In Praise of the Diva Cup

Ok, this isn’t completely unfettered praise because the Diva Cup or Keeper or whatever menstrual cup you prefer to use isn’t perfect.  But, I feel like I need to defend the Diva Cup ““ or at least discuss it honestly.  The poor thing is the hairy-armpitted, Birkenstock-clad, Patchouli-smelling hippie outcast of the feminine hygiene world.

Diva CupI am no stranger to alternative lady time products.  Back during my “natural” phase in college I sewed my own reusable cloth pads and used sea sponges as tampons, because otherwise you are just putting CHEMICALS into your VAGINA!! I was a little annoying.  The sea sponges and cloth pads were ok, but my roommates were not really into me washing my period all over the place in the sink, even though I cleaned everything afterwards.  Also, due to my shoddy craftsmanship my homemade pads started to fall apart after a while.  But ultimately, it was just too inconvenient ““ you don’t really want to have to wad up a cloth pad in your purse if you need to change it in public and you have to squeeze out the sea sponges which means getting a lot of blood on your hands and possibly all over the toilet ““ not things you really want going on in public.  I looked into the Keeper then, but was put off because it’s brown and ugly.  If they had one in pink I would have been all over that. I probably would have bought an extra one for car or office.  But I never got one and then my natural phase ended; I abandoned Tom’s of Maine and resumed polluting my vagina with Tampax.

A few years ago I learned about the Diva Cup, which is clear and thus more aesthetically appealing to me.  I started reading about it and was sold when people mentioned that it went a long ways towards relieving cramps and clots.  As far as I know there is no scientific evidence supporting that claim, just anecdotes, but I was willing to give it a shot.  Plus, I still don’t think it’s that great to stuff a chemical-infused bullet of cotton up yourself for a week.  Also, the Diva Cup website claims that 12 billion pads and 7 billion tampons are dumped into landfills each year.  In a bad month, I am sure I contribute about a million pads and tampons alone.  Who doesn’t like feeling smug about reducing their waste?  I know I sure do.  So I purchased one, learned how to use it and used it on and off until for some reason it started feeling really uncomfortable, no matter what I did.  I went back to pads and tampons until a couple months ago.

I am still getting reacquainted with the Diva Cup and it definitely takes some practice.  You’re not going to be eliminating your sanitary napkin contribution right away because you need to have one to catch any spillage, especially overnight.  The Diva Cup is tricky because it can get in crooked or it can fail to open completely.  If you’re not comfortable sticking your fingers in your vagina, like, way in there, then this is not for you because you have to reach in and give it a spin to make sure it opens completely.  And for me sometimes one spin isn’t enough.  Sometimes it a million spins, I can tell it still didn’t open, and I just hope that it pops open on its own.  I have found it easiest to put it in in the shower where you can really get a leg up, and also clean out your vagina of any blood that might be interfering with the suction.  Putting your leg up on the toilet is also easier than just trying to do it while you squat over the toilet.  Since most women are able to put a tampon in while sitting down in an airplane bathroom and wearing overalls, this requires more dedication than we’re used to.  That’s one of the hardest things to accept.  I haven’t been using it consistently enough to know if you get to a point where it’s easier to insert.  I am sure it does, after all I spent countless hours in the bathroom as a teenager with the “how to insert a tampon” diagram spread out on a floor littered with the carcasses of partially-open tampons.  If you look at it from the standpoint that it’s just like learning how to put in a tampon again, it’s not so bad.  The other major con is that it’s messy on heavy flow days.  This is not a big deal if you’re at home since you have the sink right there.  But if I am going somewhere where I know I am going to have change it, I usually wear a tampon instead because it’s not worth it to me to exit a bathroom stall with my hands looking like I murdered someone in there.  So there is maybe one or two days a month where the Diva Cup isn’t that amazing.  But what I really love it for is the rest of your period.  You know those days when you’re not sure what the situation is going to be so you put a tampon in “just in case” and eight hours later you pull out a completely dry tampon and it feels like it’s slicing up your insides on the way out?  Or alternately, you think you’re done so decide to go protection-free and go into the bathroom at lunch to find that you were sorely, grossly mistaken?  That’s when the Diva Cup is best.  You can leave from the time you wake up until you go to bed with no risk of toxic shock syndrome and no pain and you don’t have to worry about it.  I’ve never been the type to have irregular spotting throughout the month, but I feel like this would be superb for ladies who never know what’s going to be going on.

My favorite part though, is that I haven’t had to buy a new box of tampons in 6 months.  Those things aren’t cheap and the Cup pays for itself in a couple of months and can be used forever.  So yeah, if the Diva Cup was a person maybe it would go by the name Rainbow and wear hemp skirts and work for PETA, but that doesn’t mean it deserves all the mockery it gets.  And now that I think about it, maybe I should make some more of those cloth pads.  You know, for overnight.

17 replies on “In Praise of the Diva Cup”

I found this post doing a search, maybe it’s time to write a new one? so, I’m posting about a year after.
I love my cup. I had a lot of those “unknown days” and a lot of those dry tampons, and I kept worrying that i was going to hurt myself so I wouldn’t wear anything, so, lo and behold, I’d be washing out about 5 panties per period. bleh.
I’ve been using the cup for about 8 months now, and it’s GREAT for me. at the slightest sign of period, i put it in, no more stained panties. I rinse it out morning and evening, at home, and that’s it. I don’t even worry about it during the day. I’d say i have a moderate flow, during my heavy days, it’s pretty full, but never overflowing.
I also had a really easy time learning to put it in, and never have any problems getting it to open up. someone suggested putting a finger up the side to allow air to flow in and fill it up, and that’s it! in my case, my cervix sits pretty low most of the time, so for me, it even tends to stick out at times, if I’m bearing down. I had to cut off all the tab, because it would stick out of my body and bother me.
hope the info helps someone else decide whether to try it out, it has been perfect for me!!

Thank you so much for this article! I’ve tried Instead cups several times and they never worked.. at all. So I had resigned myself to a lifetime of tampon usage. Lo and behold! There’s another alternative and it’s WONderful! Again.. many thanks for for this life changing article.

The menstrual cup is a great idea in theory & I know plenty of people have used one successfully but people should be aware that they are definitely not as easy to learn to use as tampons and are not for everybody. I would warn anyone using the diva cup not to cut down the stem until you are very comfortable taking it out and are sure you will still be able to reach it.

I got kind of traumatized when I cut mine down 2 notches and then couldn’t reach it for a day and a half… I was just about to break down and go to my gyno but finally after squatting and bearing down really hard I was just able to reach it. I really wanted this thing to work but once I got that thing out that was it for me.

The original Keeper looks like a mini vag plunger. But I was just at Keeper’s website, and they now offer a latex alternative product that is clear and much less toilet pluger looking than the OG Keeper.

It’s disappointing that you still have to wear pads at night to prevent leakage, but since that’s the only real disadvantage (I’m not squeamish about my own vagina or blood, so insertion wouldn’t be a problem), this post went a long way towards convincing me I should try the Diva Cup.

That’s really only for when you’re still getting used to it or it’s really heavy. But on heavy days I have to wear a tampon and pad to bed anyway, so it’s just one or the other really.

“those days when you’re not sure what the situation is going to be….” funny, I just bought some Instead cups for those very days! I thought I’d give them a try first, to see if I could get used to the “cup” idea, and then maybe invest in the Diva. I have a friend who swears by it. So curious to see how it goes — thanks for the low-down on situations where it may not be the most appropriate!

“You know those days when you’re not sure what the sit­u­a­tion is going to be so you put a tam­pon in “just in case” and eight hours later you pull out a com­pletely dry tam­pon and it feels like it’s slic­ing up your insides on the way out? Or alter­nately, you think you’re done so decide to go protection-free and go into the bath­room at lunch to find that you were sorely, grossly mis­taken?”

That is what really appeals to me about menstrual cups. My period has gotten very light thanks to 3 years of stacking my pills, and after years of really heavy periods I’m grateful for it. But it does make product use a little trickier in exactly the ways you described. I’ve got a backlog of tampons to use up still (I always forget how many I have left and buy another box just to be safe), but I’m considering giving the Diva Cup a shot once I’ve done so.

Science and technology have simplified many aspects of modern life. Except for lady problems. Anyone else notice that?

Anyhoo I am grateful for your article because I kept hearing about the Diva Cup on other parts of the net and this non bleeding lady was confused (partial hysto years ago). My ADD brain thought Diva Cup were those VH-1 singing specials that featured Mariah, Celine, and Aretha.

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