****Disclaimer**** The following is about menstruation and female genitalia. If you are uncomfortable with these topics, please don’t keep reading. If you don’t care about these topics, please stop reading this post. If you don’t want to read the word vagina…oops. Oh well, vagina vagina vagina. It begins…
What is that? How does it work? What if it gets stuck though?
All of the questions I field when I tell other women that I use a Diva Cup. All solid, reasonable questions with solid, reasonable answers.
First thing’s first: Of your menstrual product options, the Diva Cup is probably the safest in the long run, not to mention that it’s more economical and environmental. In case you don’t know what a Diva Cup, or any other kind of menstrual cup, is or you need a refresher:
The Diva Cup is a reusable, bell-shaped menstrual cup that is worn internally and sits low in the vaginal canal, collecting rather than absorbing your menstrual flow. – from Diva Cup website
I bought mine in 2012, during my first few months in Peace Corps. Mind you, I was living in the desert with no running water trying to deal. While I’ve heard the concern about having to change the Diva Cup and the gross factor that can accompany it, let me tell you having to deal with my angry shark week vagina once or twice a day instead of several times a day was ideal. So, I thought I would respond to some of the questions and concerns I’ve encountered. Hopefully I can address the bad rap menstrual cups have gotten, and if I don’t answer your question feel free to go to the Diva Cup website here or ask in the comments*.
How does it work?
Let me first say that the learning curve is steep. The first time I used mine, I didn’t quite get it in correctly and had a leak situation. So the first couple of times you use it, maybe wear a pantyliner just in case. That said it’s fairly simple.
The Diva Cup is folded (there are a variety of different ways) and inserted into the vagina. I discussed this with a friend the other day and she was under the impression it has to be wayyyy up in there, like clinging to your cervix for dear life. Not so. The end of the cup will sit just inside the vagina. The cup is removed, well, when it needs to be removed. This part depends on your body. Twice in a 24 hour period is the recommendation, some must change it more, some less. I have a pretty standard flow and typically empty it in the morning and at night, however I have gone more than an entire day without incident. This is all part of the learning curve.
What if it gets stuck?
When I was in High School, I heard all of the horror stories of tampons getting “stuck” inside the vagina. As an adult and a former sexual health educator, this notion seems silly now. Vaginas end…it’s not as though objects put in there just disappear into your innards. So in that sense, no it will not get stuck.
Now, another interpretation: Diva Cups do use a certain amount of suction to function so they do hang on a little bit when they are being removed. This can be mildly terrifying the first few times you try to remove it. I specifically remember thinking “oh, great, cool, so now this is just part of my body and is going to be in there forever.” And then I got it out. This is all part of that learning curve again, but once you’ve mastered taking it out, you’re good for life.
Does it hurt?
No. Is it a little uncomfortable the first couple of times? Sure, but it does not hurt. I know it looks big and intimidating but you’ve gotten bigger things in there, I promise.
Can I have sex with it in?
I mean…you can try but it is a pretty big obstruction as far as penetration goes…
Isn’t it gross though?
Periods are a little gross and I’ll admit the sight of 12 hours worth of blood is not something I’d like to have an oil painting of hanging over my fireplace. However, you really just have to dump it out into the toilet you are likely already sitting on. The Diva Cup does need to be washed with gentle soap and water before it’s reinserted and they recommend boiling it every few periods. Overall, I think it’s significantly less gross than tampons and pads. The materials you’re putting in your body are significantly less damaging and will not cause a change in odor or discharge like other methods sometimes do.
How often do I need to replace it?
This one is, again, your call. The company recommends that you replace it if there if severe discoloration or odor but says they can last for years. I’ve had the same one for almost three years and it’s still going strong. Now just stop and think about all the tampons and pads I haven’t had to buy in the last three years.
I think I’ve covered most of it if not all of it. But again, any further questions are welcome, or can be answered at the Diva Cup website.
Oh and let me just say that the Diva Cup company is a fantastic one. They pioneered the menstrual cup industry because they wanted to find a sustainable solutions the period waste problem. That’s pretty baller. They also have an entire Educate & Empower section on the website including how moms can talk to their daughters about getting their period. The Diva Cup is a good idea and it’s only $40 so in the long run it’s 100% worth trying out.
Best of luck!
*I’m no expert and I’m certainly not sponsored, so any answers I can give you are from my own research and personal experiences.