Tampons and disposable pads are the most common choices for "femininehygiene" (I hate that term - perhaps we should say "blood stoppage"?).I don't know exact percentages but I bet tampons and disposable pads areused by 95% of women, at least women in industrialized societies. Mostwomen I've talked to don't know that sponges and cloth pads are real options,but even fewer know about the following methods. I had heard about menstrualcups, but had no real information about them to include in my site. Thanksto information I've found in the Museumof Menstruation web site, I was able to add this section.
The basic idea here is to put a rubber, cup-shaped device in your vaginato catch your flow. When it fills up, you rinse it out and put it backin. You keep the same device for years. I have heard that some women usetheir diaphragms (a birth control device with a similar shape) for thispurpose. I don't know if that is a good idea or not.
The advantages of a menstrual cup would be environmental and financial(assuming they are reusable) because you would use the same cup for yearsand years. They would also be a safer tampon substitute in terms of avoidingToxic Shock Syndrome.
Menstrual cups are not a new idea. I believe there have been other attemptsto popularize this method that have failed in the past. This might be becausethese devices don't work, or maybe it is messy to pull out the full cup,or maybe these companies just can't compete with the big tampon and padmanufacturers and their huge advertising budgets. It seems like an ideathat needs to be investigated.
I know of2 two kinds of menstrual cups that are beingmade today:
The Keeper:this is a cup on stick, made of rubber. The stick is to help you put itin a take it out. It comes in two sizes, one size for women who have gonethrough a vaginal childbirth, and one size for everyone else. The Keepercosts $35.00 in the US, but is supposed to last for 10 years. Y
Instead: I don'tknow what to make of a device with a name that is an adverb, but I guessit gets that "alternative" idea across. This is a disposablemenstrual cup made of a plastic ring with a little bag hanging from it.Imagine a basketball hoop, but of course there isn't a hole in the bottom.The bag is made of some condom-like material. The ring is supposed to keepit in place inside of you and the bag collects the flow. When it fillsup, you throw it all away.
This section will grow, I'm sure, but right now I have only one otherproduct:
Interlabial Padettes: These are for light flowonly. They are little wads of cotton that you tuck between the lips ofyou vulva (interlabial = "between the lips") and they stay theresomehow. Don't ask me. They sell them in drugstores in Florida, for somereason, but have to be ordered otherwise. To see a picture of one, go toThe Museum of Menstruation.