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.