Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ladies' Gear Review: The Diva Cup

I have to be honest, I've had some issues with my dear, sweet Aunt Flo. As a teenager, she visited me both frequently and erratically. One time she only went away for a week before she came back to visit for a whole freaking month. I’m not kidding - a whole, entire, freaking month. I ended up with iron-deficiency-anemia due to her frequent and rather obnoxious visits.

There were also quite a few embarrassing accidents thanks to her. I promise you, I will never in my life wear white pants. It didn't matter that I doubled up on products and changed them all out every two hours. There were still accidents.

So, it’s probably not a surprise to most of you ladies that even though I am an “outdoorsy” lady myself, my standard practice for that time of the month has been to stay home rather than venture outdoors. It was simply too much of a pain. The quantity of products needed to manage the issue, plus needing to pack out all that trash --?! It was ridiculous. Not to mention the discomfort of sweating and hiking and rock climbing while wearing what is pretty much a diaper (cause even with a tampon, I still had to wear a pad as back up) - it just had not been worth it to me.

Then I learned about the Diva Cup. The makers of Diva Cup have not paid for me to write this review or provided me with any free stuff in exchange for this review. I don't think they even know I've posted this review. I've written this review because the Diva Cup has significantly impacted my life in a super positive way and I would love to share that experience with other women. Diva Cup is not the only menstrual cup out there, so do your homework and figure out what brand is best for you.

Without further ado, here is my review…

The Diva Cup

What is it?
http://divacup.com/assets/M1-M2-boxes.pngThe Diva Cup is a menstrual cup that is inserted into the vaginal canal, similar to a tampon. Unlike a tampon, it captures the menstrual flow rather than absorbing it. The cup needs to be emptied out every 12 hours and can be reused for years. There are a variety of brands out there, but this review is on the Diva Cup  brand.

Pro’s

  • Volume! This baby can actually handle my Aunt Flo. No more doubling up on both tampons and pads. 
  • Comfort. While it takes some time to figure out where it needs to be placed exactly, once you get it there it is way more comfortable than a tampon or a pad. I have literally forgotten I was using it. 
  •  Freedom. You only have to empty the cup twice a day. Now, I will disclose that on the first big day of my period, I do need to change it out at mid-morning and mid-afternoon as well. However, if you read my introduction I think you understand that my Aunt Flo is a bit of a freak and not really typical at all. This is still a huge improvement to having to change both pads and tampons every two hours like I used to do. It is a great convenience when I’m out climbing and might be up on a wall for the whole day.
  •  Less Waste. This little sucker will last you for years. Think of how many pads and/or tampons that would be in a landfill otherwise.
  •  Less Cost. Reiterating my last point - it lasts for years!! It only costs about $30 depending on where you get it. Think of how much you spend on other products every month. 
  • Better for your Health. Because the cup just captures your flow rather than absorbing it into a porous material like pads and tampons, it does not allow for build up of bacteria or other harmful things. This reduces the likelihood of developing health issues like yeast infections or TSS. Of course, you do still need to maintain good hygiene practices including washing your hands both before and after emptying your cup.  

Con’s
  • Learning Curve. Holy crap is there a learning curve to this thing. Or at least there was for me. I have other lady friends who got it all figured out super fast, but it took me about 6 periods before I became comfortable enough with the cup to stop backing it up with pads. Since I was already backing up my tampons with pads, it wasn't so bad - but be prepared to be patient with yourself on this one.
  • Freshette Compatibility. Meaning, it’s not super compatible with my Freshette (here is my Ladies' Gear Review: The Freshette). It works, but it takes some effort. In order to maintain a seal with my Freshette, I have to hold it pretty firmly against myself, which puts some pressure down there. The Diva Cup also creates some pressure. All this pressure makes it kind of hard to pee. I've found that waiting until I really have to go helps me have success. It also helps to maintain a wider stance than I normally would and to lean my torso forward while sticking my butt back -- I feel a bit dopey doing it, but it works. If you've ever been pregnant, you probably already know all about this tactic since I stole the idea from a preggo-book.
  • Mess. As I was learning to use the device, things got a bit messy. It’s kind of an unavoidable part of the learning process. However, the messy phase does end as you learn how to use the thing. I dealt with this by making sure I could always use a private bathroom while I was learning (a bathroom that has its own private sink). I also figured out that I could reduce the mess by inserting the Diva Cup just before my period started -- rather than waiting for it to start.
  • Time. It does take a little longer to empty out the Diva Cup than it would take to switch out a tampon. However, the time is saved later when you only have to deal with the Diva Cup twice a day instead of every few hours and you get faster at it as you get more experience. 

For me, the Pro's definitely outweigh the Con's. Interested in learning more? Check out Diva Cup's official website at http://divacup.com/. My Diva Cup was a gift from Derek, and this review is entirely independent.

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