The Diva Cup: Is it Worth the Hype?

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It's something we all deal with, but never talk about. 

We can all agree that periods are a sometimes sensitive subject, depending on the ways you've been conditioned to talk about them. For many it's a secretive, albeit annoying, part of live that creeps back in each month with all its fury. As someone who's taken many a tango with Aunt Flo, I'm always looking for ways to make the experience a little bit easier. So, when I heard more and more chatter about The Diva Cup and the way it was revolutionizing periods, I had to give it a try. 

Background

The Diva Cup is an eco-friendly alternative to pads and tampons. Made from flexible medical-grade silicone, the Diva Cup is designed to "collect" as opposed to "absorb" your flow. After insertion, the cup bonds to your vaginal walls and creates a sort of seal that prevents leaks, and can supposedly be left in for up to twelve hours. The appeal behind the Diva Cup mostly lies in its convenience and cost-effectiveness; remembering to change out pads and tampons every few hours is time consuming and annoying, and spending buying a stash of them every month is no better. With the Diva Cup, you're able to minimize changing out time, and eliminate the panicked late night runs to CVS. Not to mention you're cutting back on waste, which is a plus for the environment! 

Although everything about the Diva Cup makes it sound like a perfect alternative, I was still skeptical, as I couldn't help but ask the questions that every new user seems to pose ("will it fit?" "will it leak?" "is it sanitary?"). A common fear is that you'll have to do the dreaded changing out in a public bathroom, which, to be honest, is not the ideal situation. However, after watching tutorial after tutorial that guaranteed you could leave it in for up to twelve hours and not have a problem, I decided I'd give it a try. 

First Impressions

The biggest question people seem to ask about the cup is insertion. Although there are several different methods, I went with the "folding" method, which made the most sense to me. Prior to inserting, I sterilized it by washing it off with warm water, which they suggest in the instruction manual. I didn't have a hard time getting it "up there" (is there a more polite way to say that?), but it definitely felt a little strange for the first couple if minutes. I put it in a little bit before going to bed on the first day of my cycle, and my flow was fairly heavy, which may have had something to do with the level of ease I had inserting. One thing you want to make sure if is that the base is in a round shape, which is how you know it is inserted properly. I had to mess with it a little to make sure that it was set the right way, but other than that it didn't take too much time. 

The Morning After 

It didn't take me long to forget that the cup was there. Although there was a little pressure at first, I quickly adjusted. However, in the middle of the night I had a minor panic after I woke up and felt that it had slid up a little bit in my sleep (although I know it's not humanly possible, I still panicked that I would have to go to the ER because I had lose a Diva Cup in the abyss of my vagina). I quickly took it out, which wasn't super difficult. They recommend doing a kegel or two to help remove it, which I did. I rinsed it off with warm water and re-inserted it before going back to bed, and slept soundly for the rest of the night with no issues. I woke up the next morning and did the same thing again before getting ready, and didn't change it back out until I came back home that evening. 

Final Reflections 

The first full day of wearing it was great. Aside from my minor freak out in the middle of the night, I had an easy time changing it out and there was zero leaking. However, on the second day, it didn't sit properly and caused me to leak a little throughout the day. I eventually had to throw on a panty liner, which if you ask me defeats the purpose of the cup in the first place. I quickly figured out that inserting the cup is a skill, and that it takes some practice to avoid leaking and things, which after the third day of my period I wasn't in the mood to deal with. 

Overall, I love the idea of the Diva Cup. Saving money, being environmentally conscious, and (in theory) saving time? A life hack trifecta! However, it's definitely not a one and done situation like a pad or tampon. It's something you have to work at, and seemed to be more of a leaking hazard than the latter. If I were you, I'd recommend wearing it for the first time over the weekend so you'll have more time to adjust throughout the day and practice changing it out at home if need be. If you're willing to take the time with it, I think it's a great alternative to throwing money away for disposable products. I will try using it again in the future, especially on my heavier days, but I can't tell if the leaking is a user or product error. 

Overall, I recommend you at least try it! Everyone's bodies are different, and your experience may not mirror mirror mine, but if you're tired of the usual products and want something new, I suggest picking one up! It could be your new Holy Grail for that time of the month.