In tune with our theme for the month here at Rug Lane, we asked one of our readers to share her experience on using a Diva Cup and give us the download on the health benefits she sees.
First of all, some of you may be asking (especially our male readers), what the hell is a Diva Cup? Well, the Diva Cup is one of the first menstrual cups to ever be manufactured and is actually the only brand of its kind to receive the ISO 13485:2003 certification (a regulatory standard for quality of medical devices that is difficult to achieve). Using the Diva Cup is a sustainable, easy-to-use for some, cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to tampons and pads. It is a reusable silicone cup that you insert into your vagina during your period. During Aunt Flow's visit, it sits inside of you collecting the blood and can be worn for up to 12 hours. Although my 12 month journey with my menstrual cup has been on the whole positive, I've also had a very traumatic experience that you will find out about if you read on! There are plenty of positive to the Diva Cup but I have heard many downsides from friends who have tried and failed too. So, to help my sisters out and those lads who want to find out more, I am going to share with you all what I have learnt from my own experience and my friend’s experiences so you can have an all-round review before you try for yourself.
If at first, you don’t succeed – stick it back up there and try again!
My first time using the Diva Cup was a big fail! It was uncomfortable because I was damn tense trying to shove a large unfamiliar foreign object up there. Because of the tenseness, it wouldn’t sit up there properly and ended up leaking. It took me three cycles to get the hang of it which is why I advise others to stick it out for a few cycles too. Trust me once you get the hang of it, you will not want to go back to anything else. During your first try though, best to bring a light pad along with you in case of leaks.
In comparison to other feminine hygiene products (used for the same purpose), the DC is economically ideal because it is initially inexpensive and is also reusable. Especially for those living in Asia, you'll know that tampons for some reason are very expensive and it's hard to find nice ones. In some countries, they're just hard to find full stop. The DC is therefore great for traveling, and what’s more, it takes up less space in your luggage. I paid around $300 HKD for mine (ordered from the USA), which is around the same cost as using pads and tampons for 6 cycles. My definition of winning!
It is eco-friendly
Tampons and sanitary pads are not environmentally friendly and are difficult for the eco-system to break down. With the Diva Cup being reusable, it saves the environment from the paper-waste that accumulates from the use of other non-recyclable hygiene products.
A cautionary tale!
PSA – this part of my menstrual cup tale is not for the faint-hearted. Do not, I repeat do not use at the same time as an IUD. I read it was fine online after thinking, "wait this can’t be ok?!" My IUD came out in the shower at the same time as taking my menstrual cup out one time which was extremely shocking (as you can imagine) yet actually pain free. Bizarrely I was due to get the IUD removed at the private clinic the next week after having it in for three years due to complications. This was for a hefty price as I wanted to take no chances this time around and go private. I was feeling extremely nervous about the procedure after the painful insertion. So, I don’t know if it was a gift from the gods or a freak accident that it came out with my DC. Either way, it was shocking, yet I managed to save money and the trauma. Do not try this at home though kids!
It is safe to wear up to 12 Hours
The Diva Cup has been thoroughly tested and is strictly silicone-based and not made from anything toxic that may pose health risks. It therefore eliminates the very chance of toxic shock syndrome that using tampons can cause. You can wear it safely for up to 12 hours without the hassle of bathroom breaks every two hours.
It is odour inhibiting
The Diva Cup boasts the attribute of capturing odors before they become air-born, so wearing one can help you to contain the unpleasant scents that menstruation can cause.
It allows you to understand your body better
This may sound strange but when you use it you get to become more in tune with your body. Understanding your cycle more and how much blood you actually loose during your time of the month is surprising.
One must have a steady hand!
When emptying it out do so with a steady hand. Another cautionary tale - be mindful when drunk or hungover. I tripped at home hungover once and splatted blood everywhere…and I mean everywhere. Yes my bathroom to look like a brutal murder scene and cleaning blood off the walls is not something you want to be doing when you have a hefty hangover.
And now for the downsides to using the Diva Cup that I've heard from my friends...
The difficulty with insertion at first
Similar to my tale, friends also experienced pain during the first couple of insertions. Although the Diva Cup is made to conform to any woman’s body (both sizes pre-baby and post-baby), some of my friends said it was uncomfortable, gave them cramps, and reported feelings that they thought the cup would fall out. Which is a common complaint of using any menstrual cup when not inserted correctly. Friends also experienced leakage when the placement of the cup was not right.
Manual cleaning of the Diva Cup
Another negative attribute I heard from friends was the cleaning aspect of it. Since the Diva Cup is reusable, one must wash it regularly between uses. This can be tricky when out and about - especially in public places. The care and washing of the Diva Cup was a deal-breaker for some who were squeamish with blood.
So, there you have it! You can find out more about the Diva Cup via their website
*This article is a personal story not a medical reference. You should consider your own circumstances before trying.