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Why I Love My Diva Cup

I’d just like to warn men that if you’re grossed out by discussions of menstruation, you might want to go elsewhere. Also, remember that your spouse/girlfriend’s way of handling her period is probably very personal and while pointing her to the Diva Cup may be fine, suggesting outright that she should use it for frugality or the environment’s sake is probably not a good idea.

I’ve written before about whether generic feminine products are worth it. My basic conclusion was: pantyliners — ok, pads — nope, tampons — ok if they’re from CVS.

One of my former roommates asked whether I’d ever considered the Diva Cup. I hadn’t thought of it recently, but when I was younger, I used to wonder why there wasn’t just some kind of cup I could use.

On her recommendation, I considered it further and ended up buying a Diva Cup. I’ve used it for a number of months and I think it’s perfect for me. I’d go so far as to say that I love my Diva Cup! Here are some of the pros, cons, and my thoughts.

Pros of using a Diva Cup

  • The Diva Cup is convenient and cost-effective. You don’t have to keep buying more and you also don’t run out. Both bigs pluses in my book.
  • The Diva Cup is environmentally friendly.I t’s insane how many tampons and pads some of us use.
  • The Diva Cup is comfortable. I wasn’t sure about this one, but I can actually forget it’s there, something I can’t do with a tampon. If the pull-tab makes you uncomfortable, you can trim it down…but don’t cut it off!!!
  • The Diva Cup causes less cramping. I don’t know why, but there you have it. Thrilled. Micah asked me about it because he said “I haven’t had to get you pain killers and you haven’t complained about it once or asked for backrubs.” Since I normally have one day where I’m virtually incapacitated, this was a shockingly good discovery. I don’t know if it’s like that for everyone, though. Don’t count on it.
  • The Diva Cup is safer. Less risk of TSS because it’s made of silicone and doesn’t absorb like tampons. That way, the vagina can do its own self-cleaning and just ignore it. According to their site, they’ve never been associated with TSS…though they still advise removing at least once every 10 hours. You wash it frequently and boil between periods it to keep it clean.
  • You can sleep in a Diva Cup. It’s safe enough to sleep in for 8 hours or more, plus most of the time it’s not likely to overflow.

Cons of using a Diva Cup:

  • Using the Diva Cup requires comfort with one’s body. I think you really have to be comfortable with your body to use it. Depending on how it’s positioned, you may have to stick your fingers inside and fish a little. There’s a nice tab to pull to get it out and pressing down with your pelvis like you’re going to give birth brings it to the entrance…but it still requires some comfort. It can’t get lost up there, don’t worry.
  • Using the Diva Cup requires comfort with your blood. Periods can be kind of gross. And you’ll have to empty the cup. But if you’ve been having it for over half your life like me, it’s not too bad.
  • Diva Cup has a potential for leaks. But so does everything else–pads, tampons. It might leak if it’s not positioned right and it might overflow if you don’t change it regularly. I put in a pantyliner just in case.
  • The Diva Cup needs to be washed. Ideally, you wash it with gentle soap every time you empty it (3-5 times a day for me). But if you’re in a public washroom, you can just wipe it down with toilet paper. I boil it before and after cycles.
  • It may be harder to use the Diva Cup if you’re a virgin. Whether or not you can use a Diva Cup depends less on if you’re a virgin and more on whether or not you’ve been able to use large tampons in the past. Some people may run into problems if they have a tight hymen, others will be just fine. If you’re not a virgin, then it should definitely fit.

They have a very helpful user guide on the site (under FAQ, but it’s dynamic so I can’t link directly to it) and one that comes with the cup itself. I’d say that they’re both must-reads, the first if you’re thinking about it and the second if you get it.

There are two sizes, one for young women who haven’t had babies and one for older women or women who’ve had babies. The Amazon models I’m linking to cost less than $25, so if they last for 10 years, that’s $2.50/year!

For women who feel fairly comfortable with their bodies and cycles or for women looking for a change from, I recommend considering it and perhaps even buying one, as even wearing it for a few cycles should recoup the cost. The first day I wore mine I actually felt like dancing–like those women in commercials who are feeling so free. I also felt like a doofus for wanting to dance.

Related to this, Frugal Habits has gone retro and is trying out cloth pads. She says they work nicely. I’m going to stick with the Diva Cup myself.


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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

plonkee March 6, 2008 at 3:11 pm

It sounds like a very frugal solution. I have to admit that I think I’d be a bit grossed out though – it doesn’t help that I strongly associate them with eco-warriers (and not in a good way).

Megan March 6, 2008 at 3:29 pm

I have had my Diva Cup for almost five years (and had a Keeper before that – but I lost it in the move home from college… whoops!). I love it! And I agree with you on the reduction in cramps. I don’t understand it, but it’s absolutely true.

One other perk I’ve discovered is that you can use it on the “well, today should be the day, but I’m not sure, and I won’t be able to rush off to the bathroom much” day.

Looby March 6, 2008 at 3:52 pm

I had to laugh at Plonkee’s comment although I do agree. I think it sounds excellent for some people but it’s not for me, I’m definitely not in tune with my body enough for it. As a slightly icky aside the room-mate of a friend of mine used it and used to empty it into the potted plants in their living room as she thought it might give them nutrients, my poor friend was traumatised when she discovered this! I do know a few people who use it and love it and I think it is great that you are willing to experiment and share your findings!

Small Cents March 6, 2008 at 4:47 pm

I have one, but haven’t been able to use it as I’ve been pregnant since shortly after I bought it. And no, there’s NO connection there.
I love your last comment about your nose!

Amanda March 6, 2008 at 5:59 pm

Thanks for the review. I’ve only seen positive blog reviews for the Diva Cup. I’ve been looking at more environmentally friendly and less expensive ways of diapering, too. :)

Also, I’ve been seeing a lot on blogs about CVS and working that system. Any thoughts?

Christine March 6, 2008 at 6:01 pm

I have a Keeper, but I have not been satisfied with it thus far — lots of leaks and lots of pain on removal (though not on entry (you know, while we’re being candid)).

I’m willing to wait and give it a shot after I’m married, though. I’m all for the general idea of the thing; it just hasn’t worked very well for me so far.

Meg from All About Appearances March 6, 2008 at 6:40 pm

Welcome to the club, Mrs. Micah!

I’m also considering the reusable pads. However, I’m trying to use up stuff that I already have (or at least, get it under control).

For those just looking to save some money, feminine products are available at Sams Club, which is why I still have so many of them.

mrsmicah March 6, 2008 at 6:43 pm

@Amanda, I haven’t tried working the CVS system much, but Kacie at SensetoSave.com has a lot of good stuff to help you figure it out. :)

Kacie March 6, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Well sheesh, thanks for the shoutout!

I haven’t even been to CVS in 2008–I just haven’t needed to go. I’ve been to Walgreens & Rite Aid a few times, but my stash will keep me going for awhile.

Anyway, I came here to say that I’m really interested in giving the Diva Cup a try. I like the whole concept of it.

However, I think I’ll get more bang for my buck if I wait to get one after I have my first kid. I’m not pregnant, but I feel like that will happen within a few years or less.

Megan March 6, 2008 at 7:59 pm

Oh, and as to the pull tab? I cut mine all the way off. And I have no trouble with removal whatsoever. The ridges on the bottom combined with a little pinchy grip and all is good.

shuchong March 6, 2008 at 8:03 pm

I’ve been using the Diva Cup for a few months now, with good results. It was a little tricky figuring it out at first, but there’s a menstrual cup support group (weird, I know, but useful) over at livejournal that got me through the beginning “how do I use this?” stage. I found posts like this one, which shows different types of folds, to be very helpful.

mrsmicah March 6, 2008 at 8:17 pm

That’s a great link, shuchong. The classic fold works well for me, but I could see how that might not fit as well for some people.

It helps for me to squish it a bit as it’s coming out. Otherwise the suction feels a little funky.

Kris March 6, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Sounds like a plan. Thanks for the review, Mrs. Micah.

(Does anyone else love the name “Diva Cup”? It’s like you get to feel like Whitney Houston every time you get your period.)

mrsmicah March 6, 2008 at 9:39 pm

I like the name, too, Kris. I really couldn’t get over how good I felt while wearing it…how I didn’t have to worry about having enough tampons or bleeding through my tampon or my pad slipping or any of the worries I’ve associated with my period for 11 years now.

Amanda @ Me vs Debt March 7, 2008 at 6:15 am

I’ve never heard of this and I have to say I’m really surprised that it would get such rave reviews. I guess I find it hard to imagine a cup being so comfortable and secure.

Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife March 7, 2008 at 9:05 am

Where are the guys who regularly post here? Anyway, I have the Keeper. I stopped using it last year because of all the leakage, especially while lying down. I guess I’m not inserting the thing properly..I think the key is to get good suction. I’ll have to revisit the thing now.

Aryn March 7, 2008 at 12:40 pm

I’ve thought about getting one of these, too. I get name-brand tampons from Costco, where 100 cost about $15 and last me five-six months, but I’m tempted to switch.

Jessica March 7, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Kudos to you for trying this! I looked into a couple years ago but decided it wasn’t for me..too high of an “ick” factor.

SavingDiva March 7, 2008 at 6:24 pm

I have a keeper….I’m surprised to read that people have had problems with it because it’s awesome! I will admit that I’m not comfortable wearing it when I have to use a public restroom (work, etc), so I just use regular tampons. I haven’t had leakage problems or anything….hm….very frugal solution to tampons. I don’t think I’m ready for cloth pads…

shawna March 8, 2008 at 10:36 am

I saw on slickdeals that Lunapads has 20% off their entire stock this weekend only. After reading this post the other day I thought you might be interested – here’s the info…

The Annual Lunapads.com International Women’s Day sale!

Friday March 7, 12 noon PST – Monday March 10, 12 noon PST get 20% off everything on the site.

apollonia March 8, 2008 at 8:00 pm

I got my hands on a Diva Cup a few months ago, and I absolutely love it. Half the time I forget I’m even having my period.

Though you have to deal with your mucous and blood (which I simply flush. Though I have heard blood is used as a fertiliser on farms sometimes) , it feels more comfortable and hygenic to me than pads (which always seemed to have an odd smell that made me vaguely insecure) and tampons (less smell but more general ickiness. Inserting and taking out a Diva Cup is much more comfortable to me, but then I loathe the feel of soggy papery things). Besides, simply washing your hands like you normally do after toilet use will get rid of anything you get on your hands.
I also feel I lose less blood this way, but I’m not 100% sure. It was kind of hard to know how much I lost when using disposable things.
Since I don’t lose that much, I only have to change it twice per day, shortly after waking up and shortly before going to bed, so I don´t have to deal with doing it anywhere public.

There have been occasions where I had leakage, but most of that was the first few times I used it, and afterwards it was a lot less than with other methods. I feel much more secure with my Diva Cup.
The thing Megan mentioned, being able to insert it before your period actually starts, is most convenient as well.

@Christine: I’m not sure it’s entirely the same with a Keeper, but when I first used my Diva Cup, taking it out could hurt a good bit, too. I think it had something to do with suction or vacuum, that with pulling down the cup I pulled down, well, *everything* (not comfortable, that), since I was not letting any air in. Pinching it before pulling it down to open it up and let some air get above the cup made a big difference with that.
As for leakage, for me turning it around for a bit after inserting and keeping the tiny holes near the rim (does the Keeper have those?) open helped avoid that.

Elaine March 9, 2008 at 6:18 pm

I love my diva cup as well, and I’m a virgin for what it’s worth. Tampons/fingers/vibrators all fit fine so I don’t see why a diva cup wouldn’t ;)

I cut the tab almost completely off mine also. And I don’t mind getting blood on my hands. Bleeding is a normal and healthy thing, nothing to be afraid of.

Elaine March 9, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Oh, I forgot what I was going to mention in the first place. I got my diva cup as a birthday present from my boyfriend, and it’s probably the most useful present I’ve ever gotten. So there’s no reason why the men shouldn’t be reading this article!

Canadian March 11, 2008 at 10:41 am

I use the Keeper, which is made of rubber not silicone. I love it! It cost me $36 and I’ve been using it for about 5 years or so. I only have to empty it twice a day — once in the morning when I get up and once in the evening. I don’t have to worry about what happens at work or what to do in public washrooms. I don’t feel it when it’s there, it rarely leaks (you have to give a little tug to create suction), it saves me money, and it saves me the hassle of changing pads/tampons repeatedly. I rinse in cold water, no soap. At the end of my cycle I soak it in vinegar and then air dry. It did take some getting used to inserting and removing it (yes, pinch/fold it) but once I got the hang of it I was very pleased.-

Melissa March 13, 2008 at 3:12 pm

I have really heavy flow so changing tampons can be messy. Thus using the Diva Cup has been an easy change.

When my flows are light, it’s great because I don’t get dried out from a tampon and I can leave it in for 10 hours. It has also been great not having to buy tampons.

Haylee March 16, 2008 at 7:57 pm

I’m glad a pf blogger finally mentioned these! I have been using a mooncup (British brand, but pretty much identical to the Diva Cup) for just under a year now and I am so pleased I found out about this option. I only have to change it twice a day and have had no problems with leaks. I did have trouble removing it at first but one of the sites I read at first said that there is a “steep learning curve” with using it and that was true- it’s now really easy.

For those who think “ick”, that was also my first reaction. However on reading about and thinking about the benefits of the cup though (health-wise, financially and environmentally), I came to the conclusion that I really should get over that feeling, and I have never looked back.

I also now use cloth panty-liners, although I also hated the idea of them when I first heard about them. A Canadian company called Lunapads makes cloth pads and liners in really cute fabrics

Mrs. Not the Jet Set October 13, 2009 at 3:12 pm

I heart my Diva cup!

Thanks for joining us for Two Cent Tuesday! I hope to see you back next week.
.-= Mrs. Not the Jet Set´s last blog ..French Memo Board Made Easy =-.

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