If, for some reason, the details of the natural reproductive functions of women offends you, I urge you to close this page. There will be talk of vaginas and menses. You have been warned.
I'm a girl who has never been able to use tampons because they were uncomfortable and never seemed to work the way they were supposed to. I don't know, maybe I just have a weird vagina. Despite my troubles in the 5 or 6 times I'd tried to use one in my lifetime, the idea of stuffing my most feminine orifice with dry cotton really never appealed to me. It freaked me out, really. So, when I first learned of the Diva Cup about a year ago, I almost instantly wrote it off. I figured, if I couldn't even wear a tampon, I certainly couldn't wear a silicone cup and expect any degree of success. As much as I fell in love with the idea of the Diva Cup, we just weren't right for each other.
Fast forward about 10-12 months and the Diva Cup was still on my mind. With every period come to pass, my mind wanders to thoughts of something easier. Since giving birth to my wonderful son, my period has become quite intense. It used to be that I would have one (what I thought was a) heavy day, followed by 3 days where it gently tapered off. Now I have 1 day that is what I can only describe as a massacre of my uterus, followed by a couple days of what I used to describe as a "heavy day" and then it tapers off in an unpredictable fashion. Perhaps the worst part of it is that I don't get nearly as many warning signs that it's coming as I used to. On more than one occasion I've woken up in a puddle of gore and, in my still dreamlike state, thought for a second that surely a murder has taken place. Instead, I find that my most womanly fold really hates my sheets and, yeah, I have black bedding now.
Being a menstruating woman has its unique challenges and expenses. Pads and tampons aren't cheap and we've all had that moment of panic when we realize we aren't prepared when the red tide comes in. An emergency trip to Shopper's Drug Mart at 3AM with toilet paper clutched near your lady parts to buy a new stack of twat waffles is enough to make you wish you were born with a penis.
So, with my Lady Days looming on the horizon, I got to researching the Diva Cup more in depth. I read reviews (hundreds of them), I watched YouTube videos (including a particularly hilarious one by Glozell) and I read all the FAQs and literature I could on the product. In general, I buy a lot of my personal "stuff" from a website called Well.ca. I swear, that website sat open with the Diva Cup product displayed on the screen for a good 3 days while I was mulling it over. Finally, there was a point where I decided that I would just go for it. If it doesn't work out, I thought, it's a loss of $40, and that was scary because it's a lot of money, but my confidence level was high after all my reading. I added it to my cart, loudly proclaiming to nobody in particular, "I volunteer as tribute!", and quickly checked out before I could change my mind.
Then, there was an awkward waiting period of about 5 days, where I was wondering what would get here first, The Diva Cup or Aunt Flo? The crimson river ended up winning by a good 24 hours, and I begrudgingly used pads until that time.
When it arrived, I was so excited to try it. I opened it and was immediately charmed by the product. It comes with a cute, super girly little drawstring bag to store it in, and it even comes with a little lapel pin that says Diva on it (I still have to figure out where I'm going to proudly display it).
The time had come, I was finally going to see if I could get this thing to work. I had to change my pad anyway, so it was perfect timing. I went and sat in my bathroom, poring over the instructions that came with the cup. I was nervous. Was this going to be like any other time I tried using tampons? Nope! With a little coaxing, I was able to get it in the right place, and once I did, there was some mild discomfort. I'd been prepared for it, as it's common for women to be irritated by the stem at the base of the cup. I cut it off, reinserted it, and I reached menstrual nirvana. I couldn't feel it. At. All. It was as if I wasn't even having my period.
Then, I proceeded with my day as normal. Now that I was no longer straddling a panty pillow, I was getting on better than normal. I was comfortable. I wasn't leaking. It was perfect.
The first time emptying it was interesting. I was a little scared of a) spilling it, b) not being able to get it out, and c) pain. See.... the cup creates a suction when you put it in. This helps hold it in place, but it REALLY helps hold it in place. So much so, that removal can be difficult if you don't follow the instructions in the package. It says you need to squeeze the bottom of the cup to break the suction before you remove it. I did, but it was still tough to get out. Since it's not folded when it's coming out like it was when you put it in, there is a little bit of pain pulling it out. However, if you get it at the right angle, it's minimized.
Overall, my experience using it for the first time was a lot smoother than I was expecting. It's easy to get the hang of using it and it works better than I thought.
Here are a few of the concerns I had before purchasing the cup, followed by my actual experience with it:
What I thought: There is no way that I'll be able to get it in the right place!
Reality: When following the directions that come with it, it was a lot easier to get in than I was expecting. After a few tries, it was in place.
What I thought: I will have to wear a pad with it anyway, because it will leak.
Reality: The entire time wearing it, there were no leaks at all. The longest I had it in was 10 hours, and not a single leak.
What I thought: My flow is too heavy. I'll have to empty that little cup every hour!
Reality: Pads and tampons are deceiving, because they take your flow and spread it out, soaking it into fibers to make it look bigger than it is. What I thought would be a full cup (one of my heavy days) was, in reality, only about 1/4 full, and that was about 6 hours of wearing it. I could never get away with that if I'd been wearing a pad!
What I thought: I'll be able to feel it. It will be uncomfortable.
Reality: After trimming the stem, couldn't feel it at all. If I didn't know better, I would have thought I wasn't menstruating.
What I thought: It will be really gross and messy to use.
Reality: It is a bit more of a 'hands on' approach to dealing with your cycle, but overall I find it to be a lot cleaner than using pads. With pads or tampons, there is so much garbage left over that you have to throw away. With the Diva Cup there is nothing.
I honestly don't think I've ever been so happy with a purchase. The cost of the Diva Cup up front is a little high (I think they average $30 - $40) but when you think of how much you spend on feminine hygiene products in a year, it pays for itself pretty quickly. I'm excited that I'll never have to buy pads again. I can stop wasting my money on disposable products. I just need this one thing for my entire period and that's it! I recommend a Diva Cup to any menstruating woman. My only regret is that I didn't start using it sooner.