Monday, May 23, 2011

TMI: Prepping for Women's "Monthly Visitor"

Well, I've waiting long enough.

Here's my post about dealing with "that time of the month" from a prepper point-of-view. If you're of the male persuasion, feel free to copy the URL and email it to your wives. Then click away to some other article.

I'm going to continue now as if I knew you and as if this was something that applied to you... ahem... thanks, men, for going....

ok we're alone.

So, about 6-8 months ago I heard about the Diva Cup. It's a "menstrual cup" and it fits inside the vagina. The job of a menstrual cup is to collect flow in a cup instead of a tampon or pad. Instead of changing it every few hours you empty it once a day, and reuse it up to 5 years. Comes in two sizes, and has a little tab you trim to fit, to make removal easier and less messy. I haven't used it so I can't review it here. It's $40 and lasts a year or two. When I first heard about it, I found it at my local "natural foods" store, but the price tag was too steep.Something I can review for you is the Instead cup. It's $7-9 for a package of 14, but I have only found it at Walgreens (not CVS or my grocery store, although they may order it if I asked).

Each cup is supposed to be used once (for up to 8 or 12 hours) and then discarded. Also, the instructions say to remove the cup completely and rinse it out (if you're out during the 8 hours and want to empty it) however I have found much easier and less messy to just catch the edge of the ring and tip it out. It's easier to simply push it back up instead of completely taking it out and reinserting it. After my first cycle doing it the rinsing and replacing way, I began using one cup per period and I haven't had any trouble of any kind doing it that way. I heard that they now make another version to be used for this way (one each menstrual cycle). Here's a picture:

It's an extremely flexible ring with a plastic, cellophane-like cup. The cup is crumpled in the middle of the ring and thus comes flat in the individually wrapped packages. To insert it, you pinch the ring flat and insert it similar to a tampon. Here's the video:

There are two interesting things to note when looking at the Instead cup from a prepper point-of-view. First, the amount of sheer cubic storage needed to store a year of supplies is very low. if you bought one package of Instead cups and one box of 60 of pantiliners you'd be set for a year. TWO BOXES! Less than $15 probably. If you invested in some washable pads like fellow prepper Enola Gay makes (called Naturally Cozy) you'd have a bigger initial investment, but they wouldn't run out. Here is a photo of one month's worth, so you can imagine how small a year's supply is!

The other interesting thing is birth control. If there isn't a supply of hormonal BC, the Instead cup can work like a diaphragm or cervical cap. It blocks sperm from entering the cervix and starting the trek to your eggs. I did this once, and it worked out fine with no complaints from my husband. Be sure to empty the cup before sex though, so there aren't any... messes. :)
Here is an EXCELLENT, MULTI-BRAND FORUM full of great info on all the options- how to insert etc etc.

The last thing I wanted to say about all this is really into the "too much information" territory.

Another thing I think is helpful for preppers about any of the menstrual cups is blood. Obviously, blood is the whole reason you have to think about dealing with your period. In America today we are really distant from anything personal or messy. Our babies are "delivered" to us. Our meat comes in a styrofoam tray. OB tampons are "fringe" because you use your own! finger! as the applicator. It's just too foreign for many women. So if TSHTF when there is an injury or disaster, and we come in contact with blood, it is unusual and uncomfortable.

Using the Instead cup brings you closer and more familiar with your own body. You will see and smell and interact with and wash blood from your finger/ hand. At first it's gross and weird, but as the months go by, it's not such a big deal.

Here's a funny Aussie post also about menstrual cups.

I so hope this has been helpful!

The other other thing I wanted to throw out there while we are talking about girlie stuff is the GoGirl. It's a flexible thingie that lets girls pee standing up. Great for being stuck on the side of road while evacuating too late before a hurricane, while camping, or traveling somewhere iffy.

We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt & Light! Choose how you live!


Kimberly said...

I personally use and love my Diva cup. I actually got it on sale for $15 last month. They usually last me about a year before I need to buy a replacement. Totally worth it!

Apartment Prepper said...

Good post! Though they may fall under the "not for the squeemish" category, these items are definitely worth considering either for preparedness purposes or even as alternatives to the usual pads or tampons.

Anonymous said...

Good for you girl, you actually tackled a subject that hasn't been addressed by anyone else I think. Luckily I am past all the messy stuff,but years ago i lived in the Amazon as a new bride. Brazil and a lot of countries are not Tampon places, pads only. And it was predominately Catholic, so birth control was not available. I took tampons, and birth control pills (2 year supply) in their little bubble packs. Then found out I had to stop them, yikes!!! a friend had a diaphragm spare from USA she gave me, I went to every drug store in town looking for spericide, Like 15 or more. And found the last and only tube in the Amazon. So my point in sharing this for the ladies is, if you are going to use a barrier type birth control device you are going to need spermicide. Which also has some mild anti HIV properties I think. Condoms will degrade in time, but maybe if vacuum packed so they don't get crushed would keep them viable for a long time, but you will still need a contraceptive gel to prevent pregnancy 99%. And birth control pills are not a sure thing over time, mine which I had to keep in the fridge, started crumbling when in the humidity even in the bubble packs. I think if I were prepping for TSHTF I would also invest in a basal thermometer, try to find a old glass mercury one. And start learning how to predict ovulation, so as to avoid sex on those days. I think there are some other ways to do natural contraception and ovulation prediction, but I haven't had to be current on it so someone may want to address that sometime. Thanks for a thought provoking post, oh by the way my daughter likes the cups, and I liked the Sponge contraceptive when it was still made.

That's My Cuppa Tea said...

I have used both the Instead and Diva Cup. I like that the Instead is semi disposable. I used one per day as opposed to one per period. The Diva cup has to "seal" and if it does not, it is like having nothing.(that is, for a heavier flow) It is sealed by turning it while it is in place. When it does seal correctly it is very effective and worth the money. I haven't bought tampons for regular use in two years. I have not needed to replace my Diva cup. I'm not sure why the previous poster had to replace hers after only one year.
Kelly from TX

Jeanne S said...

I've used the Instead cup, and largely like it. My biggest complaint is using it when I'm going to be away from home for more than 8 hours or so during my heavy flow days -- because I can't rinse it in a public restroom, and I can't stand the thought of not rinsing it before I re-insert.

I've used it during sex (NOT for birth control, ONLY for mess control!). It's actually terrific to use during sex without the man knowing it's there (or not being bothered by it, if he does notice) if you make sure it's clean when you start, and (pardon the indelicacy) don't use positions with very deep entry.