(Note: yeah, I’m talking about menstruation. Male readers be warned. I’ll get back to yesterday’s topic of morality in babies later.)
I’ve been eco-conscious for as long as I can remember. Too many episodes of Captain Planet growing up, I think. (Remember that show? “Your powers combined . . .” ).
In my adulthood, I’ve felt increasingly convicted that Creation Care is an important part of Kingdom Living.
For years, I felt uncomfortable with how That Time of the Month necessarily meant a bathroom trash can overflowing with waste. Every month, for a week, we had to empty that thing with careful regularity, to keep the piles of crumpled plastic, paper and cotton from spilling out all over the floor.
I hated the sight of all that crumpled waste. Not just because it was unsightly – though it was that, too – but because I hated how something as natural as menses had to have such disastrous consequences for the environment. But I assumed there was no other way.
I started using tampons later in my womanhood, feeling they created less waste than pads, but this was still far from ideal. Plus, I felt uncomfortable putting chemically-bleached, pesticide-laden cotton inside my you-know-what. (Cotton is considered the world’s “dirtiest” crop due to its heavy use of insecticides, the most hazardous pesticide to human and animal health. Read more about the horrors of conventional cotton.) And then there’s the whole Toxic Shock Syndrome thing. Yikes.
Finally, when I was trying to get pregnant, I read a suggestion online to refrain from using tampons to improve vaginal and uterine health. Instead, a silicone cup or cloth pads were suggested.
I already cared about the planet, but I also desperately wanted to get pregnant and was willing to try anything.
So I did some research and bought myself a DivaCup.
(A month later, I got pregnant. I don’t think the DivaCup had anything to do with it whatsoever; I just thought I’d mention it. It means I haven’t had a lot of periods since.)
The DivaCup has changed my periods.
It results in virtually no waste, and once it’s in, I have a habit of forgetting I’m even on my period. So I thought I’d offer a review of the product, in case you were interested in giving it a try.
(Note: I contacted DivaCup to see about a giveaway. But they were all like, “Requests for giveaways are so high, we can’t fill them all; fill out this form, and we’ll consider it.” And I was all like, “You want me to fill out a FORM? Do I look like a SECRETARY?” So . . . yeah, no giveaway. Sorry guys.)
There are other silicone cups out there, too, like the Moon Cup, which I’ve never tried. I think I went with the Diva mostly because it’s made here in Canada, so the shipping costs were more manageable. Other cups might have other advantages.
The DivaCup: My Review
So, the DivaCup is a reusable silicone cup that you insert into your vagina, sort of like a tampon; but instead of absorbing the menstrual fluid, it catches it. You simply empty it out a couple of times a day, wash it off, and re-insert it.
It definitely takes some getting used to. It’s about the length of my thumb, and the width of a tablespoon, in the shape of an upside-down bell with a stem. The walls are surprisingly thick. You have to fold it up a special way to insert it. It’s much more hands-on than, say, disposable pads. You have to get to know your body pretty intimately, pretty quickly, if you haven’t already.
I’ll admit, it feels weird – bordering on uncomfortable – to get it in there. I always feel a mild dread just before letting it go, when it springs back into shape inside your body. Then you’re supposed to rotate it a full circle to ensure a proper seal. (Of course, read the instructions in full yourself before using). Like I said, very hands-on. But, like a tampon, once it’s in, you don’t feel a thing. (Or at least, I don’t.)
If you put it in right, it forms a seal and shouldn’t leak at all. It’s amazing.
Sometimes, I’ve experienced very mild leaking, just as I have with a tampon. A single pantiliner is sufficient to eliminate worry. I’ve gone without a liner and been fine, but I feel more secure if it’s there.
So far I’ve just used disposable liners – I still have part of a pack of organic cotton ones from my pre-Diva days to use up. And at the rate of one a day, for a couple of days a month, they don’t go very quickly. Once they’re gone, I plan to switch to cloth. I want to try making my own, though you can purchase lots of different kinds, too. (I’ve heard good things about GladRags.)
Benefits of the DivaCup:
Cost. It’s a chunk of money up front – I paid about $40 for mine – but after that, you never have to pay for stuff you’re just going to throw into the garbage. Those things get expensive, month after month! Unless your size changes, you can use a single DivaCup for several years, saving you hundreds of dollars.
(A note on sizes: there are two sizes – one for women who have never had a baby, and one for those who have, or are over 30. I bought the small size pre-baby and used it once. I’ve used the same one a couple of times post-baby and it’s been fine so far. I don’t recommend it; I just thought you might want to know. This will probably vary from woman to woman. Some moms find even the bigger size not quite big enough).
Less Waste. No more piles of crumpled trash! Menstrual blood goes into the toilet and gets flushed along with everything else. This is better for the planet as well as your trash can.
Simplicity. A silicone cup is much more minimalist: instead of keeping a drawer full of various-sized pads, tampons, and liners, covering the full range of absorbancies, I have ONE cup, which fits in the palm of my hand, and a couple of pantiliners. This small stash takes me through my entire week.
Health. The DivaCup carries no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, since it doesn’t absorb the flow. No pesticide-laden cotton inside or next to your lady parts, either.
I love my DivaCup, and won’t ever go back to disposables as long as I can help it.
I think cloth pads would be a decent alternative, but they do require a bit more work (laundering) and use up hot water and soap, so aren’t quite as eco-friendly.
So that’s my review. Check out the DivaCup website for more information.
Any questions? Have you used something similar? What was your experience?
Note: Dulce de Leche has written a review, too: she didn’t like the DivaCup, preferring cloth pads instead.
(Note: I wasn’t given anything to write this review: I just wanted to spread the word about a product I love!)
This post is participating in Your Green Resource with SortaCrunchy.