***** Note title. Proceed accordingly forewarned ****
Almost as good as the products (and the getting them wholesale), being a member of the Norwex U.S. Consultant Connections group is a truly fabulous [free] perk. In addition to sharing marketing tips and tools, I can ask any cleaning question and get immediate answers. But sometimes I even learn a little more.
A fellow consultant recently asked for input from the group as to eco-friendly, healthy alternatives to tampons and pads. I merely skimmed this as I’d already seen the “moon cloths” or “mommy pads” when I was investigating cloth diapering, and determined I’m just not that much of an Earth Mama. But then someone mentioned her Diva Cup. And a plethora of consultants chimed in with hearty appreciation for their own. Ever the curious one, I had to google this. And was amazed I’d not heard of these before.
I’ve always been an avid reader — reading every cereal box from all 6 sides, etc. — so I’d read the TSS warnings in the tampon boxes and new the risk run using them. And I’d already figured out it probably wasn’t a good idea to put scented stuff up in there. Seventeen Magazine ensured this high school girl was informed about all the options out there. I wasn’t a sporty, white pants/skirt wearing girls, so I wasn’t so terribly restricted to my options. And in the past few years, really didn’t consider it an inconvenience to avoid swimming when needed, so I was content to just avoid tampons altogether.
I was quite happy with my Always (God bless wings!). Until the head midwife at the birthing center I used for my third pregnancy noted that blessed magical absorbent layer would “give me crotch rot”. So I braved healthier options, and had just recently learned The Honest Company began carrying Mom products along with their all natural training pants we use for nights while potty training. First, they only come in two absorbencies — neither Overnight. Second, I could not fathom the packaging. This self-proclaimed earth-friendly company only sold them in boxes of 10. How is buying 2-3 boxes a month, mail order, eco-friendly packaging? [And I had to wonder who the lucky gal is that only needed 10 per month.] They have wings. And organic cotton. And I’d deal with shorter intervals between changes in lieu of magical but poisonous absorbency. But the cost of this alternative was daunting. [NOTE: I find their training pants to be worth the extra expense: they’re cute, eco-friendly, healthy, and have NEVER leaked. (Just difficult to get if you forget to restock before you shipment runs out.)]
I’d just finished first month using Honest, and was trying to decide about placing another order, when I heard about the cups. I was surprised to learn there was so much information out there on this product I’d never heard of. It’s even sold at 4 local stores (CVS, Harris Teeter, Wal-Mart, and Target). How have I never seen these? Outside of the Norwex consultant group, reviews were mixed. Women predominantly loved them, but if they didn’t, they HATED them. Researching, I learned that each cup company offers two sizes with general guideline that the larger is for women who have born a child or were over 30 regardless of gravidity, exceptions allowed for women’s inherent uniqueness. And everyone seemed to strongly support one cup over the other. In addition to the Diva Cup, there’s the Lunette, MeLuna, Blossom, Lola Cup, and a bevy of other lunar/flower-named alternatives in a variety of colors.
What is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is a flexible cup that is worn inside the vagina to catch/collect menstrual fluid, unlike tampons and pads which absorb it. There are over 20 brands on the market for purchase. The first menstrual cup was actually produced in 1937!
What are reusable menstrual cups made out of?
- Medical grade silicone (most reputable brands)
- TPE- Thermoplastic elastomer (MeLuna, MyOwnCup, Silky Cup)
- Natural gum rubber/Latex (the Keeper)
- Food grade silicone* (formerly Blossom Cup)
- Unknown materials (generic cups)
Typically, silicone cups are “springier” than TPE.
*Note that cups are considered medical devices and for best quality should be made from medical grade silicone, not food grade. Food grade silicone is required to meet less stringent standards than medical grade.
For more information about food grade versus medical grade silicone, visit:
- And http://m.mddionline.com/node/3229 to read about the difference.
I was intrigued and researched to find out the safety. I learned that medical-grade silicone was about the safest thing around. And the FDA has moved to eliminate the requirement for their approval for any medical-grade silicone device. Almost all have FDA approval, but will soon be a thing of the past. Diva Cup (Canadian) claims to be the only ISO 13485:2003 certified menstrual cup manufacturer.
Second concern for me was usability. I read they are intended to be emptied and rinsed out (or washed with mild soap and water) at least 3 times per 24 hour interval and then sterilized in boiling water between cycles and stored in a breathable cloth bag that is included with almost all cups. A process not without some complications, as reviewers quite graphically detail. In considering how this could realistically fit in my life, I resolved I needed 2 — to alternate so that I could be free to clean the first when conveniently able. And I needed a suitable storage for said used cup until such time. And, I needed a means to sterilize between cycle without using kitchen implements. I cloth-diapered, so storing soiled items on the go is not new to me — my Norwex Reusable Wet Wipes Bag should do nicely. Even better, Anigan, the maker of the EvaCup makes a collapsible silicone sterilizing cup. So, I could with some degree of confidence consider realistically fit this in to my lifestyle.
Next up, pricing. Averaging $20-$40, this is an extremely cost-effective alternative, if it works as well as its fan-club touts. But it’s kind of an expensive mistake if it doesn’t live up to hype, the wrong size is selected (it’s definitely not returnable), or if it just doesn’t work for me as an individual (even it’s proponents caution there’s a learning curve). And I’d determined I’d need 2 to make a viable transition. Fortunately, the Lola Cup offers 2 cups in their packaging and you can select one size of each or 2 of the same. And thru Amazon Prime, it’s $26.99 — more than $10 less than cheapest single Diva Cup I could find (also on Amazon). It’s a woman-owned company in the Canary Islands (Spain), but their cups are manufactured in Michigan, FDA-approved.
I made the leap. And it was fabulous! Learning curve, for me was not steep. Not any more messy than I’d been dealing with. I found it overall to be much cleaner, actually. Best of all… No leaks. At all. And I could sleep longer at night! I just wish I’d discovered them sooner. It’s crazy, but I’m actually looking forward to next cycle — weird, I know.