I used a DivaCup for Period Science and Here’s the Tea…

I used a DivaCup for Period Science, and Here’s the Tea…

 

“The DivaCup, launched worldwide in 2003, is a revolutionary period-care solution… [it] eliminates the inconvenience and expense of purchasing disposable products in endless absorbances, shapes and sizes…”

 

        Anyone who knows me personally knows I’m all for products that claim to help the environment: reusable bags, those awesome cups at Starbucks that give you money off your drink, refillable water bottles instead of plastic ones, etc. However, in terms of period products there are very few eco-friendly options on the market. Pads are typically full of plastic and other chemicals that when broken down, release harmful chemicals into our soil and water. Don’t even get me started on tampons, though. Not only do most have the plastic applicator, but those applicators tend to be made out of low-density polyethylene that can take centuries to biodegrade. Normally, I would consider myself a pad girl, but when I was sent this Diva Cup, I was beyond excited to try it out to see if it was a good alternative to what I am used to, while still being environmentally friendly.

 

          The pink and purple feminine packaging of the Diva Cup couldn’t draw my eye away from the little plastic window that showed the actual cup itself. Thoughts began racing through my mind, “As someone who normally doesn’t use tampons, will I be able to get this in okay? What if it leaks, or even falls out when I sleep?” For the purposes of period science, I had to put my fears aside and give this cup the ol’college try. I wanted to wear this cup for a full twenty-four hours, and see if it is really worth all of the hype. The main thing I wanted to test, however, is the claim on the back of the package that it provides “Ultimate Freedom without worry.”

Is this something that would truly work for my finicky body?

 

          When I took the cup out of the package, I also found an instruction pamphlet the size of a pocket-sized book and an adorable little storage pouch that came with the cup. After reading the instructions and realizing that I did not have the stove needed to boil the cup for the first try (I live in a dorm, and was NOT about to take this to the communal kitchen. That’d be interesting to explain. “I’m boiling my cup for period science, now go away.) I turned to our savior YouTube and got it properly sterilized in the microwave according to instructions.

 

          Now, getting it in was a whole new challenge. The text was some of the tiniest text I’ve ever read, and it took about 5 solid minutes to get this thing in and get it to stay in. I was incredibly afraid to even stand up, for fear of the cup slipping and sliding out of me.  However, when I stood up it wasn’t as awful as I imagined it would be. It does not feel nearly the same as a tampon, and for those that have smaller vaginas this will most likely be very uncomfortable for you. The weird part about it is that since it is a cup, and not a tampon, the cup has to be able to hold itself open. With tampons, they go in smaller and then expand gradually to block the flow of period blood, gradually enough to the point where you don’t even notice it is expanding. On the contrary, the Diva Cup snapped open upon being placed in the correct position, and it felt rather odd having the edges of the cup push on those internal walls. I had to resist the temptation to rip it out immediately, and give it the fair chance it deserves.

 

          I will admit, as time went on it did get more comfortable as I got used to the sensation and the cup adjusted to my body. My first test with the cup in included going to CVS and just walking around to see how it would feel on the move. If the package claimed it could withstand extreme sports, I was positive that day-to-day life would be okay. No matter what I tried, I wasn’t able to almost “forget about it”, for lack of a better phrase, like people do with tampons. Since the cup is made of silicone and not cotton, it held its shape and simply just caught blood without adapting to the body itself like a tampon. Overall, it wasn’t the worst feeling in the world, but at that point in time I still wasn’t sure if this was the right period product for me.

 

          One thing that does impress me about the cup is the longevity of the wear. The package says it will work for up to twelve hours without needing to dump it out or change it, and I truly believe that standard held true. When I went to sleep that night, I put a pad on just to make sure I didn’t wake up to any blood stains on my white comforter, and woke up stain free and only to a weird “air-bubble” sensation. There’s no other way to describe it, but I suppose it was a sign that the cup needed to be changed. One issue that I did have with the cup is that taking it out is a giant strength game. Each cup has a little silicone nub at the end that you use to pull it out, but if you were to let go and take a rest, it would just immediately draw back inside. You have to pull the cup out in one go, and let me tell you that little silicon devil is slippery as all get out after you’ve used it for a while. I felt like I had even more problems getting it out then I put it in, and quite honestly I nearly dropped it once the weird suction it created finally was released.

 

          Unfortunately, once I put it back in, I realized that the cup snapping open and pushing against my insides was just too uncomfortable for me. In the end, I was not able to make it the full twenty-four hours that I originally set out to do. Most of the other reviews I read on this product express how comfortable it is, but for me personally I couldn’t get over how weird the sensation of being held open like that was.

As someone who is not normally a tampon wearer, I don’t believe I would use this product again, just because I’m not used to the sensation and the removal process that the DivaCup provides. This is not at all to say that the DivaCup is a bad product. In fact, I’d argue that for an individual who is used to wearing internal period protection on the regular, and doesn’t mind the odd and unique sensation, this is a fantastic alternative to tampons. Not only does it prevent leaks for the full twelve hours that the product claims, it doesn’t have any of the harsh chemicals that tampons commonly do and is ultimately much better for the environment. While I may be returning to my pads from now on, I would suggest everyone try this at least once to see if it is right for them. Just because it wasn’t right for me, does not mean it won’t be right for you!