Update: my knee is doing a ton better! I can even squat now, although I do feel some strain and discomfort when I do so, so I still bend over more than I squat. The coins were right, I’m okay.
But that’s not what I want to talk about today. I’ve been meaning to make a video or a post about this for a while now. I’ve wanted to share my experience with the Diva Cup menstrual cup – so for those of you who are too squeamish to read about BLOOD and VAGINAS, especially BLOODY VAGINAS, perhaps this is the time to stop reading. However, I encourage you to KEEP READING because this shit has changed my life, I swear to god.
So last summer I saw a DivaCup menstrual cup at Whole Foods for ~$45 and I was like psssshhh, that’s fucking expensive. So I did a price comparison check on Amazon and lo and behold, they were only $24.94 (now $27.99 Prime). I immediately bought one after researching the difference between a menstrual cup and the Softcup brand (I don’t recommend these because they’re wasteful and non-reusable) and then watched a ton of YouTube videos about how they work in anticipation of my Amazon snail mail gift.
Before I delve into the many awesome and amazing reasons why I highly recommend menstrual cups, let me just add a few little fun facts in for you.
First and foremost, menstrual cups, like tampons, definitely have a learning curve.
There’s the whole “how the hell do I get this inside of me?” thing, which I found is actually not that hard. There’s several ways of folding a menstrual cup. You can check out this nifty video and see for yourself. I personally prefer the “punch in” fold as it creates a small pointy part that allows for easier insertion, as well as easy unfolding once it’s in.
The learning curve part comes not so much in that act of inserting the cup, but rather making sure it’s inserted properly. In the first couple months of using my DivaCup, I was not unfolding it properly and therefore was experiencing not only leaks, but also EXTREME CRAMPS that were caused by a weird malfunctioning suction/uncomfortable shape inside the vagina problem. There are a couple tricks to making sure you get it to open properly.
1. A great way to fully open the cup if you’re using the punch-in method of insertion, is by squeezing it until you feel it completely pop open and all of the rim is touching the walls of your vagina.
2. Each cup comes with 4 tiny air holes near the rim that allow the cup to create suction and stay in place. These holes need to be unobstructed by all debris, including water, otherwise, you won’t get proper suction and your cup may remain improperly open, which leads to leaks.
3. If your cup still feels like it’s in a dogbone shape or otherwise, you need to twist it around in circles or possibly tap along its rim to full open it. It needs to feel rotund and inflated like it would be outside of you in order for it to be properly in place.
4. Often times another sign of it being properly open is a little “pop!” noise as it fully inflates.
Once you’ve got this part down, you’re set for anywhere between 4 and 12 hours. I’ve even left mine in for 16-18 hours before because I knew my period was light. Because of the vacuum seal it creates once it’s properly inserted, you’re pretty much guaranteed leak-proof protection and it’s amazing. You can do anything. Cartwheels? Swimming? Aerobics? Biking? You’re set. Your cup ain’t going nowhere and neither is the blood that’s pooling in it.
SO, let’s talk about all the other incredible benefits of using a menstrual cup.
1. It will save you a fuckton of money.
I literally haven’t bought tampons or pads (panty liners are the exception, I’ve always got Kotex ultra thin liners on hand) since last spring. And I have several boxes that are full and some almost full of unused tampons in every size that I haven’t touched since I started using my DivaCup. DO YA’LL KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY I’VE SAVED? My periods aren’t all cute and short like so many other girls that I know. They last anywhere from a week to two weeks – which equals a lot of tampons and panty liners. I’m too lazy to do the math, but I know from rough estimates it’s at least $100. That’s $100 that I can put towards my car loan. BINGO.
2. It’s good for your body.
I haven’t tried other brands of menstrual cups, so I’m going to boast about DivaCup specifically – but it’s made from medical grade silicone, which means it’s biocompatible (safe to insert in your body) much like silicone sex toys! Here’s a little more in depth info straight from their website.
Because of our ISO certification and compliance to FDA, Health Canada, and Australian TGA health regulations, we can guarantee that each DivaCup is made with the same silicone material and grade approved for healthcare applications for over fifty years and that it does not contain any of the following: latex, plastic, PVC, acrylic, acrylate, BPA, phthalate, elastomer and polyethylene and is free of colors and dyes. Silicone products have been shown to be biocompatible (i.e. accepted by the human body without adverse reaction), durable, flexible, and easy to sterilize. What’s more, our award-winning DivaCup is the only menstrual cup allowed to be sold in Canada by Health Canada.
Unlike pads and tampons, it leaves no residue inside or outside your body.
Did you know tampons absorb 65% menstrual fluid and 35% natural moisture? They create an imbalance in your pH levels which interfere with the health of your vaginal environment.
Pads? You’re basically sitting in your own blood and endometrial mucus for ‘x’ amount of time, which not only creates odor from the blood being exposed to oxygen, but also a rampant breeding ground for bacteria to grow and create problems. Also? Gross. I used to use pads when I was younger and gross gross gross.
3. It will eliminate odor.
As mentioned above, pads, and even tampons, create odor. This is because they allow blood and bacteria to oxidize, aka react with the air, which in turn create unpleasant odors.
Menstrual cups, on the other hand, block off any possibility for the blood to interact with oxygen. They create a vacuum tight seal in your vagina that allows the blood to pool directly into the cup and never be exposed to air until you empty it, by which time, it will only smell like blood, if anything.
4. It won’t give you TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome).
Because DivaCup is made from medical grade silicone, you cannot get Toxic Shock Syndrome. Quote Buzzfeed:
TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) is a bacteria-spurred illness that can kill you. If your tampon has even a slightly higher absorbency than your actual flow, you risk shredding. Tiny bits of cotton can cause small cuts in your vaginal walls—a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria causing TSS.
5. It’s good for the environment.
Menstrual cups contain no bleaches, deodorisers, or absorbency gels! [x]
The silicone they’re made from is derived from silica, which is one of earth’s most abundant minerals.
They’re also made from non-allergic silicone, which means that they’re suitable even if you have thrush, eczema, sensitive skin, and so on.
And obviously, because you’re not throwing away man-produced paper/cotton waste every few hours, they reduce the amount of non-environmentally friendly waste you produce each month. GIVE YOURSELF A HIGH FIVE!
6. It can last up to 10 years.
That’s right. TEN YEARS. The DivaCup website suggests you replace it once a year, but ultimately says that with proper care and cleaning, it’s up to the consumer to decide when to replace theirs, and many websites boast up to a decade lifetime for these wonderful beasts.
$$$$$ IMAGINE THE SAVINGS $$$$$
7. It helps you get to know your body better.
Now hear me out.
Yes, periods and blood and vaginal secretions are/can be gross. But it’s 100% good for you to know your body and what it’s capable of.
Each DivaCup comes with measurement lines that let you know how much you’ve bled – and it holds 1 full ounce. Typically, a woman bleeds 1 to 2 ounces PER CYCLE, so if you’re the average woman, it may surprise you just how little you may have in your cup when you empty it. Of course, the opposite could also be true. If you have heavier periods, you may need to empty it more often, and may be surprised at the amount you bleed.
8. It holds more than Ultra sized tampons!
Ultra sized tampons, for your heaviest of heavy flows – I’m talking heavier than Super sized tampons – hold 15 to 18 grams of blood. There are 28 grams in 1 oz, which means the DivaCup holds 10 extra grams of blood that would leak out of your Ultra sized tampon. CAN I GET A HIGH 5!?
Lastly, some other interesting tips/tricks/facts/helpful hints:
At the end of each cycle, your cup needs to be boiled for 10 minutes.
This sterilizes it and ensures it’s rid of any remaining bacteria and ready for use next month.
When you boil it, stick it inside of a whisk.
This will help it stay put and keep it from touching the walls of your boiling pot. Silicone can burn, so any damage or deterioration of your cup means you need to get a new one. Securing it in a whisk will ensure its safety in the cleaning process.
You may need to trim the stem.
In its original form, the DivaCup comes with a little ‘stem’ that helps you get it out. I, like others, found it irritating because it stuck out during use, so I trimmed all of it off. Plus, you really don’t need the stem to remove it. All it needs is a little pinch and pull and you’re good.
If you’d like to read more in-depth, clinical information on the DivaCup or menstrual cups in general, or you just want more information, including other bits I didn’t talk about (like how it works with an IUD or different brands and sizes) check out these great links or use your little fingers and get to Googling.
DivaCup Official Website
Why a Menstrual Cup is WAY Better than Tampons
18 Reasons You Should Switch to the Menstrual Cup