Diva Cup: Disaster or Delightful? **With Update

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***Edit: This article has been edited to reflect neutral nouns

Everyone’s favorite capitalist holiday is around the corner and for Valentine’s Day my younger sister bought me a Diva Cup. For those of you that do not know what a Diva Cup is, it is the brand name for a menstrual cup. Yes, a cup for your menses.  Google it.

A few months ago I decided to stop taking birth control because the side effects were (in my non-medical opinion) making sex painful. I had been on birth control for…too many years, and recently started skipping my placebo pills and going straight to another pack-all of this to avoid having my period. Now since I don’t have this option I figured I must embrace my monthly options.

Personally, pads make me feel awkward, itchy and smelly. I am a big fan of tampons but they can get $$, and sometimes they do leak. I consider myself a pretty open person and am hoping to get into medical school to specialize in family health. I figured, what the hell, I’ll try this contraption out.

The diva cup is made of 100% medical grade silicon. It is pretty thick, but has a little bit of flexibility to it. It comes in two sizes. Model 2 for people that have given birth to a child and model 1 for people that have not had delivered a child. I would say you know your body and don’t let the sizing label make you feel uncomfortable. Although it’s good that they have multiple sizes, I wish they made a model .5 for people with freakishly small set vaginas. Like I said, sex has not been very pleasant for the last couple of years and I don’t take kindly to largish things being inserted into me.

Here is where it gets tricky. There are two ways to insert the diva cup and I prefer the approach that makes the cup as small as possible (which by the way is not small at all). After 10 minutes of trying to finagle this cup, which kept popping open before I could insert it all the way in, it finally went in. And like the story goes, you can’t even feel it. This was surprising to me because it’s not a soft long tube of cotton. It is a hard piece of silicon that is pretty wide.

I was afraid that it would leak, and for the first 2 days it was ok. I was able to walk two dogs, and go about my normal sedentary routine. The morning of day 3 of my period I did a downward dog yoga pose to get myself energized for the morning and it started leaking. I quickly jumped up and shoved tissues papers in my underwear and ran to the bathroom.

I have many issues with the Diva Cup, but my biggest complaint is getting this fucking thing out. First of all, scratch what the directions say. Do this when you are taking a shower. I had to get into a catcher’s stance and push this thing out far enough so that I could grab the little plastic nub to pull it out. Seriously, I am a doula and I was using breathing techniques and trying different birthing positions because this thing just would not come out. Either I have some weak ass PC muscles or I should NEVER have a baby!

Once it is out, it’s fine. You can see how many mL you bleed. If you are a weirdo like me you get to examine the actual blood. To me this was interesting, but hey, I want to be a doctor so to each their own.

The final verdict…
By the middle of the third day I broke down and went to Target to buy some tampons. I will never use the Diva Cup again.  It is nice to have laying around just in case you happen to run out of pads or tampons and need something quick to get you to the store, but that is about as far as I can recommend this thing. My concerns centered around:

  • It is a hassle to put in- you never know if it is in the right way and you practically have to fist yourself to check, which clearly was not happening for me, and it’s even more of a pain to take out.
  •  It is unsanitary-even though the directions tell you to wash your hands before and after I doubt that many people are going to have the time/patience/convenience to go through medical grade hand washing using a nailbrush and all that. I feel like I am working in my stem cell lab with all the aseptic techniques I need to use to operate this thing.
  • It’s messy-This is why it is important to wash your hands because you will find blood under even the shortest of nails!  Also, don’t even think about using this in a public restroom until you feel completely comfortable taking it in and out-remember you will have to wash your bloody cup out in a public sink.
  • Does not last 12 hours at a time- the directions claim that the 15 mL is enough for 12 hours on your heaviest day of your cycle. WRONG! I would consider myself to have light to normal periods, and I had to change this thing every 3 hours when Aunt Flo really started rollin’ into town.

I am not knocking anyone that uses a menstrual cup or trying to dissuade anyone from trying one out, but it was just not for me. (Actually it was- check out my menstrual epiphany here) If you think think my  the issues I had with the Diva Cup won’t be such a big deal to you, then I recommend you to use this alternative.

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7 thoughts on “Diva Cup: Disaster or Delightful? **With Update

  1. Magdalena says:

    I’ve used diva cups for a couple years now and don’t think I’ll turn back anytime soon. I agree that removing the diva cup can often be difficult, but with practice it became less of a challenge for me. Mine fits well and, thanks to the great suction function, has never leaked. I’ve camped with one, done taekwondo, gone swimming – you name it. Using a diva cup definitely requires lots of pre- and post-hand washing, and this can be tricky in public restrooms. I think it’s well worth it, though. I save $, time (I can keep it in significantly longer than I can keep a tampon in), and nonrenewable materials. All my friends who use diva cups have raved about them, so my impression is that they work for lots of people.

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  2. Hanky says:

    I absolutely adore my diva cup! I put it in when I know my period is coming so that I’m not surprised by a leak in my panties or sheets, I can leave it in for at least three times as long as a tampon, I don’t have to worry about TSS and I don’t have to waste money on tampons. I had difficulties putting it in the first couple months but now find it very easy. I have never had trouble taking it out and have only ever leaked on my heaviest days when I leave it for 4 hours or more and it overflows. I would say it just takes practice and maybe kegels (in and out) to become a pro at it. Also it does not have to be rinsed out in public bathrooms, the directions specifically said you can wipe it out and put it back in; I regularly do so and have never had an issue with it.

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  3. spazzmine7 says:

    Magdalena that is awesome! I’ve heard mixed reviews on it. To me the idea of using something that is good for the environment, cost effective, and can last up to 12 hours was convincing enough for me to try it. Unfortunately, it did not work with my body. I wanted to write about my experience to add to the information already out there. Most of the reviews were pretty vague and didn’t talk about the little details of using the diva cup. I think this blog is a great platform for everyone to write about their own experiences. I am also interested in other options, such as reusable pads, and sponges. My quest for finding a cheap, and eco-friendly option does not end with the diva cup- and I hope my post doesn’t deter others from trying it or seeking other options as well!
    -Jasmine

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  4. jennavagts says:

    I agree that it can be a difficult adjustment and takes getting use to. Sometimes it can be a scarring and frustrating experience when you learn the hard way :/

    But from my experience it took a few times to figure out how to use it best for my body/period/lifestyle. I would say if you struggle the first time you try it, test it a few more times!

    I did think this was a well written and entertaining blog entry! Thank you for sharing your experience.

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  5. Meg says:

    Ive never heard of this going in deep. It doesnt go up to your cervix, but stays low in the vagina, so that the stem is only 1 inch inside from the labial opening. You mentioned twice that getting it out was hard, but you didnt elaborate on why. Did you squeeze the base of the cup and pull gently until you could reach the top rim and then squeeze it so the suction breaks, so did you simply try to pull the cup out while suctioned? Last, did you rotate the cup 360 degrees once you put it in? That seals it, so it wont leak or move much while you go about your activities. My only other word of advice would be for you to try different cups. There are several different breands out there and Diva Cup is the longest. You might do better with a different cup. Good luck!

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    • spazzmine7 says:

      Yes. I did all of those things. Everyone’s body is different and I even had a hard time squeezing gently and even rotating 360 once put in bc it goes up too far. It is supposed to suction close to the cervix and the stem is not supposed to stick out. The directions say to push out until you have enough stem to grab but as I said it was very difficult. I went with the diva cup bc of silicone and not with the keeper bc that is made of rubber. Rubber has pores and warps over time.

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  6. Sarah says:

    I find that e Cup is difficult to reach my self when removing, or rotating. The most effectI’ve way for me was instead of using your thumb and for finger try squeezing it with the for finger and middle finger. That combo can reach deeper. I also try ed different positions; squatting instead of sitting, that kind of stuff.

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