My Keeper has lost its shape. Should I replace it or get a DivaCup?
January 19, 2005 7:43 PM   Subscribe

AskMeFemmes: Keeper and diva cup question. Details, unlike blood, inside.

I have been using a keeper for about three years without any trouble. Over this time, it has gone slightly oval. I assumed that this is because my cunt is slightly oval. Now, however, it is leaking--quite a lot this last go-round. Is this due to ovality? Is there anything to do about it but buy a new one? Would getting the softer, silicone diva cup prevent this from happenening again?
posted by dame to Health & Fitness (40 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I do not know, as I've never used these particular products, but I'm fascinated by them. I've used Instead before, and I really like them, but they're tough to find (I've only seen them at Target).

How do you clean your Keeper in public? That's the only thing that makes me worry about having one.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:53 PM on January 19, 2005 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ah, the keeping in public.

1. It holds a lot of blood. On my heaviest day, I have to empty it four times, two of them at home (wake up & before bed). Other than that, I only empty it in the morning, when I get home in the evening, and before bed.

2. A lot of bathrooms are one-person these days.

3. If I am in a big public bathroom, a wipe with a bit of toilet paper does the trick. Rinsing is nice, but not required. Of course your fingers get bloody, but as I have never used tampons with an applicator, I am not terribly bothered by just walking up to the sink with bloody fingers (making sure not to bloody the latch to the door, it goes without saying).

The hardest thing to get used to is that the first couple of times it can be slightly difficult to get it out as you aren't used to it and the cup can move up fairly far in the course of a normal day. Applying some pressure and being patient will suffice.
posted by dame at 8:19 PM on January 19, 2005

Sounds very worthwhile!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:23 PM on January 19, 2005 [1 favorite]

The Keeper is made of gum rubber, so yeah your body heat has probably affected its shape and flexibility. Silicone resists heat damage.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 8:42 PM on January 19, 2005

jonmc, once again, this is a thread not about you. nobody cares about your "red wings".

dame, i think that the more durable silicon is what you're looking for.
posted by judith at 10:15 PM on January 19, 2005

I have a DivaCup, have had it for about a year. So far it has not changed shape and I have not had leakage issues.

But I haven't used a Keeper, so I couldn't give you any help on leak stoppage. Can the Keeper be boiled as the DivaCup can be? If so, if it can be warmed and put to sort of re-mold over a non-oval object, that might be helpful. If gum rubber is re-shapeable.

Maybe give Customer Service a buzz and inquire as to any remedies they might have?

Personally, I can tell you I love my DivaCup, so I'd always recommend giving it a try. It has a good guarantee on it so if it doesn't work for you, just return it.
posted by angeline at 10:35 PM on January 19, 2005

I don't have experience with either, though I'd love to try them. Except that I have major, biblical blood loss for the first two days of my period, so I don't know if they'd work.

That said, I do have a lot of experience with silicone products, most recently with body jewelry, which I (and many of my friends) wear in (fairly large) stretched piercings. It retains its shape well, even with a lot of pressure put on it for extended periods of time. So, my vote is Diva Cup.
posted by bedhead at 12:02 AM on January 20, 2005

Yup, body-heat definitely distorted it's shape, mine is getting there too. Haven't tried the diva cup yet, might do that if as everyone says here silicone won't re-shape. The keeper fits me well though... Hmm. maybe get both.
posted by dabitch at 12:36 AM on January 20, 2005

bedhead , don't worry, for biblical proportions they do work and it's much better than those poor unsuspecting tampons that wash out and may cause irritation (changing very often every day), just empty the cup/keeper often.

if you never had a superXL tampon 'wash out' within 30 minutes, you do not have the biblical flood I have my first day.... ;)
posted by dabitch at 12:39 AM on January 20, 2005

dabitch, I have, in re:biblical proportions. Good to know the cup/keeper can take care of it. I think I should do it on a test run at home before I go traveling with one.
posted by bedhead at 1:01 AM on January 20, 2005

I think I have the idea, but if I might take this off-topic for a second: What is a keeper and what is a diva cup? I'm really not at all squeamish, so don't worry (if you felt that particular emotion).
posted by Captaintripps at 1:29 AM on January 20, 2005

The keeper & the DivaCup.

Yeah bedhead, try it out until you get to know it. ;)
posted by dabitch at 1:44 AM on January 20, 2005

Gum rubber needs VERY high temps to re-shape. I use the DivaCup myself, and recommend it highly.

If the Keeper has worked well for you, why not just replace it? It doesn't seem unreasonable to have to do that every three years.
posted by reflecked at 4:14 AM on January 20, 2005

If you're going to come off all salty, try a clearer warning next time. Something like "Menstruation content inside."

WTF? You're chastising her? Where's the spanking for Flanders and jonmc for offering up completely irrelevant, non-helpful responses when neither of them fit the description of "femme"?
posted by headspace at 5:26 AM on January 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

I'm a Diva Cup user and haven't ever had a Keeper, but I know several Keeper users who did feel like it lost shape and needed replacement after a couple of years.

The one tricky thing about picking a Diva is that they come in two sizes with not very helpful recommendations for picking the size you need. To wit, they instruct anyone over 30 to get the larger one even if they've never given birth, and while I fall in that category and am tall and stocky, I'm not sure I chose wisely. I do have problems with mine on biblical days, and I think that's because it's so big it doesn't fit right. I have not yet gotten around to downsizing, but I mean to. I know several people who have had to turn around and get the smaller one.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:35 AM on January 20, 2005

Thanks Lyn Never, the Diva Cup sizing thing was throwing me off.. Now I have a better idea of what to try. :)
posted by dabitch at 7:37 AM on January 20, 2005

Having used both a Keeper and a Diva Cup, I feel like this thread is right up my, erm, alley.

The Keeper never worked very well for me. I bought one about seven years ago, in the small size, and it always leaked enough to make it impractical so I rarely used it. The last time I wore it was to a fitness class of some sort and I had a Threat Level Red Menstrual Emergency right in the middle of abs so I tossed it and got a Diva Cup.

Being over 30 at that point (although, like Lyn, having never given birth), I got the larger size. I don't know if it was a fit issue, or a materials issue, but the Diva Cup works better for me. I still have some leakage problems, and wouldn't wear it without a mini pad, but I find the Diva Cup to be noticeably more effective and comfortable than the Keeper. The stem in particular is shorter and more tapered, and I think the silicone generally feels better. It's a little easier to insert on lighter days and I like that I can boil it.

I generally stick to Luna Pads or Glad Rags (FWIW, I was a long time Glad Rag user and recently tried out Luna Pads on a whim and like them tremendously better), just because I prefer external products. But the Diva Cup is aces at the gym (ellipse machine + glad rag = yuck) and on trips and any time that I'm not inclined to drag a bag of cotton pads around.
posted by jennyb at 7:46 AM on January 20, 2005

Slightly divergent- has anyone tried the sea sponge tampons? I have a biblical flow for eight to twelve days sometimes, and the only tampons I like (OB) are obscenely expensive.
posted by headspace at 8:27 AM on January 20, 2005

I would be mightily tempted by these but for one thing: I have a tipped uterus and any tampon longer than an OB (about an 1 1/2") is uncomfortable. That Diva Cup looks very long.

Also, many years ago I was fitted with a cervical cap (which does the same job) and gave it up after three months mainly because of the horrific smell. Is there any problem with that?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:35 AM on January 20, 2005

Not to sound like a shill for the Cup, but the Diva Cup changed my life. I have a tipped uterus and a wacky cervix, and using a tampon was just about as effective as inserting a small "Detour" sign -- even on a light day, if I used a tampon, I'd have to use a pad, too, because the flow would just flow right around it. My heavy days involved a super tampon, super pad, and sometimes hourly changes. It totally sucked -- and try having to deal with that kind of intensive bathroom time with two little kids asking questions about why mommies have bleeding and need big, big band-aids in their panties.

I got the Diva Cup almost a year ago, and I love it. On my heaviest days, I have to change it maybe four times and only have to wear a mini-pad with it. For the last three days of my period, I can leave it in all day and not wear any kind of pad at all. It catches what it's supposed to catch, unlike the tampon, and because I can keep it in for longer stretches of time, I can avoid the uncomfortable kid conversations, and the hassle/waste of changing pads, etc.

The Cup hasn't changed its shape on me, and I'm very happy with it overall. I did recommend it to friends, one of whom had the sizing problem, but I haven't had a problem with the size I got. It does take a little getting used to to find where it just pops into place, but once you get a feel for it (sorry), it's incredibly easy and convenient. Of my friends who have tried both the Keeper and the Diva Cup, most of them prefer the Cup.

As for the original question, it sounds like it might be time to invest in a new one.
posted by mothershock at 8:57 AM on January 20, 2005

Maybe this is a slightly off topic, but thanks, Dame, for sharing the "bloody fingers" bit. Sometimes I get to feeling like I'm this gross menstrual retard who is the only person on the face of the earth who gets blood on my fingers or panties, etc., and the reminder that it's normal relaxes me.

I remember being stunned in high school to find that I wasn't the only girl forced to pull the "jacket around the waist" trick on a particularly heavy day.

Sometimes I wish that we could bring back a sort of "red tent" idea. That sounds marvelous to me.
posted by frecklefaerie at 10:17 AM on January 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

Where do y'all find these things, and how much are they?

I am premenopausal and heavy, and tired of having to lug around a ton of supplies wherever I go.
posted by konolia at 10:21 AM on January 20, 2005

You can go to DivaCup Dot Com and either order it from there, or locate a supplier in your area.

They run in the neighborhood of $30 US, but when you consider they're meant to last 10 years, that's a huge bargain.

It's beautiful. Less waste, less to carry, less money. I get a little evangelical about my DivaCup, but for good reason: it rocks.
posted by angeline at 10:51 AM on January 20, 2005

Response by poster: Konolia: I buy mine from the local feminist bookstore, but you can order them online too. A Google search will bring up a few options. And once you go reusable, I don't think you ever go back; it's just so much easier.

Frecklefaerie: Glad to know I can help. I have to say I just decided one day that I was tired of caring about getting blood all over--having a very woman-positive boy helps, but so does knowing that the same thing happens to every other girl.
posted by dame at 10:54 AM on January 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

I have a tipped uterus too, and bleed heavily, but not as bad as some of you, it sounds like ... Still, before the Keeper, I had to use a big-ass OB tampon and a super-absorbent with wings blah blah blah pad for the first four days. With the Keeper I use a mini-Lunapad (linked somewhere upthread) for three or four days and just the Keeper after that. And I haven't spent money on pads or tampons in almost four years now. Why shouldn't I be evangelical?
posted by librarina at 11:44 AM on January 20, 2005

has anyone tried the sea sponge tampons?

Yes, and I love them.

I used them waaay back in 74 when they first came out, and have used them on and off since then.

At this moment in time I don't have any but will go back for the remainder of my menstrual life. [please gods, let it be short!]
posted by kamylyon at 12:19 PM on January 20, 2005

One of my friends has used the keeper for years, so I asked her about this. She said that the first one she bought had to be replaced after about three years because it changed shape, but that the one she replaced it with is now over three years old and hasn't changed at all. Perhaps there's something slightly different in the manufacturing process now or materials used? She also said she wondered if it was a storage issue ... as in, how and where you stash it when you aren't using it. Still, for the price, even replacing them every few years is a good deal.

In an attempt to get away from tampon and pad hell, I recently started using Instead, and can't say enough good things about them. Really one of those life-changing things you do that you don't realize will change your life. Like others have said, I'm one of those girls who has always had to use multiple methods at the same time on the first four or so days just to get an hour or so of protection. With the Instead, I've not only been saving money, but also haven't been having "overflows" or cramps ... and I can avoid having to deal with it for many hours at a time. A true blessing. I wanted to try the keeper or the cup, but wasn't quite ready for that yet (working on becoming comfortable with having a period - which is sad, I think, at my age). One of these days I'll try the keeper or the Diva Cup. Too many people have told me how wonderful they are.
posted by Orb at 1:12 PM on January 20, 2005

"Instead" is a disposable alternative available at most drugstores, for the curious (on preview, as mentioned by Orb). And don't forget that emptying your cups into a watering can will make your plants love you!
posted by obloquy at 1:19 PM on January 20, 2005

I'll second the Instead love, although I find on heavy days I can't wear them because I get lazy about changing them and then, omg, it feels like an ocean of blood is coming out all at once when it leaks. If I ever have money ever again (doubtful), I want a DivaCup!

And does anyone remember a product, sold 7 or 8 years ago, that were small rolls of cotton, placed in between the folds of the vaginal lips, but not actually inside the vaginal canal like a tampon? I swear they were "mini-pads" or something like that, and I bought them at the drugstore. Anyone know what happened to them?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:07 PM on January 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

Wow, that's interesting - I'd like to know the answer to that.
posted by agregoli at 2:20 PM on January 20, 2005

Thanks, MeFi women! I had heard of the Keeper & Diva cup, but was not quite ready to invest the $$ when I wasn't sure I'd like them. I'm interested to try the disposable Instead cups, though. I'd never heard of them before. I hope I can get them in Canada....
posted by raedyn at 2:26 PM on January 20, 2005

Okay - I have some related questions (hope someone sees this):

Has anyone tried a diaphram as a menstruel cup as well as a keeper? Did you find it holds more/less/the same as a Diva/Keeper shaped cup?

I'm asking this because I recently bought the Diva Cup because I was tired of staining my diaphram, and thought it would hold more, but it doesn't seem to be holding enough on my first days. Is it the shape, or maybe do I have it in the wrong place? My first instinct was to put it right up against the cervix, like a diaphram, but now I am trying it a little lower. Any advice on the best position is definately appreciated.

I still do wonder, though, why they don't make menstuel cups the shape of a diapgram - it would be more comfortable, and you could have sex with it in. Of course, then maybe it would just be a diaphram that was resistent to blood stains.
posted by jb at 4:19 PM on January 20, 2005

jb- the Instead cups are more diaphragm-shaped, and you can have sex with one in (although they claim no contraceptive protection).

People seem to use diaphragms as cups with no problems.
They also re-use the "disposable" Insteads.
This site is packed with first-hand discussions of all of the above cup methods.
posted by obloquy at 5:17 PM on January 20, 2005

I used the Instead cups and I like them. The "you can have sex with them in part" is great. And yes, I used one per period, washing it out between uses, because they're too expensive to toss every time you empty it. Never had problems, although learning to maneuver a full one is a bit of an adventure at first.

I meant to get a Diva Cup, but pregnancy/breastfeeding has suspended the need for a while. I'm glad to hear all the raves on here and I'll order one as soon as I have to bother with this sort of thing again.

ThePinkSuperhero - I remember those! My mother gave me a couple samples, they were pantiliner-substitutes you stuck between the lips - when you peed they fell out into the toilet and you never had to touch them - worked great. I hate wearing pads (the sticky stuff sticks to you, it shifts and folds over, and anything bigger than a liner feels like a pillow). I went looking for them again a couple years ago and couldn't find them - I'd love to know what happened to them.
posted by Melinika at 5:31 PM on January 20, 2005

In an attempt to get away from tampon and pad hell, I recently started using Instead, and can't say enough good things about them.

SoftCups were my gateway out of the Cotton Nightmare, too. I did love that I could have sex with one in, but I found that they leaked. Either I never got the hang of it, or I just wasn't built for them, I don't know.

Is it the shape, or maybe do I have it in the wrong place? My first instinct was to put it right up against the cervix, like a diaphram, but now I am trying it a little lower.

Yes, it should be lower. You want it a bit centralized in the vaginal canal, but deeply enough in so that the stem isn't peeping out (some women trim down the stem of theirs a little. I did, and it's worked out well). And you should always give it a bit of a turn and tug to make sure it seals, for no leaks.
posted by angeline at 5:43 PM on January 20, 2005

Glad I didn't just imagine them, Melinika. And they were really great- I can imagine how they might not catch on, though. I think it's hard to get women to change from their normal tampon and/or pad routine, even if there are products that might be better. A lot of it has to do with the "eww, my vagina is gross" thing, IMHO; a product where you're touching yourself- Instead, Diva Cup, Keeper, etc- would make a lot of women really uncomfortable. Seeing as how I know grown women who are freaked out by tampons, which are relatively hands free (don't even get me started about this one girl- going swimming in the ocean *with a pad*).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:10 PM on January 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

Thanks, angeline, I'll try that.

Diaphrams are are exactly the same shape as the Instead cup, if anyone is looking for something that shape which is reusable (and will last longer than an instead cup, though perhaps slightly smaller). It does take on a bit of stain (don't really know why, when the silicon Diva Cup doesn't), but I guess no one is really looking at it. And a silicon diaphram is very easy to take care of, and will work as birth control as well. I always wonder why more people don't use them - for monogamous, but forgetful types (therefore no pill), they are great. And easier to get in and out than any of the other cups - because it's softer, I think.
posted by jb at 10:29 PM on January 20, 2005

jb: I just wrote about this on MoFi - I asked for a diaphragm in my soph year of college and I was put on the Pill instead. I was told diaphragms were for older women, or some such bullshit. I certainly would have preferred it to the hormones in the Pill. =P I honestly think it's that the Pill that gets pitched to young women more than any other method besides condoms.
posted by Melinika at 9:13 AM on January 21, 2005

The pill is more statistically reliable, which may be why it is so often recommended to young women, especially to teenagers. Well, more reliable if you remember to take it, which I didn't (which is why I love my diaphram). But then, perhaps doctors/nurses fear younger women might get too caught up in the moment to stop to put in a diaphram? It can pause the mood somewhat, but is still better than a condom. I don't really know why - though I do know I miss the effect the pill had on my cramps (I had none for years, and now they are back).
posted by jb at 10:10 PM on January 23, 2005

Waaaaay follow-up: I bought a Diva Cup several months ago. And I love it! I rarely ever use anything else. Thanks, AskMeta!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:32 PM on November 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

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