Public Service Announcement: Me and My Diva

Today, I thought I’d talk about something a little bit personal (I know, you’re shocked).  This may or may not fall into the TMI category.

Men, if female problems make you squeamish, you might want to skip this post.  You have been warned.

Ladies, today I’m going to tell you about a product that literally changed my life.  But first, a little background.

I got my period in 5th grade.  It’s been the bane of my existence since then.  My periods were, and have always been since then, very heavy.  This was a problem because I’d have to go to the bathroom frequently to change my pad and the teacher was always wondering why I had to go to the bathroom so much.  It further was a problem because I’d have to take my purse with me, thus alerting everyone to the fact that I was “on the rag” (or so I thought at the time).  The other problem was my mother.

Mom didn’t have heavy periods.  She had normal, manageable periods.  Therefore, she couldn’t understand why the pads that had served her well all these years were not working well for me (there was no question of tampons except for when I had my period while I was in swimming lessons).  She yelled at me because there were stains on my underwear.  I wanted the fancy pads with wings.  She told me they were expensive and I didn’t need them.  Eventually, I got them, but it was a struggle.

Things went on like this until I got to high school when, in addition to having a heavy period, I started getting cramps.  Lovely.

Finally, I got on the pill.  It was supposed to take care of all of my problems with my period.  It didn’t.  My periods were still heavy, and my cramps were worse.  I tried many different pill formulations but nothing made it better.  A couple of them made things worse (two-week period, anyone?).  Then, one day, I ran out of my Rx and I couldn’t get in to get an exam (which they required once a year in order to be on the pill) and so I went off the pill.  Things got slightly better immediately.  My periods got a couple days shorter, the cramps weren’t debilitating and my mood improved so that for the first time I had total remission from depression.

The problem of the heavy period remained, though.  They’ve gotten worse over the years.  I’m pretty sure if I was bleeding this heavily from my arm, it would be cause for major concern.  In the years since I was a kid struggling through this, I had discovered tampons.  This was good because it meant that if I had a tampon (the biggest, heavy dutiest one I could find) and a pad (the biggest, most absorbant one I could find), I might be able to go as much at two hours without going to the bathroom.  Not ideal.

Then, one day, I was reading a knitting blog and the author just had to tell us about a product that had made all the difference in the world to her.  The menstrual cup (check out that link, it has all the information you could ever want about the various models on the market).  A menstrual cup is, well, a cup that gets inserted into the vagina while you have your period.  You then empty the cup as necessary.  The blogger who told me about this cup was so in love with hers, I decided to try one for myself.  I purchased the Diva Cup.

I fell in love with it immediately.  Initially, I had some issues inserting the Diva Cup and getting it to pop open (you have to fold it up to get it in, then it needs to open up fully in order to be effective), but I found a livejournal site that has all kinds of information and helpful advice.

Now, for the life-changing part.  I no longer have to go to the bathroom every couple of hours even on my heaviest days.  On the lighter days, I can go all day without having to empty it.  It truly is a miracle product for me.  I don’t have to worry so much about the availability of a bathroom.  I can go on long car rides without having to stop all the time.  I can fly on a plane without worrying about whether I’ll get stuck in turbulence and not be able to go to the bathroom.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect.  I still have to wear a pad at night on my heaviest days because it will leak due to overflowing.  But, that is so much better than worrying about whether I’m going to stain my pajamas and the sheets everytime I go to bed.

I’ve saved quite a bit of money on tampons and pads.  And it’s better for the environment.  And, it’s no problem if I get to a bathroom and they say don’t flush tampons.  There’s no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome.  You can wear it overnight, no problem.  When it’s in, you don’t feel it at all.

I wrote this post because most of the women I talk to have never heard of menstrual cups.  All of the doctors and nurses I have talked to have never heard of menstrual cups.  That means there are a lot of women out there who are suffering like I did and could really be helped if only they knew about the cups.  So, this is my attempt to educate some women about a product that can really make a difference in their lives.

So, that’s the story of me and my Diva.  I hope that some of you try it (or one of the other cups) and it works as wonderfully for you as it does for me.  If you do try it, or if you already use one, give a shout out in the comments and tell us what you think.

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13 thoughts on “Public Service Announcement: Me and My Diva

  1. Ok, so my question about this – does it get pretty messy to remove, empty, etc? And is it possible to empty and reinsert this in a public (multi-stall) bathroom? I’m guessing you are supposed to rinse it before re-inserting after emptying? Or am I wrong?

    Also, if you have normal-light flow is it still worthwhile? I like the environmental and cost benefits, but don’t have issues with heavy flow, so I’m not sure that it would be worth getting.

    thanks for the public service announcement. :o) I am teaching “Biology of women” this year… maybe I’ll mention it to my students as well.

    • @Kate: On my heaviest days, it does get a little messy to remove. Otherwise, it’s not messy at all. When I’m in a public restroom, I just wipe it out with toilet paper before reinserting. But, on my lighter flow days, I can go at least 8 hours before having to empty it which means I don’t ever need to empty it in a public restroom on those days. If you have a normal-light flow, then you’d probably never have to empty it in a public restroom unless you were traveling or something or on a marathon shopping spree. 🙂

  2. I’ve been using the Diva Cup for about 3 years. I love it during the day, but it leaks for me at night. It’s possible I need to get the larger size (even though I’ve never given birth). I have very heavy periods also, but they are not heavy for the full duration. I like it for my “light days” as well. I wash my hands before changing it in a public bathroom, but do not wash it first, unless I know there won’t be anyone in the bathroom. I usually wear panty liners with it, because it does leak a little for me, but it is still much cheaper than pads/tampons. The hardest thing for me to get used to was putting it in at a public bathroom. I am more comfortable if I stand up, rather than trying to get it in on the toilet. I find it more comfortable than tampons (and obviously pads – I hate wearing diapers!).

  3. I know several other people who use a cup, and every one of them love it as much as you do. I think most of them say they don’t need to empty it during a work day, so they don’t have to deal with it in public restrooms. I looked into it, but it looked really big to me, which I thought would be uncomfortable. I have really light periods, so I use the smallest tampons I can find. I should suck it up and give it a try anyway though because it would be nice not to continually buy tampons.

    • @ecogeofemme: It does look big, but it’s not uncomfortable at all–you don’t even feel it. The only thing that can be uncomfortable is the stem-thing that’s on it, but you can trim that back and then you don’t feel it at all.

  4. I haven’t graduated to the Diva cup yet, but I have been using Instead cups for a little while (a friend of mine gave me hers after she switched to the Diva cup). The Instead cups are great. I’ve got a fairly light flow so I don’t have to change it while I’m at work at all. I think after I run out, I’ll give the Diva cup a try!

  5. I’ve been using a Keeper (just like the Diva Cup but rubber not silicone) for 8 years now. It’s great. The only thing I worry about it having to empty it into a latrine, because it would really suck to drop in down a hole in a developing country when that was the entire “period plan.” I’ve told them they should make a version with a little loop on the bottom to make it easier to hold in situations like that, but I think they ignored me.

  6. Just shouting out to using the Diva cup… a life saver, clothes saver, time saver and a HUGE money saver. Plus, not to get any more TMI, it’s much easier to track the flow based on the volume as opposed to roughly guessing on pads (which can overflow just by a good sneeze, etc). Wish more people will use it, but I know to many people who aren’t comfortable enough with their bodies to use it… but it’s wonderful!

  7. I’ve had my Diva Cup for about 2.5 years now and I also love it! There’s definitely a learning curve for getting it in just right, but I don’t feel it at all now. I was amazed when I discovered menstrual cups that I had been missing out on using them for so long. I would never go back to tampons/pads.

  8. Absolutely! So much better for convenience, time, money, and the environment. You’ll never look back!

  9. Just got a Diva Cup the other day when I was visiting another state. (they don’t sell them anywhere in my town) Now I’m *almost* wishing my cycles would come back (my youngest is still breastfeeding) so I can give it a try! Thanks again for your post!

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