Buckle up, friends! Today we’re tackling periods and, more specifically, menstrual cups. I’ve been using a menstrual cup for about two years now after not knowing a whole lot about them. They’re certainly becoming a more popular option, but it’s surprising how many people still don’t know much about them. In fact, my OB/GYN had never seen one before I mentioned that I used one! I’ve become a convert and thought I’d share my DivaCup review with you.
Why I Got a DivaCup
I had heard a little bit about menstrual cups but finally decided to get one myself before our trip to Thailand. We were going for two weeks and I was expecting my period right in the middle of the trip. Luckily, my sister was living there at the time so she gave me the heads up that tampons are pretty hard to find in Thailand. Since we were planning on doing some serious beaching and swimming, I knew I would need to either pack a full supply of tampons with me or find another solution.
Another aspect of this trip was that we were packing only carry-on sized backpacks for the full two weeks. This meant there was no room to spare in my bag. Instead of taking up valuable space with a bunch of tampons and pads (yes, I used both, more on that later), I decided to try out a menstrual cup instead. One trip to my local CVS later and I was the proud owner of a DivaCup.
The Learning Curve
When buying a DivaCup (I haven’t looked into other brands but assume this applies) you have the choice between two options based on whether or not you’ve had a kid. Since my uterus has remained embryo-free, I got a Model 1. The cup itself is a pretty good size, a bit smaller than a shot glass, maybe? It’s made out of flexible silicone and has a little tab on the end to make removal easier.
I won’t lie, it took me a few tries to get used to inserting and removing my DivaCup. There’s a lot of talk of relaxing and “bearing down” but, long story short, you have to get pretty up close and personal with your lady parts. It’s nothing to be afraid of, but things can get messy pretty quickly. Basically, you have to kind of fold the cup into itself a little bit when inserting and make sure you’re nice and relaxed so your body accepts it. You’ll know if it isn’t in correctly, but after the first try, I didn’t have any troubles getting it in place.
I had a harder time with removal than insertion. The tab comes in handy for removal, but you do have to kind of force it out with your muscles a bit (this is where the “bearing down” comes in). Then you dump it out and rinse it if you’re in a private bathroom. If you’re in a public restroom and can’t access a sink, you just wipe it out with some toilet paper and hope for the best.
Alright, that’s enough with the details. Here’s what I think about the DivaCup.
My DivaCup Review: Why I Love it
Despite being on birth control, I’ve consistently had a heavy period. We’re talking bleeding through my pants in school, setting an alarm for 3 am to change things out not stain the sheets, that kind of thing. In fact, it got so bad that I would use a super tampon and a pad simultaneously on a regular basis, just to be sure.
This also meant that I was going through a lot of products each period. One of the reasons the DivaCup appealed to me was that I was sick of having to go to the store and drop more money every month to replenish my stash. And, while it certainly wasn’t my only motivational factor, it does feel good knowing I’m creating less waste each period.
So, all that said, the DivaCup has more than stood up to my menstrual needs. It holds one ounce of fluid and, according to the DivaCup website, the average woman’s cycle is one-to-two ounces. Now, I’m clearly outside that average because I’m double that, but even still it’s a good option. You can leave it inserted for up to 12 hours, which I do most days. Even on my heaviest days when I would be changing a tampon every two hours or so, I only need to empty my DivaCup once or twice throughout the day.
Some of you may not care about this, but there are measurement markers inside the cup so you can keep track of your period. For some people, that’s more than they want to know about their own bodies, but it came in handy for me last summer when I switched birth controls and was having some complications.
I also feel kind of…free when I use my DivaCup. Whereas before I had to make sure I had a handful of tampons in my purse every time I left the house while on my period, now I can just go. I already have everything I need with me! For others with lighter periods this might not be as big of a deal, but I used to feel like I was always planning and calculating while on my period. It’s nice to not have to deal with that anymore.
So, if it wasn’t obvious already, I HIGHLY recommend using a menstrual cup. Using my DivaCup has changed my relationship with my period, as dramatic as that sounds. In fact, I sometimes even forget I’m on my period when I use it! I don’t know how else to say it, guys. Get one. You’ll love it.
Have you ever used a menstrual cup? Do you have questions? Let’s talk about it!