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What’s A Diva Cup? Everything You Need to Know

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A few months ago my friends were talking about their menstrual cups and I was appalled.

Stick a cup up my “who-ha” and leave it there for 10 to 12 hours? No way.

Isn’t it messy? Plus, what if you’re in public, the lines are long, you don’t have access to a sink and you need to change it out?

I decided that life was not for me.

A few weeks later I had even more friends rave about the Diva Cup. They claimed it reduced cramping, shortened their period, and made every “time-of-the-month” a bit easier. So I thought, alright. I’ll give it a shot.

And ya’ll… it changed my life. 

Now, I exclusively use my Diva Cup for every period. (That is unless mother nature surprises me and I’m unprepared. I hate it when that happens.)

I feel like more women need to know there’s an alternative to pads and tampons, that is cost-effective, good for your body and good for the environment. So in this post, I’m answering the question: What’s a Diva Cup?

Woman to woman, I’ll tell you everything you need to know.

If you think this is the same ole’ classic review – you’d be wrong. Keep reading because I’ll even tell you about that time I was at Macy’s and realized the cup leaked E V E R Y W H E R E. *gasp* Yep, it leaked. It was a fiasco and I still love the Diva Cup.

What’s a Diva Cup? How Does a Diva Cup Work?

The Diva Cup is a reusable menstrual cup made from eco-friendly, healthcare-grade silicon that you insert into your vaginal canal when you’re on your period. The flexible, bell-shaped, leak-proof cup collects your menstrual fluid. You’ll remove, empty, rinse, and reinsert the cup every 4 to 12 hours, depending on the amount of flow.

Women around the globe are switching from tampons to menstrual cups because unlike tampons

  • Menstrual cups do not disrupt your body’s naturally cleaning functions.
  • They catch menstrual fluids rather than absorbing them so you’ll never feel dry.
  • Cups don’t contain any harmful chemicals like bleach.
  • Menstrual cups are sustainable and better for the environment.
  • You don’t have to change it out multiple times during the day.
  • Cups are affordable and can save women up to $50 in the first year alone!

 

Diva Cup Insertion

The first time I opened the box, I was a little intimidated by the size. The Diva Cup is much larger than a tampon. But remember that the silicon cup is flexible and there are two different ways to fold the cup in order to make it smaller during insertion.

Before we talk about fold methods, you’ll first want to sterilize the cup by boiling it for 5 minutes and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly.

Once everything has been sanitized, you’ll fold the Diva Cup using either the “U fold” and the “Push Down fold” options.

  • U Fold: Press the sides of the cup with two fingers and fold it in half to create a U-shape.
  • Push Down Fold: Place a finger on the top rim and press down into the center of the inside base to form a triangle. This makes the top rim smaller and easier to insert.

After it’s folded, place the cup into your vagina, and rotate it 360 degrees using the base of the cup so that it opens up. If you insert it correctly, the cup suctions in your vaginal canal and creates a leak-protection seal.  You can gently press on the sides of the cup after it has been inserted to ensure there are no folds and that the cup has fully opened.

The first time I tried the Diva Cup, I felt a little pressure.

 

Diva Cup Removal

To remove the cup, gently pull on the stem until you can reach the base of the cup. Then pinch and grip the base to release the seal and wiggling it down side to side until it’s removed completely.

I was a little nervous removing the cup for the first time. I mean, what if it gets stuck? I can recall a time or two where I inserted the cup a little too high and it felt like a treasure hunt searching for the stem. The first time that happened my gut reaction was to panic, but let’s be honest – that never helps the situation.

If you do have any trouble removing your Diva Cup, there are four hacks you should know:

  1. Never yank the cup out completely without breaking the seal first. Break the seal by pressing on the base with two fingers or press the edge of the cup inward and fold it. This is my personal go-to!
  2. Relax your muscles. If you tense up it can be harder to remove the cup. If you feel like you’re clenching or squeezing like you are holding in a bowel movement, take a few deep breaths to center your focus and relax your muscles. If you feel anxious or start to panic and deep breaths don’t help, try to walk away from the situation and try a few minutes later once you’re a little calmer.
  3. Bear down like your taking a poop or having a baby. If the Diva Cup moves up your vaginal canal (which is completely normal) flex your muscles and bear down a few times until you can reach the base of the cup. Bearing down is the opposite of clenching or squeezing.
  4. Drop it like a squat. If all else fails, try squatting on the floor or lift one leg up like you would if you were shaving in the shower. Rest your foot on the toilet seat or if you’re really flexible the top of the toilet. Then try breaking the seal or bearing down. This will help lower the cup and shorten the vagina.

 

What About Leaking?

The Diva Cup promises leak-free protection for up to 12 hours, and I can vouch for them and say that promise is true.

With tampons I would bleed through the dangling rope string after just two hours, ruining countless pairs of underwear. It’s no coincidence so many women joke about wearing their “period panties” around the time-of-the-month. It’s easy to bleed through or spot when using tampons or pads, even if the feminine hygiene product isn’t full.

Even after peeing with the cup still in, I can wipe and see no signs of blood on the toilet paper. With tampons, forget about it.

 

There was that one time I leaked EVERYWHERE in Macy’s though… 

There I was minding my own business, shopping at the mall with my family. We were perusing the after-summer clearance sales and my daughter and I decided we’d try on a few items in the dressing room.

As soon as I started undressing, I realized there was a problem. A big problem – like code red/ holy panic – but I didn’t want my daughter to know. I quietly pulled my pants back on and searched my purse desperately for a tissue or a napkin while encouraging my daughter, “Wow, honey. You look beautiful in that long black, floral dress.”

My search came up short. I had a giant handbag with my wallet, sunglasses, lip gloss, a few receipts but no tissues. Now I’m a Christian woman, but in my head, I was thinking a few different four-letter words.

For a split second, I thought “what if I use one of these items I brought in to try on.” NO! No, that was absolutely not appropriate, acceptable or even a thought that should cross my mind – especially with a 6-year-old next to me in the same room.

So I went with the only option I had. While my daughter was in between outfit changes, I tried to swipe up the mess as discreetly as possible with a white, crumbled-up receipt.

For the record, receipts aren’t an absorbent material. They may be the same color as a napkin, but they are not good napkin substitutes.

When I realized my receipt plan wasn’t helping at all, I abandoned “operation clean up”, hurried my daughter out of the dressing room and waddled across the entire store to the nearest restroom. Fortunately, the leak had not gone through the pants. I caught it in time, but needless to say, it was one of the more embarrassing moments in my adult life.

So what went wrong?

Some women would immediately dismiss the cup and say it didn’t work for them and go back to their cotton tampons or pads. But I know it wasn’t the cup’s fault; it was my user error. I simply didn’t insert the cup correctly.

As a newbie user, I didn’t double check to make sure it was fully suctioned in with a complete seal and as a result, a leak happened.

I can assure you, I’ll never make that mistake again or go anywhere without baby wipes or napkins in my purse at all times.

 

What Size Diva Cup Should I Buy?

The Diva Cup comes in three sizes – model 0, model 1 and model 2.

Source: Diva Cup

Model 0 is best for…

  • Young ladies who are new to their periods (18 and under)
  • Holds up to 0.05 fl oz (17ml) of fluid

Model 1 is best for…

  • Women with a medium flow (Holds up to 1.0 fl oz or 30ml of fluid)
  • For women who have NOT had a baby
  • Between the ages of 19-30

Model 2 is best for…

  • Women with a heavier flow (Holds up to 1.1 fl oz or 32ml of fluid)
  • Women who have had a baby
  • Over 30 years of age

How Comfortable is The Diva Cup to Wear?

I bought my first Diva Cup at age 30 and went with Model 2 because I’ve had two kids. I didn’t have anything to compare it to, but I would say, overall, the cup fit me well, but keep reading because it wasn’t always smooth sailing.

The first time I tried it, I didn’t leave it in the full 12 hours because I was so dang curious about how much blood the cup would collect. It felt like one big science fair project. Will the cup hold up? Will it leak? How does this work? I had so many questions and wanted to monitor and measure the entire situation.

When you try it for the first time, you’ll be curious too. I would recommend that when you get a comfortable fit though, leave it in as long as possible even if you’re curious about how it’s going!

 

Going to the Restroom in the Cup

It felt strange going to the restroom the first few times.

When I would wipe I could feel the stem and on occasion, I’d push the cup up a little higher into the vaginal canal. That’s pretty normal. Now that I think about it, I would have to do that with tampons too.

 

Sleeping with the Diva Cup

Some women are really curious about sleeping in a Diva Cup because your body lays horizontally. Overall, the Cup is comfortable to sleep in and I’ve never leaked in my sleep.

I do recall feeling a lot of pressure on the second or third evening as I laid down to go to bed. It was very uncomfortable. When that happened, I removed it, replaced it with a tampon and tried again in the morning.

At first, I thought maybe it was because my vaginal muscles were sore. The cup is much larger than a tampon. Maybe I needed to ease my way into this whole Diva Cup thing?

In hindsight, I’m confident that I just didn’t have a good fit and I took it out a few too many times that day. If it ever feels uncomfortable, don’t “tough it out”. Remove it, let your body rest at least 5 minutes and then try again.

 

Exercising in the Cup

The first week I tried the cup I lifted weights, did some high-intensity interval training (HIIT), dance fitness, and yoga. I experienced zero leaks and felt comfortable during the workouts. If you’re an active person, the Diva Cup holds up!

 

Can You Have Sex While Wearing a Diva Cup?

Common sense says NO. I just want to make sure that we’re all clear that you CANNOT have sex while wearing a Diva Cup. (Sometimes you gotta state the obvious!)

 

Changing Your Cup When You’re Out & About

This was one of my biggest hang-ups. Seriously, how do you change out your menstrual cup in public and you don’t have access to a sink?

First, you should NEVER dip or rinse your cup in toilet water.  Toilet water is not sanitary and is filled with bacteria.

When you’re on your period, I recommend carrying a bottle of water and feminine wipes in your handbag. You can dump the menstrual fluid in the public toilet, rinse it with your bottle of water, wipe any lingering fluid off with your feminine wipe and reinsert it.

If you’re unprepared and without wipes or a bottle of water, dump the fluid, wipe any lingering fluid with toilet paper and reinsert it.

 

How Do You Keep Your Cup Clean?

Ideally, every time you remove the cup you should wash it with warm water and mild, unscented, water-based (oil-free) soap.

Using any other type of cleansing agent can compromise the silicon, so avoid oils, rubbing alcohol, antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, hydrogen peroxide, dishwashing soap, bleach or other harsh chemicals.

Diva Cup sells a sanitary solution called DivaWash® which is botanically-enriched, pH balanced, 100% plant-based and concentrated. So if you’re concerned about getting the right soap, this is a safe bet!

After each period, boil your silicone cup on the stove for 3 to 5 minutes, the same way you sanitized it before inserting it for the first time.

If you don’t have the right soap, like the DivaWash®, handy you can always boil it between uses.

 

How Much Does a Diva Cup Cost & Where Can I Buy One?

The Diva Cup costs about $25-$30 depending on where you buy it.

Since DivaCup is the leading menstrual cup brand, you can find it in most chain pharmacies like Walmart, Target, CVS, or Walgreens. If you prefer ordering online, you can also order one on Amazon HERE.

Personally, I picked mine up at Walmart on a whim one day.

Compared to tampons that’s about the same as 4 boxes of tampons or pads. The Diva Cup is reusable, lasting up to 10-years, so you can save a significant amount of money over time.

For example, let’s say a box of tampons costs $7 and you need a box every month, that means your period supplies cost you $84 per year. If you switch to a Diva Cup, you’ll save $50+ in the first year alone and then $84 every year after. Over its 10-year lifespan, that’s a whopping $810 in savings!

 

I’ve Heard Horror Stories… 

I have a dear friend who gave the cup a go and had a horrible experience. She has pelvic floor issues and had a hard time removing the cup which was a mortifying experience to her. She decided the cup wasn’t for her and was a little bummed to throw $30 down the drain.

I will say that menstrual cups are not always the right solution for everyone. If you find pelvic or vaginal exams to be uncomfortable or have a history of vaginal issues and concerns, you should always consult with your doctor.

Just keep in mind that if you try one brand, don’t think ALL menstrual cups won’t work. There are dozens of other brands that may fit more comfortably and work better for you.

 

Final Thoughts

The Diva Cup changed periods forever for me. I hope you’ll give one a try and experience the same peace of mind I felt during the beloved week of menstruation every month.

I don’t know the science behind it, but my periods went from lasting 5 to 6 days on tampons to more like 3-4 days with the cup. It also reduced the severity of my cramps.

I don’t have to worry about spotting, running to the restroom every 2 hours to change it out. I definitely won’t miss peeing on the cotton-braided tampon string. (AmIright!?)

I’m not saying I’ll never use a tampon again. I’m just saying that for me, the Diva Cup is a much better alternative. It saves me money, hassle, and straight-up makes my period easier.

Your Turn… 

Have you used a Diva Cup before? What was your experience like? Leave a comment below!

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Katy Boykin

Katy Boykin is the creative force behind Hello Sensible. Through her valuable tips, sensible resources, and relatable stories, she empowers millennial women to create a lifestyle they design and love. Feel free to send Katy a message here.

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