Why I Love My DivaCup and Should Probably Be a Menstrual Cup Lobbyist

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

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Bum Knees and Barbie Dolls

Hi.

It’s been a really long time.

There have been quite a few instances where I’ve thought about posting here, but somehow I always ended up doing something else, forgetting to, neglecting to, so on and so forth. And it’s really a bit of a shame, because this blog is a form of therapy.

And I need that right now. Which is why I’ve decided to update it again.

First thing’s first: I hyperextended my left knee on Wednesday evening at my new job, while I was squatting in some new linen pants I’d bought the previous day that have absolutely no give and get crazy tight when I bend my legs. I heard two very loud consecutive pops and it felt like my knee popped out and back in again, and I lost my balance. I felt immediate pain, but it wasn’t really excruciating, just extremely uncomfortable. I didn’t immediately ice it. In fact, I still had an hour and a half left of work before going home, and when I went home, I didn’t take care of the injury, but rather walked normally out and about for 3 hours with my mom with very minor, almost unnoticeable pain in my knee.

I went to work the following day, and progressively felt my knee feel stiffer. I mostly limped around all night. The following day (yesterday) I went to the doctor because as with nearly every time I’m injured or sick, my brain goes into hypochondria mode and I jump to the absolutely worst possible conclusions, this time being “WHAT IF I NEED SURGERY AND I NEVER WALK AGAIN” or “WHAT IF I NEED SURGERY AND THEY GIVE ME ANTIBIOTICS THAT I COULD BE ALLERGIC TO AND I DIE?” because that’s literally how my mind works. Anyway, doctor told me to basically relax, monitor the leg, and go to the ER/hospital if it gets worse. I also went in to get an X-Ray, which came out normal, thankfully.

In the past 36 hours, my knee itself has been relatively alright, but my calf (possibly Achilles tendon?) feels sore when I walk and stretch it or when I’m sitting and I push onto the balls of my feet. I believe this pain has gotten a little bit better in the last 6 hours or so. I called the clinic a couple hours after I woke up and told them my fears about my calf/Achilles and they just told me the same thing – to keep monitoring it, relax, ice it.

While I was waiting to be signed in for my X-Ray yesterday, I noticed two pennies on the ground, and as I was picking up the second, I noticed a third as well. I picked up a penny at work the other day as well, when I was limping around. I often find that when I’m in times of need or feeling hopeless or having ongoing anxiety attacks, I find coins everywhere. And I find it really comforting. I recall Sylvia Browne saying that your loved ones on the other side will drop coins around you to let you know they’re there for you. I think my loved ones drop them around me to let me know everything will be okay. And I am eternally grateful, because I often make a mountain out of a mole hill when it comes to medical problems. I need to see a therapist about it, I know.

961440_10155388603335322_86264162_nOn a somewhat related note, the night that I hyperextended my knee and went shopping with my mom, I bought two Barbies. Before you judge me, I ask that you don’t. I’m already judging myself. But I’ve wanted to customize and photograph and design clothes for them for nearly two years now, and I deeply regret donating the two I had for over a decade. They were much better quality, I could bend their limbs, their hair was nicer, and most of all, I didn’t pay for them. Plus, I had a box full of clothes for them. I donated that as well. I think. I may have thrown it away now that I think about it.

I started customizing them the night that I brought them home. I painted freckles on their faces. I painted the blonde’s eyes green and her lips red, and I plan on coloring her hair so she’ll be a ginger. I can’t do much with the other one’s hair – it’s a medium brown. I could dip dye it in something vibrant, perhaps. The blonde one came with a ton of shoes, half of which I spray painted black earlier today and are currently drying in my garage. I haven’t started making any clothes for them yet, but I want to recreate the carnation dress that won me that fashion show. Maybe Mattel will see my extraordinary creations and hire me to develop tres chic couture for Barbies to revamp their popularity with the youths of today.

And then, after all that labor, I plan on photographing them. One of my friends asked me if I’d made a light box yet, after I told him about this idea, and I said no, but that would be an awesome thing for this little plan, and he said that’s why he brought it up. So there’s that as well. That bit should be relatively easy actually.

So those are my most recent developments. The jewelry store closed down so I’m at a new retail place. And I teach painting, which I was supposed to do tonight, but ended up cancelling because I really didn’t feel up for it with this leg. Plus, I binge watched the entire first season of American Horror Story yesterday and today, and you know what, I don’t feel too guilty about it. I liked Evan Peters before, but now I like him even more. Like this show has reminded me how attractive I find him. I didn’t start the second season tonight because I don’t really like watching horror at night, so I’ll probably watch some tomorrow.

On Weight Gain and Mental Beatups

It seems that every time I make a post here I’m complaining about something.

Today it’s my weight.

In the past year, I’ve really let myself down and gained back 10 lbs that I worked very hard to lose in the year prior. I cannot even begin to describe how absolutely awful I feel about it and how much I beat myself up over it mentally. It’s actually pretty toxic and I know that every time I think negative thoughts like that, when I look in the mirror, I see myself as ugly and fat and etc etc.

I know that when I think positive thoughts that I see myself as beautiful and not so fat, etc. It’s amazing what the mind can do.

It’s also amazing how easy it is to let yourself lose control. And the worst part is that there is no one to blame but yourself. This is a really tough journey and the only person you can hold accountable for failures and successes is you.

I think maybe even harder than all of that is learning to embrace the journey as a whole, regardless of whether you have failures or successes, and keep in mind that it is an ongoing, life-long JOURNEY that requires positive mental interactions with oneself, positive affirmations, and trust and belief in yourself that you can and you will do what you say you will.

The reason I quit Weight Watchers was because I was cheating myself on the program. I wasn’t tracking anymore (physically, anyway, I’d do it mentally) and I didn’t care whether I went over my points for the day. I wasn’t really lying to myself so much as trying to justify “oh, an extra point here and there won’t hurt”. But it did hurt.

I’m trying to make better dietary decisions again. I already eat well by most standards – heavily vegetarian/vegan with poultry and seafood. However, the pasta and dairy families continue to be my by biggest downfalls. I overindulge in both of these and I know that I need to stop or lessen my intake. “It’s so hard” is not a good enough excuse and I know it.

I’m also TRYING to go to the gym more often again as well, however, work and the weather have both been getting in my way, resulting in lazy days. I did just finish a 30 day yoga challenge, which really helped me get more flexible, but I haven’t been inclined to do HIIT at home in a while and that’s hurting me as well.

I just need to get back on track overall and I need to do it NOW because I’m sick of beating myself up mentally and going into minor depressions about it. I worked so hard to get to where I am, I am NOT allowed to sabotage all that hard work. I will NOT go back to wearing my old wardrobe, I absolutely refuse.

Chlooooe, I Know Your Sister Turns Everyone On

Today was a pretty mediocre day.

I ended up cancelling my craft show plans because apparently the way my boss made the schedule was specific to why we all needed to be there on certain days at certain times so I was like, alright, I can survive not doing this. Besides, I think I already mentioned it was all really last minute and I was procrastinating in making pieces anyway. Quite unprepared, really. There’s always next year.

The glint in my vision hasn’t gone away. I googled it again and phrased it as looking like a permanent camera flash mark and that yielded that results I was looking for. I’m not alone in this phenomenon, and I’m also not alone in being told by doctors that my eyes look perfectly normal. I think some people mentioned that was part of ocular migraines? And some people mentioned that it happens to them on and off throughout the years, which actually sparked my memory. I think I’ve had this before for a few days in a row like this. It should go away in time. If not, maybe I’ll ask to be referred to a retinal specialist.

For now, I’m gonna enjoy my day off tomorrow and probably (hopefully) hit the gym. My current euphoric feelings are helping me lose weight at a faster and more constant rate again, and that only pushes me to try harder and stay this happy. So cheers to that.

Smoooooke On the Water

The worst part about procrastinating and/or generally writing these posts minutes before it turns midnight is that I often find myself at a loss as to what exactly I want to talk about. I know I had some good ideas earlier today while I was at work and sitting there doing nothing. Unfortunately, they’re not finding their way to the foreground of my mind.

Anyway, tomorrow I need to hit the gym. Or exercise or something. I haven’t been to the gym in about 2-3 weeks and it’s really annoying me. My whole slumpy routine is annoying me right now. I need to get back into working out every day again. Especially because of the holiday season coming up – I don’t want to pack on unnecessary extra pounds because I’m eating holiday food and working my ass off in retail with no time to do anything exercise-wise. This is extra important. Also, I don’t feel like I earned any of the showers I’ve taken in the past 2-3 weeks because I wasn’t sweaty. I always feel like this when I shower without having worked out prior.

ALSO, I’ve been thinking of using Breaking Bad on Netflix as a reward system for weight loss. Example, say for every 2 pounds lost, I get to watch 1 episode. I think this could be really good.

I also need to make a concise list of shit I need to buy soon, and categorize everything by how needed they are. I honestly do need like 2 more black tank tops from Target though. I’ve been wearing this one black one just about every other day because it works so well with so many outfits.

Ocular Migraines

October is turning out to be an extremely turbulent month so far.

I went in for an emergency eye exam today because I was experiencing temporary blind spots with metallic shimmers. I’ll explain it in detail later cause I want to go to bed asap. Long story short, I’m fine, I just had an “ocular migraine”. It was momentarily scary though, not being able to see/fill in what I knew was supposed to be there. I hope I never have this problem permanently. The fear of blindness is great with this one.

Travels & Ultrasounds

Today has been an interesting day.

My medical adventures included a root canal – which honestly wasn’t that bad. I felt some pain, but my dentist “topped me off” with anesthetics. It was really the whole having my mouth open for about an hour that was the worst. By the time she was cleaning out the nerve, I was like OMG CAN THIS BE OVER WITH ALREADY, MY JAW FUCKING HURTS.

I had to pick up antibiotics and pain pills after, and while I was waiting, I FINALLY found the kind of hair clips I’ve been searching EVERYWHERE for. I was super excited. I also went to Barnes and Noble and found some really great books that I did not buy because pssh, Amazon.

Then I went in to get an ultrasound. It was a relatively amusing experience. My ultrasound tech definitely had a sense of humor – she printed out screenshots of the ultrasound and circled my uterus, captioned it “my uterus” and also captioned my bladder as “my very full bladder” and then stuck them in a “baby’s first picture” envelope. I totally have that shit on my fridge. No, I’m not pregnant, btw.

After all my wonderful medical adventures today, I hit up DTRO with Kristen and we had a LET’S GORGE OURSELVES ON DELICIOUS FOOD evening. And also discussed me flying in to Boston at the end of her teaching gig there in August, and then spending a week exploring the eastern seaboard. I said yes.

The best veggie enchiladas I’ve ever had. I couldn’t finish them, too much food baby.

Now I just have to tell my boss HEY, I’m actually gonna be gone for TWO weeks back to back in August! Sorry! And also gotta see whether I’ll be getting surgery. Hoping I don’t, fingers crossed.

I’m pretty excited about my 3 day weekend this week. My upcoming schedules are pretty fucking glorious. I have like 4 days off in a row one of these weeks. I’m planning on traveling somewhere then. I don’t care if it’s just to like Frankenmuth or something. I’M GOING SOMEWHERE DAMNIT, and it will not be just DTRO or Ferndale.