I’m a pretty low maintenance person when it comes to…well, pretty much everything. Diva is not a descriptor that anyone uses when talking about me.
However, once a month my inner Diva comes out–or maybe goes in 🙂
That’s right! It’s time for another internet review of the Diva Cup!
The Diva Cup is a type of menstrual cup. A menstrual cup is a cup that (for lack of a fancier way of saying this) is shoved up your hoo-hah and used to catch blood during your monthly cycle. Don’t worry, there won’t be any TMI photos of blood, or of an engorged cervix (I had an experience on Google Images just a moment ago. Scarred. For. Life.). I will, however, talk about my experience with this thing. So, if you’re someone like my dad, maybe you’ll want to stop reading. If you came here specifically for a Diva Cup review, then carry on.
I actually found out about this whole menstrual cup thing while reading about a female’s solo thruhike of the Appalachian Trail. She got one to try out, because it’s pretty impractical to carry boxes of tampons, pads, or pantyliners along with you while you hike for 6 months. She said she liked it, and I had some extra money I needed to blow at REI, so I figured I’d give it a shot.
Well, I’m hooked. I won’t lie, it took a cycle or three to get used to. The first thing I noticed was that the stem kept poking me. Ouch. I trimmed it, and trimmed it until it hit the minimum length I thought I was supposed to go. Thanks to a photo over at Green Idea Reviews, I saw that I could practically take the stem off. The stem is definitely not needed to pull this thing out. You’ll want to pull from the cup anyways, as you need to break the suctioned seal as you take it out.
The poking feeling wasn’t my only concern. I was also worried about how good the seal actually was. Was I going to be fine for a few hours, only to have an entire cup of blood run down my leg? I’ve got a pretty heavy flow, and it would have been AWFUL if this cup spilled. Well, I’m here to tell you (almost) all is well. I’ve never had the cup break a seal, but I have had it overflow. This is usually on my second night, where my flow is the heaviest. I have to make sure to reach it before 9 hours of wear. That means if I sleep in or if I don’t dump it right before bed the night before I’ll have a leak. It’s usually not awful – nothing a pantyliner can’t stop, but it can be a pain.
But I did mention that you can normally keep it in for 12 hours at a time with no problems or overflows?!? That’s right, only deal with your period twice a day. No trying to keep tampon strings out of pee streams, no pain from pulling out a too dry tampon, no cursing the gods because your super-maxi-uber-plus-gigantor tampon has leaked YET AGAIN, and for whatever reason my awfully painful cramps have completely subsided. I mean, seriously. This cup is pure magic. And, you never need to worry about having a tampon with you. I was the worst about that. I don’t normally carry a purse or bag of any sort, and would always leave for a big long adventure out of the house without the three tampons I’d need to make it through the day. Since your diva cup is always with you, you never need to worry about being left high and dry (or high and not-so-dry as the case may be).
So, that’s the awesomeness that is the Diva Cup. You can buy it online at REI or Amazon, or at your local health foods store. They come it two sizes (essentially pre and post-childbirth), and they’re around $40.
Did the price tag shock you a bit? Yeah, me too. Until I looked at the cost of what I was normally using. So for me a normal period consisted of: (4 super plus tampons + 3 pantyliners) X 6 days = 24 tampons and 18 pantyliners. Let say a box of 36 tampons costs $14, and a box of 60 liners is $7. Yearly, I’d use 288 tampons and 216 liners. Six boxes of tampons at $14 is $84, and four boxes of liners is another $28. $112 per year just in feminine products. The diva cup can also be used for more than one year. In fact, some have been using theirs for up to 10 years. So for less than $4 a year you can have a cleaner, safer, and cheaper alternative! Not to mention all the waste that is no longer clogging up the landfills…sounds good to me.
And while we’re on the subject of waste, let’s talk about liner and pads. 216 liners a year for 35+ years is no small number! I decided last year that I wanted to try cloth liners. I bought some really cute ones off of etsy that are made by a mother/daughter team in Canada. Sweet Sparrow Designs makes some organic cotton liners with a waterproof layer to protect from leaks. Unfortunately, the FDA has tried cracking down on cloth pantyliners (or mama cloths, as some call them), so they aren’t able to ship to the US right now.
These are very comfortable, and they protect better than any other liner I’ve tried. Once they’re used, you just wash them like you’d normally wash clothes. I put them in a lingerie bag, but other than that I don’t do anything special for them. I’ve ordered some new ones from a different company, and will review them when I have the chance to try them out 🙂
What about you? Are you ready to try a menstrual cup? Do you already use the cup, and are you ready to jump to cloth liners? What are your reasons for the switch?