There seems to be an increase in interest in finding out more about the DivaCup or other menstrual cups. Wives want to know how they work and why would anyone use them? The DivaCup is a small silicone cup shaped to fit inside you. It fits over your cervix and collects your monthly flow. There is no absorbing happening or soggy pads to change.
We had set up a survey to collect questions about DivaCups and sent it out to the mailing list. We got quite a few, so I am going to do my best to answer them using my experiences of having one for a few years now.
1. Why would I use a DivaCup over tampons or pads?
As a woman, you have particular pH levels in your womanly parts. Tampons and pads are not designed with the health of these parts in mind. They are designed to absorb liquid, tampons, in particular, absorb all types of moisture. God designed the vagina to be self-cleaning and they don’t allow for that cleaning to happen.
Pads are made of the same things diapers are, they absorb a lot of liquid and they can do it quickly. I don’t know about you, but my monthly flow is not the same consistency as say, urine, or that nice blue liquid they show on those commercials. In the warm months of the year using pads tends to give me a rash that seems to be similar to a baby’s diaper rash. I don’t like, and never have liked, using pads. That wet almost slimy feeling grosses me out. It’s not a comfortable feeling at all.
The DivaCup sits inside close to the cervix. It collects your flow, but doesn’t affect your ability to self-clean the way a tampon does. You don’t get that gross wet slimy feel because usually none of it makes it down to your underwear. On the heavy days, I will wear a light days cotton like panty liner just in case.
2. Cup vs Period underwear
I haven’t had any experience using the period underwear, so I did a little reading about it. What I discovered was that they absorb about 2 tampons worth of your monthly flow. They are discreet and reusable and they say dry feeling. They look good on the website but then I checked the price of them. They are not cheap! The cheapest I could find was a pack of 5 for $26 on amazon. If you were to go to the company’s sites they are anywhere from $30 a panty to $40ish. You can buy 1 DivaCup for that much money. The problems I see happening is that you have to take spare pairs with you. If you need to change in the washroom in public, that could be awkward. Plus, then you have the dirty panties to carry around with you, so that means you need to have a wet bag.
But they would be great as a back-up for those heavy days, or overnight on those heavy days. I know when I wake up those first 2 nights I get to the washroom as quickly as I can so not to make a mess. Hmm, perhaps I should consider buying a pair or 2.
3. Is the DivaCup more convenient?
I find that the cup is far more convenient than any pad or tampon. If for no other reason than because it’s reusable. You don’t have to remember to take extras with you, and there are no pads or tampons to buy every month.
The most inconvenient thing about it is that it can be messy to empty it. And then wiping your hands with toilet paper doesn’t always work the best if you’re in a public washroom. If you can remember to take some personal hygiene wipes with you, that works much better.
4. Putting the DivaCup in
It takes a little bit of getting used to and has a bit of a learning curve to get it in easily. If you go to the website www.DivaCup.com you can see directions there with pictures.
One way is to fold it into a U shape. The other way you fold the rim down into the cup. It’s hard to explain without a picture. You’ll take it and sort of push it back towards your tailbone. Once inside you rotate it 360 degrees so that till sits in the right position to be as comfortable as possible. In my experience, this is the hardest part of all. Learning your body shape and how exactly to get it in the best way to work properly. You can read the instructions on their website for more details. I am just not sure how to explain this without getting too detailed.
5. What if you have a really heavy flow?
If you have a particularly heavy flow you can wear the cup and a pad for extra protection. I tend to do this on my first 2 nights. I have a rather heavy flow those days and it could be real messy if I didn’t.
6. How do you know if it’s full?
Do you know that feeling when you need to change a tampon? You just kinda know? It’s the same sort of feeling. Those days when it’s heavier and I need to empty it more often I just have this kind of heaviness there and know it’s time. It usually results in a bit of a mess, had I gone a little sooner it wouldn’t have been so bad.
7. Can you feel it inside you?
Yes, you can, but sometimes not. It’s funny, because I will go about my day, and I forget that it’s “shark week”. You don’t have that itchy pad, or that string hanging out of you to remind you what week it is. It just feels so much cleaner and more comfortable than anything else I’ve used. I’ll remember later in the day, “Oh yeah, I should probably empty it” and it’s no big deal. I’ve never forgotten more than a day.
8. Taking it out.
The cup has a little stem on the end, I am not sure why. I’ve heard many many women just cut if off cause it can cause discomfort. It’s kinda pokey. After cutting that off, taking it out is pretty easy. If you haven’t waited too long so there isn’t an overflow happening, it’s a clean and simple process. Give the base of the cup a gentle pinch without squeezing too much and turn it like you are unscrewing a bolt. This helps it to let go of the cervix so you can pull it out easily. Once you’ve removed it, just pour out the contents. If you’re near a sink, rinse it thoroughly and reinsert. When I’ve had to empty it in a public washroom I’ve simply wiped it out with some toilet paper and put it back in. It’s not ideal, but I’m not taking it to the public sink.
Some people have expressed concern for it just falling out. This would only really happen if it wasn’t in properly. Your vaginal wall muscles and tissue are elastic. Once you have it in they sort of shape around the cup and it helps to keep it in place. The only other reason I can think when it might fall out would be if you suffered any sort of prolapse. Your cervix can’t be too low as the cup needs a little space so it’s not poking out. I talk about this a little further down. For the majority of women, you can rest reassured that it won’t be falling out of you.
9. Cleaning and care for your DivaCup
It’s important to take proper care of your cup to get as much life out of it as possible. Wash it with a water-based, oil-free, soap. DivaCup makes one called DivaWash. It’s designed with woman’s health in mind. It will not cause irritation or infection etc..
It’s recommended to empty and wash it at least twice in a 24 hour period. I have worn it for longer, and it hasn’t been an issue. I forgot that I was wearing it! It’s that comfortable.
It’s pretty self-explanatory. Wash your hands before and after you empty it. But also when you are about to use it for the first time that month, give it a nice wash as well.
Between cycles, you store it in a nice little cotton drawstring bag that comes with it. Airflow is important to the integrity of the cup. Do not store it in an airtight container as it’s not possible for the excess moisture to evaporate.
If you think it needs a better cleaning, or to get rid of any discolouration, you can boil it for 5-10 min. The website does recommend that if you have used it while you had a yeast infection that you replace the cup. It is unknown if boiling the water completely eliminates the yeast on the cup.
With proper use and care, a DivaCup can last 5+ years. If you notice that it has a sticky or powdery film then the silicon might be degrading and you should replace it. Or if there is severe discolouration or an odour.
10. Can you use the DivaCup during sex?
The website will say no, not to use it then. But I have a few times. Now I don’t recommend getting all crazy. That doesn’t work actually, mine got sorta stuck in an odd way one time that made removal a little tricky. Not that we got all crazy. Anything more than typical missionary I think you would be at risk of moving it too much; the DivaCup sits quite low on the cervix. But if you lay on your back, it gives you a little more room inside for your man. It is made of a soft silicone that becomes even softer when it’s in a warm environment. So it gets even more flexible when inside of you. And he can’t feel it, well at least Jay says he can’t feel it. So I would say proceed with caution in this manner. It is a great way to avoid a mess if you or your husband need some loving time together.
If you’re wondering if you should have sex during your period, Jay wrote an article here about that. If you’re wondering if other people do have sex during their period, we also have a survey answer that question.
11. When not to use a DivaCup.
I’m not a medical expert or anything like that, so you should consult your physician if you have any concerns. I am just going to share what I know from my doctor and experiences. It is not to be used after you have a baby. That first postpartum cycle you should just use pads. You could also use “mama cloth” or period underwear if you don’t like disposable pads.
The other instance when you might not to would be if you have a prolapsed cervix, but this I am not sure of. That is definitely something you should talk to your doctor about. There are specialists that trained specifically in pelvic floor wellness and strengthening. This is not an issue that we need to suffer with for the rest of our lives. We shouldn’t always have to just deal with peeing just a little when we sneeze or laugh too hard. Or running as fast as you can to the nearest washroom so we don’t have an accident. This is not normal! It may be common, but it’s not they way your body should be working. What’s good to know is that these different prolapse conditions can be fixed with proper exercises. You can get your pelvic floor back to a nice trampoline like state. Firm but flexible and able to bounce back quickly.
12. Brand Recommendations
I’ve only ever used the DivaCup and I love it. So, that’s the brand I’d recommend. For about $20, it’s very reasonably priced, especially considering you’ll be avoiding the cost of buying pads or tampons every month.
If you’re interested in checking it out, The DivaCup comes in two models, so make sure you get the right one. The DivaCup model 1 is for those who haven’t had a child yet. Model 2 is for those who have had a child.
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