What I am about to share in this blog post may be thrown in the “too much information” basket. For the blokes who read my blog, I recommend that it should be thrown in the too much information basket and suggest you do not read beyond this sentence (unless of course you want to then go right ahead!).
For the rest of you though, this blog post may just be a catalyst for a life changing experience where your menstruation cycle is concerned.
I received an email from a friend about the menstrual cup and having never heard of it before I clicked on the link and learned it was a silicone bell shaped product that ‘collected’ the blood rather than absorbed it and was an eco-friendlier alternative to the tampon (my feminine hygiene product of choice). As a sustainable life styler I was intrigued.
However as I was in Thailand at the time, I continued enjoying my holiday, giving the menstrual cup no more thought.
And then a week or two later, whilst still on holiday, I received another email. This time from The Diva Cup, a company producing a brand of the menstrual cup. As a believer of fate, I decided that I would have to give it a go. If only to ensure that the universe knew I had acknowledged its signs.
After choosing size 1 for under 30’s and child free (size 2 is for mothers and the over 30’s) I received the product beautifully boxed with a cotton bag for safe keeping. I was itching to try it and once my period came, I finally had the opportunity to use it.
At first I was apprehensive. I had read and re-read the instructions that came with the box. I read Live Journal reviews on The Diva Cup. I read the FAQ’s on The Diva Cup website. I was as ready as I would ever be. And I remembered how nervous and anxious I was when I moved from the sanitary pad (I can’t believe I ever used those uncomfortable inconvenient pads!) to the tampon so I reminded myself that this would be a similar learning curve but once learned, I would never look back.
So on my very first attempt, on the first day of my period; I think I spent about an hour in the bathroom trying to get the cup in. My partner tells me it was no more than 15 minutes. I must have read and re-read the instructions. I washed my hands thoroughly. I fold the cup twice over forming a “C” and I inserted it, trying not to insert it too high up in case I damaged my insides or couldn’t get reach it again. And then for the next 6 hours, I didn’t feel any pain, I didn’t feel any discomfort, actually I didn’t feel anything at all! It was like I didn’t even have my period. The best thing was that I didn’t even have to remove it when I went to pee. It was wonderful!
But then I had to get it out because I wanted to check that it wasn’t going to overflow. So I tried to get it out. And I tried. And tried. I started to panic. My fingers couldn’t get to it. I was pushing and pushing with my kegel muscles like the instructions recommended I should do, but I’d get close to grasping the tip and then it would go up beyond reach again. I blamed myself for being so unfit down there. It also felt weird trying to get it out. I could feel my insides! I thought I might hurt myself with one of my fingernails. I felt like such a prude and many of you who know me know that prudish is not a word that one would use to describe me!
After the first attempt to get it out I thought I’d wait until I was calmer and not so stressed. From what I had read, I knew that it would be safe to keep the cup in there for up to 24 hours if need be. I had another 18 hours to figure it all out. But I knew I had less time than this because the first day of my period is often the heaviest and I didn’t want it leaking!
I waited another 2 hours before I tried to remove it again. I read the instructions again (it stated “don’t panic!”), more FAQ’s and live journal posts. I then spotted advice in a Diva Cup live journal forum from another first time user about getting one foot up on the toilet seat as the most comfortable position to remove the cup. I tried it and used my kegel muscles to push and this time it worked! I had some reservations with emptying the cup out in the toilet and rinsing it under the tap. But I had to do it. And just like changing a baby’s diaper, it’s something you get used to and don’t even think twice about.
So for the rest of my cycle, it was pretty smooth sailing. I used a panty liner for the second and third days as I had to go to work and I didn’t want any leakages. It did leak a little but only as I realised I hadn’t put it in far enough and rotated it enough to form a good seal. After that, it was a piece of cake.
I no longer have to purchase tampons and have worked out that I will save $60 each year in the cost of tampons and as the Diva cup is reusable for up to 10 years I’d be saving myself a small fortune. I am also helping to save the environment as I won’t be disposing 20 tampons each month for those 10 years. The kegel exercises are also keeping me that extra fit and healthy. I have peace of mind in a product that is BPA, plastic, latex, and chemical free. And although I spend a little longer in the bathroom than I used to, at least I don’t have to worry about not packing enough tampons!
So now I am a Diva Cup convert. And the great people at The Diva Cup are hoping you will be too and are offering the chance to win a Diva Cup menstrual cup to one lucky Eco Warrior Princess reader. For your chance to win, you will need to subscribe to this blog and post a comment below telling us in 25 words or less, why you would like to win the Diva Cup. Competition closes 5pm August 24th 2012. Good luck!