In the attempt to “clean up” the products I’ve been using I started doing research on tampons and was shocked to see just how many chemicals there were in them. It was one of those things that I didn’t really pay attention to. Everyone uses tampons, why would I question it? That was until I got test results back from my doctor showing that my blood toxicity level was almost 4x the normal range. Shocking! I realize it’s not just tampons, or the soap I use, or even my shampoo – but – every single thing adds up and while it will drive you crazy to be “perfect” we can definitely all make the effort to be “better” right?
I read this really interesting article that was in the Huffington Post in which the doctor said “Anything coming in constant contact with your skin will land in your bloodstream for distribution throughout your body. This is why I’m so fond of saying “Don’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t eat if you had to. Chemicals on your skin may be worse than eating them. At least enzymes in your saliva and stomach help break down and flush chemicals from your body. But when they touch your skin, they’re absorbed straight into your bloodstream, going directly to your delicate organs. Once in your body, they can accumulate because you typically lack the necessary enzymes to break them down.” One of those WOW moments, right? Something I’ve done for like 20 years of my life was really just causing a build-up of toxins in my bloodstream.
So I started doing some research on alternatives to tampons that weren’t full of toxins and chemicals which is when I came across the Diva Cup (a reusable menstrual cup) and the FLEX (soft, disposable cup) which is similar to the drugstore brand Soft Cup.
The basic idea with these menstrual cups are to insert… and allow them to “catch your flow”… (trying to find the words to describe this without being outwardly disgusting is proving to be quite challenging.) You remove them and either “clean out” the cup or dispose of the cup depending on which option you’ve chosen. Being that I used the Nuva Ring for over 10 years I was fairly confident I would be fine with the whole “insert & remove” process. How hard could it be, right? EH, I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Let’s start with the Diva Cup because that’s what I started with!
This one comes in two sizes a 1 & 2. The #1 is for women below 30 and for those who haven’t had children yet. The #2 is for women over 30 who have had children. I thought it was pretty interesting that they had two different options!
Upon opening it up, I’ll be honest I was little intimidated by the size of the cup and the fact that it was “hard”. However, you can kind of fold it (my friend suggested folding like a taco, lol) and you’re able to insert pretty easily. Grip the base of the cup (not the stem) and turn the cup one full rotation (360 degrees) in either direction or insert the cup about half way, turn the cup one full rotation and then push it horizontally in the rest of the way. The DivaCup must rotate easily as this ensures that it is fully open and that it is positioned horizontally towards your tailbone.
The little piece at the end (the stem) is what you’ll grab to remove it. Pinch the base of the cup to release the seal and continue to pull down to remove it. After the cup has been removed, empty the contents in the toilet, wash The DivaCup well with warm water and The DivaWash, or a mild unscented water-based (oil-free) soap, and reinsert. The DivaCup must be emptied, washed and reinserted at least 2 times a day (twice in a 24 hour period) and can be worn overnight without concern of leaking. Most women need only to empty it in the morning and again in the evening.
So now that you know the details, let’s talk about my experience.
Like I mentioned before, inserting was easier than I expected. The removal – not as easy as the website suggested it would be. I followed the instruction about grabbing the “stem” but being how “slippery” it was I thought it was kind of difficult to get it back out. I also thought the stem kind of hurt. My friend had suggested cutting off the stem and flipping it inside out so I tried that and it definitely was much better. BUT, honestly, it still wasn’t “easy” for me to get it out (although I’m told the more you do it, the easier it is.)
But Since I didn’t have the “perfect” experience I thought I would keep exploring my options and that’s when I found the Flex Cup… For some reason this option seemed “easier” to me. Maybe it’s because I was a Nuva Ring user for years and the concept of it looked so similar? Regardless, I was intrigued.
So, let’s talk FLEX CUP.
First let me say the pricing was great… You can subscribe to a FLEX trial and get a 24 pack of FLEX (lasts about 3 cycles) for $15 + free shipping. Three months after your FLEX trial, you will begin a FLEX membership where you will receive a replenishment 8 pack of FLEX once every month. Each ongoing shipment lasts about 1 cycle, and costs $15 plus tax for each shipment. So with that pricing I thought it was definitely worth a shot…
The packaging was cute. The cups were all individually wrapped in their own little black wrapper.
The cup itself was bigger than I thought it would be… I don’t know why I expected it to be a similar size to my Nuva Ring but it wasn’t, lol. Thinking back on that, that probably wouldn’t have worked too well if it was.
It was also very bendable (like the Nuva Ring) so inserting I didn’t think would be an issue (and it wasn’t.)
The “cup” is actually a thin plastic (yes, sturdy) and while it may not look like it “holds” very much, it does expand out and I think it definitely could.
Those are the details… And now my (horrifying) experience…
Like I mentioned before – inserting was no problem. Easy peasy. I actually “trialed” this out before I was on my period to make sure I could do it (just like I had done with the Diva Cup.) Yes, it was a lot trickier than the Diva Cup to remove but still, no big deal. So on Day 1 of my period I went for it. About 30 minutes later I realized I was leaking so I went to remove it and try to put it back in. Except… And yes, here is the horrifying / traumatizing part… I COULD NOT GET IT OUT. To remove this cup you’re supposed to hook your finger under the black ring and pull out… Except… When it’s your period… And it’s slippery… Well, it was basically impossible. INSERT PANIC. SHEER PANIC. Just when I thought I was going to be able to pull it back out, nope. Kind of a nightmare and was 5 seconds away from heading to the ER (yes, I was that freaked out) but by the Grace of God (for real) I was able to get it out. And promised myself I would never and I mean never put another one of those things in EVER again.
Yes… I’ve heard the more you do it the “easier” it is. But I just don’t see how and I’m not about to attempt that again and try and find out. Ever. Or at least no time in the foreseeable future…
So what is my plan to keep the toxins out during period time?