March 28, 2014
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Yeah, I’m going there.

Why? Because this product has changed my existence as a women. Bold statement, right? Trust me – if it weren’t worth talking about, I wouldn’t be wasting our time writing about it.

So let’s get down to it. I don’t know about you, but until a few months ago, I always just did what I was told to do, vis-a-vis my “lady time” – use tampons and pads and grumble, grumble, grumble.

Tampons have always made my period cramping a lot worse, so I’ve tried to avoid using them unless absolutely necessary. May sound weird, but it’s true – they do to my period what pitocin does to labor and contractions – makes it a lot worse (stronger, more painful). I thought I was imagining it at first, until I went a few periods without using one at all, and the difference was like night and day. It occurred to me that it was probably something to do with them being unnatural/synthetic, and I’m very picky about what goes into and onto my body. Once I see the truth about something being unideal or unhealthy, my mind is made up. Seeing the horrific article about the moldy tampon didn’t really help matters, either. So just I decided at that point, “Ok, whatever, I’ll just use pads.”

In case you haven’t noticed – and I’m sure, if you’ve had more than, say, one period in your life, you have – pads aren’t exactly the most convenient, comfortable, or attractive things in the world. They have always made me feel like I was wearing an adult diaper, which is an annoying and embarrassing feeling – not to mention, a lot of the time (for me, anyway), they didn’t always do their job in terms of preventing spillage or leaks. Sans tampon, my period pretty much always feels like a bloodbath. Gross, right? Sorry to be frank, but it is. It’s just gross – the mess, the smell, the feeling nasty the whole time. Ick. 

So a few months ago I stumbled across my friend Lindsey’s blog post on menstrual cups. I was immediately intrigued, since I had already been on the hunt for an alternative – ideally, one that was less messy and more natural (i.e., not loaded with chemicals and with the potential to give me some weird condition like TSS). Well, as I read what Lindsey had to say, I was really excited, because menstrual cups sounded like THE answer to my problem. Sure, it wasn’t something I had heard a lot about – pretty unconventional – but y’all know me, I don’t really care about all that. If I find a solution that will improve something for me, “normalcy” is for the birds, as far as I am concerned.

So I ordered a Diva Cup (before you ask, I just sorta picked one – at the time, I only knew about two – the Diva and the Lunette). I’ve been using it since January.

diva cup both

And the verdict?

It. Is. Freaking. Awesome.

You can do some research on your own – there are tons of reviews and stories out there from other women who use and love their cups, just like me (just go type “menstrual cup” into the search box on Pinterest).

Instead of doing a huge, all-inclusive educational post, I’m just going to tell you my own experience and what I love about using one over the “old” tampon-and-pad method. If you want more of an informational overview, head over to this post that Lindsey wrote.

Reasons I LOVE My Diva Cup:

1. You get the benefits of a tampon (better, really) without any of the risks (like mold and/TSS, or chemicals generally) – you can wear it for up to 12 hours (YES, you really can) because it’s natural, undyed, healthcare grade silicone and totally safe (I wore mine with a pantiliner at first, but when I saw that I didn’t need one, I stopped using anything other than just the cup itself. It seriously works that well – no leaks).

2. No cramps, no smell, less mess. That’s pretty straightforward. It’s no messier than a tampon – I’d say less, actually, because you have to remove and clean it less often than you have to change tampons. Oh, and the smell thing? Yeah, the chemicals in tampons will make your natural smell down there a lot funkier. Not a problem with a menstrual cup – not that the smell is pleasant, of course, but…it’s not funky or rancid. It is a lot more “natural” and less noticeable, which is something we all (not to mention our significant others) can appreciate. Again, that may be TMI, but this is something that we all have to deal with, realistically and practically speaking, so…suck it up, buttercup.

3. No leaks = I can wear it to workout in. This is a big one for me, since Crossfit is a big part of my life now. Those workouts are intense and involve a lot of movement, so the fact that I can wear the Diva Cup with no leaks during Fran or the Filthy Fifty (and I can, and have) is a biiiiiig deal.

4. It’s super comfortable. I can’t feel the cup, generally speaking, and sometimes I forget it’s even there. AND, even if I do forget, there’s no risk involved (the worst that could happen is that it gets full and there is leakage, but that’s not happened to me yet and I always wear mine for 12 hours at a time).

5. It’s greener. Now, admittedly, this isn’t something that is always at the top of my priority list, over stuff like practicality and cost, but it is something I try to consider. I believe very strongly that we should be good stewards of everything we have, and that includes the earth. So, using a cup means less dirty tampons and maxis in a landfill somewhere, and that’s beneficial to all of us.

6. YOU SAVE MONEY. This is something that a lot of people don’t think about, but this is a big one! I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to calculate the cost of disposable menstrual products, but they’re way expensive. Just check out this cost graphic I pulled off Pinterest (admittedly, couldn’t find the original source, but those calculations seem pretty accurate to me, as someone who bought those products for years). The point is, a menstrual cup is something you buy once and then don’t have to replace for a a few years, vs. pads and tampons which I usually had to buy every 2 months or so. Huge savings – which means money is freed up for other, fun stuff.

cost comparison

 

So, before I wrap this up, I’m gonna hit some of the common questions I get (and will inevitably get from some of you who read this).

Q1. “But…..that looks a lot bigger than a tampon, like, width- wise.”
A. Yes, it is, but you fold it to insert it, and once it’s folded (there are a few different ways), it’s about the same in diameter and actually shorter in length than a lot of tampons, and definitely shorter than tampons with applicators attached.

Q2. “Does it hurt?”
A. Nope. There is a learning curve, of course – just like with tampons – but you’ll get the hang of it fast, don’t worry – it only takes a few times and you’re golden. Diva Cup has a great page on their website with all the how-to, practical stuff on there to help if you have more specific questions. That’s the only thing I referenced when I first got and started using mine.

Q3. “Can it get stuck? How far up does it go?”
A. Now, this is something that Diva Cup addressed in their instructions that came with the cup, but I want to tell you from experience – it may get what you feel to be pretty far up there, compared to a tampon. Do not freak out – that’s normal. Sometimes, especially if you haven’t had it in that long or are on the lighter part of your period and it’s not very full, you may have to utilize those Kegel muscles and bear down (Mamas who’ve given birth will know what I mean, but for those of you who haven’t, it would be similar to pushing during a bowel movement) to push it down where you can remove it. Again, totally normal. But, the longer you leave it in, the easier it is to remove because the cup will be more full and gravity does its job and pushes it down for you. I’ve never had trouble with not being able to remove it, but I remember being alarmed the first few times I used mine that it was so far up – mainly because I was still expecting it to be just like a tampon and hadn’t left it in for very long when I tried to take it out. Remember: It’s not exactly like a tampon. Similar, but there are some major differences – you need to approach this like it’s its own, new thing. K?

And that pretty much sums it up. I highly, highly, recommend using a cup – but only if you want a more comfortable, less messy, healthier, more environmentally responsible and more cost efficient period. I can’t fathom why someone wouldn’t want those benefits, but maybe some people don’t. If not, keep on with what you’re doing already. :)

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.