Periods suck. You hurt all over, you’re tired, and you suddenly have uncontrollable cravings for carbohydrates, cheese, and chocolate—maybe all at the same time. Because of this, I normally dread this time of the month, and I’m always on the lookout for ways to make my period more stress-free and painless.
One of my recent discoveries has been the Diva Cup. I first found out about this product around a year ago, when suddenly it seemed like a whole bunch of my favorite YouTubers posted videos about trying the Diva Cup the first time. I was immediately intrigued after hearing them talk about it and wanted to see if this style of period product would work for me, especially since tampons are damn expensive and menstrual cups are reusable and can last as long as 10 years. I made up my mind and purchased a cup from my local Target in late December, and I finally got a chance to use it during my last period. And since sharing is caring, I’ve decided to share five of my best insights from this experience with you:
1. Figuring Out How to Use the Diva Cup Takes a While
Listen up Y’all: folding the cup can be kind of hard the first time. There’s a bunch of different folds you can use, and finding the best one that worked for me took some time. I highly recommend looking up a chart of folds before you go into the bathroom to insert it for the first time so you can experiment with different styles and find what’s most comfortable! Also, removing the cup takes a couple tries as well— don’t be discouraged if you can’t get it your first time. Just relax, take a deep breath, and try again.
2. Periods Are Naturally a Little Messy
Because I’m usually a tampon person, I had sort of forgotten exactly how much I really bleed. I have to say I was shocked when I emptied the cup for the first time—even when I used pads and was able to see the amount of blood absorbed there, I was never really able to visualize what that really meant for my body. Using menstrual cup means getting an intimate look at exactly how much fluid your body is losing, so be prepared to see a lot more blood than you might already be used to seeing. Also, your fingers will not escape unscathed after inserting or removing the cup, so be prepared for people to raise an eyebrow at your murder hands if you end up washing them in a public place.
3. It’s Really Nice to Have a Zero Trash Period
I’m super concerned about the environment, and it always weighed heavily on my mind that every time I had my period, I was generating a whole bunch of bloody garbage that was going to the landfill. Using the Diva Cup was awesome because I felt like I was saving the planet in my own small way. Also, not having to worry about making those obvious crinkly tampon opening noises in a crowded public bathroom made me feel very stealthy like I was an undercover secret agent who had knowledge that could unhinge the government, so that’s definitely a pro.
4. Menstrual Cups Can Help with Cramps
Okay, this was a game changer. I normally have terrible cramps the first three days of my period, and it’s a pretty normal sight to see me popping ibuprofen every four hours religiously during this time. I had heard that using a Diva Cup or any other brand of menstrual cup could help with cramps, but I was skeptical about it working for me. However, I was soon proved wrong, because it worked like a damn champ. I only took pain relievers twice during the entire week, which is amazing. I’ve tried to research the science behind why this could happen, but it turns out that no one really knows why this phenomenon occurs. This is certainly mysterious, and maybe a tad suspicious, but I’m sure as hell not complaining.
5. Wearing It for 12 Hours is Freeing as Hell
Words cannot explain the joy I felt at not having to change my tampon every 4-6 hours of the day. It was so much more convenient for me to just insert the cup in the morning before my classes and not have to worry about it until I came back to the dorm at night. Also, not having that threat of Toxic Shock Syndrome looming over me the entire week was very anxiety relieving as well. I never had to feel guilty for getting a full 8-10 hours of sleep using the Diva Cup, whereas when I used tampons I would always feel slightly paranoid that I had leaked or given myself TSS when I did this. All I have to say about this is God bless silicone because it is a medical miracle.
All and all, I’d say that using a menstrual cup is a really good alternative to mainstream period products like tampons or pads. It can be a little cumbersome to learn to use, and yes, it is a little weird to clean in a communal bathroom, but for me, the benefits outweigh these cons. Using a menstrual cup was just as comfortable as using a tampon, and it is infinitely more convenient because of how much longer I can wear it. It is also more environmentally friendly, and more cost-effective in the long run. For these reasons, I believe that using a menstrual cup is the best period product for me, and I’d encourage you to do some research of your own. There are so many cool, innovative products to deal with your period nowadays that it no longer makes sense to just use whatever stuff your mom bought you for your first period way back in seventh grade. So get out there and experiment!