Before I begin my review I’d like to begin with a small caution for readers who are not comfortable reading about blood and sexual organs. While these are natural processes and parts, they can still be upsetting or uncomfortable to read about. I try to minimize some of this by using more medically and scientifically appropriate terms, but it’s there. And it is there because I wanted my review to be honest.
It happened one insignificant day, when Sam and I were strolling through the aisles at Safeway. At that time, I made a point of staring at the Diva Cups on the shelf most every grocery trip. All the research that I’d done at the point pressed on me. I should get it. I finally had enough money. And finally I did.
I will never go back.
In this personal review, I’m going to go over the reasons that led me to buying and trying the Diva Cup, my first experiences, and my 6 months later (which is presently at the time I am writing this). Rewrite this.
Why I Wanted It
When I first heard about menstrual cups, it came up during a conversation in which a coworker related her sisters’ experiences. That was five years ago and it took me up until this past year in order to actually buy the darn thing. Reason? Two. Money – I was broke and availability – I only found them at one store where I live.
And maybe I was a little scared. Like when I first tried tampons. I adamantly told a friend I would never use them! Pads all the way. I converted by the end of high school because sleep.
Anyway, there are a lot of benefits thrown around about menstrual cups. You’ll hear things like:
- less chemicals in your vagina
- easy to clean
- easy to use
- can wear for long periods of time
- can measure menstruation
Many of these are intertwined with one another. The biggest factor that turned me was saving money.
Which might sound odd because I listed being broke as the main reason I didn’t buy it. At a price point of roughly $34 dollars, they were definitely more expensive than the tampons I was buying. Up front. But if you keep adding in all the pads, tampons and feminine hygiene products you do purchase throughout your lifetime, $34 seems pretty cheap.
Especially when considering that some people keep their menstrual cups for ten years.
At the time of purchase, I was experiencing better financial health. It’d been a long road to financial recovery which also netted me a new mindset: spend out of need, not want. And purchase items that are durable and will last me a long time.
Lastly, Reddit convinced me to take the extra step and buy. I unfortunately can’t remember the name of the subreddit I read, but a quick search will yield quick results! (If the search is working).
So. I bought the Model 1 Diva Cup which was the recommended size for women in my category. The “under the age of 30 who have never delivered vaginally or by cesarean section” category. Apparently, there isn’t too big a size difference according to the Diva Cup website, but the bigger size is to prevent leakage.
My First Experiences
The first time I tried using the Diva Cup I was nervous, intimidated. I was faced with an unknown situation and armed with instructions I made my attempt.
Wash your hands.
First, I squatted down really low and let my knees flare out to help open my lips up and basically bare myself out. It sounds awkward. It felt awkward but it helped. Then I worked the Diva Cup into a “U” shape as suggested by the instructions, and tried slipping it in. The aim is to have it sit low in your cervix, with the opening facing towards your tailbone. It took both hands: one to further open up my vaginal canal and the other to slip it in.
At first it was a struggle. Kind of like when I first used tampons. And eventually I got it to go in! It felt weird. Then, you’re supposed to turn it so that it unfolds and seals against your vaginal walls preventing leakage. Using my middle and pointer fingers, I did so and pushed it up a little higher to a more comfortable height and so that stem wasn’t sticking out as far. And kept turning. No way I was going to have leakage.
I was very, very aware of the cup inside me. I walked around the bathroom a couple times, and shook my legs a bit. As if I were trying on new pants but I couldn’t help but feel just a little weird. Meh.
Taking it out was another story.
Now, when you go to take it out to empty it, I basically followed the same method. Wash hands. Squat. Using my pointer finger, I gently slid it inside to press down onto the cup itself to break the seal. Then you’re supposed to be able to use the stem to pull it out. But that sucker wouldn’t release!
It took both my middle and pointer fingers to achieve success. Which meant I was pinching the base of the cup and I held my breath and waddled over the toilet a bit. I was afraid that the blood had spilled over top and was not basically going to waterfall out of me.
Now this may sound gross, by strands of bodily fluids met with blood stringed out with the cup and I quickly used my hand to gather these up so I wouldn’t taint my new bathroom rug. My cup was actually quite full and the noise it made when I poured it into the toilet just sounded like I was pooping. A really big one.
I ended up using a square of toilet paper to set my Diva Cup on while I used more toilet paper to wipe some of the mucus-y blood off. Then I washed my hands and my cup with some hot water and mild soap and inserted it again.
I wondered about what I would do if I were in a public restroom? I’m not sure any woman wants to be at the sinks washing out their cups with any chance there will be a stranger there! Plus, sometimes blood just clings inside the cup and clots, so it’s like getting out little snot boogers.
It took me about two cycles to get used to it being inside and decent at pulling it in and out. It also took some time for me to just get used to not hurting myself. Either by pinching myself (holy hell that is such a weird sensation) or by inserting the cup which my vagina was not accustomed to having in so suddenly some days.
During my period, my vagina is super sensitive. And the first two days are filled with cramps galore plus bloating. My lady bits are also very sensitive so that generally anything up it in those precious first days just hurts in general. When I tried forcing myself to relax the muscles didn’t got very well.
I hope that I’d get used to it. I mean, I spent like nearly a half my grocery budget on it.
After 6 Months…
I’m wearing it right now. And it feels completely natural to me. I’m glad I stuck with it. Here’s a small list of things that I experienced since using the cup regularly:
1) No Worries: My gosh. No more going to the bathroom and peeing on your tampon string. No more worrying about running out of tampons. I can just go about my day and empty it twice a day! No more crinkly packaging that you have to rip through in public restrooms. No more worrying about if people can see your pad through your underwear and pants.
2) More Money: I would say I can’t remember the last time I purchased any other feminine hygiene products, but I do because I sat down and looked it up before writing this post. I can say that there is more money in my budget for other things that I enjoy doing – like yarn for crochet. More money is always nice.
3) Health: I’d also like to take the time to mention that my particular cup is made of medical grade silicon. Many cups are. If not, they are listed on their product. Silicon is what gives it that flexible texture and what makes it more healthy for your vagina that conventional products (like tampons and pads). It is also safe for people with latex allergies because it is not made of latex.
Let’s talk a little about some cons. Because they are there.
4) Experience: I’m a lot more adept at taking it in and out. It is simplistic in nature, and it does it’s job well when you get it in there right… but there is a small learning curve. You can read your manufacturer’s website for more tips.
5) Variability: As with many intimate items, you need to be aware of your needs. For me, the Diva Cup works perfectly in that I really only need to empty 2-3 times a day – more in the beginning when my flow is heaviest. But that aspects changes from woman to woman and I recently learned, more than just blood collects in your cup. Yup. Gross.
There is also a difference in anatomy between women, so the Diva Cup, or even a menstrual cup in general, might not be viable. Some women mentioned that the cup placed undue pressure on their surrounding anatomy – such as the urethra and anus, making going to bathroom difficult.
I’m linking a guide on how to find a menstrual cup appropriate for you to minimize the pain of figuring out which one to buy. Check out this link to WikiHow here.
6) Embarrassing Public Situations: Personally, my body doesn’t generate enough blood to fill my Diva Cup in less than 8 hours. And I’ve never had to deal with changing it when I did work because I just emptied right before and right when I got home. But this may not be the case for everyone, and I recognize that this can be a problem.
The one time I did do it at work, I magically was super pro and taking it out and putting it back in. However, I didn’t wash it (gross, I know) because I was in a public restroom with stalls and couldn’t lock the door behind me. Not everyone wants to deal with that. I don’t want to deal with it. And I’m lucky because my flow doesn’t warrant more recent changes.
7) It just doesn’t work for everyone. This is pretty self-explanatory but things just might not work out for whatever reason. And that’s all right. More and more health-conscious products are being released that are still eco-friendly and practical.
Tips and Tricks
- For first time users, use pantyliners or pads if you are worried about leakage. I happened to have some left over and used them up.
- Wash your hands and clean under your nails. Bacteria live there and while the vagina is self-cleaning, try not to make it work harder.
- When it comes to insertion, having trim nails goes a long way in not accidentally scratching/pinching yourself.
- If you are having trouble getting the cup in due to dryness, use a form of lubricant. Either natural (from you) or a non-silicone based lube. Otherwise you will ruin your cup.
- You can empty it in the shower. Maybe not so revolutionary but definitely helpful while adjusting and prevents getting some embarrassing stains.
These are the things that helped/affected me the most. And I hope in turn they help you.
If you need more help, you can always check your manufacturer’s website (if available) as they often have FAQs that address most concerns.
Should You Try It?
I actually recommend this to all my girl friends. I’ve had such good experiences using my Diva Cup that I think that many will benefit from it. It fulfilled every benefit that I listed in my reasons I wanted to buy it either from the get-go or with practice.
My life has become more simplified in a way I didn’t imagine when I was younger. And it’s had some lovely effects on my life – mostly less anxiety. For different reasons, but saving money in any way really helps iron out some of my financial dreams (like being debt-free). It’s small, but it adds up. I also feel less anxious from just the fear that I’ll start my period when I least expect it (because it was so irregular for a long time) and that I’ll run out of tampons because I don’t have any money.
But. You always need to do what is best for you. And so, if you don’t think that a menstrual cup is the best option for you or you’ve discussed this with your medical care provider and you both have determined that it’s not for you, then that’s all right. Thank you for taking the time to read this exceedingly long post.
Where To Buy
Menstrual cups are starting to appear in more places on the shelf these days. Which is great! But for some people, they might not be. There’s always online and many places you can shop at. I’ve listed some sites to check out below! The first two will show you where stores stock cups, and the last two are places I recommend you buy from online.
Menstrual Cup Map
Be Prepared Period – this site also has other products available, such as cotton pads!
If you have any questions or comments, go ahead and leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!
I hope you have a lovely day.