ss_blog_claim=80281e8a6739f8d9e9a2abcd6c0ea72d

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Diva Cup

This post is about the female reproductive system so if you are a man you may want to skip this post and if you are a woman offended by a discussion of our monthly flow, you may want to do the same. Now that I've gotten that disclaimer out of the way, let me get right down to it. I have been menstruating since I was 12 years old. For many years I used tampons exclusively because I liked the convenience, lack of bulkiness and the fact that I rarely experienced leaks with them. About five years ago I started using pads at night because I wanted to let things "flow" so to speak. For about a decade I've been thinking about the choices I make regarding my monthly visitor. In 2000, I visited a natural foods store because I had an immediate need and I used unbleached cotton tampons for the first time. As I read the box I realized that the products I used were potentially putting toxins in my body.

After reading that I briefly thought about changing to organic products (which tend to be a little pricier) but stayed with the mainstream for convenience and costeffectiveness . When I was expecting my son and exploring options for diapering I discovered the world of reusable pads. It sounded interesting but I was a bit squeamish about keeping a "pot" filled with my used pads until time for washing (I've since learned that there are other options). At that time I was nursing so I didn't have a need for them anyway. I think this was also when I first read about devices like the "moon cup" and the "diva cup." These receptacles are inserted in the vagina to hold the menstrual flow.

It sounded intriguing but the upfront cost of about $30 seemed a little steep for something I wasn't sure that I'd like. In my local pharmacy I have seen Instead disposals that are similar to the cups but I was still unsure about trying them out. Finally, last month I read a review of a Diva Cup written by my friend Amy. She loves her Diva Cup and since I trust her opinion I decided to give it a try.
Well, let me tell you, I am a convert! I love my cup. Love, love, love it. The packaging was really cute - a nice fabric holder and a cute Diva pin were included in the kit. Personally I don't see myself ever wearing my "Diva" pin but you never know. The Diva Cup is made of 100% silicone, is hypoallergenic and FDA approved. The Diva Cup is available in 2 sizes, size 1 for women under 30 that have never given birth and size 2 for women over 30 and/or have give birth. The Diva cup holds 1 ounce and at minimum you empty the cup twice a day, wash and reinsert. Although the site says the average cycle is about 1.5 ounces, I've read elsewhere that it ranges from 1 - 4 ounces. This is important information because I initially was concerned when my flow was higher than the average on the Diva Cup site but my nerves were quickly settled when after research I realized I am in normal range. In addition to the cup I opted to purchase the Diva Wash, a grapefruit scented natural soap wash for the cup. Of course this was optional, you can use any natural cleanser that you like but for convenience I ordered the Diva Wash. I paid $27.00 for the Diva cup and the wash on Amazon (the cup alone was 18 bucks, the most inexpensive price I've seen on theInternet). I know the cup is also available in some natural food stores you can check the website for store locations.

To use the cup wash, fold and insert. Give it a turn to ensure that it is opened completely and the seal has been made and that is it. To remove the cup, you bare down and grasp the stem on the bottom of the cup. Then squeeze the base of the cup to break the seal. I do have to say there is a learning curve for insertion. The website provides several different folding styles and after practice you will figure out the one that works best for you. I have read that some people have a little difficulty with insertion and experience discomfort, this indicates that it is not inserted properly and needs to be adjusted. I personally sit down to insert mine to ensure that I am placing it horizontally rather than vertically. Unlike tampons it does not sit high near your cervix but it is held fairly low in the vaginal canal and the walls hold it in place. Once it is in properly I can't even feel it. However, when it is full I do feel the cup. I've experienced very minimum leakage that I wear a pantyliner to take care of. Once I am used to the Diva Cup completely, I am pretty sure that I won't experience any leakage at all.

In other reviews of the Diva Cup I've read some concerns about using the cup in public. The beauty of the cup is that with good timing you can avoid removing it in public. And if you ever do need to remove it you can carry wipes to clean it out while in the toilet stall. Another concern was spillage, but so far I haven't experienced any when removing my cup. I sit on the toilet for removal and even if it spilled that wouldn't be problematic it would go straight in the bowl. Depending on your flow your hands may get a little blood on them but soap and water take care of that. I've experience this with other feminine products so this is no big deal as far as I am concerned. Overall, I'd recommend this for anyone but particularly for women that already use tampons, diaphragms, the Today sponge or any other device that has be to be inserted into the vagina. It takes a certain level of comfort with your body to use this type of product. I also think if you've had a vaginal birth you should certainly give this a try. A baby is much larger than the Diva Cup!

This is my first month using the cup but I am looking forward to not going down the feminine product aisle ever again. I know that by making this choice I am reducing my contribution to the 12 billion pads and 7 million tampons annually disposed of in North American landfills. This small change has a major impact on our environment and I am really kicking myself for not doing this sooner. Another benefit is money savings. On average I was spending $6.oo a month on feminine products- the cup pays for itself in 3 months and I can get at least a year of usage out of it!

My use of the Diva Cup has inspired me so much that I also purchased reusable pantyliners, they are on in the mail as I type!



I found a great Etsy shop called Honey Bee Hill and the owner Melissa has been very helpful. She is having a baby any minute now (literally! last night she was in labor when I placed my order) so her shop is currently closed but check out her blog for more detailed information about reusable pads. I think the pantyliners are good to have around just in case of leaks and for general everyday use. At some point I may go all the way and use reusable pads when I want to take a break from my Diva Cup.

I hope that reading about my experience has helped you to at least start thinking about options out there. I know at first it may seem a little strange or you may feel squeamish about using the Diva Cup but this is one of the best decisions I have made in a long time.

31 comments:

Sheliza said...

I have officially heard and seen it all!!! I am speechless...

Evolving Mommy Catherine said...

I just saw the diva cup on a website carrying natural products for mothers and babies. I was curious about how it worked, how well it worked and if it was worth it and then I noticed your post...perfect timing. Thanks for sharing!

Dr. Rhonda said...

Renee, thanks for posting this. I have been looking at the Diva Cup for about a year now (after seeing it in my local co-op and doing some online research) and searching for someone with experience using it prior to buying it. Needless to say I am going on Amazon right now to buy mine. Thanks!

MizBurns said...

THANK YOU Renee. I've comtemplated this. Even tried to look for it once while I was i the states. I've been wanting to take a break from pads and tampons and now (especially since I am on summer break) I will make a solid effort to order one and try it out. I've heard other testimonies, but I truly do value your opinion and honesty. Thanks!

Ava said...

Thank you Renee for a very enlightening review!
I no longer have this problem, but will pass this on to my daughters and daughter in laws.
Would have been useful back when I had my "visitor".
Thanks

Sheena @ Mommy Daddy Blog said...

I see you did it! I've been seriously considering the pantyliners but I let the laundry pile up :-/ sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Love my Diva Cup, which I've used since January. (But I cut the whole stem off b/c it was uncomfortable. And no, I don't have any trouble removing it.)

I've read on a green blogs that the Diva should last much longer than 1 year but that the company was compelled by government regulations to put the 1 yr. thing on their web site. Here is a post about it, if interested:

http://www.thecrunchychicken.com/2008/09/divacup-drops-environmental-ball.html

And here is another post if any of your readers like the idea of the Diva but want to see all the options.

http://www.thecrunchychicken.com/2009/06/two-years-of-divacup.html

Thanks so much for telling women about this wonderful product. My ob/gyn hadn't even heard of it when I asked her about it!

Stepfanie said...

Very interesting.. I have a friend who uses this and have thought of doing it to. Your post made it sound really nice.

I'm also having my very first giveaway: A Personalized Mommy Blogger Tote. Visit my blog at www.stepfaniestimeout.com

Calinda said...

I'm not sure I'll use it as my flow is definitely not in the "normal" range but I'm glad to se this post, nonetheless. We talk about how disposable diapers are filling landfills all the time but, I guess, sensitivity about "women's issues" makes us loathe to think about the very similar products used for sanitary needs. This seems like it's a really eco-friendly alternative and I'm ALL for that! Thanks for this interesting and eco-friendly/eco-responsible recommendation. As a mommy, I sure do want a world left for my son that's not just one big garbage pile!

Michele Dugar said...

Wow. This is the first I heard of diva cups and I am intrigued. I'm going to give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

Michele Dugar said...

Question: Is the frequency that you empty the Diva Cup similar to when you used/removed a tampon?

Renée aka Mekhismom said...

@Michele, you keep it in much longer than tampons. Depending on your flow you can keep it in for up to 12 hours at a time. I was able to do this the first day but now empty it 3 times a day. Still much less often than with tampons.

Naomi said...

I was surprised at how easy the Diva Cup was to use although I must admit that it's easier to use when you don't have kids who follow you into the bathroom constantly...

African-American Brides said...

So glad you reviewed this, Renee! I've been so curious about the Diva Cup and The Keeper but was too chicken to take the leap. I've been using reusable pads for the last year or so, but the Diva cup seems like even less hassle. Thanks for giving me that last little nudge to try it out. ;)

African American Mom said...

*mouth hung wide open*

I am embarrassed that almost all the commentors seemed to have had some knowledge about this type of thing but, me on the other hand---I am sitting here trying to pick my bottom lip up off the floor.

Ms. Bar B: said...

Thanks for the full review Renee. All the women that I know who use the cup seem to love it. It definitely sounds worth at least trying. I am going to think about it more now!

Sara said...

here's a great video about using The DivaCup in public washrooms.

Sara said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzW4Tbj9_jw&feature=channel_page

CaraBee said...

I have never heard of this! Not sure what I think. I certainly like the idea of no more tampons and pads, but I'm a little nervous about this.

resplendentlife said...

Hey Renee, great review of the diva cup!! I have had my cycle since 11 and it has been a thorn in my side. My flow is always heavy. So heavy that I use the heavy/ overnight pads everyday of my cycle.
My mom + those posters in the locker room about TSS scared me away from using tampons, so I've been an inconvenienced pad girl all my life.
I did try Instead and liked it, but found it extremely messy to remove. A little blood on the fingers is one thing, but it was EXTREMELY messy. I probably wasn't doing it right.
Anywhoo, great review and I'll be sure to give it a whirl.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I'm going to try it. I HATE spending $ on tampons!

Petula said...

This is a great review. I've heard of reusable pads, but I don't recall hearing about the Diva Cup. I don't even like using tampons so I'm not sure I would like this, but if I ever decide then I trust your word and will check this out. Reusable pantyliners, huh? Never thought of that. You're right about the contribution to the landfill. SIGH, now I'll feel guilty about that along with the styrofoam plates I throw away. No dishwasher and the teenager is away at college!

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I have been using the "Keeper" (just like the Diva cup) for years now and it's true- I don't even think about it anymore! So much more convenient and safer for your body! I'm glad you liked it and are spreading the word!

Steph

I am Arizona; a person, not a place. said...

I have been using a Diva Cup for a year now and love it. I seriously wish I had started using it a long time ago! I have had no problems inserting or removing it and its true, you don't feel it when its in. That wasn't always true for me with tampons. I HATED tampons, but used them because pads were worse (bulky and yucky). I wasn't aware of the year "expiration date" with the Diva Cup, but since it's made of silicone, I'm not worried about it expiring. I'll use my current Diva Cup for another year probably...depends on if it shows wear. lol...how would it show wear?

Thanks for posting your review. I think the Diva Cup is a wonderful product. It's great that you are sharing your experience!

hicksgirl93 said...

I have to say that I truly appreciated your candidness in this post. I have used something similar to this over 10 yrs ago, but was not convinced to use it for more than one cycle because it was so messy! However after reading your post, I am wanting to try it again. Obviously the concept of this type of product has greatly improved. And You definately got me interested in the reusable pantyliners again...The power of Mommy blogging!

Anonymous said...

I have never seen such a thing!!!! I will be looking it up though.

Rhonda said...

I'll definitely check this out!! With me and two daughters those supplies get awfully expensive!!!

Mommyaulait said...

OH, I don't know why these things make me giggle so much. I've heard about these, but I get the church giggles every time I consider it. Which would be difficult giggling and diva cup(ping) and wrangling a couple of kids in a public bathroom or home bathroom.

Thank you for the wonderful review though. I'll consider it more. Because really how gross is changing tampons and pads every twenty minutes? (insert all the 8th grade tampon & pad jokes that apply)

fly tie said...

yeah, i've read so many good things about the diva cup on nappturality.com, and after 15 yrs. of going through it all, started thinking about converting. i'm still on the fence about it, however your post certainly gets me one step closer.

Christie-A Work In Progress said...

Ummm...ditto what Sheliza said. WOW! But I have to say I am definitely curious!

Fruitful Vine2 said...

I've heard of the Diva Cup but was skeptical. I've had both my boys via c-section so I'm not sure how it would feel.

There was an error in this gadget
Blog Widget by LinkWithin
 
Clicky Web Analytics