Ladies, this post is for you. If you’re a man, you can read this if you’re curious, but you’ll likely find it TMI. Fair warning!
I am not one of those women who has uncomfortable or irregular periods. Cramping and bloating aren’t ever issues. And flow-management has always been simple. I wore tampons.
(We don’t need to go into why pads squick me out, but suffice it to say I find them icky.)
Yet after the birth of my most recent child a few years ago, I noticed a subtle shift in my flow. It was heavier. This was likely due to hormonal changes, and my flow was nothing outside the realm of perfectly ordinary. Nevertheless, as I adjusted to life with a heavier period, managing those periods became even more annoying.
I would put in a Super Plus tampon, but find it leaking within an hour! Sometimes this was because the tampon was full, but most often it was just because it started mysteriously leaking.
After enough frustrating leak experiences, I caved and began wearing tampons and pads.
“Have you heard of a menstrual cup?”
A friend asked me one day after listening to a rant about managing my periods.
Such a simple question.
Ladies, it changed my life. Hopefully, it can change yours.
A menstrual cup is pretty much what it sounds like — a tiny cup made out of medical grade silicone that is inserted into your vagina and seated below your cervix. Its purpose? To catch your menstrual flow.
When inserted correctly, a menstrual cup is a convenient, reusable, comfortable, leak-free alternative to tampons or pads.
I don’t know about you, but I’m completely won over by the idea of a leak-free, comfortable period. Pads alternate between feeling stiff and damp, and tampons inevitably feel somewhat achy after a while.
I chose the Diva Cup.
There are many good menstrual cups on the market, and just as many women who swear by their favorite brand. I opted for the Diva Cup for one reason — name recognition.
Yes, it’s a shallow reason to pick this one above others. But the Diva Cup is the #1 selling menstrual cup in the world, and that usually means they’re doing something right.
Plus, I figured if I absolutely hated it or couldn’t make it work, I could try a different brand.
My Diva Cup experience.
I bought the Diva Cup #2 Post-Pregnancy model because I’ve given birth to three children.
The Diva Cup’s instructions provided two folding methods for insertion. There are, in fact, dozens of folds to choose from, and each fold has an ardent fan base.
I’d have to experiment. I’d have to find the fold that worked consistently for me.
Day One of Diva Cupping
This day was a bit of a bust. While inserting the cup using the different folds was different levels of tricky, the end result was almost always the same:
The cup felt uncomfortable; it eventually worked it’s way down and would poke out. And, every other time I inserted it I apparently didn’t get a good seal or know what that was yet because it would leak.
Needless to say, I cried.
Day Two of Diva Cupping
I went online, trying to figure out why my Diva Cup poked out. It turns out, my cervix is low and a little tilted.
This is perfectly normal, particularly after childbirth, and explains why I suddenly developed a problem with leaking tampons after decades of them being sufficient.
But could I still get the Diva Cup to work?
YES! I read online that women who have low (or tilted) cervixes can make a Diva Cup work flawlessly for them with one simple fix — turning it inside out.
So, I did as instructed, turned my Diva Cup inside out, inserted it with a C-fold, felt it seal & seat easily so that it felt like a circle inside me (not flat or squished).
And you know what happened?
It felt comfortable!
It didn’t leak!
It didn’t slip down as the day wore on!
I’ve since worn my Diva Cup through three menstrual cycles.
Why I love my Diva Cup
- It pays for itself. — Because it’s reusable and lasts a decade or more, it’ll pay for it’s $28 price tag within 3 months. Then after that, I’ll never have to buy another tampon or pad as long as I live.
- It’s soooo comfortable! — I swear it feels like there’s nothing in there. It’s almost like I can forget I’m menstruating.
- I wear the same cup on light days and heavy days. — You can leave it in up to 12 hours before removing it and rinsing it out. When my period’s at it’s heaviest, that drops down to about 3 hours.
- I never have to worry about running out of sanitary supplies again. — There’s no worse feeling in the world than realizing at 11pm that I’ve run out of tampons. No one likes emergency runs to the store. In the middle of the night. During their freaking period. With underwear stuffed full of toilet paper. (Don’t tell me this has never happened to you!)
- It’s a lifesaver when traveling or backpacking. — When packing space is an issue, there’s zero need to reserve room for a week’s worth of sanitary supplies.
I also love my Diva Cup for what it isn’t — a tampon.
What’s wrong with tampons?
Tampons are laden with more than 23 toxic chemicals including bleach. As recently as 2018, consumer advocacy groups were verifying alarming toxicity rates in tampons through third party testing.
It never occurred to me before I started researching it, but now I can’t get over how obviously bad it is.
Does it make any kind of intuitive sense to stuff your vagina full of bleach? Or pesticide-laden cotton?
I never quite connected the dots about Toxic Shock Syndrome and tampons before, but Toxic Shock Syndrome is caused by tampons.
(Why is TSS considered an acceptable risk of wearing tampons?)
Furthermore, tampons alter the pH of the vagina. This has been linked to recurring yeast infections in susceptible ladies.
And while there are organic varieties of tampons available, you’re still dealing with the fact that it’s dry, uncomfortable cotton sitting up in your vagina and plugging your cervix.
(Why are we plugging our cervixes like bleeding wounds when we should be letting our menstrual fluids OUT?)
Couldn’t you just buy reusable cloth pads?
Yes, you could. The definitive word here being YOU.
Remember what I said about pads squicking me out? Well, they do. I don’t like seeing all that blood. I would like routinely washing it out of cloth pads even less.
But doesn’t the Diva Cup make you see your blood?
A little. But not much.
When I remove it, I’m sitting on the toilet. I immediately dump the cup’s contents into the toilet, so I only ever really “see” the empty cup. It’s easy to quickly rinse it out in the sink, and then immediately reinsert it.
Where to buy a Diva Cup
Diva Cups are pretty common, but Amazon carries them at a discount. And since I’m a Prime member, I get free, two-day shipping.
Remember, you’ll want to pick the size that suits you (Pre-Birth vs. Post-Birth).