Diva Cup Review: Going Green On A Personal Level.

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The following is a guest post from my friend Mrs Micah, who writes about “Finance for a Freelance Life”. If you are squirmish about female anatomy, or have the maturity of a 7 year old, you should consider skipping over this post.

According to the Women’s Environmental Network (PDF), as an average woman I would go through 12,000 tampons or pads/pantiliners in my lifetime. Every month, I used to go through a box of tampons and at least half a bag of maxi-pads. I felt frustrated with the amount of waste this created and the constant need to buy more, but as someone with heavy periods I didn’t see a good alternative. All this changed when an old roommate read a post I’d written on generic feminine products and suggested I look into buying a Diva Cup. I was a little skeptical, but since they cost less than $30 on Amazon (and about $30 from the Diva Cup website) I thought I’d give it a go. I can say without a doubt that it’s one of the few products which have revolutionized my life.

Why I Love the Diva Cup

It’s nice to try feeling empowered and womanly about my periods, but they always tied me down. I have very heavy flow with terrible cramps on the first 3 days and hated the routine of changing tampons/pads constantly and worrying about accidentally bleeding through them onto my clothes. I can put the Diva Cup in and leave it for 3 or 4 hours on a heavy flow day, 7 to 10 hours if the flow is lighter. Unlike tampons, Diva Cups have not been associated Toxic Shock Syndrome and don’t even have to be changed for 10 hours if your flow is light enough. This was especially helpful when I was working in library circulation and I had to find someone to cover for me if I wanted to use the bathroom. It also means you can sleep in a Diva Cup. As a bonus, you can put the Diva Cup in even before your period has started with no ill effects. If it’s almost time for my period to begin, I’ll stick it in, go to work, and not have to worry about it. The Diva Cup has even changed the way I feel about periods. They’re still a hassle, but they’re no longer something that ties up my life for the first few days and always has me worrying. As a bonus, the cup makes a huge difference in the environmental impact of my period and saves me some cash every month.

Using a Diva Cup

1. Insertion: The Diva Cup is pretty easy to put in. There are diagrams on the website FAQs and elsewhere online. Though you pinch it going in, it expands inside you. A small pull-tab at the end allows you to pull it into place until you feel that it’s secure.
2. Wearing: I recommend trying it out first on a weekend or a day you have off work. This means you’ll have a chance to experience a whole day of use, get a feel for insertion and removal, and not have to worry about changing it in a public restroom. I wear a small pantiliner as well, to catch anything that leaks out. In my experience, this is only a few brown smudges on heavier days.
3. Removal: For easiest removal, I suggest pinching the base instead of using the tab to pull it out. This releases the seal it’s formed. Pull gently so you don’t spill anything. Then simply dump the contents into the toilet. If you can’t quite reach it, just push down with your internal muscles.
4. Cleaning: Ideally, you should wash the Diva Cup between uses. But if you’re at work or in a public restroom, the best you may be able to do is use a scrap of toilet paper. Boil the Diva Cup between periods and store in a non-plastic container (they send a nice little bag).

Answering reactions to or questions about the Diva Cup:

1. Ick! I can’t imagine putting it in and taking it out! I’ll admit up front that I’ve developed a certain comfort with my body. And really, once you’ve had your period for 5 or 6 (or 10 or 20) years, some things stop giving you the same ick factor they did during the first year or two. I find it about as matter-of-fact as using tampons or pads.
2. Can I use it if I’m a virgin? Depends. Can you use a tampon? More specifically, can you use larger tampons? If you can get those in and out, then you should be able to use a Diva Cup/Keeper/Moon Cup. If you have a strangely-perforated hymen or a very small hole in the hymen, or a small hole and thick hymen, they you may have to wait until later. I initially had problems with tampons, but started small and gradually increased the size.
3. Isn’t it dangerous to leave it in too long? It’s dangerous to leave it in for more than, say, 10 hours. But the Diva Cup/Keeper/Mooncup does not change the vaginal atmosphere. Tampons, on the other hand, elevate the oxygen level in the normally anaerobic vagina and increase its risk for TSS. So you don’t have to worry about choosing the minimum absorbency necessary or getting it out of there after 8 hours. Don’t leave it in too long anyway, but within the 10 hour limit, you should be fine.

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Comments

  1. Well, it would have been difficult for me to address this one…but luckily Mrs. Micah stepped in and helped out. I had no idea they were so popular!

  2. So great to see this! Bravo for spreading the word. Another thing your readers may want to know is that the Diva cup also works for stress incontinence after childbirth in a similar way as a pessary.

  3. I used to use a diaphram years ago, and probably what i hated most about it was that it was hard to get my finger around the rim and pull it out. Suction is a powerful thing. I’d also be afraid with the diva cup that i’d, umm, spill it andmake a mess. But i agree it’s great way to cut down on years of waste, not to mention the expense. I’m just a few years away from menopause, so i’ve decided not to try it.

  4. Hey I was wondering when you were going to address this one. I’ve been using a Keeper for about 3 years (the competitor) and love it. Wish I would’ve found it a decade ago. Saves a TON money, alleviates my fear of running out and having to run to the store, good for my body, no trash, and super great for travel and outdoorsy expeditions! Can’t recommend it enough.

  5. The Diva Cup isn’t for me, but LunaPads (my preferred) and GladRags are both reusable styles of maxipads so you can still cut down on waste and save a lot of money. I’ve had mine for years and its so nice not to have to keep buying more disposables every month.

  6. I’m male, but this is a great post. My sister sometimes expresses concern about feminine product waste. I tell my sister about reuseable pads, but she says they’d gross her out. Maybe I’ll suggest this possibility.

  7. The DivaCup website doesn’t have any pictures of the DivaCup itself! If I’m going to insert something into my vagina and leave it there for a while, I want to know what it looks like first!

  8. I’ve been meaning to try this out. I really hate relying on feminine protection companies to get me through each month and the amount of waste is astounding.
    I’m thinking this is the final push I needed to get on moard with the DC.

  9. Well, I’d say that it takes a certain amount of trial and error before you get to using it correctly. And there’s the squeamish factor. But once you get the, ahem, feel for it, and you get over the ick factor, you’ll be asking yourself “Why on earth was I ever so afraid of my own bodily functions?”

    Once you arrive at that realization, you’ll really see how our patriarchal society has brainwashed women to turn against ourselves, and done a great job convincing us that our own bodily functions are gross and dirty. Even me, lifelong feminist that I am, didn’t really understand how I fell for that mindset, until I got comfortable with my menstrual cycle. All thanks to making a move to try a reusable cup!

  10. Glad to see so many other satisfied cup users out there! 🙂

    For those who are thinking about trying it out–give it a shot. Even if you’re near menopause, it can make the last few years easier to handle.

    Or, as Nicki says, there are some new and better reusable pads as well. I know several women who like their pads, though I prefer the compactness of the cup.

    @Rene, I also learned a great deal about my own body, how my cycle works, etc! It’s funny how what should be a simple hygiene product can teach us so much.

  11. http://menstrualcups.wordpress.com/ has literally tons of information on all kinds of menstrual cups, with pictures and user ratings.

    I used my divacup for 6 years and recently switched to the ladycup, which I find better so far. I seriously wouldn’t know how to live without it, especially when traveling to countries where tampons are not sold.

    That being said… not a big fan of lunapads/gladrags at all.

  12. Glad to see someone spreading the word!

    There’s something like 10 different brands of these cups now, and they’re all subtly different. It’s worth doing some research to ensure one gets the best brand, though most women could use any of them. The Diva is the longest cup, so maybe not the best fit for some, though it is a terrific product!

    I use a Lunette, myself, and get up to 10 hours of use from it on heavy days, whereas I’d have to change a tampon every 3 hours. You can’t beat that!

    Getting the hang of a cup brings the same sense of freedom as getting used to tampons once brought, only with a cup, there’s no need to guess at how many you’ll need to carry.

    Fleurcup, Ladycup, and Miacup comes in pretty colors, too.

  13. The time limit is actually 12 hours, so you can put it in when you wake up at 7 and take it out that evening at 7.

    My heavy flow can even handle it that many times.

    The Diva Cup is amazing, I love it. I’ve had mine for over a year and I’m reordering another one. Just follow the washing instructions and you’re good. I was a little bad to mine, or else it probably could have lasted longer but they suggest replacing it once a year.

    I love that you don’t get dry like from tampons. Not having to worry about tampons and all the hassle from those, it’s such a relief.

    It saves so much money. I wish I could find them in stores.

  14. I love my Diva, and have been using it for about 5 years. I love knowing my AF leaves little environmental impace each month. And, like another poster, it saves tons of cash!

  15. I found this at a baby site by accident, all the moms were crazed over it and I thought it was a toddler “Sippy Cup” LOL. I skeptically purchased a Diva Cup about 3 years ago, and I love it,as many said it has changed my life and you may ask how; the confortablity, no worry, and freedom is priceless. I have used tampons in the past, they never really worked properly for me and were very uncomfortable. All I have to say is don’t knock it until you try it. I won’t ever go back to using the old methods.

  16. Diva Cups are pretty much the most amazing thing. Not only can you have a healthier, hassle free period experience, but can save some money and the environment at the same time. What’s not to love? My only regret is not hearing about it way earlier in my life.

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