The Diva Cup is a reusable menstrual cup that replaces disposable sanitary products. It is a cup with a stem, made from silicone. It comes in 2 sizes, one for pre- and one for post-childbirth. I got the one for
pre-childbirth. The plastic is fairly soft and supple and has 5 tiny holes just under the rim at regular intervals. The stem is short enough that it does not normally need trimming,
although that is an option. To use, it is inserted, removed when necessary, cleaned and then reinserted. To clean it there is a dedicated wash, or I use fragrance-free soap and water. If there is no sink handy it can
just be wiped out with a paper towel and then washed after the next use. Between periods it can also be boiled or left overnight in a cup of water and vinegar for a more thorough cleaning.
I bought the Diva Cup just over a year ago. Although most of my use of it has been at home and at university, I have used it on 2 trips to Nicaragua where I
was staying in a hotel but hiking every day. I also used it on one overnight backpacking and one overnight kayaking trip in Florida. There were no bathroom
facilities on either trip. Temperatures were always high, up to 90 F (32 C) and never below about 60 F (15 C) at night.
I have always found that tampons make my periods more painful and I hate all of the waste associated with them, so when I first heard of
menstrual cups I was really excited. After reading lots of reviews and doing lots of research I decided to get the Diva Cup because it is softer plastic than other cups available
so I thought it would be easier to use. I definitely like that, as I have never found
it uncomfortable and, as the manufacturers claim, I really can't feel it (unlike tampons). It is also latex-free in case of allergy.
The cup arrived with instructions which I read thoroughly. There are a number of ways to insert it and the first few times it took me
a looong time to get it inserted to where I couldn't feel it and it was open. I found that folding it in half, inserting it and then twisting
once it was fully inserted worked best for me. Removing it I just squeeze it slightly to release the seal, pull down, et voila! I do find that on the
first day or two I get a little bit of leaking (I did with tampons too) so I wear panty
liners, but later on in my period it is not a problem. The first few times I used it I got some pretty horrendous leaking and very occasionally
now I still do. I know it is because I have not got it inserted correctly but I haven't quite figured out what I am doing differently those times. I have found that cleaning out the
holes in it with a needle every now and then helps though. Sometimes after going to the bathroom I need to readjust too.
One of the things I really like about the Diva Cup is that I can use it before my period starts. Especially when I have been hiking this has been
great as it can save a lot of mess. There is also less worry about TSS which is great for me as I was never very good about only using a tampon for 8
hours. It does feel a lot more intimate but it didn't take me long to get used to that. Now that I have been using it for a year it is hardly messy at
all, but initially it was pretty bad. I have only used it twice without bathroom facilities and each time it was for less than 48 hours. I had hand sanitizer and used toilet tissue to wipe it off, which worked fine, but
I imagine that rinsing it out with drinking water would be a pain on longer back-country trips.
Financially and environmentally the Diva Cup is a great bet. The website says that they last 1 year but most of the reviews I have read say that they
have had theirs for up to 10 years. I have had mine for just over a year and see no reason to replace it for a good long while. It has discolored slightly but apparently
that is normal and it certainly doesn't affect the use. As I paid $20 for it, and
used to spend about $5 a month on tampons this is a huge saving. I love the environmental aspect, there is no waste and I don't have to worry about carrying
spares around with me. As I frequently work in Nicaragua this is a real bonus as tampons would always get squashed and sometimes get wet and become
unusable. Disposing of them was also nasty because you cannot flush anything so I would have all this waste attracting bugs in the bathroom. It is also nice not to have
to load my purse up with spares on a night out! With the cup I don't have
to worry about any of that and I find it much more comfortable than tampons too.
The Diva Cup is a reusable menstrual cup that provides an environmentally friendly and more comfortable alternative to tampons. Although it took some time to get used to it
and get it to work right, it was worth the perseverance. I don't have to carry spare anything with me, it works out a lot cheaper, there is less risk of TSS, I really can't
feel it and it doesn't make my menstrual cramps worse like tampons did (and who doesn't want that?!!). I have recommended this to numerous friends and no longer use anything
Cheaper than alternatives
Really can't feel it
Doesn't make my stomach cramps worse
Can use it before the period starts
Less risk of TSS than alternatives
No need to carry spares around
Takes a while to figure out how to insert it right
Can be messy
Still get leaks occasionally
Initially feels a bit intimate