Reusable menstrual product?? Do tell!
I bought this Keeper 13 years ago, and have been using it happily ever since.
Before discovering that these existed, I had tried all manner of other menstrual products. I hated the disposable-diaper feeling of typical maxi-pads. Cloth pads were a pain to wash and deal with when I was out of the house, plus they felt bulky. Most tampons created so much garbage with their box, wrappers, and disposable applicators. For years, I used applicator-free tampons, but even these created some garbage, and required buying a new box each month. I've always hated anything disposable, really.
On the beach in Yucatan, a fellow traveler gave me a sea sponge, which was inserted like a tampon (after being disinfected with boiling water). I loved the idea of a natural sea sponge tampon, but unfortunately, I always knew when it was saturated because blood would leak out when I laughed or sneezed. It didn't exactly meet my needs, and it didn't last forever. When it started to wear out, I went back to disposable tampons.
When I got fitted with a diaphragm, the nurse informed me that the diaphragm could also be used as a menstrual product! This worked for me to some degree. I loved that you just had to rinse and reinsert it, and there was nothing to throw away, but emptying it was kind of a mess. I had trouble getting it out and to the sink without drips dropping where I didn't want them. Tampons were mess free, so I went back, but I was dissatisfied.
Finally, when I was in college I discovered The Keeper at my local health food co-op. It seemed a bit expensive, but I quickly calculated that it would be paid off after just a few months of not having to buy tampons, plus I got a volunteer discount at the co-op. I've saved an absolute fortune in the decade-plus that I've had The Keeper in use. It works every bit as well as the day I bought it. (See the end of the article for a much less expensive version.)
There are other brands, by the way, of very similar products, and I don't necessarily think this is better than any of the others. It's just the one I've had experience with. Mine is rubber; there are silicone models for people with latex issues.
Directions come in the package, and are on the product
website as well, but basically you simply fold the cup up and insert it
into the vaginal canal. This can be easier if you wet it first. Every 3
to 8 hours, depending on how heavy your period is, simply grasp it by
the handy tail while pushing in on one side of the cup to release the
air seal, and pull it out. Dump the contents down the drain, wash in hot
water, and it's ready to insert again.
I've used the Keeper during all kinds of exercise and activities, without incident. I regularly do Bikram yoga, and never miss a class because of my period. I go dancing, ride a bicycle, go swimming, and have literally never had the Keeper leak on me.
I find it very liberating to be independent this way, to be able to take care of my periods without having to rely on tampon manufacturers every month.
Update: My original Keeper is still going strong, but if I ever have to replace it, it's heartening to know that there are now much less expensive, silicone models available. The ad link below is the one I would buy if I ever need a replacement. Click on the link to check it out. Every purchase through this affiliate link provides a little income for our family. Thank you in advance!