The “cup.” Everyone’s got questions about this little mysterious product; wondering if it works, if it’s gross, how it works, or if they should give it a try. It’s now officially been one year since I switched to the cup, and I will NEVER go back to tampons! Since everyone always has SO many questions about this magical little product, I thought I’d give my thoughts on it after a full year of use, as well as answer some of the most common questions!
After a six year span of either being pregnant or nursing a baby, I am finally done having children. My body is my own again, and I am now graced with a monthly period. Fun! So last year, after being sucked in to all this hype online, I dove in and bought myself a $30 Diva Cup.
1. Learning to use it. I took me about 2 cycles to figure out and learn how to get the placement just right. I’ve spoken to some people who said it took much longer to figure it out. There is definitely a learning curve to this product, and so my suggestion is to not give up. Try it out when you’ll be home for the day so that if (and when) you make mistakes with it in the beginning, you’re in a safe and private place to take care of it and try again. I found that the “angles” they described for insertion did not exactly work for me, but perhaps it’s because I have a tilted uterus. I eventually figured it out, though, after lots of experimenting. Once you figure it out, you’ll know how it feels when properly placed, and it becomes a lot easier and quicker to manage.
2. Leaks. For some reason, everyone (including myself) believes that if the cup fills, you’ll be spilling the entire contents of the cup. This is physically not possible. Just like a tampon, if it gets too full, it will start to slowly leak. You’ll know. There is no possible way for that entire cup to do a 180 inside your body. No possible way. After those first two cycles, I have had ONE daytime leak in the entire year. ONE! And it was because I was still learning my flow and how often I needed to change it on heavy days (to be fair, I actually do occasionally leak at night if it’s heavy).
3. Needing backup products. I actually don’t use any other backup products while on my period and using the cup, as I really don’t have leaks. Once I “got it down,” that was it. It works like its supposed to every time. I have not used a single other product since I purchased the Diva Cup last January. That means, I spent $30 for the entire year, and saved a bunch of money!
4. The gross factor. I’m not going to lie, this is a much more “hands on” approach, especially at first. Once you get the hang of it, though, you really don’t touch as much as you’re probably imagining right now. This is why I always recommend learning while at home, where you can be right near your own toilet and sink and stay super clean. Honestly, once I got the used to the cup, I found my thinking change to having the “gross” factor while thinking about using tampons…chemicals? Ew!
5. Traveling. This is by far the BEST product for traveling (once you’ve got it figured out). I recently traveled while on my period, and this made my trip so much better! No constant trips to the bathroom on my heavy day, no needing to carry anything around with me (I left for the trip knowing I would start soon, so I just wore the cup from the time I left my house!). It is the only product that you’ll need while away from home. Just keep in mind that while away from home, you’re routine will change. You’ll want to wash your hands on your way into the bathroom so that you’re clean (you should also be doing this at home), and you DO NOT rinse out your cup in a public sink (EW!). You can just use a little toilet paper to wipe it out a bit (you don’t even have to do this if you don’t want to), and put it back in. Some ladies like to carry wipes in their bag, too.
6. All day coverage. On most days, you’ll find that morning and night are sufficient for emptying your cup. You can usually go 12 hours without problems. If you’re like me and have a “heavy” day, though, you may find that it needs to be emptied a couple times during the day…still better than the amount of tampons a heavy day might use! After a few cycles, you’ll know exactly how long before you fill it up, and can take care of it before it fills up.
7. Chemical Free! I love that the cup is a healthier alternative to tampons and pads. There are no chemicals, they are free of latex, plastic, PVC, acrylic, acrylate, BPA, phthalate, elastomer, polyethylene, and free of colors and dye. Because the cup is inside your body, and nothing is exposed to the air, there are NO SMELLS!
8. Great for irregular periods! Since I’m no longer on birth control, I have found my periods to be irregular. When I get close to a typical start date, I start wearing the cup and check it morning and night. You can’t do that with a tampon! Also, since the cup “collects” instead of “absorbs,” the cup carries no risk of toxic shock syndrome.
Other than all those amazing things listed above, I only had one issue the whole year with the cup. When I was at an outdoor event and on my heavy day (i.e. I needed to change it a couple times in the day instead of just morning and night), there were only porta-potties available. While I did my absolute best to be as clean as possible, I obviously did not do a great job. A couple days later, I ended up with my first ever UTI…ouch! I’m certain it was from being “down there” without perfectly clean hands. I am now MUCH more careful when in these types of situations, making sure to REALLY have clean hands.
Besides that one little mishap, I feel inclined to share the magic of the Diva Cup with the world. Seriously. You need one, ladies. Get those chemical-laden supplies away from your lady parts and replace them with a cup! You’ll be glad you did!