Sunday, October 24, 2004

Menstrual Cups, Instead, Keeper, Moon, DivaCup, and Gynotex

Menstrual cups like Instead, the Keeper, Moon and DivaCup are alternatives to menstrual tampons. Barnard has a Menstruation Alternatives event planned for Nov. 3 which will cover the topic of menstrual cups (as well as menstrual suppression, and yoga for PMS).

If you just can't wait until Nov. 3 to find out about tampon alternatives, here's a quick primer.

Menstrual cups are not birth control methods.

These tampon alternatives are not birth control methods, and should not be used as such. Their design tends to resemble that of some of the barrier methods and it is possible to have sexual intercourse while using one of these menstrual products. However, they do not offer any pregnancy protection.

There are several menstrual cup brands available.

Instead Menstrual Cup

Instead Menstrual Cup

Instead is a disposable menstrual cup, shaped somewhat like a diaphragm. It consists of a thick, flexible ring at the top, connected to a thin, flexible pouch. The plastic pouch collects the menstrual blood. You insert the cup into the vagina, and you place it over the cervix. Instead can be left in place during your period for up to 12 hours, on light flow days. Because this cup is inserted high in the vagina, sexual intercourse is possible with the cup in place.

Keeper Menstrual Cup

Keeper Menstrual Cup

The Keeper is a reusable menstrual cup that looks a little like a cervical cap (or a small plunger). The cup has a flexible rod connected to its base to aid in its removal. It is made of natural gum rubber, and the cup collects the menstrual blood. You place the cup inside the vagina, fairly close to the vaginal opening. The Keeper can be left in place during your period for 6 to 12 hours, and it can be reused for up to ten years. Because this menstrual cup is placed low in the vagina, sexual intercourse is impractical with it in place.

The Moon Cup, the soft silicone version of the Keeper, is aimed at women who are allergic to latex rubber.

DivaCup Menstrual Cup

The DivaCup, made of soft silicone, is similar to the Moon Cup but has a shorter stem and, according to the manufacturer, a more secure fit. The cup should be removed before intercourse.

Gynotex Menstrual Tampon

The Gynotex menstrual tampon is a disposable device that resembles the birth control sponge. It is made of a soft foam material which absorbs the menstrual blood. You insert it into the vagina, and you place it over the cervix. Gynotex can be worn for up to 8 hours, but it is recommended you change the tampon after 4 to 6 hours. Because it is inserted high in the vagina, sexual intercourse is possible with the tampon in place.

Remember: While some of these menstrual products allow for unencumbered sexual intercourse during the menstrual period, they do not offer any pregnancy protection and should not be relied on as birth control methods.

ETA: Here's a pic of the Sea Sponge Tampon:

Sea sponge tampons tend to come in different sizes:

UPDATE: I checked with Barnard; unfortunately, the event is only for students.

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At 11:32 PM, Blogger bitchphd said...

Thanks--I didn't know about the gynotex thing (though I did know about just using clean sea sponges). I used to be a big fan of the Instead cups, but since my kid was born they just don't fit properly. It's nice to have something you can use to help keep the blood off the sheets if you have sex on your period...

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just an FYI, the Keeper and the Diva cup are different brands of a similar product, so it's a little misleading to say the Diva cup is a newer version of the Keeper.

Maybe I'm being nitpicky about the wording!

At 12:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keeper has a new product - the Moon Cup, made of silicone. Diva cup is also made of silicone. They compared the two as alike b/c they're the same shape, though different brands.

At 3:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use the Diva Cup but I am weary of it now that I have high-risk HPV, cervical dysplasia. I am wondering how high the cup sits in the vagina, if it rests againsts the cervix and if so can it irritate my cervix and the abnormal cell growth that is there? This is sort of a specialized question, but no one I have asked has a clue. So let me know if anyone has any ideas or information.
Thank you.

At 8:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just curious, Has anyone tryed having sex with the gynotex sponges in? I heard that it's not supposed to be extremely comfortable to have intercourse with the sea sponges in, and was wondering if it was similar. Was also wondering if your partner would be able to feel it, or know that you had one in.

At 8:28 PM, Blogger ema said...

anon @5:40 PM,

Thank you for the note. I changed the text a bit to reflect that it's a different brand.

anon @12:13 AM,

Thanks, Moon Cup added.

anon @3:47 AM,

The Diva Cup is not supposed to rest directly on the cervix. In other words, it shouldn't be a tight fit. That having been said, because of the HGSIL it might be prudent not to use it until the lesion is treated and the area is healed. (Consult with your Ob/Gyn as to the particulars.)

anon @8:27 AM,

The sea sponge and gynotex have different consistencies (gynotex is softer). Still, it's possible for your partner to feel it (it wouldn't cause any pain or discomfort), especially with deep thrusting.

At 1:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally a better way! I love the DivaCup, period. Got my Diva Cup at for $17.99

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

i have the keeper and it doesn't sit up on my cervix so i doubt it will affect hpv/cervical dysplasia. it sits just inside the pubic bone. the diva/moon cups are the same from what i understand just a different material - silicon instead of rubber.

At 6:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must confess that I am in love with my DivaCup! It’s always there when I need it, and it never bugs me! Most importantly, I’m protecting my body from Toxic Shock Syndrome and also protecting the environment from pad/tampon waste! I believe there are about a billion of tampons being dumped into American landfills every year, and I don’t want to be a part of it.

At 11:59 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

A note on intercourse and cups like the Keeper or Diva -- I know you're not *supposed* to have intercourse while wearing them, but I've done it several times, each time because I completely forgot in the heat of the moment that I was wearing my cup. Neither one of us noticed! And these were both men who are generously endowed. ;-) Your mileage may vary, naturally, but at least for me, it is certainly possible to have normal intercourse while wearing a Keeper or Diva.

At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found the Keeper Moon Cup to be very uncomfortable to remove. I called and emailed the company for assistance beyond their brochure and received no response. I am going to investigate the DivaCup to see if it will work for me.

At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also find the Moon Cup (silicone version of the Keeper, same company) painful to remove. The Diva Cup looks like it has a less exaggerated lip, which I am hoping will make it easier for me (just ordered one). Anyone else have feedback on Moon Cup vs. Diva?
As for sex while wearing the menstrual cups, I have NO idea how you managed that. Mine rests low, and the tail is outside of my body when it is in the right position. Just a word of caution on that one.

At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a tip, in order to comfortably remove your cup you Must break the seal. Pinch the base of the cup with your thumb and pointer finger, and then slide it down to remove it. I had a really hard time practicing when I first got mine. I recommend trying it while you are not on your period to get the hang of it to avoid mess and frustration. :)

At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have used the Instead cup for over 10 years and love it. How nice it is to not create a garbage can full of waste every month. I also use Gladrags to protect against any leakage and I am good to go. Over the years, I have learned how to empty the cup without taking it out which is handy in public bathrooms.

At 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey you all !
ok I'm not a new menstrual cup user, I own a lunette, a diva, a orangecup (ladycup), and a femmecup !! My favourite so far are Lunette, Diva and Ladycup (size 2 for lady, size 1 for the others). I do LOVE them so much and cannot live another period without them ! I'm metrorragic girl (my period lasts for 14 to 28 days per month) so cups have really helped me to feel better about it, and stop the pollution !
Don't wait ! go and buy a menstrual cup ! :-)

At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh lord, I am probably the biggest menstrual cup nerd on earth, lol. Blogging about it, doing videos, you name it. These things are the best! No doubt about it. My blog is pretty useful tooo:

At 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never heard of Gynotex!
I myself am a recent convert to the cup, though I have a Lunette from Finland which is a very different shape and size than what North American companies offer. It might be my best ever investment!

It's great to see that hypoallergenic reusable exist, especially for people like me who get chronic allergies from disposables and the chemicals present in them.

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just bought and tried my first gynotex-type sponge. I have a question regarding its use while swimming: will blood slowly leak out after being in water?? That happens with regular tampons.

At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use sea sponges... They are brilliant! I love how you dint feel dry like you do with regular tampons...
As for SEX while using them... My partner and I have sex while I am using them and so far neither of us have felt any difference, if I don't tell him I have my period, he doesn't even realize. In fact, given that I have a prolapsed uterus I think sex is actually better and he can penetrate deeper without discomfort! providing they are not full when you begin there is never leakage! Although they tend to be a little harder to remove as they are further up after sex!

At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Best Menstrual Cup said...

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