Note: This one’s for the ladies! Men, you’ve been warned.
TMI! TMI! TMI!
Too much information, indeed, about things very personal to womankind. Still in? OK then.
In April, I signed on for Crunchy Chicken’s Diva Cup challenge. She offered the chance to win a Diva Cup – an insertable, washable silicone cup that catches menstrual flow, eliminating the need for tampons, reusable cloth pads or disposable pads (well, supposedly — more on that later). In exchange for entering the giveaway, we gentle readers had to commit to use the Diva Cup for three months.
I didn’t win, but I’m a woman of my word, all for the sake of my readers … the things I do for you! :)
The Impact of Menstruation
The Pleasure Puss reusable menstrual pads company estimates the average woman uses 16,800 pads or tampons during her lifetime. The same site says that more than 12 million pads and 7 million tampons are used each year in the United States alone.
The cost of all that bleeding? According to their quick calculator, around $2,665 for me (I was guesstimating the cost of pads — I haven’t bought disposables since I started tracking last June).
The old way
I have quite a stockpile of disposables from my super-bargain-shopping days. But I’ve mostly been using my reusable cloth pads, especially when the weather is nice enough to hang them out to dry, which I think sanitizes them better.
The reusable pads are very comfortable. However, they require soaking and rinsing and washing (pretty high ick factor, especially if they are abandoned mid-soak, as I accidentally did once), and they are bulky to store.
The new way
The Diva Cup is a little cup (duh) with a stem. You fold it (using whatever folding method works for you), insert it, twirl it around (using the word “twirl” loosely), give it some kegel-squishes with the relevant pelvic muscles so it pops open, and leave it be for up to 12 hours. It’s supposed to be comfortable — to the point that you can’t feel it — with no leaks. You remove it, wash it, and reinsert. What could be simpler? (If, that is, you are acclimated to a little gross factor, either from your own disposables or associated body-yuck, like diapers.) And it comes with a lapel pin.
The ladies online rave about the Diva Cup. They LOVE it! The environmental impact is very low, and the cost is excellent (it is supposed to last something like 10 years). So I bought one from South Coast Shopping for about $21 including shipping. It arrived pronto. Just in time for …
My experience – Cycle 1
Day 1: Inserted it. More leaked out than went into the cup. Serious pain removing it. Tried again. Same deal. Gave up for the day.
Day 2: More success – first time worked great. Then it started leaking. Worried, I removed it (painfully). Went online for help and found the “folding” link above. Tried different folds. Cut the stem shorter. Leaking, leaking, leaking. Learned how to remove it more comfortably (Tip: Pull down, not out). Ladybits exhausted, I gave up.
Day 3: Tried the new fold. Got it in. Success! Removed it – it was full, which is an allowable cause of leaking. Tried again. Leaking, leaking. Exhausted. Thank God, cycle ended. Legit reason to quit.
Next couple of days – wondered if I had a yeast infection (haven’t had one in about 13 years). Fortunately, I didn’t. Very dubious about next cycle.
The family perspective – cycle 1
Little Cheap: “What’s a Diva Cup?”
Me: “Er … a thing for my period.”
Little Cheap: “Oh. Why does it have ‘Diva’ in it?”
Mr. Cheap: “So women will feel like they are fancy princesses, instead of hippie suckers.”
28 days pass and …
My experience – Cycle 2
Day 1: With some trepidation (see the phrase “yeast infection” in the previous cycle’s entry) I try again. I used the “punch-down” fold per the folding site. It worked! No leaking. But it was a little bit uncomfortable, so again taking advice from the Diva Cup forum at the link above, I cut off the stem almost completely.
Day 2: Removed and replaced it in the shower. It twirls! It fits! It doesn’t leak! I’m beginning to get the hang of this thing …
Day 3: I have never felt so … well … clean and fresh on my heaviest cycle days. The cup is easy to take out, dump, wash and replace. My garments and I are unbesmirched. I’ve caught Diva Cup fever!
Day 4: I feel like an old pro. The final night of my cycle, I left it out to take a break. The last day, I used a disposable pad to catch any remaining matter. And voila … I’m a Diva Cup user.
But I am so glad I kept notes from the first cycle to reassure you ladies – hang in there!!!
My next cycle is coming up, and it’s thrilling to know that while Aunt Flo has scheduled her visit — as always — to coincide with part of my vacation, I can take along the Diva Cup and a couple of small backup pads, rather than an arsenal of lady-goods.
Even at home, I can convert the pile of supplies at left into the single, sleek cloth-encased-silicone package at right:
The family perspective – cycle 2
Me: “It’s working! I LOVE my Diva Cup! I can’t believe I’ve got the hang of it.”
Mr. Cheap: “Don’t forget to tell Crunchy.”
What about you?
Have you used the Diva Cup or Moon Cup? Are you going to? Come on … what’s one month of discomfort compared to saving $2,000 or more, eliminating thousands of pads and tampons from the sewers/landfills?