months there'll be up to about a 12 hour overlap (enough that I need a light pad but not a tampon).
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LondonBlue
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I am on the ring and use a cup. Since the heaviest days of your period are usually the first few, I think it's unlikely that you would need to use the cup after putting in your new ring; I certainly never have, and if you only need a pad on that day, it sounds like you will be ok too. I do have to wear a pad that day, but I've never had so much that I needed the cup.

Technically, you can use the cup while your ring is inserted anyway! (At least according to what I've read.) I tried to do this a few months ago when I had some breakthrough bleeding on the ring, and found that it was too snug/uncomfortable for me (bummer!). But if you could work it, that's an option too. (Tampons are also safe for use with the ring, so there's yet another choice!)

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forspecial
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Thanks Heather, that's what I figured. A couple of the reviews on drugstore.com made me worry. I guess those women just weren't doing it right [Smile]
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Gwaihir
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I have a DivaCup and I love it, though I did struggle with it the first few times. The biggest problem I had (which was my own damn fault) was that I was having trouble getting it in, so one time I got really frustrated and in turn got really rough with it, trying to jam it up in me, taking it out and putting it in, trying to get it to open up correctly---all that messing around down there must have pushed some bacteria into my urinary tract because it ended up giving me a bladder infection and that REALLY sucked. [Frown]

So the moral of this story is always be very gentle when inserting the cup and if it doesn't open correctly inside you, reach in and twist it around gently until it does.
One other thing I try to do each time is urinate after emptying, washing out and re-inserting the cup in order to flush out any bacteria and prevent those awful infections. [Frown]

Other than that, though, I love it! I had a bit of a rocky start, but I've learned how to master all the tricky stuff and things are just peachy from here on. [Smile]

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telo
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I tried on one occasion, many many times (half an hour?) to insert my ladycup. Don't do this..

I ended up having an episode which was a lot like a head rush(That darkness and color and lightheadedness that happens when you stand up too fast), but a lot worse. I lost some of my hearing and had to kneel down for a while and just breathe a while.
I'm too afraid to try again, even though I know I obviously was having some issues the first time around..

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LondonBlue
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Telo, what you experienced sounds like it was caused more by stress than the actual insertion of your cup. I get episodes once in a while that sound a lot like that--they can be caused by stress, overheating, standing up too suddenly, that kind of thing. It may help you to lie down or put your head between your knees when you feel like that, to make sure you're getting enough blood flow to your brain.

But I would say that trying over and over to insert the cup like that isn't going to be good for your body or your mental state--it's going to stress you out, making it more and more difficult to insert, and you could get frustrated or upset and end up abandoning the cup. Just relax, and if you can't insert it now, give it some time and try again, or try under different circumstances (different time of the month, using lube, things like that. Surprisingly, one thing that helped me early on with my cup was masturbating beforehand--having an orgasm is very relaxing and lubricating and can help get that dang thing in!).
Good luck! [Smile]

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Kaydee
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quote:
Originally posted by Mandy08:
She also told me that her friend liked to um, keep her menstrural fluid. That kind of weirded me out.

Some women do this and keep it dilute with water it in a jug to use as "food" for their plants. However most that do this use the water that they pre-soak their reusable pads in so that they don't have to keep it around. I have heard plants of absolutely love it so if your interested it might be worth a try. However if you plan on using it in say a vegetable garden or something you may want to dry the blood out first so nothing can grow or culture in it

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- Kaydee

Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. - Albert Einstein

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whenfinallysetfree
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Well, now I'm convinced that I need one haha...I'm sick of going on trips and having half my bag filled with tampons and those ginormous nighttime pads haha...
I'm sure it'll take some time for me not to be paranoid about moving around and having it dump out...eek haha


and I have neverrrrr heard of that plant thing...I would probably be scared to eat vegetables out of that garden....just saying...haha

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"Feel the pain teaching us how much more we can take,reminding us how far we've come...Let the pain burn away from our hearts...We have time to start all over again..." --Copeland, "When Finally Set Free"

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Heather
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quote:
I would probably be scared to eat vegetables out of that garden....just saying...haha
Seems no more ooky to me than the fact that we all eat vegetables that have been in soil with all kinds of animal fecal matter, bone, environmental pollutants, toxic chemicals, and a whole host of other things you probably don't think about. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Lauren057
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Member # 85016

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I am considering getting one of these!!! I just don't know if it would be worth it for me, since I find that my periods are very light, and about four-six days...

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Lauren :)

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Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
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With a light flow, you might actually really enjoy using a cup. You would only have to change it a couple of times a day.

If you're thinking about whether it would be worth it from a cost standpoint, how about figuring out how many pads or tampons you use now and starting from there? Most cups are less than $50 and last for years!

Plus, there's the environmental benefit of no waste from disposable menstrual products.

I will also say that I feel cleaner and more comfortable during my period with the blood being collected in the cup rather than soaked up by a pad or tampon.

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Robin

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