The Ace of Cups, Part Two
Last week’s column was the first of a two-part feature on the Diva Cup, where I outlined my reasons for switching from tampons to a menstrual cup. This week, I’ll be sharing my personal observations since making the switch two years ago.
The biggest and most significant change is in the way I view my period and interact with my own body. The Diva Cup is a silicone menstrual cup that is inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual blood. There’s no fancy applicator or string to pull on; you fold the cup, stick it in your vagina with your fingers, twist it in place and then let it collect fluid for up to 12 hours.
When you’re done, you use your fingers to pull the cup out, pour out the menstrual fluid, wipe the cup clean and reinsert it. Through this process, I’ve gotten to know my body in a whole new way and have actually started to view my period as this really cool, interesting event instead of a monthly annoyance.
My period is no longer an endless line of disposable products and attempts to avoid touching any fluid, it’s become something I regularly engage with through the insertion and removal of my cup. I’m now aware of changes in my vagina and cycle through the quality and amount of fluid I find in my cup, and I have a whole new perspective on my period thanks to a deeper understanding of how my own body actually functions. I even find myself pretty excited by it most months!
Since the cup collects and doesn’t absorb, the vagina remains lubricated as it normally would, making insertion and removal pretty easy. Once properly in place, I could leave the cup in the full 12 hours without feeling it, which is amazing since I could now go whole days without having to change anything in a public bathroom, and can deal with my period completely in the comfort of my own bathroom.
I’ve never experienced any leakage with the cup, but leakage can be a concern, especially overnight or during exercise. I also no longer have to worry about waking up at a specific time to change a tampon because of leakage or risk of toxic shock syndrome since the cup can be used for such an extended period of time.
The risks of the cup are indeed significantly fewer. The only real risk is overflow if you forget the cup is in for more than 12 hours—which you might do because it’s so damn comfortable that you’ll sometimes forget you’re even on your period!
I’ve also noticed that my menstrual blood is actually odourless. Of course, this will be different for everyone, but since there is nothing aside from medical grade silicone now being inserted, my body no longer interacts with any possible irritants, and everything in my cup is produced by my body and is completely natural.
I don’t have an explanation as to why this happens, but many women, including myself, have also experienced a drastic reduction in cramps after switching. After suffering from severe menstrual cramps for over 10 years, I stopped having any cramps at all since switching to the cup.
I know that it can be intimidating to make the switch, because I’ve been there, but I’m not exaggerating when I say the Diva Cup has changed my life. Women will menstruate for an average of 37 years in their lifetime, which is a long time to spend dreading a full week of each month.
While the cup can seem drastic or more involved at first, I’m confident that you’ll end up finding it more convenient than dealing with tampons or pads. So give it a try, and start experiencing these awesome benefits for yourself!
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