You know you’re crunchy when…you find a Diva Cup in your Christmas stocking.
Actually, I bought the Diva Cup myself, because I’d been wanting to try one and because several years ago Mr. Native Texan and I settled into a nice arrangement: I fill all the Christmas stockings.
For years, Mr. NT was at a loss to find just the right items for my stocking, and it caused him no small amount of duress. Plus, he really didn’t have the time. He tends to shop at the last minute anyway, and I usually wound up with neon socks and chocolate bars.
I suspect I’m not alone in this, right ladies?
So naturally I began to stockpile a few small items each year–the kind of things I wouldn’t normally buy for myself, but would love to receive in my Christmas stocking.
Like a Diva Cup, for example.
On Christmas Eve, I hand him a bag of small goodies for myself, and he breathes a sigh of relief and fills my stocking. No more stress for him, no more neon socks for me. It’s a win-win.
To his credit, Mr. NT always picks out a few things on his own and he does a great job. But this way, he can do it because he wants to and not because he feels he must.
I’ve used my Diva Cup for three complete cycles. I’m a fan! It’s kind of revolutionizing that whole time of the month.
I’ll admit to feeling totally intimidated and grossed out by the concept for oh, about five years or so. A good friend who lives overseas and got tired of transporting large quantities of feminine products from the U.S. to her home abroad has used a Diva Cup for years.
When she first mentioned it, I was simultaneously intrigued and appalled.
How, exactly, does that work?
How in the world do you get it in? And then out?
Isn’t it messy?
How do you keep it clean?
Finally, I summoned the courage to try a menstrual cup. Here’s what I love about it…
1. Less trips to the store
This is actually what pushed me over the edge–I was tired of keeping up with a supply of sanitary products! I feel the same way about cloth diapers and cloth sanitary pads. It’s so wonderful to avoid that “Oh no, I didn’t realize we were out of diapers / tampons / overnight pads / etc.” panic and subsequent run to the store.
2. Less cost
Disposable feminine products are expensive! My Diva Cup cost less than $30. While writing this blog post, I actually spotted it on Amazon for $15!
I’m only three months into it, but I’ve heard menstrual cups last for at least a year and often longer. That’s a big savings when compared to the cost of disposable feminine products over the course of a year or two.
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the measurable levels of dioxin–a carcinogen–found in many brands of tampons, and the pesticides sprayed on the cotton used to make disposable pads and which can be absorbed through the skin.
The Diva Cup is made from silicone, which doesn’t leach into the skin and seems to be much safer than plastics. For now, I’m satisfied that a silicone menstrual cup is a healthier option than disposable sanitary products.
4. Less messy, in a way
I had already ditched disposable sanitary products, switching to reusable cloth pads. While I love my cloth pads, I was still struggling to find a good solution for my days of heaviest flow. I either needed to beef up my supply of heavy flow cloth pads, or be forced to fall back on my existing supply of disposable products. I also had to use a tampon overnight on my heaviest days to avoid leaks.
With the Diva Cup, my supply of cloth pads is perfect! They’re used mainly for back up, especially on heavy days. And once my flow lessens to a certain point, I sometimes switch to cloth pads without the Diva Cup.
This is probably TMI, but we’ve already crossed that line, right? Using cloth pads alone got really messy. And feeling really messy all the time made my time of the month seem even worse than it already was.
It might be psychological, but dealing with less mess all the time has made my period feel so much easier. I’ve experienced fewer physical symptoms like cramps and sciatica since I started using the Diva Cup. Kind of crazy, right?
Granted, the insertion and removal process can be a bit messy, but once you get the hang of it, it’s over fast. After lots of practice, I finally figured out how to insert the Diva Cup perfectly every time.
Not only do reusable menstrual cups keep lots of trash out of the landfills, they also protect dated septic systems from the hazards of tampons.
We live in an older home and had to replace the septic system as a result of “tree roots and tampons,” according to our plumbers. It wasn’t cheap, and I’m committed to keeping tampons out of our plumbing by reducing (if not eliminating) my dependence on them. Thanks to the Diva Cup, I haven’t used a tampon in months!
6. Awesome for overnight use
Overnight is awesome! The Diva Cup can be worn safely for 12 hours, although it’s recommended to change more often when possible. It’s been a fantastic overnight option for me, especially when paired with a cloth pad on my heaviest days.
7. Perfect on-the-go option
At first, I thought the Diva Cup would be tricky for being out and about. It’s actually just the opposite–because the cup can be worn for 12 hours, I’ve never had to empty it while out and about. I simply insert it before leaving home, and I’m good to go for an entire day if necessary. LOVE that about the Diva Cup.
I’m still getting used to a few things…
1. Inserting the Diva Cup
I won’t go into the gory details here, because the user guide is very thorough and helpful. I’ll just say that my first cycle with the Diva Cup was quite an adventure! I was pretty sure there was no way an object of that size (I ordered #2 because I’m over 30 and have birthed 3 children) would fit where it was supposed to go. To be more specific, I was pretty sure the cup wouldn’t fit through the opening.
There are two methods for insertion, and Fold #2 wound up working the best for me. Once I got the procedure down, it’s actually a pretty simple process. Whew!
Update: After several years of practice, I now have a secret trick for inserting the Diva cup perfectly every time.
2. Removing the Diva Cup
Again, this required some practice. And this is obviously the part that can become a bit messy.
Somehow, after three kids and a year of cloth diapering, I’m over the messy part. Bodily fluids are a part of life. Hands can be washed.
I will point out that everything goes most smoothly when a sink is located within close proximity to the toilet. If this isn’t the case, don’t worry–it will still work out. It’s just easier when you can simply reach over and rinse out the cup right away and then pat it dry and re-insert.
The only leakage I experienced was during my first cycle with the cup, when I was still learning how to insert and remove it properly, and occasionally on my days of heavy flow. I almost always wear backup protection, so it’s been no problem at all.
4. Keeping the Diva Cup clean between cycles
I’m still figuring this one out. Again, the user guide provides clear instructions; it’s just a matter of settling on the best procedure for my situation.
Update: I’ve now used my Diva Cup for more than two years and have only ever washed it well with hot water. No soap.
Where to Find the Diva Cup
So there you have it: my experience with the Diva Cup. So far, I’m a big fan! I bought mine on Amazon, though most health food stores carry them as well as some retailers of reusable cloth pads (like Lunapads).
Find out more about how the Diva Cup works:
Have you tried a menstrual cup? Why or why not?
Kathleen Henderson is the yankee behind the homestead. Follow along as we grow real food and three boys while renovating a 20-acre farm in northern Virginia. Do you love homegrown food, Paleo-ish recipes, and natural living? You’re in good company! Let’s grow together…