Like so many other issues surrounding women’s health care, menstruation and the options to deal with it are rarely discussed. Beyond the basic middle-school health class where we learned that you could avoid all of that unpleasantness with a warm water bottle and a tampon we’d have to change every eight hours, the only other way to learn about the myriad of options for menstrual hygiene was from word of mouth or the internet. With the help of the Her Campus Fall Survival Kit, I was able to test out one of these other options. Here’s the what I learned trying out The Diva Cup.
1. This will be just like putting a tampon in, right?
No, it won’t. You realize this half a second after opening the packaging and seeing the pamphlet instructing you to fold the cup into a cute piece of origami art before insertion. Definitely practice the folding technique a few times before going for the whole shebang. There’s two folding options listed on the instructions pamphlet, but I recommend playing around until you find the right way to do it for your body.
2. I can live my life pretending there’s not a cup in my body all day.
Day 1 is objectively the hardest day for the cup-wearer. You’ve just made yourself sweaty and anxious in the bathroom for the last twenty minutes, and now have to walk into the world and pretend like you’re not constantly of aware of what’s going on down there. I won’t pretend like I didn’t sit on my bike seat awkwardly as I biked to school that first day, or that I didn’t immediately go to the nearest bathroom on campus to make sure everything was still in place. Surprise: everything was totally fine and exactly where I’d left it! Every day following the initial day made it increasingly easier to adjust to the new process and forget it was there throughout my day (you can leave it in for twelve hours continuously!).
3. Who will be my first call if this thing gets stuck?
After doing some extensive internet research, I realized it was going to be extremely unlikely that the cup would get stuck inside my body in any way. That did not stop me from thinking out who I would have to ask first to help me if things went awry. It definitely gave me peace of mind to have female roommates and (a very reluctant) boyfriend agree to lend a hand if things went south. What happened when it came time for removal? Nothing. After finding the right grasp and a little finagling, it popped out, to my great relief. With a small learning curve, removing and replacing the cup became the easiest part of the process.
4. I’m saving time and the environment.
Aside from the ease and cost-savings of not having to purchase tampons and pads every month, using a menstrual cup also made me realize how much trash I was saving from going to a landfill. Considering that the average woman’s use of tampons and pads produces 62,415 pounds of garbage, using a menstrual cup that can last you over a decade can help you minimize your environmental footprint.
5. This so much easier than I expected.
It’s all fun and games until you’re faced with a strange silicon cup and period cramps all in the same day. Despite being admittedly intimidated by the cup at first, using it definitely simplified the hassle of dealing with my period. Instead of packing disposable supplies for the day, I just left with my cup and changed it when necessary. The learning curve of insertion, removal, and cleaning was easy enough to get down after only a few uses, and knowing I’m saving time, money, and landfill space by not purchasing pads and tampons has made The Diva Cup my go-to menstrual product.
It’s your period. Do what makes you the most comfortable and healthy, but don’t be afraid to try the unfamiliar. After spending the last decade of my menstruating-life using disposable products, my hesitation to use anything else was met with the surprising ease and great advantages of using a reliable and sustainable cup. Happy periods!
Photo credit: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/