The Diva Cup is one of our absolute favourite things. Not only is it way better for the environment and your body, it also saves you lots of moolah. But, we’d be lying if we said it was an easy decision or transition. Amy wandered around a local store picking up the Keeper (her first menstrual cup) and putting it back down for over an hour before finally committing to buying it. Kim eyed the Diva Cup at the local feminist shop in her university town of Halifax for nearly a year before making the leap.
When it comes to menstrual cups, it’s rarely love at first sight. Even after you make the initial commitment, reusable menstrual cups can take some getting used to. The good news is, if you stick with it, you will likely find yourself a devoted convert raving about how much you love it! It has all sorts of benefits, and many small, unexpected joys (like not having to pack a box of pads in your luggage or having to worry about how to dispose of dirty pads while on a camping trip!)
Thanks to some awesome suggestions from our Facebook community, we’ve come up with a handy list of things to consider when making the switch to the Diva Cup:
- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to menstrual cups, so patience is key. We suggest giving yourself 3-6 months before deciding if it is the right fit for you.
- Skip the gas station restroom (for now). Instead, we recommend inserting the Diva Cup at home so you’re as comfy as possible (comfy=relaxed pelvic floor muscles = easier to insert a silicone cup into your vagina). Sticking close to home also means it’ll be easier to readjust the position if necessary, and if you really can’t get it working, you can switch to a pad or tampon.
- Less is more. When it comes to cleaning your Diva Cup, the fewer products you use the better. The company does NOT recommend the following: vinegar, tea tree oil, scented/fragranced soap, castile/peppermint soap or any other oil based soap, rubbing alcohol, antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, pre-moistened wipes, hydrogen peroxide, dishwashing soap or bleach (aren’t we switching to the DivaCup to avoid bleach in our vagina??) So, what should you use? Since silicone is non-porous it doesn't harbour bacteria which is why we keep it simple and just wash ours with hot water and skip the soap altogether.
- What about public washrooms? This is a really common concern. Depending on your cycle and how often you have to empty your cup, you may be able to time it so that the majority of changes happen at home or in a single stall washroom. However, if you’re out for the day, try stashing a damp cloth in your purse. You can just thow it in a ziplock bag, but if you want something prettier, our friends at Lunapads have some super cute carrying cases.
- Avoid an “uh oh” moment. Even though the Diva Cup shouldn’t leak down the road, it may leak during the learning phase. That’s why we recommend wearinga pad or pantyliner for the first few cycles until you get the hang of things.
- It’s all about the twist. Speaking of avoiding leaks, once you insert your Diva Cup, you need to twist the bottom (not the stem) 360 degrees in order to create a seal so that all the blood goes into the cup, rather than around the sides. This is often the biggest challenge but once you get it, it should be smooth sailing.
- Slip and slide. Sometimes it can be a little uncomfortable to insert the DivaCup, especially on lighter days when you have less natural lubrication. One of our Facebook friends suggested inserting it while you’re in the shower, and we’ve had other Diva Cup fans suggest running it under the tap before putting it in. You could also use a natural, water-based lube (but please stay away from silicone lube, silicone on silicone can degrade over time).
- Break the seal. Remember how we said that the “twist” was key for creating a seal? Well, you definitely, definitely want to break that seal before you take it out, otherwise you might feel like you’re pulling out your uterus along with your diva cup! Usually squeezing the bottom will do the trick but if you want to be sure, you can run your finger around the edge to release the suction.
- Got a question? The internet's got you covered. If you’re looking for more tips and suggestions, there are tons of helpful online websites and forums. The DivaCup website is a great place to start and we’d also highly recommend the Menstrual Cup Live Journal. With over 11, 000 entries, you can pretty much guarantee they’ve covered it all.
- If it doesn’t work, find yourself another body-friendly option. Unfortunately, as much as we adore the Diva Cup, it isn’t for everyone. Our mother heard us rave about it for years, but she just couldn’t get it to work for her. If that turns out to be the case, don’t despair. Fortunately there are lots of other wonderful eco-friendly options. We’re big fans of Lunapads – like the Diva Cup, resuable pads are way better for your body, the environment and your pocketbook – and for those that prefer an internal product, there are brands like Natracare that make unbleached, organic cotton tampons.
To make the switch even easier, we’ve got a coupon code for ya! Enter "divalove" in the discount box on the shopping cart page of www.ecosex.ca and you'll save $5 off your Diva Cup. We're also Lunapads ambassadors so you can use the code "AMBFIVE" to receive 5% off your order. Our Ambassador number is 515009.
Kim & Amy Sedgwick love to discuss sex, periods, and all the other things we’re not supposed to talk about. The co-founders of Red Tent Sisters and ecosex.ca, they’ve been featured in every major Canadian news outlet and have become a trusted resource for women seeking natural (effective!) birth control, a more joyful sex life, and an empowered journey to motherhood.