Tampons and pads are the "norm" in the world of feminine hygiene. It wasn't until recently that I even knew there was another option: menstrual cups, or in this case, the Diva Cup.
Maybe you’ve heard of this new feminine craze and maybe it has even peaked your interest, but taking the leap to try the Diva Cup is still nerve wracking. It’s so unfamiliar and, honestly, sounds so weird.
With the Diva Cup, we go from simple tampon applicators and clean, white cotton pads to a more hands on experience with a silicone cup that gets completely inserted into the lower vaginal canal—like I said, sounds so weird.
But for some women (me being one of them), the Diva Cup has us re-thinking about the way we go about our feminine hygiene because the Diva Cup’s claims are so different to what the ‘norm’ is.
No more restocking every month; no more changing everything every time you go to the bathroom; no more creatively disposing of tampons and pads to ensure no one ever, ever sees them.
While I am a user, I believe every woman should find what works and feels good to her, so to those whose interest is peaked, this is for you.
Please Note: The following is meant to be informational in nature and is not offered as medical advice, nor does it substitute for consultation with your physician. If you have any gynecological/medical concerns or conditions regarding the use of internal feminine hygiene products, we encourage you to consult your physician.
15 Risk of Tampons and Pads and Risk of the Diva Cup
This first one isn’t black and white on whether tampons and pads or Diva Cups are better, but it’s good to know the facts before making a decision.
A risk from using tampons or pads stems from a toxin called dioxin. The FDA has done what it can to control the amount of dioxin in feminine products.
There are currently no processes when making these pads or tampons that adds large amounts of this toxin, but because dioxin is in a pollutant in the air, it is also in the wood pulp that is used to make the rayon in tampons and pads. So there will be small amount of dioxin in these products that we use around and inside our bodies.
There was an attempt to pass legislation from congresswoman Carolyn Maloney that would support research to see long-term affects in women from these trace amounts of dioxin. This legislation didn’t pass, so it is still uncertain.
While there are claims that there are no health risks that come from using menstrual cups, there are also studies pleading more research be done to firmly support this belief.
The FDA still hasn’t pulled tampons, pads or the Diva Cup off the marketplace for being dangerous to women’s health, so hopefully this means, as far as toxins go, none of them are too harmful.
14 A Diva Cup Bathroom Visit is a lot Different Than the Tampon or Pad Bathroom Visit
With a tampon or pad, it’s easy to remove and replace; the bathroom routine changes with a Diva Cup.
It is going to take longer, relatively, not because taking the cup out and reinserting it will take you time (that becomes easier with practice) but because of how long it will take to clean the cup.
Time isn’t the only part that’s different. The sink is now an important part of your bathroom visit (besides the whole washing your hands part). It’s easy to plan on being home when you need to handle your Diva Cup, but if you do have to change it at work or in a store, you would have to take it out to the sink to clean your cup, which is a difference that is important to know about.
13 Likelihood of Getting the Diva Cup Stuck or Worse, Lost
Like a tampon, the Diva Cup is inserted into the vaginal canal, which is 4-5 inches (10.2-12.7 cm) long. The only way out (besides where it went in) is through the cervix, but this opening is too small for the Diva Cup or a tampon to pass through.
There is not a likely chance that the Diva Cup will get lost inside your body and if inserted correctly, it shouldn’t get stuck either.
There is a horror story of a girl not inserting the cup correctly, which resulted in it traveling up her vaginal canal and then suctioning itself so far up, she needed medical assistance to release it.
Bottom line is the Diva Cup shouldn’t get stuck if inserted correctly.
12 Diva Cups Can be Messy
This is what I see being one of the biggest deal breakers for some women because you may have to touch blood.
That being said, it isn’t as bad as you might think. The cup does provide a suction seal, so there isn’t blood when you go to take the cup out because it is all inside of the cup.
The only other messy part is cleaning the cup after the contents have been dumped into the toilet. You’ll want to make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned, which may require some scrubbing. It’s not pretty, but with practice, it is something that can get easier.
11 Using the Diva Cup Means Going Green
This is the feel good part of using a reusable solution. No more throwing away countless tampons and pads that end up who knows where.
Say a woman uses 13 tampons and pads during the course of her period. In one year that adds up to 169 disposable products being thrown away throughout the course of the year, and if there are 3 women in your home that number quickly rises to 507.
If the Diva Cup isn’t for you, and you’re concerned about this there are some other tampon and pad alternatives that are greener as well.
10 The Diva Cup is Less Money in the Long Run
A box of tampons costs about $7.00, and a box of panty liners is another $5.00. This adds up to $12.00 a month on feminine hygiene, which adds up to $144.00 a year.
A Diva Cup will cost $30.00-$40.00 upfront depending on where you buy it. Don’t forget non-scented soap will need to be bought for cleaning too. This will cost you about $7 for the year. At most, the Diva Cup will cost about $47.00. That’s a savings of $97.00. That may not seem like much but, we could buy a new outfit with that much money or a really nice purse or even put it towards a Fitbit—sorry, these are things on my wish list.
9 Be Ready to Get Personal With Yourself
There isn't an applicator that makes it so hands never need to come in contact with your ‘private area’. It's all you.
In my experience, inserting and removing got easier, but there is no getting around the fact that when you insert and remove the cup you will have use your hands.
There is a more positive way to think of it. Handling the Diva Cup can be empowering and help women to get to know their body better by becoming more involved with one of the very things that makes women, women.
8 The Diva Cup can Stay in for 12 Hours
This might be the best perk: a menstrual cup can stay in for 12 hours! A tampon can only safely stay in for 8 hours.
The Diva Cup can hold 1 ounce (30 mL) of ‘flow’. To put it in perspective, a woman only loses about 1-2 ounces (30-60 mL) of blood each period. This means that during those 12 hours, there is no need to worry about it overflowing.
You’re free to go to work or take a day trip and not have to worry once about changing your tampon or even packing extras. You’re free to worry about your period on your own time, or more specifically once every 12 hours.
7 Swimming Can be Stress Free
You know that annoying little string that hangs from a tampon? The string that absorbs the entire pool and leaves you feeling very self-conscience about if you're leaking or not. Diva Cup equals no string and no string equals no worries while swimming.
Because the cup is silicone, inserted completely inside and creates a suctioned seal, the concerns that come with a tampon just don’t exist in Diva Cup world.
6 Going to the Bathroom is Easier with a Diva Cup
Going to the washroom while on your period can get quite messy, even though it is advised not to, many women change their tampons every time they go to the washroom, to avoid all of the mess.
The positive point about the Diva Cup is that it is 100% inside of you, so it doesn’t have to come close to anything that belongs in the toilet and its tight fit keeps it in place.
5 The Diva Cup Has Less Odor
Some women feel self conscious during menstruation because of the fact that we have to be so aware of our bodies, due to tampon changes, cleanliness or smells. Because the fluid stays inside of you and isn’t exposed to the air like with tampons and pads especially, the smell doesn’t exist. This is another positive when using the Diva Cup, some women prefer using the cup due to the fact that there is no odor.
4 The Comfort Factor
The comfort of the Diva Cup is going to be the most variable factor from woman to woman. Personally, when I first started using it, I felt a lot of discomfort, but after I got better at inserting it, the cup became more unnoticeable.
A comment from one woman was, “My comfort level with the DivaCup increased a lot over the 3 months. It just took a bit of practice to easily insert and remove it!”
But, this isn’t always the case. There are plenty of stories of women who did not get used to the Diva Cup or the discomfort was too much when they first started using it.
This is definitely one of the bigger considerations to think about when wanting to use the Diva Cup and knowing that it may take some time to get use to may help as well.
3 The Diva Cup Still Leaks
A leak-free life is still unreachable even though the Diva Cup’s website claims “leak-free” protection but this, sadly, just isn’t the case for every woman who uses it.
The silicone the cup is made to conform to the shape of your body, so even though women will still need to wear their least favorite undies during their period, the tighter fit is causing women to experience less or rare leakage compared to using tampons.
2 Two Sizes Fit All with The Diva Cup
Tampons use flow or the level of absorbency (regular, super, super plus) to categorize their tampons. With the Diva Cup, the sizing is based off of the size of your vaginal canal.
The cup comes in two sizes: under 30 who haven’t given birth and over 30 and/or women who have given birth. While the difference between the two sizes is 1/8” (~0.3cm) smaller, it’s important to choose the recommended model to help avoid leaking.
As far as heavy flow and light flow goes, it isn’t a concern with the Diva Cup because of the amount of flow both cup sizes can hold.
1 Be Aware of the Learning Curve
Trying or learning something new by nature comes with a period of time that’s uncomfortable, unfamiliar and a little difficult. The same goes for switching to the Diva Cup.
This learning curve encompasses a lot of what we’ve already talked about: insertion, getting personal with yourself and comfort.
Using the Diva Cup is a completely different way to go about feminine hygiene, so it will take some time to get use to.
Most women asked for advice and had troubles with their menstrual cup in the first couple cycles of using it, but after using the cup for about 3 cycles, they felt more comfortable and enjoyed the perks of using a menstrual cup.