Our resident ‘no boundaries’ writer delves deep into lady land to explore the menstrual cup– and answer those questions you’ve all secretly wondered about but never dare ask!
The first time I heard the words Diva Cup I assumed this was a ladies day during the Spring Racing Carnival. I was sorely disappointed to find out however that it’s a small silicone party popper for your vagina in lieu of tampons and sanitary pads. As Yoda would have said if he had ovaries, much to learn you have sister. Much to learn.
My first stop was the Diva Cup social media pages. The first five posts showed a police woman, lady fire fighter and several female members of the military. Clearly a Diva Cup would see me become more adventurous, brave and willing to save others under dangerous circumstance with or without my period. On the positive there wasn’t a woman in a white dress riding a horse on the beach and I celebrated their lack of menstrual stereotypes.
I finally found myself in a ‘cup lovers’ forum and began discussions with the enthusiasts. Let’s be frank, to join a supporter group for a feminine hygiene product you really have to feel that this product is the sh*t. Clearly these women did. These girls were advocates, devotees; dare I describe them as fanatics? I was in the right place to answer all my cup questions. Even the really gross ones you’ve thought but never said out loud.
Seriously this thing looks too big yet too small? How it can even work?
Apparently the Diva Cup is actually small enough to fit in your vagina and large enough a bucket to collect everything it’s supposed to. The trick to insertion was apparently that the Diva Cup is rolled to be smaller. Things were beginning to make sense. I still had visions of the thing flying out of my vagina and its rubbery properties make it ping from bathroom wall to wall but the lady experts assured me this could never happen. They said once you get the hang of it, insertion is easy. I quietly pondered just how long ‘the hang’ takes…
How often do you remove it – and is it messy?
I’ll be honest. The thought of pulling a small cup of blood out of my vagina and not having a bathroom that looked like a scene from Lady Macbeth seems near impossible. The devotees assured me it was easily achievable. However they agreed that the shower was the best place for cleanliness, mess and relaxation reasons. An ordinary flow requires only twice daily changing as the cup holds 30ml of liquid and can be worn for 12 hours. This did seem desirable, a day without worrying about leakage, packing enough tampons and finding a bathroom whilst at the zoo with five kids seemed practical indeed.
How do you get it out? Where’s the string? Dear God, can it get lost?
The trick to a Diva Cup is apparently the positioning. Not too high and not too low. The right position will ensure you can grab the little suckers’ post (which replaces your tampon string) and pull it out easily. If you can’t find it the devotees assured me you can ‘sit on the toilet and pretend to poo’ and it will drop down then. There’s also apparently multiple brands of cups and The German designed MeLuna has a hook-tab to pull with if you’re frightened at the lack of something to actually yank. The cup can apparently not get lost but it can move higher in the vagina. I’m told that this is a common occurrence but not to panic and breathe deeply, gravity will take its course.
If you’re in a public toilet how do you wash it?
This was the big, BIG question for me. I’d read repeatedly that you had to wash the cup between uses and well, how on earth do you get out of the stall, discreetly wash the cup in the basin (I think I am gagging!) and then return and insert it, all the whilst dripping in your knickers in between? Well, the mystery is debunked! Apparently it’s not always necessary to wash the cup between uses. At home you would always rinse it out. In public immediate re-insertion is fine.
Can I have sex with a Diva Cup?
Absolutely not they all chimed together. The Diva Cup sits low in the vagina blocking the canal. There’s basically no room for a penis to go. And that’s not fun for anyone.
Tell me about boiling the Diva Cup.
I had read repeatedly about boiling the cup at the end of your cycle for highest-level sterilisation. My immediate question re the boiling is, do you have a special saucepan? Funnily, nobody wanted to answer this. I assumed this meant no.
I really hoped these anonymous online responses were not any of my friends – and that I’d never had pasta at their houses. Ever. If I ever adopt the Diva Cup I hereby promise to also spring for a new Diva-only saucepan. Money well spent I think.
Choice magazine has written an excellent comparison of menstrual cup products you can read that here.
6 (serious) reasons why women love Diva Cups
- Reduces landfill and waste (the average woman will use over 11,000 tampons in a lifetime!)
- No bleaches or chemicals being inserted into the body
- Saves money longer term (estimates $100-$150 a year) after the upfront cost
- Less changing than tampons and pads
- Once used correctly less risk of leaks
- No odour – blood only smells when exposed to air, the menstrual cup does not allow this
So my investigation into the menstrual cup was done. I wasn’t convinced but I wasn’t a convert.. I won’t say never but for now I’m still a no. Have you used a menstrual cup? Love it or loathe it?