"Do you Diva?" This is what a dear friend of mine asked me in her kitchen over cocktails nearly a year ago. After my blank stare, she proceeded to tell me about a tampon-alternative known as the Diva menstrual cup. Today on Momtrends, we give you the scoop on this other way to deal with your monthly visit from dear "Aunt Flow".
I can still vividly remember the look on my face as my friend explained what the DivaCup was and how to use it. It was something like this:
Fast-forward to a year later and every month as I bought (and thrown away) more and more tampons, the DivaCup came to mind. While I've never had any issues with tampons, the cost and waste reminders made me start to slowly, sloooowly be more intrigued with menstrual cups.
Let's get down to all the nitty-gritty questions that I had and you may be having too - grossed-out face totally okay:
What is the DivaCup?
The DivaCup is a flexible, un-pigmented silicone cup that is designed to be worn during your menstrual cycle as an alternative to tampons or pads.
It looks kind of big...
The DivaCup comes in two sizes (details here), but when you fold it up, it's almost comparable in diameter to a tampon. Almost.
How do you, um, get it in there?
I'll presume you know the correct location, but it is a bit different philosophy compared to a tampon. The goal is to insert the The DivaCup more horizontally, toward the tailbone. To insert you, you fold it in half twice into a tight "U". (The DivaCup website also lists an alternative method.) Once inserted, you rotate it 360° to ensure that the cup opens and gets into position. While it may seem a bit stiff at the onset, the DivaCup is made of soft silicone that actually softens with body heat. You do need to be a bit more comfortable with your lady parts than with a pad or tampon. There is a helpful, non-graphic video here.
How long can you wear it?
DivaCup can be worn up to a maximum of ten to twelve consecutive hours and should be emptied, washed and rinsed a minimum of two to three times daily. According to their website, most women need only to empty it in the morning and again in the evening.
How do you get it out?
Ideally, when the DivaCup is in place, it will have formed a leak-free seal, so you may have to gently press on the side of the cup to break the seal and remove the cup. Then there is a short silicone stem that you use to remove it.
What if I'm in a public bathroom?
Good question - here's what the DivaCup website says: "Wash your hands thoroughly before entering the stall, empty the contents in the toilet and simply use a dry or damp tissue to clean the cup. At the next convenient time, clean as per the above instructions."
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Can I sleep/swim with it?
Yes and yes - though I did read some mishap stories about swimming...
Still with me? Still intrigued? Here are some of the benefits of using a menstrual cup.
Benefits of the Diva Cup
- Cost - According to one survey, the average woman can spend easily $120+ a year on pads and tampons while the Diva Cup is a one-time fee of about $28.
- Convenience - There is no remembering to bring enough tampons to make it through your work day/event/weekend. The Diva Cup can be emptied and reused as often as you need. And you'll change it less often than you do a tampon.
- Eco-friendly - The average American woman will use more than 16,000 tampons or pads in her lifetime! With a Diva Cup, are you dramatically reducing your vajayjay's carbon footprint.
- Gentler - Tampons have been found to cause vaginal dryness and even tiny lacerations! Between the soft silicone of the DivaCup and the fact that you don't have to change it all day, your insides will thank you.
- Space-saving - Huzzah! You just gained back an entire drawer in your bathroom, pocket of your purse, and zippered compartment in your suitcase.
- Smell - We are getting real here, ladies. Menstrual flow only begins to develop an odor when it is exposed to air. Since the DivaCup is worn internally, period odor is a thing of the past.
And another benefit I heard about from an experienced "Diva-er"?
"One of the best unintended consequences about using a menstrual cup is the benefits it gives your sex life. Keeping the cup in place very gently engages your pelvic floor muscles, more so than tampons, and using a cup means you're not dehydrating your vag while also avoiding the micro-tears that tampons can cause." - D.H.
When I've talked to more experienced "Diva-ers", they all said not to base my opinion off my first month's experience. They said it can take a few times to figure out the best folding and insertion method for you, how to ensure you get it in position, and mastering the removal. Plus, every month you only get a few days to practice! That being said, my first month with Diva has been....great! I was pretty apprehensive, but I found it surprisingly easy to wear. Once you get it in place, you feel absolutely nothing, and I love that I don't have to carry tampons with me or change it throughout the day. I haven't tried swimming with it yet, but from sitting to sleeping, errands to exercising, I haven't even thought about it while I do daily life. Zero leaks. Zero hassle.
Tip From Expert "Diva-ers":
- Relax when inserting your cup. Also, wet it first with warm water to soften up the silicone.
- Experiment with different insertion folds.
- Figure out your anatomy - if it doesn't feel right or leaks then it isn't placed right.
- Be patient with the learning curve. Give yourself at least three periods before deciding menstrual cups aren't for you, and experiment with different types of cups if the first one you try is a real no-go.
- If the "stem" bothers you, trim it.
- Use a gentle, unscented, silicone-safe soap to clean your DivaCup.
Momtrends was not paid for this post.