I don’t know what it is about college that makes you more open to learning and willing to experiment. At least that’s how it felt for me. It was during college that I chopped off my permed hair for an afro, smoked a ton of weed and absorbed every interest I could. It was during this time I discovered feminism. With a feminist bookstore right down the road, I would visit often. It was an awesome little place with local art and authors, tons of books and products that I’d never seen before for ‘that’ time of the month.
Of course, with all the tampon commercials in magazines and on TV, I never really thought of an alternative to what I could be using. Tampons were easy and everywhere. But commercial tampons use chemicals that can cause vaginal dryness to worse things like cancer, and sometimes even death. I know I experienced that weird, dry feeling with tampons.
With that knowledge, I was open to trying something better, and started a journey of going through menstrual products before landing on an alternative that I liked. They all have their pros and cons, so it depends on your flow and what you feel ultimately works best for you.
The Keeper is similar to the more popular ‘Diva Cup.’ The only difference is that The Keeper is made from natural gum rubber (latex) whereas the Diva Cup is made from silicone. They come in two different sizes usually labeled “A” or “B” one for people who have given birth and one for people who have not. If used correctly and cleaned properly, this thing can last you up to ten years!
I’ve had several friends speak the praises of the cup, but I personally hated it. I just could not get a proper seal and I’m not alone. I don’t know if it’s because I chose rubber specifically or simply that it just isn’t made for me, but the cup leaked constantly. Also, there was this one instance where I was doing yoga and the entire cup decided to flip inside of me, but we won’t get into that.
“period-proof underwear that works”. On the website they claim they
look and feel like regular underwear with the capacity to hold up to two
tampon’s worth of blood in a pair.
Upon getting them though, the material was
more like a swimsuit with a pad sewn inside of it. Wearing it felt like a
diaper. It was really awesome about keeping the blood in one place, but it just
felt wet and uncomfortable. Plus, periods smell and there’s no odor lock on
those. I will say that they’re super fantastic for
light days though.
These were actually one of my favorite things. You insert them inside your vagina and they’re so comfortable that you don’t feel them at all. I had a pair that lasted me for at least four years before they fell apart. Thoroughly wash them and they’re good to go! Keep in mind that they’re definitely for those who have a medium to lighter flow. Also, once they’re full, they’re FULL. You never realize how much your vagina can contract when you have a full sponge and you cough. Or sneeze. Or giggle.
This is my current method and by far my favorite. For one thing, it’s not linked to causing TSS. Like the sea sponges, I literally don’t feel this once it’s in and it lasts for twelve hours with no mishaps. Before using these, I would bleed all seven days, even with the alternative methods I was using, but once I went with the menstrual disc, that number cut down to four!
Two popular brands include Softcup & Flex. There’s no difference between them except name and price, but the price fluctuates so make sure to check them both before you buy.
As a bonus, it says on the instructions that you can have sex while wearing these since it covers the cervix and doesn’t sit in the vaginal canal. I haven’t tried that. Neither has a friend of mine that uses the same method. We both have images of the team banner being broken right before a football game, but with more blood. So maybe try that one at your own risk.
Do you use alternatives to pads and tampons?