Disclaimer- this article talks about womanly things. If you don’t want to read about it, or don’t want graphic descriptions, then please, feel free to move on to a different article.

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For those of you who may not have heard of it, a Dive Cup is a product for women. Diva Cup is a brand-name for a type of menstrual cups, just like Advil is a brand name for the analgesic/anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen.
A Dive Cup is a relatively small, silicone cup, the is inserted into the vagina. It creates a suction-seal over your cervix (the part where your vagina attaches to your uterus essentially) and all of the menstrual flow is caught in the cup. Twice a day you remove and rinse out the cup and put it back in.
I cannot say enough for how amazing these products are. There are several different brands of menstrual cups, however the Diva Cup is the only one widely available in my area so it is the only one I have tried so far. I would like to try some different brands only because I personally find the Diva Cup on the large side for my body size, as well as for my flow. I am fortunate to have a very light flow, so I never have to worry about this cup overflowing, in fact, it has never even been more than 1/4 full any time I have emptied it, so I think I would be ok to try a smaller one that is a bit easier for me to insert. That being said, I can still manage this one just fine.

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The idea of the Diva Cup is really quite simple. Now for the nitty gritty details – you will have to get very up close and personal with your vagina in order for this product to work. Some people report that it takes them several tries, even several months to become pro users of this fabulous little cup. I can understand why. Placing it inside yourself is not the easiest thing to do. Making sure it is sealed and inserted properly is difficult – it’s not like most of us can go ask someone if it is “in” right. Who would you even ask??!!?? haha. It is kind of awkward to be sticking your fingers up there during that time of the month also. And what if you’re in a public bathroom? Things can get complicated. On the rare occasion also messy. But know this – IT IS WORTH IT. So worth it. Here’s why:
1. Eco-friendly. You aren’t throwing away dozens of tampons and/or pads each month. Or the packaging from these products. Or the toilet paper from wrapping up pads or tampons to discard them in a discreet manner.
2. Cost effective. Spend $40 +/- one time on a menstrual cup, or spend approximately $20/month for all of your childbearing years on disposable products. (I realize some people out there use re-useable pads or similar products, however that is not generally the norm)
3. YOUR HEALTH! I don’t know about you, but sticking a bleached, processed, rayon-cotton product into my body isn’t that appealing. Also, tampons gave me severe migraine-style headaches. I do not know why. Furthermore I personally know 2 different people who have experienced the horribly unpleasant and life threatening “Toxic Shock Syndrome” associated with tampon use. As well, your vagina naturally lubricates itself, and when using tampons, not only is the menstruation absorbed, but also the natural lubricant that your body needs, thus leaving some people with dryness, itching, and imbalances, possibly leading to yeast infections or other unpleasantness.
4. Ease of use – once you get accustomed to using a menstrual cup, it is so easy and handy that you really wonder how you managed before. Long road trips, flights, camping, traveling (not every country or city sells disposable menstrual products ya know), even just sleeping a full 8 hours or more is made exponentially easier. Also, unlike tampons or pads, you don’t have to change this every 4-8 hours. I rinse mine once when I wake up and once before bed, and that’s IT. Easy.
5. Time saving. Like I just mentioned, no trips to the bathroom every morning, and on your lunch break, maybe once more in the evening, then again before bed. Even more often if you have a heavy flow or are prone to tampon-related headaches like me.
6. Educational. I know, it is kind of gross to think about having to touch a little cup filled with your own flow. But you are learning about your body and its natural discharges. You see what is normal for your own body. If you need to know, for medical reasons or what have you, how much volume is coming out of you, the Diva Cup has measurements in ounces on the side of the cup. You get more in touch with your body and its natural cycles. I think that is a good thing. And for those on the squeamish side, it really doesn’t look or smell “gross” and you get used to it all pretty darn quick.
7. Convenience – it will not harm you to put the cup in the day or night before you are expecting your period. It will not harm you if you leave it in for over 8 hours. It is small (not like a whole box of tampons or pads) and can fit into a pocket, carry-on, makeup bag, etc. It is easy to clean (wash with mild soap and warm water, or even sometimes just rinse it with warm water, and boil it to sanitize it once/month at the end of your period)

Some disadvantages to this cup (so few, really) are that for me personally, I find it a little too “big”. I am a very small lady and I still have a difficult time fitting the cup in and positioning it perfectly because of its size. I have heard that other brands make smaller and/or more flexible cups, so I am planning to try out some other ones and see if this problem is alleviated. I find that it makes it easier to insert the cup if I run it under warm water first to lubricate it a bit.
Also, when you are first learning how to use it, leaks from improper positioning can be an issue. I suggest using a panty liner or pad as a backup method of protection until you are fully comfortable using it.
Impatience is also an issue because for some people it may take several tries and several periods to get the hang of it. This was not the case for me, I am a smug Diva Cup user, I admit it, I “got it” right away and was damn proud of it. That didn’t stop me from hurriedly/lazily inserting it incorrectly one night and having to wash all my bedsheets. Stuff happens… haha.

So here is a run-down of my “cycle” and routine when using a Diva Cup.
Day 1 – expecting my period. Insert cup either that morning, or the night before. I always do it that morning, because I have never gotten my period overnight on the first day. Lucky me I guess. In the evening, remove cup, rinse with warm water, ensure all “bits” are removed. (there are 4 tiny holes around the top area of the cup which aid in suction, so you have to make sure that they are rinsed clean. I usually bend the silicone around the tiny holes, because it is so flexible it washes clean right away) Carefully re-insert it for bed time. Walk around a bit before bed to make sure it feels right, then go to sleep.
Day 2 – wake up, pee, wash hands, remove and rinse cup with warm water and soap. Re insert. Go about my day. In the evening, rinse it with warm water, re insert it, and go to bed.
Day 3 – whenever cycle ends – repeat.
Last day of cycle – when your period is finished, remove the cup and rinse it well with warm water and soap. *ALWAYS make sure you rinse off all of the soap, anytime you put soap on the cup. You lady parts will thank you for it. Put a small pot of water on the stove top to boil or boil about 2 cups of water in a kettle. Bathe the cup in boiling water, if using a pot then be careful not to let it stick/melt to the pot. If using a kettle, pour boiling water over the cup while it sits in a bowl of some sort. Remove the cup from the boiling water, pat it dry, place it in the little cloth bag that it comes with, and store it until next month. I leave mine in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. Just make sure it can “breathe”, you don’t want to trap any moisture in/on it.

Insertion Tips/Other Tips & Tricks:

-Diva Cup sells also a Diva Wash to clean the cup. I find this is really not necessary as I already use very mild soaps. If you rinse well, you should not have a problem. Also the only way to really safely sanitize the cups are the boil them anyways.
-When you are inserting it, take your time. Lock the bathroom door so no one accidentally barges in on you, fingers-deep. Relax. Moisten the cup with water to help lubricate it.
-Read all of the pamphlets that come with the cup. The information is useful, and gives how-to’s and diagrams.
-Always wash your hands before handling your lady bits and your Diva Cup.
-As you may have noticed in some of the above photos, the cup has a little post coming out of the bottom of it. This is for you to grasp to remove the cup. I found it irritating because it was too long, so I snipped it off with scissors. Worked great for me, however removing the cup was a little more difficult at first.
-To remove the cup, tug it gently. It is suctioned in there, it will hurt if you just yank it out. Also, try to keep it upright when removing so as to avoid any awkward spills. It helps to “bear down” – pushing your pelvic floor muscles down – when removing it.

I find I have to use two hands to insert the cup – one hand to fold it, and the other hand to give it a gentle push up inside me. The folding part is essential for me, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get it in there without some serious effort and lube!

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These are some images to give you a better idea of what insertion is like. Honestly you guys, or should I say gals, it is not that bad! Once you get used to it, I don’t think you would ever even think of going back to tampons or pads. In fact they begin to seem passe and unsanitary once you use a menstrual cup. I am so so glad I found this and had the guts to try it out! I am looking forward to finding a smaller sized cup though. (the Diva Cup comes in 2 sizes, and I used the smaller of the two, which comes in the pink box. The teal/blue box is the larger size, recommended for mothers who have given birth vaginally, those with larger frames, those with very heavy flow, etc.)

Have any of you lovely ladies tried a menstrual cup, or specifically a Diva Cup? What did you think? Are you willing to give it a try? Let me know in the comments!
xo

*all images of the Diva Cup taken from their own website. http://www.divacup.com

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