A new book by ZipCar cofounder Robin Chase sparks ideas about the connection between period apps, natural birth control, and the changing face of business.Read More
The Diva Cup and other reusable menstrual products offer an alternative that's healthier for your body and the environment (plus they save you money!)Read More
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.
We're 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, they’ve been featured in every major Canadian news outlet and have become a trusted resource for people seeking natural (effective!) birth control, a more joyful sex life, and an empowered journey to motherhood.
As many of you who follow us on Facebook will already know, at an event this week a young woman asked us for suggestions to help her 13-year-old sister have a more positive experience with menstruation and sexuality. So we asked our community, "What do you wish someone had done for you at that age?" We received an overwhelming response filled with beautiful stories and suggestions. We want to thank you all for broadening the dialogue on this often-overlooked topic. We thought some might find it helpful to see a compilation of all of those suggestions in one place, so here is our summary!
- Help set the stage. While a girl’s first menstruation is a one-day event, the events that contribute to how she will experience it start at birth. Set the stage for a positive experience by using proper anatomical names for body parts, being mindful of how you present your own experience of your body and menstruation (shame is very easy to pick up from people’s words and body language), and regularly comment on media portrayals of women’s bodies as a way of encouraging media literacy.
- Help them be informed. There is nothing scarier than the unknown. You can help equip young girls with the information they need to understand what their bodies are doing by providing access to such books as Cycle Savvy, Taking Charge of Your Fertility, What’s Happening to My Body, and Cycling. Pay particular attention to the issues not covered well in health education at school – for example, most girls know that getting your period is a part of puberty, but few know that changes to the shape of the vulva and cervical discharge are other natural physiological changes with puberty. You might be surprised how common “vulva shame” is, or how confusing or shameful girls can find “stuff in their underwear.”
- Help them celebrate. Too often menstruation is presented as a curse – a painful, embarrassing or inconvenient aspect of womanhood. To counteract these negative associations, create an atmosphere of celebration by hosting a first moon party, offering a small gift (piece of red jewelry, goddess figure, etc.), or providing a book that showcases positive menstrual experiences, like The Red Tent or Red Moon.
- Help them feel prepared. Help a young woman be prepared for her first menstruation by creating a first moon kit with menstrual products as well as home remedies for a healthy cycle, like a hot water bottle, tea and magnesium supplement (make sure to check the dosage information on the bottle). Many women only learn about tampons and disposable pads, and don’t know about alternative menstrual products like the Diva Cup and Lunapads. Let them know these options exist (there are some awesome online instructional videos on how they work) so that they can make an informed decision about which one is best for them.
- Help them make the connection. Regardless of the age at which a girl gets her first period or becomes sexually active, the connection between menstruation and a woman’s sexual awakening often gets overlooked or ignored completely. Help them make the connection by talking about how this experience is important because it marks the transition into a new and exciting phase of one’s life – a phased filled with pleasure, exploration and the capacity to create life, if and when the time is right. Books like Deal With It and websites like Scarleteen are a great starting point – they can help foster a healthy relationship to masturbation, sexual decision-making, and body exploration while also providing groundwork for further conversation.
Thanks again to all those who shared their suggestions and personal experiences. While our original question included discussion of how to encourage positive sexual experiences, we have opted to turn that into a whole separate blog post which you can find here.
If you're interested in picking up some Lunapads you can use our Ambassador number 515009 and the code "AMBFIVE" for 5% off your order.
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.