Last month I was thinking about all the different products there are on the market for “that time of the month”. Do you feel that sense of overwhelm when you walk into the drugstore and stand in front of an entire shelf of blue and pink boxes?  I used to but haven’t felt it in awhile because I typically go to the health food store and buy organic/chemical free products, and there aren’t so many of those on the market!  However, I was recently in a foreign country, sans organic feminine products, so I was forced to go to the pharmacy to check out my options.  Not only were there tons of blue and pink boxes but they were of course not in english. A whole new sense of overwhelm.

Then it hit me!  Why the hell was I still using all this disposable crap anyway?  Fine, I’d gotten rid of the chemicals by not using the mainstream brands (you know their names!) but I was still buying and using and throwing away these products every month!

This is what the Diva Cup website says:

“The 41 year menstruation span (women 11-52 years) creates billions of pounds of disposable feminine hygiene products that are “dumped” into the environment each year. In 1998, the annual figures, for the U.S. alone, were estimated at 12 billion sanitary pads and 7 billion tampons. Because The DivaCup is reusable it is ecological and economical, it is seen as a viable solution.”

Total truth!  The dialogue in my head went something like this:

“You’re this big-time women’s health coach, you talk all day about periods and period problems, and living a non-toxic less wasteful life, and you have never used a Diva Cup. Or any cups on the market for that matter. What’s up with that?”

So, I decided I needed to change this asap. As soon as I was back in NYC I went out and bought me a Diva Cup. Prior to the purchase I explained to two friends over lunch that I was finally going to try this whole cup thing and they both seemed skeptical. One said “Oh, I don’t like the sound of that…seems like it might be tough to use.”  I was somewhat inclined to agree with her.

Anyway, the big day came (yes, the first day of my period) and I whipped it out. Did I mention it comes in this super cute little pink drawstring bag? I forgot to mention that it also comes in two models, the first is for women who are under 30 and/or have not had a baby and the second is for women over 30 and/or who have had a baby.  I decided on option number one, no need to make it more difficult than I already anticipated it being. There are also two ways to fold it to get it in. See diagram, much easier than explaining it! LOL

I tried the first fold option. And I tried and tried, and finally, magic, it was in! You literally hear a pop-like suction sound when it opens. Interesting to say the least! 🙂 Unfortunately my triumph didn’t last long because about 30 minutes later I was leaking like a busted roof in a rainstorm. I had no idea what the hell could be wrong – I had followed the instructions to a T!  Here’s where it gets really rough. I knew I needed to get it out so I grabbed the Diva Cup’s stem (which had wandered quite far away from where I last felt it) and started pulling. Um, yeah that didn’t work so much.  I’m not going to go into terrible detail on a public forum but I will say that it was a struggle and I practically had to give birth to this thing!

Clearly I was doing something wrong. What’s worse is the next day I went back for more, and it was the same as the day before. I needed to get answers asap.  So I got on the phone with Tara from www.bepreparedperiod.com, she is a period product connoisseur (if there is such a thing she’s it!).  She instantly put my Diva Cup anxiety to bed.  Apparently a menstrual cup has a bit of a learning curve.  It is like learning to ride a bike or drive stick shift…at first it’s a huge pain in the ass (ahem) but once you get it, you get it for life! Okay that was reassuring!  And a bigtime bonus is that a lot of women report less cramping during their periods when using a cup vs tampons. I know lots o’ ladies can appreciate that!

Here are her expert tips for a smooth Diva Cup experience:

1. Try lying down to get that sucker in.  Also try both folding methods to see which one works best for you.

2. Push it in and out a couple of times to make sure it’s sealed so there are no leaks.

3. Cut the stem a little shorter so it doesn’t cause discomfort.

4. Pinch the bottom of the cup when taking it out to release some of the Diva Cup’s suction super powers.

Now I feel so armed and ready to take on my next period with the Diva Cup. I’ll report back in two weeks or so!  In the meantime, tell me if you have used the Diva Cup and what your experiences have been with it.