Girl Gone Green: An Environmentally-Friendly Solution to Your Period. a.k.a. A Review of the DivaCup

menstural cup(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.

divacupThe 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.

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  1. I’ve wanted to try the Diva cup for a while now, but I’m terrified that it will somehow get sucked to the top of my vagina and I’ll have to go to the emergency room. What keeps it from scooching upwards. Also, how easy is it to take out, and how messy? What do you do in a public bathroom, or do you just time it so you’re always at home?

    • Hi Arliss! The Diva cup is a little scary at first, but totally awesome and pretty much risk-free. There’s no way it will get stuck, because there’s really no where for it to go. Your cervix, the bottom part of your uterus that extends into the upper portion of your vagina, prevents that. It does sort of get suctioned to the cervix, but that’s the beauty of it! That’s what prevents leaks. And then when you want to take it out, you push your finger against the side of it and it breaks the suction, so it just slips right out when you tug it. Taking it out takes a little practice but is not hard (I’d suggest putting it in and taking it out a few times before you’re on your period, so that you’re used to doing it by the time blood is involved, which can be a little messier). I don’t find it too messy to take out, but just in case, I don’t take it out while standing over my bathroom rug. I personally don’t ever empty it or take it out in public bathrooms, but you really don’t have to. I believe they recommend taking it out every 12 hours and emptying it, but I have pretty light periods so can go even longer. So your really shouldn’t need to empty it in public bathrooms. :) Hope that helps!

      • Okay, I might give it a try! I know that LOGICALLY there’s no way it’s going anywhere, but I still have this fear of being the first woman in history to have a vortex vagina :)

        • The way it’s described on the website, the Diva actually remains much lower in the vagina than tampons too. The cup just stays right at the bottom of the vagina, whereas tampons you push way up there with an applicator. It can’t go up or down due to the seal it forms when open, unless you pull it.
          Contrary to Kathleen’s suggestion, I myself probably wouldn’t practice insertion if I wasn’t bleeding, simply because I did find it uncomfortable at first (pretty foreign experience being unmarried at the time), and the more moisture the better in that regard. I think I might get a little sore if I was doing it “dry.”
          I love the DivaCup! Been using the same one almost 6 years, and LOVE it. Like she wrote, It really did change my experience of my period quite dramatically. I wish the experience for all women!

          • Oops, that was my suggestion. Good point about it being dry – perhaps try it when you’re fertile and have more natural lubrication, or use a little synthetic stuff or even some water. Arliss – vortex vagina – haha! That *would* be interesting!

      • I got one! Actually, I got a Lunette; I walked up to the counter with the Diva, and the clerk sold me on the Lunette instead. They’re very similar, but she’s used both and said she liked the Lunette better. I’ve been practicing with it, and I love it. The one thing I don’t like is that the tab sticks out a little bit and pokes me, but I’m going to wait until my period actually starts before I cut it shorter, or off. Does anyone else have an issue with getting poked. Anyways, no vaginal vortex of doom so far!

    • I second all of Emily’s points and suggestions. Like she said, you have to empty it so infrequently — maybe every 8 hours to be on the safe side — that it’s pretty easy to avoid emptying it in public places (I’m rarely out of the house for longer than 8 hours). Just put it in/empty it before you walk out of the house, and again as soon as you get home if you’re gone all day. The website does have suggestions for doing it in public bathrooms — like taking wet paper towels into the stall with you to wipe it and your fingers with — though I’d avoid that until you were REALLY comfortable with it.

  2. I’ve been using the Diva Cup for about four years now and I can’t remember what life was like before. There’s definitely a learning curve–for me, it took me about three cycles before I got the technique down–but it’s so worth it. I’ll never go back.

  3. I love my Diva Cup! I’ve used it for about a year. I have to say I’ve never thought about the pesticides in cotton being a problem – but now that you mentioned it, I feel like that’s a *really* good point. Mucous membranes of our body (the vagina, under the tongue, etc.) are very vascular, meaning filled with blood vessels that are right under the surface and will quickly absorb chemicals that touch them and carry it around the body. For example, the fastest way for a person with heart problems to get the medicine they need circulating in their bloodstream is a sublingual (under the tongue) tablet. And pregnant women with low progesterone are often prescribed pills that are placed in the vagina and from there, absorbed into the bloodstream and uterus. (Kathleen, I am sure you knew that already. :)) Anyways, holy moly, yes. No more tampons.

  4. PepperReed says:

    FYI: There are organic/unbleached tampons available. I’ve used those for years because of chemical issues. I have the Keeper (similar product) and I like it, but it is SO uncomfortable to insert. Once it’s in properly, it’s easy-peasy, but my insides are not down with getting it in there. I’ve never given birth, so that may play a roll, but I’m bummed… I wanted to like it so much and get rid of my tampon convenience connection!

    I still do use it occasionally; when we’ve gone swimming or on vacation during that time of the month. I’m quite close to menopause, so have less need for it (or any product) anymore.

  5. Haha, maybe DivaCup should be marketed as a fertility product because I know a few people (myself included!) who have purchased one, used it once, and then become pregnant!
    That being said, I have really heavy periods and the cost of the pads and tampons I would go through each month was pretty equal to the price of a DivaCup so I managed to convince my husband that even if it didn’t work out, we’d be spending the money anyway!
    I really liked it the one week I was able to use it and I don’t plan on ever buying pads/tampons again. I would recommend ladies do lots of research on sizing first though, because I think I will need to buy a different cup after this pregnancy due to having a low/tilted cervix. I wish I had found this sizing chart before I bought my DivaCup.
    Bekah recently posted..I am not prepared for a zombie apocalypse.My Profile

  6. I love love love my divacup. For the environmental reasons, yes, but also because its just so much EASIER! Unfortunately, my husband Jinks it may have had something to do with our infertility. You see, upon further inspection I had a low grade uterine infection that cause inflammation and an inhospitable uterus (per my doc). My husband thought maybe it was due to not properly cleaning the divacup, even though I would boil it between cycles, I would wash it off and let it air dry over night. I’ve Googled this and tried to see if anyone else has had a connection, but came up with nothing. So who knows. I would just be really really thorough about washing your hands/fingernails and the cup itself before inserting! I haven’t decided what I will do when I get my cycle back, probably use my cloth pads for a while.

  7. Your post reminds me that I need to get a new DivaCup now that I need “size 2” post-partum! I’ve loved using it and it is definitely WAY easier than the cloth pads I’ve been using since my period returned after my daughter’s birth.

    Another benefit of the Cup for me was that I’m pretty sure I’m actually *allergic* to conventional pads/tampons. I feel so much better with natural products. I’m one of those lucky women who have less cramping with the Cup, too. It’s an all-around winner!
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  8. Great post! I’m also a big fan of the Diva Cup. I previously used a Keeper; altogether I’ve been using reusable cups for about 15 years. I have worked outside the home all of that time and have a pretty heavy flow, so I’ve had a lot of experience emptying it in public restrooms, and it is no more difficult than dealing with disposable products in public. Lots of details are in my article on menstrual cups.
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  9. Another fan of the Diva Cup here! I used mine for about a year before getting pregnant. MUCH more comfortable than the disposable pads I’d been using. I would actually forget I was on my period. It also seemed to lessen my cramps a bit, which was awesome. I bought a size 2 when it was on after I got pregnant with A, but I have yet to get PPAF to figure out if I need the bigger size or not.
    Michele recently posted..Motherhood Reality – Babywearing Part 2My Profile

  10. I love my Diva Cup!!! I originally got mine to make backpacking easier but after trying it the first month I never went back. It has saved us hundreds each year.

  11. I have used the Diva Cup for over two periods now and consider it definitely preferable over tampons since it is re-usable and the comfort is better. At the first use it did took me a long time to remove it correctly, but last time it went well. During the day the cup does not move, but I noticed that during the night it moves more upward though it still is removable. Does anyone else have noticed this?

  12. Totally agree about the Diva Cup taking a while to get used to. I didn’t really figure it out until the 3rd or 4th period-the correct position, removal, etc. But, it’s well worth the effort to figure it out and I’m thankful I stuck with it.
    The Diva Cup recently posted..Menstrual Cup DangersMy Profile

  13. Have you tried any of the other brands of menstrual cups? I’m curious about what your thoughts are.
    Menstrual Cups recently posted..Diva Cup vs. Anigan EvacupMy Profile

  14. Diva Cup is worth trying. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll never go back to the traditional pads and tampons.

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