I have waited months to write a post about the DivaCup because I wanted to make sure I had a few trials under the belt (har har) before I wrote a proper review. It’s been nine months since I’ve been using it now, so I think we’re good to go.
Warning: do not read this if you’re easily shocked, if blood freaks you out, if you think periods are nasty, if you actually know me personally and you think reading in-depth about my period will be detrimental to our friendship (but then again, would I want to be friends with you if you’re like that?), etc. Please note also that this is in no way a well-researched piece, and I have no idea about anything related to periods aside from the fact that I get one monthly. I in no way intend to change anyone’s views, methods, or opinions. This is purely me talking about a silicone cup I use up my vag. I hope we can all be okay with it.
I had heard about the DivaCup quite a bit but, as with many other things I end up purchasing in my life, it took me seeing it on Instagram and diving into the rabbit-hole of information that is the Internet before I gave it a chance. A “Personal Cups” page followed me on IG once and I went in for a creep. After realizing it was actually menstrual cups my first reaction was akin to “Omg, I could never, barf.” But amongst the images of their lovely instagrid I saw the face of a Youtuber I recognized and followed on and off for years. The short clip led me to the full 10-minute video on YouTube, which led me to links, information, comments, testimonials, and opinions –I was hooked.
I’m not entirely sure what did it. There seemed to be a lot of pros to it (sustainable, not adding to the horrible demise of our planet, cost-effective) but TBH I think I wanted to give it a try just to see what all the fuzz was about. There are several brands available but I felt like the DivaCup was very well-known and I wasn’t about to start brand testing with a product that was about to camp out in the depths of my existence.
The DivaCup page was quite helpful with all sorts of questions I had about the product. The cup is available in two sizes: one for women under the age of 30 that have never delivered vaginally, and one for women over the age of 30 or those that have had deliveries. They also recommend you purchase the DivaWash, “a botanically based, all natural clenser,” which is basically the soap for your little cup. After a good read I went out and bought the cup and the cleanser.
I can honestly say it was the most excited and eager I had ever been to get my period (not to be confused with relieved!). I could not wait for it to come. I opened the box and inspected the contents. The box includes some instructions, a little pink pouch to store your cup, and I give you the pièce de résistance itself, the cup:
The first thing I noticed was the texture. It’s soft and malleable. It has several measurement lines, which I almost feel like they're there to make you feel like you outdo yourself from period day one to period day two. It also has a little stem in the bottom, which is seemingly there to test your tolerance levels. As in, it’s horrible. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
I finally got my period and I was ready to put this cup to the test. After a bit (a solid half hour) of pushing and tugging I believed it was in place. There are two main ways of inserting the cup. Once you’ve inserted it, unlike a tampon which holds its shape, it opens up and you need to rotate it. You read that. You need to reach in and rotate the cup an entire 360 degrees inside your charming, innocent vag that did nothing to deserve this. Pinching will very likely happen. It’s a new kind of pain I didn’t know existed. I must say it’s not pleasant. But I was committed, so I did it. Rotating allows the cup to seal in order to avoid leaks, so that’s more or less an unavoidable part of it if you’d like it to work.
For some context into this whole DivaCup adventure, I’d add that my relationship with my period is not necessarily a heinous one. I do get some rough cramps here and there but birth control really helps with that. It’s also helped because it’s extremely punctual, and it always lasts four days. I like a BC that allows me to get my period because I do like actually getting it. It makes me feel healthy and I find it almost cleansing. However, it can be extremely inconvenient and quite the pain (literally). When it came to products I had mostly favoured pads. I was quite the late bloomer about using tampons. I still remember the nurse that taught us 5th grade sex ed talking about Toxic Shock Syndrome. I sat there and assumed that would be my cause of death in the near future. I was traumatized. Eventually I gave in, but I still almost always believe I'm about to die any second from wearing them. So the idea of shoving this cup in, rotating it, and hoping for the best was a true leap of faith.
After figuring out the proper way of insertion and rotation I was good to go. On the first day I lounged around at home – I wasn’t about to go test this in the wilderness of the city. It went surprisingly well. I couldn’t feel it and I wasn’t bothered by it one bit. I removed it after the first few hours and I was quite surprised to see how little blood there actually was. I washed the cup and used it once again for bed. Removing the cup can be a little uncomfortable while you figure out the best system for you. Once removed, you simply pour out the blood and clean the cup with the cleanser before reinserting. After using it for one day, removing, and then one night, there was not a single leak. I was sold.
In it went again for day two. I had an insane day that kept me away from home longer than I expected. Thankfully you’re covered for 10-12 hours. I went for 14 hours that day. I am not proud of it, but I hadn’t devised an out-of-home solution yet. I came home expecting a bucket-and-a-half full. To my surprise, it wasn’t even up to the first little stripe. It's nothing!! Honestly tampons and pads are useless. YO WE’VE BEEN WASTING OUR TIME AND MONEY!!
After finally being out and about with it, I realized I couldn’t stand the little stem. I was super aware of it and it made me much more conscious of the fact that I had this little cup chilling in my v. It’s not necessarily recommended to chop it, but I read here and there on the interwebs that people had so I gave it the hack. It was glorious. Stemless, I have gone through entire days, gym sessions, runs, nights, etc without even the smallest reminder of the cup or even being on my period. Of course, there are slight moments of discomfort here and there, but absolutely minimal compared to pads and tampons.
The one real point of discomfort for me was the idea of dealing with it out of my house. My main concern was that the hand involved in removing/inserting might have me looking like I just murdered someone in a public washroom. It’s not pretty. Of course, neither is the cup. I wasn’t psychologically prepared to face a stranger while nonchalantly walking out my stall with bloody digits and a bloody cup in hand. It’s just not the way to make friends, you know? And I know so much of what we think and say regarding periods, including finding them nasty or shameful, is a ton and a half of information we’ve been fed and the stigma around it, and I’m not going to necessarily get into it right now, even though it sucks. Point is, regardless, I wouldn’t want to face this situation in a public place.
This, as I read more, had several solid solutions. First of all, carrying a little pack of wipes. You can use this to clean the cup and your hands and reinsert if you must. If you must. I wouldn’t recommend this be your go to option as I’m sure the cleanser exists for a reason. Keep in mind again it can hold up to 12 hours so it’s kind of unlikely you won’t be able to find a private bathroom by then. I’ve also packed a little bit of their cleanser into a tiny salad dressing container thingy. It’s lasted me forever (as I've only had to use it on very specific times) and it helps in case I do have to remove and wash to reinsert while being away from home. The bottle of cleanser is too big, so you wouldn’t want to carry that around. The cleanser itself will likely last about 2 years.
After nine months of usage, I couldn’t recommend this little silicone bud enough. I love it and trust it. I’ve learned to manipulate it quickly and easily, it’s painless, it seems like a pretty healthy solution, and it doesn’t destroy the planet. On top of that, one of the things I’ve enjoyed the most about my DivaCupscapade has truly been getting to know my body and my period better. Before, if anyone would've asked me to guess how much actual bleeding there was during my period I would've been seriously off. I believed I was bleeding so much more than I actually do because of the way I sanitary products last, but I guess pads and tampons aren’t as resistant as I thought they were. Which means we purchase a whole ton of them, in addition to the fact that they’re expensive AF, and are bringing the Earth’s demise just a little step closer. Silicone menstrual cups can have a lifespan of up to ten years. So that’s a decade worth for about $45. So yeah, maybe give the cup a shot, tis great.