It was created by a mother/daughter team, Francine & Carinne Chambers, about 15 years ago. The idea of the menstrual cup has been around for a long time, but this is probably the most popularized and available one in recent history.
I actually had a friend tell me about the Diva Cup…oh around 10 years ago now. I think I barely listened to her – my response was probably along the lines of, “Gross!” (Mary, if you ever by any chance come across this blog, I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you!).
Up until very recently, the Diva continued to NOT appeal to me…there was something about it I just couldn’t get into. But I wanted to be fair and give it a try – I’m not the type who likes the idea of a pad alone throughout my period, so I wanted to give some of the ‘tampon-like’ products their due.
The basic premise of the Diva Cup:
You fold it in half, push it up there (it does not go up as far as a tampon would), twist it a bit to create a seal, and it catches your flow. Every so often you pull it out, dump it, and clean it with a gentle soap (I just used my all natural bathroom hand soap, but you can buy a special Diva Wash if you’re interested).
You can find a video on how to do it HERE.
I’m trying to think of why I didn’t like the idea so much and I can come up with 2 things – it looks a bit weird and kind of big to be going up there (it’s certainly wider than a tampon) and then there’s the ick factor – you do get a little more up close and personal with your flow than you normally might with a tampon.
But I’ve thought about it a lot and come to realize – this is a natural process. It is something our bodies do that is perhaps not pleasant at all times, but it’s not the world’s grossest event either. I came to feel that if I can pull poop out of a cloth diaper, I can deal with rinsing out a Diva Cup, cloth pad or sea sponge tampon.
I know for me, it’s become part of accepting my body and the way it works – yes, I am closer to my flow…but I’m also learning to understand it better. I’m actually seeing how much is there during certain times of my period. I’m getting to know my body and how it works – in one of the most deeply personal ways.
It seems odd to explain it like this or talk about it at all, and I acknowledge that I am discussing what for many is a very personal subject throughout this week, but I think it’s important. I would rather have my daughter fully understand her period and deal with it in relaxing, non-toxic ways – rather than be ashamed of it and think that it must always be shoved out of sight like tampons hidden in the back of the cupboard.
Maybe it sounds like I’m reaching a little bit here – I just feel with using all these things for the first time, I’ve become closer to myself (and I’ve heard the same from many other women as well).
OK now, was I supposed to be reviewing the Diva Cup or what?
First, I purchased my cup from Caterpillar Baby – an awesome cloth diaper distributor here in Toronto. There are many places you can purchase the Diva, but I wanted to get it from these ladies because I am always thrilled to hand business their way – they have amazing customer service, good pricing, great shipping rates (that is actually how I first found them) and they have the fastest shipping I’ve ever experienced in buying anything online. So just wanted to give them a little shout out through that – if you are in Canada especially you should look them up.
I paid $35.99 Canadian for the cup, which came to a total of $46.31 with tax and shipping.
The Diva Cup comes in two sizes – 1 and 2. If you are over 30 and/or have delivered a baby (vaginally or by cesarean) size 2 is recommended. Otherwise, go with size 1.
I will say out of all the reusable menstrual products I tried, the Diva Cup had the steepest learning curve (but it really only took 3 or 4 tries to get it down pat).
My first try was difficult - it was hard to get it in and it felt a bit awkward inside (I’m pretty sure I didn’t have it positioned properly). One thing you need to do when you insert it is turn it around 360 degrees to make sure it creates a seal – I found that hard to do at first. It was also rather painful when I went to pull it out and I did make a bit of a mess. I later realized I had kind of jerked it out too fast – you are supposed to wiggle it back and forth on it’s way down to break the seal, and pull it out slowly.
I actually did that a couple times before I got the hang of it, but with practice it became quite easy – probably similar to learning how to use a tampon, actually. It became less and less uncomfortable the more I used it.
I was actually quite impressed with my first overnight trial, even though this was one of the 2 times my entire period I did experience a leak (and with disposables I would get them all the time, so I’m not complaining!). I think I just left it in an hour or so too long – if I had made it to the bathroom sooner, I wouldn’t have had a problem.
I was also shifting around a lot because Bean wanted to wake up and eat several times that night. I don’t know about you, but when I have a tampon in overnight I often find the need to keep myself rigidly in one position to avoid MAJOR leaks. The one I experienced with the Diva Cup just a small leak – nothing major like I have frequently experienced overnight, even with tampons and pads together.
I tried the Diva Cup in the swimming pool as well, and it worked like a charm.
By my 3rd try with the Diva, I was a pro. It only took a few seconds and creating the seal was a cinch.
In the end, I was quite happy with my purchase – I definitely recommend the Diva Cup to anyone who’s interested.
If you have any questions about the Diva Cup, please leave them below in the comments section.
I also just wanted to mention that there are more menstrual cup options out there that some prefer to the Diva. I didn’t get a chance to try them, but you might like to check out the Lunette Cup or MoonCup, among others.
If you’ve never considered using reusable menstrual products (like I didn’t until very recently) you may be interested in why I’m making such a big deal of all this, so I just wanted to quickly address one part of that.
It all started with cloth diapering – one of the main reasons I decided to use cloth diapers for my baby bean was concern over the chemicals that run rampant through disposable diapers.
I recently began to see the similarities in my disposable menstrual products and did a little research into it.
“Tampons are not just cotton,” Perlingieri [author of The Uterine Crisis] said. “They are made of dyes, fragrances, super-absorbent chemicals.” She said research has found a link between uterine problems and bleached tampons. “In the last 25 years, millions of women – teens through women in elder years – have uterine-related troubles,” she said. “Part of the trouble we know from research is directly related to bleaching of tampons.”
The above article goes on to discuss how bleach breaks down into dioxin, a deadly chemical, as well as the high likelihood of fibers from the tampons being left behind in the vagina. She states: “Rayon is a whole other problem…It’s made from wood pulp and during the process of converting wood to rayon, hundreds of chemicals that are used are embedded in tampons.”
Source: Toxic Tampons – http://www.subtleenergysolutions.com/toxic-tampons.html
Dioxins, a known human carcinogenic “linked to cancer, endometriosis, low sperm counts in men, immune system suppression, pelvic inflammatory disease, reduced fertility, and changes in hormone levels” have also been found in pads, along with other harmful chemicals.
Source: Risks Associated with Conventional Menstrual Products – http://www.naturalmenstrualproducts.com/risks.php
Many women have found that when they have made the switch to safer, sustainable menstrual products like cloth pads, the Diva Cup and other tampon alternatives, their periods have actually been more manageable – lighter cramping, fewer PMS symptoms, etc. Most are convinced that their improved visits from Aunt Flo are due to the reduction of these types of chemicals applied to the extremely sensitive areas of our vaginas and reproductive organs – I must say I agree!
I’ve already noticed a huge change in my period – just from removing the toxins that were prevalent in my house! I wrote a longer post about moving away from toxins HERE, but my totally unscientific opinion is that a major factor was cutting out canned food and other plastics in the kitchen (a step that can actually reduce your BPA levels by up to 60%!).
Of course, my biggest motivation is still my baby Bean. If I’m using cloth diapers around her sensitive parts now to reduce her exposure to toxins, I definitely don’t want her to grow up and undo all my hard work by using tampons! ;D And in the end, I’m her example…
Do you use a menstrual cup? What do you like about it?
Do you have reservations about using a menstrual cup?
Disclaimer: I purchased all the products I am reviewing with my own money (though 2 of the pads were a gift). The giveaway has been donated. I am not affiliated with any of the companies I will be reviewing with the exception of Earth Mama Angel Baby – I do receive a small commission from them if you purchase through my link. I am committed to full disclosure and to offering you un-biased, helpful information in this blog.