Back in college, one of my roommates who studied abroad for a semester, came back and told us about the Diva Cup she had used while she was out of the country. I thought she was nuts. A cup that you have to stick up there that holds everything? So gross!! However, the more questions I asked, the less crazy she sounded. She had explained that it was a lot more sanitary than it sounded, you didn't need to worry about buying "feminine products" at all, and it saves a lot of garbage and waste. All of those things sounded good to me, so a few months and a lot of online research later, I decided to go ahead and try it out. Initially, it seemed expensive, at almost $40, but I figured that if it saved me from having to buy tampons every month, I'd make the money back in just a few months. That was almost 6 years ago, and I haven't bought tampons since. The Diva Cup is said to last a year or two and to check it often for signs of wear. I had my first one for almost 4 years with no wear and tear at all--the only reason I got rid of it was that I had a baby and moved up to Size 2 (they come in 2 sizes-Size 1, for women under 30 who have never had a child, and Size 2, for women over 30 OR who have had a child).
Now, I will admit that the Diva Cup has a little bit of a learning curve. I didn't have much trouble getting the hang of it, but I've talked to some people that it's taken a few months to get it right. The biggest problem is getting it in correctly. I always just fold my cup into quarters (well, in half and then in half again). In my opinion, it helps to get it wet ahead of time so it goes in easier. But it basically just sits pretty low in your vagina-your muscles hold it in place. In the directions, it says you can tell that its in correctly when you can turn it in a circle using the little stem. I'm never really able to do that, but I can usually tell that it's in correctly when I can pull it down gently and it doesn't move (now, obviously, if I pulled harder, it would come out, but I just pull gently enough to know that it's expanded to its full shape).
So, how does it work? Basically, once you have the Diva Cup in place, it just collects all the blood, and you dump it into the toilet, rinse/wash it out, and put it back in. Easy! No garbage, no mess (honestly!!), and no waste. And the blood in the cup is actually not as gross as it sounds. In my opinion, it's actually much less disgusting than seeing it on a pad. And you never have to worry about the pain of pulling out a dry-ish tampon again. Plus, you don't need to worry about forgetting tampons/pads while you're out!
To wash it, they have a special "Diva Wash," but I just use plain, old soap. My sister thinks that's disgusting, but I've never had any kind of problem with it. And if you're worried about it, you can just buy the special wash. I just do a quick wash every time I take it out. Between periods, I sterilize it by boiling it for 5-10 minutes and keeping it in the bag that it comes in to keep it clean.
The question I'm asked most often is what to do if you're in a public restroom. And quite honestly, I rarely need to empty it while I'm in a public restroom--one of the best things about using the Diva Cup is that you only need to change it 2-3 times a day, depending on your flow!! Even on my heaviest days, I only need to change it 3 times a day, and the rest of the week, I just empty it when I get up in the morning and before I go to bed. So, usually, I can time it so I never need to empty it while I'm out and about. But if you do, I just skip the wash. I just wipe it out with a little toilet paper and stick it back in, making sure to do a really good wash the next time I empty it. It's that easy!
So, does it leak? Honestly, I think I've only had my Diva Cup leak twice in the nearly 6 years I've used it, and both times were my own fault. Once was because I had a pretty heavy flow and forgot to empty it in the afternoon. And the other time, it didn't open up completely when I put it in, so it leaked. But both times I could tell there was a leak right away, so I was able to fix it before it became a problem. Now, I know a lot of people have some trouble in the beginning, but if you stick with it and figure out the best way to insert it, it's definitely worth it!!
Overall, I am in love with the Diva Cup and would never, ever go back to tampons and pads again!! I love how much money I save, how much garbage I'm keeping out of the landfills, and I love how easy it is (once you get the hang of it). I, quite honestly, would never use anything besides a menstrual cup again. The Diva Cup isn't the only menstrual cup on the market-I've also heard of the Lunette and the Mooncup, but have never tried either out.
Have any of you ever tried a menstrual cup? What is the best or worst part about using one? If you have any questions, please let me know!! I'm not an expert, but will help if I can!
**The review and opinions above are completely my own. I did not receive anything for the review, except the hope that maybe a few of you will try out a menstrual cup!!**