I’ve always felt as though I should be exempt from having a menstrual period. I have the body of a small boy and therefore it didn’t seem fitting. Still, when I was about 13, my cycle began and I’ve had to deal with it ever since. My mother was old school so during my first few periods I had to walk around wearing a giant maxi pad, probably no name brand (or was it Kotex?), and worry that everyone could see it under my pants. Not only was it bulky, it felt disgusting and I hated having to wrap it up afterwards for the garbage.
I was determined to figure out how to use tampons. The tampon has the pad beat hands down but they can still leak and then there’s still that string. Although the string is invisible to the outside world other than the rare bikini or thong/skirt mishap, it’s still pretty gross. And if you’re an athlete, you’re still left with plenty of worries, even using the tampon.
Enter the Diva Cup. I was shopping at one of those environmentally-friendly, recycled goods stores when I initially saw the Diva Cup. I was intrigued by how clean it looked, but I was kind of afraid to try it because I thought it might hurt. Also, the Diva Cup cost about forty dollars as compared to an eight-dollar box of tampons. So I didn’t buy it that day, but I did some research. I visited their website to get more information and read customer testimonials. It seemed that everyone who tried it absolutely loved it.
So what is The Diva Cup? It’s a reusable menstrual cup made of the highest quality healthcare-grade silicone. It is free of latex, plastic, PVC, acrylic, acrylate, BPA, phthalate, elastomer, polyethylene and dye to ensure zero irritation to sensitive skin. The bell-shaped cup sits low in the vaginal canal to collect menstrual flow for disposal and under the rim of the cup, there are four small holes that create a seal and keep it in place to prevent leakage.
Cost is addressed on the Diva Cup website also. They suggest that the cost of tampons over the span of a year is about $150, but really, if a woman changes her tampon every six hours and her cycle lasts five days, that’s only twenty tampons so a box of forty at about $8 would last two months. Over the span of a year, the Diva Cup would only save the average woman between $8 and $16. For me, it isn’t about cost, it’s about comfort and hygiene.
I’ve been using the Diva Cup for about 2.5 years now and it now feels as though I’m wearing nothing at all. The cup is not removed using a string or other external apparatus. Its base has a short stem (which is not felt at all, nor does it protrude from the vagina) and a ridged base that can be easily grasped for removal.
It did take me a couple of months to get used to using the Diva Cup and I had a hard time inserting it properly at times. Now that I’ve gotten used to it and I’ve visited the site again for this review, I can see that everything I needed to know about proper insertion is available there, although it does come with instructions, which I may have misinterpreted. One of the things I would have done in the past is let it sit in warm water before inserting it at the beginning of a new cycle as the silicone becomes softer as it warms. That’s why it is so comfortable as it’s being worn.
The Diva Cup website states “Many women do not realize that the feminine hygiene products they use are the culprits of their vaginal discomfort. The vagina is self-cleansing and continually produces fluid that ‘flushes’ the vagina. When a tampon is inserted, its composition of rayon and cotton absorbs your vagina’s protective fluid, drying out and disrupting its normal pH levels.” It’s not something I had thought about while using tampons, but I do feel healthier in that regard. The Diva Cup holds up to 30ml of fluid, which is the average flow for an entire period, and only has to be emptied and cleaned every ten to twelve hours. There are two sizes: one for women under 30 who haven’t given birth and one for women over 30 and/or who have given birth.
Although the Diva Cup makes a huge difference for any woman during her menstrual cycle, it is ideal for extreme athletes, swimmers, Brazilian jiu jitsu and MMA fighters, victims of celebrity upskirt photos, and women who just want to go camping. It might even prevent a bear attack. There is nothing to dispose of, it is undetectable from outside of the body, and can be easily emptied and cleaned in any bathroom. My suggestion to the company is to make biodegradable wet wipes for women to carry in their purses for these occasions.
When it comes to care and cleaning, one of the things I really like about the cup is that it can be boiled for sterilization after my cycle, although women who don’t live alone might want to schedule this privately so as not to mentally scar their families. Additionally, the Diva Wash is a plant-based cleanser offered by the company to clean the Diva Cup, but it can also be used as a face and body wash. Still, the Diva Cup does become discolored over time and although that does not affect its performance, I prefer to replace it within about a year for that reason.
Talking about my menstrual period isn’t something I do often, but as an athlete who regularly wraps her legs around people’s heads, I understand the importance of quality feminine hygiene products. I hope other women are inspired to try the Diva Cup and enjoy training worry-free every day regardless of what time of the month it is. I can guarantee they’ll regret not trying it sooner.
The Diva Cup is available for $39.99 at various online pharmacies.