No one really likes talking about their period, or having to keep up with tampons and pads all the time, but for most of us Aunt Flo is coming to town every month whether we are ready or not. Prior to this review, I had never used or even seen a menstrual cup. It only took me one “cycle” to know that I was officially converted, and 4 months later I still cannot rave enough. One of my most favorite things, aside from how easy it is to use, is how much time AND money I save by not having to run to the store and worry about being stocked up on tampons and pads every month. And who doesn't love saving time and money?
Why DivaCup? I had scrolled past talks of menstrual cups a time or two in my "crunchy" groups, but never paid them any mind. Then comes the eve of MommyCon Atlanta 2015, and I am trying to figure out which sessions I want to attend. When I noticed that Diva Cup was presenting, I wasn't sure what to think. Of course my initial (mainstream mind) was like "ewww, so gross." But I was sure there was something I was missing. When my friend whom I had been discussing the schedule with informed me she had used a cup for about 10 years, and I knew I had to shake my close mindedness away. I mean, what really made the concept of a cup gross? There is no risk of TSS (toxic shock syndrome- associated with the use of tampons), and you can completely skip the feeling of being diapered with a pad. After sitting in during their session, I was completely intrigued. Why had I never heard of these before and why were they not used by more women? Something that keeps everything in one place without having to constantly be reminded that you are on your period? Seemed like a miracle product to me.
My thoughts before trying it: When I opened my package, I was a little thrown. I wasn't sure how I was supposed to make this happen. The cup itself is really soft and cushy, and it folds and molds easily. It is made from 100% healthcare grade silicone that contain no plastics, dyes, or chemicals which left me with so much peace of mind. My biggest concern was having to go "up there" during "that time," but when you really think about it, it's not that different from a tampon without an applicator. I read and reread the instructions, unsure of how I was going to be able to dive in when my monthly visitor came back around. A few fellow cup using friends strongly urged me to test it out once or twice BEFORE my period came so that I could get used to the motions of inserting and removing. That's when I realized that I was even more scared to remove it than I was to put it in. (At least it goes in empty.) The thought of removing took me back to square one as far as my comfort level, but overall I was too excited about trying it to not give it a shot.
My experiences: The very first time I used the cup, I was a few days away from surfing the crimson wave and I wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing ahead of time. I opted to stand and used the tub ledge (about 1-1.5 feet tall) to prop my leg up and I struggled. (Experience taught me later that my leg wasn't high enough for my muscles to relax.) I tried the different options offered in the USER GUIDE for inserting, but nothing successful. I revisited the cup again a day later and this time I used the toilet instead of the tub and BOOM! No issues. I was so excited to have figured it out that I didn't even think about what came next. Figuring out how to remove it WITHOUT "making a mess." And this is why I was practicing beforehand!
When the time came for me to REALLY have to use the cup, I felt confident and ready to make the switch. I was still a little “eek” about having to get so personal with myself, but as long as you are near a sink with some soap and a hand towel you are going to be just fine. ALWAYS remove over the toilet or even in the tub, because it's better to be safe than sorry. I was honestly SO surprised at how easy it was to put in, and it wasn't as gross as I thought it would be. To get it situated, ALWAYS twist and "lock it" in place to prevent leaks. The trick is, to insert it as fully as possible before it expands. Once it's in place, I did not feel it WHATSOEVER, and after a short while I completely forgot I was even on my period. Removal was just as easy. For the first few times, you may want to try to remove it in the tub so that you don’t have to worry about any "whoopsies.” And remember, slow and steady wins the race here.
The one thing I want to point out, which seems obvious but never occurred to me until I learned the hard way, is that even though it is stated that you can go for 12 hours without having to empty it, you need to remember that your flow isn't the same each day. For example, I know that on day 2 and 3 I am going to have to empty a few more times than day 1, 4, or 5. (Those days I can usually go about 7-10 hours.)BUT, this was not an issue for me. It really is no different from when you have to change your tampon or pad after it gets “full.” The difference here is that you don’t have to worry about not having one of those on hand. You also don’t have to worry about any discomforts from the alternatives. Because let’s face it, tampon strings don’t always stay dry, and pads don’t always do the best job of keeping everything off of you. There have been several times where I have either completely forgotten or not had access to a bathroom to empty and rinse, and I noticed a slightly unpleasant smell that lingered even after washing with soap. But don't panic because it’s NOT permanent, but nonetheless it is there until you are able to leave the cup out to air dry for a short while. I noticed it would go away after sitting out for a day or two, even if I couldn't leave it out immediately. It is for this reason that I would recommend having an extra cup just in case. ;)
The only time that I really had an issue with using the DivaCup was when we were out and about and I had to use a public restroom. I hadn’t thought of what I would do in a “stall” situation. I ended up just emptying and reusing, but now I know to carry a bottle of water with me when we go out so that I can use that to rinse. (Don't forget to grab a few paper napkins!) Being in the confined space didn't bother me since I had previously taken the time to practice and learn my cup.
Now, I do have to admit that I have used ONE tampon since I converted to the cup. (During my second period.) Honestly, just one and no pads. It was crazy how different it felt after using a cup and it did not last for too long. It was SO uncomfortable and I could literally feel it the whole time. I took it out a few minutes after I used the restroom, because nobody likes a wet string in their lap, and I have yet to use anything else since. And I don't intend on changing that anytime soon either. What I wish I could change is the fact that so many people don’t even know a product like this exist.
So far: I have used this cup for 4 periods and I have no intention of stopping. Here are some reasons why I love it: -I don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money every month on something that is a natural part of my life. I buy one cup and that is all I need! (Since The DivaCup is a personal hygienic product, a general guideline is to replace it once a year, but ultimately, it is up to the consumer to decide when it is necessary to replace the cup.) -The DivaCup can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time and needs only to be cleaned 2-3 times a day with warm water and the DivaWash or a mild, unscented, oil-free soap. -I only have to wash it 2-3 times a day with warm water and Diva W -I don’t have to worry making last minute trips to the store OR not having "one" in my purse when out and about -I love being environmentally friendly -No odors and minimum leaks -It's the best thing to ever happen to my period.
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*Kindly note that I was not compensated for this review