I want to preface this post by announcing a TMI (too-much-information) alert. If you have issues reading about natural female processes, like periods, don’t read this post.
I’ve read a lot lately about the eco-unfriendliness of tampons, pads, and basically every disposable product. According to Easy Green Living, the cotton used to make tampons is from the dregs of the cotton industry, the leftover parts of the cotton plant that have the highest concentrations of pesticides and fertilizers. That was my first, “Ahgg!” moment. The second was thinking about the chlorine used to bleach the tampons and wondering, “Do I really want all these chemicals inside of me?” The final kicker was the thought of billions of tampons, tampon wrappers, and tampon boxes, along with billions of pads and pad boxes going into landfills every year. So, I looked for a better, more eco-friendly option…
Enter the Diva Cup. The Diva Cup is just one of the many types of menstrual cups available. It’s made out of surgical-grade silicone and lasts forever. I read about women who have had theirs for over 10 years. The Diva Cup company says the FDA requires them to suggest replacing it every year. The menstrual cup was actually developed in the 1930s. Over 15 years ago, the mother-daughter team of Francine and Carinne created the Diva Cup.
I am a researcher. Before I do anything, I like to know everything I can find out about it, so I researched the Diva Cup and read all the reviews and blogs I could find about it. Every reviewer I read said that they loved it and would never go back to tampons or pads. Finally, I decided to give it a shot. The following is my Diva Cup Diary.
Hello world! LOL! I think this is so funny that I’m sharing with everyone the intimate details of my period. It’s all in the name of eco-friendly living, right? Anyhoo, my honey just returned from the store, where he bought me my first ever Diva Cup. The Diva Cup is a menstrual cup made out of surgical silicone. So I’m just opening the package and here are my first impressions. First, the box looks pink, purple, and very happy and fun. Mine comes with a Diva flower pin, which I think is humorous Well, I was going to examine the box/instructions, but Mark is just as fascinated by this as I am and has taken them from me.
The Diva Cup comes in two sizes. Size 1 is for women who haven’t had a baby before. Size 2 is for women who have. Mark just let me know that I am supposed to empty it 2-3 times per day. Here’s what it says on the box, “The DivaCup eliminates the inconvenience and expense of purchasing disposable products in endless absorbencies, shapes, and sizes. The most eco-friendly feminine hygiene choice because it’s reusable: reduces landfill waste, your eco-footprint, and saves money too.” You can read more about the eco-benefits on their website.
It comes with a cute little bag to keep it in, too. It’s kinda like getting a present. I feel like there might be a slight learning curve to using this product, but I remember that there was one for learning to use tampons as well. I remember it being a little awkward at first.
“It’s much bigger than I was expecting. No wonder you don’t have to change it that often. It could be like a competition…’How much will I fill it up this time?’ It’s got little measurement lines. This is made in Ghanda. Wait, no (turning the box around)…that’s Canada. What is the point of this thing on the end? It’s like a little grab thing? A little handle?”
(a few minutes later)
Okay, I just inserted it for the first time, and OMG, it was so easy! Holy cow! I read so many question and answer forums, so I thought this would be a bit of an ordeal. It was a piece of cake. I think other people were just making it complicake.
Well, Day 1 was pretty good, although I did feel like I needed to urinate a lot. Apparently, this is a common comment. However, today I must be used to it, because I don’t feel it at all. I haven’t had any issues with leaking, and I even exercised today! Removal was a cinch, and I actually think it’s pretty cool because I get to see how much blood I have in a little cup, rather than seeing a nasty looking bloody tampon. I am fascinated by the body…I think it’s amazing…and I feel like using this product helps me experience that even more. One of the things I read about using a menstrual cup is that it doesn’t soak up all your natural fluids in your vagina like a tampon does. You know how at the end of the period it’s kinda dry and not fun feeling? With the cup, that’s not an issue. I also didn’t have any cramps yesterday. The past several periods especially, I’ve been in a ball in tears on the first day. I take a long bath by candlelight, play some meditation music, and usually start to feel better. I take some pain meds, but still tend to have some discomfort for several hours. This time I took meds early, but I never felt pain. No bath or tears! I don’t know if this is because of the Diva Cup or just that I took the meds early, but I have also read about other people not having as much cramping. I don’t know for sure, but just a thought.
Days 3 and 4
I don’t even have anything to write here because this has been such an easy, fun process for me. I pretty much forgot I was on my period because I couldn’t even feel the Diva Cup, and I didn’t have to worry about it. I wish I had known about this sooner. I am amazed at how easy it is. I really expected that it would take me a while to get used to, but it hasn’t. I never had an issue with leaking (which has always been an issue with tampons). The Diva Cup holds so much. I didn’t ruin all my underwear! It’s really small and takes up a lot less space than my selection of tampons did. It’s also really easy to clean. They recommend cleaning it with a mild soap solution, something without fragrance. I used my foaming face wash. The great thing about our bathroom is that the sink is right next to the toilet, so I didn’t even have to get up to clean it. I also read about many people who just clean it when they take a shower. Another benefit – you don’t have to change the Diva cup as often as tampons are changed, so it’s really convenient. You don’t have to carry lots of tampons in your purse. Another woman pointed out that it’s very discreet – no wrappers in the trash or crinkling of paper when you’re in the bathroom. There’s also a description of how to empty and clean it in a public restroom on their FAQ section of the Diva Cup website.
I love my Diva Cup! I will never use tampons again. I can’t believe we aren’t told about this option in school on period day. Remember that day? I was in fifth grade, and the boys and girls were separated for several hours. Afterwards, the boys were all hyper, jumping around and saying, “You were talking about PeRiOdS!”
I realize this is not a good option for everyone, but it is perfect for me. I read on their website that it doesn’t work for developing countries or really low income families where women might share a cup due to cost concerns. You obviously don’t want to share the cup because of the risk of STD, HIV, and other disease/infection. My cup was about $40. We bought it at a store nearby, but I’ve seen the same cup on amazon for around $25 I think. There are also many different brands of menstrual cups, some of which are less expensive. However, for something that lasts years and years, it ends up being less expensive than buying tampons and/or pads every month. But back to the issue with developing countries…Also, you need to have clean running water and soap available, which is something else that may not be available in developing countries. However, disposables are not an option either because they don’t have the infrastructure to deal with the amount and type of waste, besides the fact that those are also too expensive to the women living in those countries. I didn’t realize there were these types of issues. The Diva Cup website sponsors several different organizations that help women in developing countries with these concerns. There’s a kit you can buy, Pads4Girls, that gives washable, reusable pads to women in developing countries. This is apparently the best option for their situation.
After reading more on their website, I’m really glad I chose the Diva Cup brand (I promise I’m not being paid by them to say this). I feel like they are doing really great things in the world and that they really care about women’s health. I also like that they’re a mother – daughter team. I just feel good supporting them.
Anyhoo, that’s all for my Diva Cup Diary! I hope you’ve enjoyed this detailed look into my life. Ha!
P.S. I just added the Diva Cup to my Amazon Store. The link goes to the eco-friendly section of the store, where you can view 4 different options (2 sizes, with or without the Diva Cup Wash).