There Will Be Blood. Alt title- The Most TMI Post Ever About The Diva Cup

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As if the title isn’t foreboding enough here is the skinny: this post is all about my new best friend- The Diva Cup.  The Diva Cup is a tiny magical silicone cup that you insert into your womanly cavity during your magical monthly visit that catches your nutrient rich menses.  See?  TMI.  What I really hope to get across with this post is how LIFE CHANGING switching to a reusable menstrual cup can be.  Consider these things:  You only have to change your cup 1-2 times a day.  You will never have to buy disposable feminine products again or make a midnight run to Target when your period starts.  Some women even find that using them eliminates or reduces cramping and regulates their periods.  Oh, and there are no visible signs of your period- no strings, no pads, nothing.  You might even forget you are on your period- I know I have!

It took me a solid 21 months to get my period back after having Everett and I loved every minute of it.  I really dreaded having a period again because they suck.  Not because of cramps, headaches, or mood swings because frankly I don’t get those.  I just hate dealing with it.  Now that I have become more aware of the chemicals contained in tampons I don’t want them in my person anymore and pads are not my thing.  It was time to own up to it and switch over to a reusable and chemical free option.  I went with The Diva Cup but there are several other brands of reusable menstrual cups on the market and they all have their own pros and cons.  The Eco Friendly Family has a nice chart comparing many popular brands.

Image via Divacup.com

I was transported back to being a young teen as I had to actually read the directions that came with the Diva Cup.  Sitting on my toilet I studied the diagrams on how to fold it before insertion.  I had a few unsuccessful attempts because the folds in the booklet didn’t get the opening of the cup small enough.  A small vagina?  I’ll live with that curse…  Online there are more “fancy” folds and I tried a few out including one called the Origami.  There is an origami fold in the cloth diaper world too so I picked it.

After my first go I was on top of the world because it was in there!  I tried and succeeded at something that, although seemingly difficult, wasn’t so bad after a few attempts.  After my first period was over I was definitely getting better at it and was a total convert.  The Diva Cup was LIFE CHANGING.

Now I can’t imagine using tampons again.  Ever.  I remember the strange uncomfortable feeling they gave me when I left them in too long (and not like TSS endangering long, just over 4 hours) and the weird non-cramp cramp it induced.  It was as if my body was warning me that it wasn’t good for me.

Now for a few FAQ’s:

Is it comfortable?

YES!  The most amazing thing is how non existent the Diva Cup is while wearing it.  Assuming you have it inserted correctly you will not feel a thing.  I have even forgotten I was wearing it for over 20 hours.

How do I get it out?!

PUSH!  Just imagine that you have your cup inserted properly and it is snugly in place.  You can either reach in to grab the stem (if you are lucky enough to be able to reach) but even then have you been in a vagina lately?  They are kinda slippery…. Instead of getting your hands dirty just push the cup out using the same muscles many of you have used to push your baby out.  Your muscles don’t know the difference, plus it’s good to give them a work out!  Once the cup has been moved down and the stem is at your vaginal opening or lower you can grab the stem (with TP if you prefer either for cleanliness or non-slip reasons) and pull.  You might have to squeeze the actual cup some to break the suction or break the seal by going in farther and poking the rim if this doesn’t work for you.

What do I do in public restrooms?

PANIC!  Just kidding… The best thing about the Diva Cup (and all cups) is that you aren’t required to change it nearly as often as a tampon.  I can wear mine a solid 12 hours with no leaks but usually change it when I wake in the morning and before bed.  That means I go my ENTIRE DAY without having to change it.  My whole day I can pretend that I am not on my period.  Due to that you might not have to change in a public restroom.  If you do have to it isn’t as scary as it sounds.  Just this once you can get away with dumping the contents, wiping the cup out with TP, and re-inserting.  I have one tip for you.  Use the handicap stall since many also have sinks built in.  I wouldn’t use their soap since you don’t know the contents but you can rinse with warm water.  And after having to change my Diva Cup in a small bathroom stall while straddling a double stroller which contained my two boys I can honestly say that the act of changing the cup is less stressful in public than having your son ask {loudly} over and over “Mommy what is that cup?  Are you pooping in the cup?  Mommy what is that thing for?  Are you going to get a drink with your little cup?  Where did the cup go?!”  THAT was a challenge.  Let’s just say that wearing a skirt made it possible to hide the disappearing act from my sons and that they now think I am a magician.  The Diva Cup is magic!

Because no one asked I am handing out some very TMI tips and tidbits I’ve picked up after using the Diva Cup for a few months.  Most would apply to any menstrual cup (probably) as well.

1. SHAVE.  Shave your labia majora.  It will make insertion and removal so much easier.  I’m not a 1970′s porn star but I don’t keep things empty either.  I was in between sessions when I first attempted using my Diva Cup.  It was right then that I knew I needed to shave.  After I did things were much easier and less ouchy.

2. Cut the Stem, but just a bit.  The Diva Cup comes with a long stem meant to help you get it out.  Out of the box it is too long for most people I’ve talked to and if you can feel it you won’t be comfortable.  Definitely consider trimming to one notch.  Don’t trim it completely because then you won’t be able to grab at it.

3.  You can’t be squeamish.  We all have a vagina (everyone reading this has one, I don’t have a slew of male readers and if they started this they probably won’t get this far) and we all have to interact with it every once in a while.  A menstrual cup does involve more interaction than tampons but it is so worth it.  And since becoming a mom I’m used to touching bodily fluids… although FYI insertion isn’t going to be as interactive as removal.

4.  Pooping is the worst part.  Everybody poops… so we can talk about this like adults.  Since you push to poop you might also be pushing your Diva Cup out or at least moving it down from where it should be.  This means you will likely need to remove it and put it back in after a good wash.  Now that I know this I will often remove beforehand, wash it,  and have it ready for after.  You can certainly leave it in however and maybe you will be luckier than me and not have this issue.  But if you do then know that you are not the only one.

5.  It is additively fascinating.  I thought I might be grossed out by seeing my menstrual blood collected into a cup.  Instead I ended up being fascinated by it.  Most women will never see their blood collected and know what it really looks like.  The most amazing thing is dumping the contents in the toilet and seeing the thick blood make pretty red patterns in the water like a lava lamp.  I told you this was all about TMI.  Oh, and if you are into this sort of thing you can find uses for you blood, maybe for an art installation, a practical joke,  or to paint with?  Is there a market for selling menstrual blood?! (just kidding…)

6.  Sink or toilet?  Towel or TP?  Counter or bag?  So you dump out the blood in the your toilet then wash in your sink, but there is still some blood left in the cup around the walls.  Do you rinse and dump it on your sink?  I don’t… I run water in it, walk it to the toilet, dump that, and then wash in the sink with soap and warm water.  Then how do you dry your Diva Cup?  There is just something weird about using the towel you dry your hands on… but then again you just washed the thing.  I will use a square of TP to dry the outside, I don’t bother with the inside.  And if you need to sit it down while you use the toilet or shower, where do you store it?!  The bag is a good place to store your clean cup… I have contemplated putting it down on the counter but talked myself out of it.  Don’t lose your drawstring baggie!

The learning curve is a small price to pay for something that will most definitely change your quality of life in a significant way.  After my first full day of using my Diva Cup I couldn’t hide my giddiness and finally told my husband about it.  His face was priceless.  My periods have been the happiest periods I’ve ever had in my life.  Sure, I’ve had some frustrating moments from time to time with getting the Diva Cup in perfectly but that is nothing compared to the peace of mind and comfort that it has brought into my life.  And forgetting everthing else- you will save so much money!  And never again will you have to drag yourself out of bed in the middle of the night after starting your period and realizing you are out of tampons.  I know I would never have attempted using a menstrual cup if it weren’t for hearing from friends.  Pretend I’m your friend (maybe I am!) and take my word for it.  I’m not endorsing one particular brand of cup; it just so happens that I bought a Diva Cup.  They are now sold in major drug stores, health food stores, and online on places like Amazon and cloth diaper stores (Kelly’s Closet, my affiliate, has them too.)  You might also like the post by Cloth Diaper Geek about her Lunette cup.

I did not receive any free products or incentives to post about the Diva Cup. I purchased it for myself after having my son and didn’t get to use it until almost 2 years later but the good news is that it was still fresh in the box.  I’ll probably try other brands soon just to see if I can improve my experience but already using a cup is way better than tampons.  

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Kim Rosas began Dirty Diaper Laundry in 2009 out of a desire to help more parents understand modern cloth diapers. She lives in Florida with her husband of 5 years and her two boys. Even though none of her boys wear diapers anymore she is still just as committed to promoting them. In her spare time Kim enjoys video editing, photography, and coffee.
  • BoiseFamily

    Kim, do you have any new tips on cleaning the suction holes? My fill the cup with soapy water, place hand on top, invert cup and make plunging motions no longer does the trick in squirting out the discharge lodged in the tiny holes. Thanks!

    • kimrosas

      TBH as long as the holes aren’t clogged I don’t worry about perfect cleaning until putting away for storage until the next month. I’ve used toothpicks wrapped in tp to cleanse.


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