Thursday, September 24, 2009

Simply Divine

My sister's boyfriend groans inwardly every time my sister and I get together, because we inevitably start talking about something related to the female body. We really can't help it, it's all so fascinating! Tom, on the other hand, has either become so accustomed to it that he's no longer affected, or he's now able to tune me out at the mere mention of certain words. It's probably a combination of the two. At any rate, I'll lose both of them with the next sentence:

Today's post is about menses. (I'll wait while several of the male persuasion consult Merriam and Webster about that one.)

Now that we're alone, ladies, let's talk about our periods. (And if you stick with me to the end of this long post, there's a potential reward!) More specifically, let's discuss the subject of tampons, pads, and one of  their alternatives, the menstrual cup. Tom gave me “the look” when I told him I was going to blog about my Diva Cup. But why not? I haven’t seen any widespread marketing campaigns for tampon/pad alternatives, nor is menstruation a subject that most women discuss over lunch, or coffee, or a rum and coke. Or, ever, really.

That menstruation is taboo is not a new phenomenon, it has been this way for generations. In fact, while there is evidence that women have been using homemade pads and tampons as early as the ancient Egyptians in the fifteenth century B.C., the first commercial pad wasn’t manufactured until almost the twentieth century. (1) This first pad (a.k.a. the “sanitary napkin”) failed, because the makers couldn’t advertise it – such a topic was “improper.” (2) Even when Kotex came on the market around 1920, “[m]arketing these products was difficult because of society's squeamishness.” (3) The company that made Kotex was so worried that the pad would ruin its image, it created a separate company to sell only pads. “Stores wouldn't carry [Kotex], magazines wouldn't advertise it, and sales unsurprisingly weren't so hot[,]” until Montgomery Ward took a chance on it in a 1925 catalog. With the blessing of the retail giant, and with the “marketing innovation” that allowed women to buy a box of Kotex without having to ask a male store clerk to get it from behind the counter, the mass produced pad became mainstream. (4)

Early sanitary napkins were awkward things. (5) Women wore a belt that buckled around their waist and threaded a pocket between their legs. The pocket could be stuffed with whatever they chose – cotton, cheesecloth, etc.; almost all were washable and reusable. Women weren’t free of belts until the 1970s, when pads finally featured adhesive backings.

Tampons were available commercially (sans applicators) as early as the late 1920s; the first tampon with a plastic applicator appeared in the 1930s. (6) Surprisingly enough, menstrual cups aren’t new either – the first patents appeared in the 1930s. (7) The first cups were made of rubber; today most are “manufactured from silicone because of its hypoallergenic properties.” (8)

And while the market was slowly catching on to the convenience of more modern feminine products, the guys in charge were still reluctant to acknowledge the products' existence. They were so reluctant that the National Association of Broadcasters banned advertising of sanitary napkins, tampons, and douches until 1972. (9) Today, we are more accustomed to advertisements for feminine products. Unfortunately, we still don’t like to talk about them or our periods.

Menstruation is a big part of a woman’s life. The average woman can have 350 to 450 menstrual periods in her lifetime. (10) Wow! That many periods means we go through a lot of tampons and/or pads. One site estimates that a woman uses almost 17,000 tampons throughout her lifetime. (11)

17,000 tampons. And if you are anything like I used to be, you might wear a tampon and a panty liner, just in case. Let’s stop and ponder the environmental impact of the millions of used tampons and pads floating around our Earth.

One waste consultant estimated “that 6.5 billion tampons and 13.5 billion sanitary pads, plus their packaging, ended up in landfills or sewer systems in 1998. And according to the Center for Marine Conservation, over 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along U.S. coastal areas between 1998 and 1999.” (12) Setting aside the issue of the toxic waste we create by disposing of our sanitary products, consider the environmental impact of the continuous production of disposable products – both the product and the packaging. Not only is there the pollution of the manufacturing process, but there is also the not-so-small matter of the toxins introduced into cotton during the growing process. “No less than 170 insecticides are registered for use on cotton crops[!]” (13) One author predicts that if only one in twenty women chose to switch "to organic tampons, we could eliminate 750,000 pounds of pesticides annually." (14)

In the US, it’s estimated that conventional cotton farms apply about one-third of a pound of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for every pound of cotton harvested. The various chemicals used to treat conventional cotton can harm beneficial insects and soil micro-organisms, pollute ground and surface water, and adversely affect the health of humans and wildlife alike—including fish, birds, and livestock.
Almost half of the chemicals sprayed on global cotton crops annually—an estimated $2 billion worth—are classified as hazardous by the World Health Organization (WHO). Pesticide residues remain in tampons in the form of dioxins and other potentially harmful chemicals. The vaginal walls are made of the most absorbent tissues in the body, so these chemicals are absorbed directly into the blood stream. (15)

That brings me to my second point: the potential health concerns over using disposable feminine products. Aside from the toxins present due to the growing process, tampons can also contain absorbency enhancers, deodorants/fragrances, and chlorine compounds that are used to bleach the cotton. (16) Some of these substances may be carcinogens; others may “cause irritation, allergic reactions and may upset the vagina’s natural microbial balance.” (17)

Tampons also contain rayon, which is a manmade fiber composed of tiny strands of plastic. These fibers may cause “microtears of the vaginal wall when a tampon is inserted or removed, possibly leaving the vagina more susceptible to infection.” (18) And as we all likely know, both tampons and pads can increase your chance of developing a bacterial infection. (19)

As for the menstrual cup?

They are safe. There are no known health related risks to using a cup. (20) They are environmentally friendly: they can last for years, there is nothing to throw away, and they are not disposable (in the sense that tampons and pads are), so the manufacturing process does not have as negative of an impact.

They are cost effective. If you are concerned about your wallet, consider the cost: an average woman will spend approximately $10 each month on disposable feminine products. (21) You can get a menstrual cup for a one-time investment of $20-$30, and it should last you at least a year; some claim that their cups last up to ten years. Let’s say you spend $30 on a menstrual cup that you use for five years – that equals a savings to you of $570 (if you had spent $10/month in the same amount of time). Awesome!

They are comfortable. I’ve used mine for four cycles now, and I don’t notice its presence once I’ve inserted it correctly. (Insertion, by the way, has been my biggest complaint. It is a skill that you perfect over time, but it’s not really complicated.) One complaint many women have about tampons is that they cause overdryness. “More than a quarter of the fluids absorbed by a tampon are, in fact, natural and necessary vaginal secretions.” (22) Because menstrual cups collect, rather than absorb, fluid, you should not experience the feeling of dryness caused by tampons.

They are easy and clean. Menstrual cups hold more fluid than a highly absorbent tampon, so you need to “change” them much less often (normally two to four times on even your heaviest day). All you do when it’s time to change it is (carefully) pop it out, empty the cup into the toilet, give it a rinse (not necessary, but I always do), and reinsert. In between cycles, you should sterilize the cup by boiling it. And because of the secure seal they form, they are more effective than tampons or pads, plus they are perfectly safe for any activity – no leaks. For the record, I also use a thin cloth panty liner, just in case.

There are many menstrual cups to choose from. I use the Diva Cup; the other popular brand in the U.S. is The Keeper, and this Wikipedia page lists several other manufacturers.


I have been so excited to share all of this with you, and if you’ve made it with me this far, (thank you!) there is a possible reward. The makers of Diva Cup are super cool, and they’ve agreed to sponsor a contest. Leave your comment about why you would like to try a Diva Cup. It can be serious, funny, clever, informative, or a straight plea for Diva Cup mercy.
I (and probably an impartial third party) will choose the best comment, and that person will receive a Diva Cup absolutely free! The winner will be chosen on October 1st, so please submit your comment no later than midnight on September 30.
I look forward to reading everyone’s comments. Also, be sure to tune in for an upcoming post on another hush hush topic . . . toilet paper!!

***Be sure to check back on October 1st to see if you are the winner. I'll need to figure out how to contact you so Diva Cup can send you the correct size cup!***

(1) ("The Straight Dope") (quoting Freidman, Nancy, Everything You Must Know About Tampons (1981))
(2) The Straight Dope (citing Delaney, Janice, Lupton, Mary Jane & Toth, Emily, The Curse: A Cultural History of Menstruation (2d ed. 1988))
(3) The Straight Dope (citing Delaney, et al.)
(4) The Straight Dope (quoting Heinrich, Thomas & Batchelor, Bob, Kotex, Kleenex, Huggies: Kimberly-Clark And The Consumer Revolution In American Business (Historical Perspective on Business Enterprise) (2004))
(6) The Straight Dope
(7) ("Wikipedia")
(8) Wikipedia
(9) The Straight Dope
(11) ("E Magazine")
(12) E Magazine
(14) Rogers, Elizabeth & Kostigen, Thomas M., "The Green Book" at 105 (2007) 
(15) ("Green Living") (citing
(16) ("Miacup")
(17) Miacup (citing Armstrong, Liz & Adrienne Scott, "Stop the WhiteWash" (1992), Toronto: The Weed Foundation)
(18) Miacup
(19) Miacup (citing Wroblewski, Sandra Sieler, "Toxic Shock Syndrome" (January 1981), The American Journal of Nursing, vol. 81 (1), pp. 82-85; Neff, Melissa G., "Acute Female Cystitis", US Pharmacist, vol 26 (9))
(20) Wikipedia 
(22) Miacup (citing R. Levin et al., "Absorption of menstrual discharge by tampons inserted during menstruation: quantitative assessment of blood and total fluid content" (July 1986), BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, vol. 93 (7), pp. 765–772)


  1. Yay, I'm the first to post a comment! Wow thank you for all of the "menses" information and history! I would love to win a diva cup because not only would it be better than tampons and pads for the environment but once I put it in, it would be impossible to forget unlike that sinking feeling of rifling through your purse only to have nothing there.....

  2. Dionna, I love the footnotes. You are too much! I got Madeline a size 1 diva cup (or is it 2? the smaller one at any rate) when she started her period, and I made a bunch of mama pads out of my old prefolds as "back-up". You know, just in case. But I notice in the laundry that they are rarely needed at all. Great post. I hope you get lots of readers and submissions.

  3. I've been thinking about buying one but getting one free would be even better! VEry interesting post!

  4. I will admit, when I first read about a "cup" inserted... there... I cringed a little. But now I am curious and intrigued. I've been thinking a while now about switching to organic tampons, I just keep putting it off until I run out of, er, "time" and go to the closest store and get what I am familiar with. You know me, I am huge into the environmental concerns and want to do anything and everything I can to reduce my carbon footprint... even this. I just may not mention it to Matthew immediately, he rolls his eyes enough at me as it is.

  5. I'd really really like a Diva Cup because I'm a young lady who's sick to death of the mess and rubbish involved in using pads! I absolutely despise tampons and I love swimming, so it would give me so much more freedom to do what I love, and to help the enviroment at the same time! :) What a wonderful concept. -claps-

  6. I DONT want a Diva cup.

    Because I already have one :D

    I just want to say: it is by far the best choice I could have ever made regarding my period. I have had mine for 3 months and do not regret it at all!

    (BTW though this posts as Psivamp, you would probably better know me as MaerynPearl!)

  7. Ok, I have heard enough people raving about these and now that my monthly friend is back, I think I need one!! Ok, Dionna help me out!

  8. Thanks so much for your informative post, and for the opportunity to win a Diva Cup!

    I'd LOVE a non-disposable menstrual product! I am currently using Instead Cups, which is at least better than tampons... but they are still disposable i.e. not the best for the environment. Something reusable would be a MILLION times better!

  9. I am aghast at how much the modern ways of 'dealing with' our periods impact the environment. Based on my new knowledge, I probably wouldn't be the best person to give a Diva Cup to, because I plan on buying my own as soon as I find a retailer who ships internationally. Nonetheless, I'm a poor graduate student working in Spain (therefore living on Dollars in a Euro world) who won't get paid for another month. Being gifted a Diva Cup would truly help me out. Additionally, I promise to pimp the Diva Cup on my own blog and with my own friends, so I will definitely pay it forward.

    Thanks for the information and the inspiration.

  10. Wow, different there's a topic I would have never thought about. How does one go about taking her measurements for that?! ;)

  11. I've been planning to purchase one after menses returns after our last baby. One of those "on my to do" things.

  12. The cup is the eco-feminist solution of the century!

  13. I had to chuckle about your reference to the old belted kind. I was taught about menses from my grandma since my grandparents mostly raised me. And I was TERRIFIED! She didn't know they came another way so she was telling me all about the belt and got her old one out etc :) So for about a year I thought that was what I was going to have to wear.
    I have never been able to really wear tampons, they are horribly uncomfortable for me. So I adjust our plans/vacation etc around my cycle (which sucks :) ) Because I don't want to go swimming while on my period. So I would LOVE to get one of these, they don't look nearly as uncomfortable as tampons do.
    Of course right now I'm pg and not needing it, but my period came right back after our first daughter so I am guessing it will again :)

  14. Thanks, so much for all that info. I never thought about the effects femine products have on the environment. I geuss I should have known but I have been blinded by the convenience of tampons and pads. Needless to say I still HATE them. I never heard of the Diva Cup (and such) until other mama's on MDC started talking about them. So seriously??? this magical cup has been around since the thirties? I am a labor and delivery nurse and never once heard of this. I am quite embarressed actually.

    When I was 11 I started my period. I was mortified and far away from home and my mom. When I told her I thought I started my period she told me to go see the camp nurse. She(my mom) actually thought it was a pimple!!! Needless to say the nurse didn't have to look to know that I started my period. So I "celebrated" in solitude by shoving a bulky 2in. thick pad in my underwear. Most of my activities at camp (yes it happened to be band camp but I wasn't going to say it) required sitting. I was so embarressed. I thought for sure everyone knew. how could they not? I was so antsy in my seat.
    I know a Diva cup, which would have been at home with my forever in denial mother, would not have helped me out here b/c I never saw it coming, but man would it have been nice.

    So now on to current affairs. On a slightly more disgusting note, I have problems with tampons. I can never get them in the right place so I always leak out one side or the other b/c my cervix is pretty low. I have to work hard to get it in right. I am familiar with checking my cervix so it doesn't bother me to guide it into the right place. But what a PITA.

    I am intregued. I would love to try a diva cup. Economically it makes sense. We are hurtin' and any bit helps. Environmently, where was I? You ladies are converting me (slowly but surely) from an environmental idiot to an environmental genius one Diva Cup at a time. lol

    One other thing that I am known for is being passionate. I have turned many people on to Hypnobirthing, waterbirths, and my most accomplished task of educating people about and turning them off of RIC. Many people no nothing about it. I love to educate people on these things. I would love to take on this too. I assume I will love it as much as others and I hope you will give me the opportunity to try it out.
    Thanks again,

  15. Wow, that's eally awsome. I have to admit, I just heard about this alternative! I think it's very cool because not only is it cost effective, but it's also convienent and eco-friendly! I never would have thought a single woman would go through that many pads and tampons in her life! I think if we could all just suck it up and give it a try, I'm sure it would be well worth it! I have honestly never seen anything like this in the stores, and I bet they would be amazing if we all knew just a little more about them via public advertising.
    Thanks so much for all this great information!

  16. Thanks Dionna for a fantastic article on The DivaCup and for bringing awareness to your audience about our innovative alternative to tampons and pads!

    We look forward to sending the winner The DivaCup!

    For more information and FAQ's visit or join us on Twitter @divacup.

  17. I am so very curious about the Diva curious in fact that I followed them on Twitter and when I asked someone about them I was shocked to see that they commented asking what I was waiting for. Loved that!

    I have looked to all kinds of alternatives to tampons and know those cute little "soft tampons," you know the ones. They look like yummy marshmallows. I was checking out and took a look, as I salivated I realized it probably wasn't a good idea to buy a tampon that I wanted to stick in my mouth because it looked like a marshmallow. Well, not just me, but well, I have a four year old little girl who wouldn't hesitate to eat the marshmallow tampon, then I would have to go to walmart and buy regular ones and I would be right back where I started.

    One way or another I need these because I can reuse them, and since I am a huge cheapskate that is like the coolest thing EVER! And because there is no waste here. I don't have to worry about throwing out pads or tampon boxes. Just put it away, get it to use it and do it all over again. How cool is that?!?! Bet our Grandmothers would have loved to have these things around. Plus, I am sure my daughter will be eternally grateful when she gets older because she will get one too!

  18. I'm in LOVE with my Diva Cup. My ONLY complaint is that you aren't technically supposed to use one when you have an IUD. There is a possibility that you could displace the IUD because of the "suction" effect from the cup. HOWEVER, I have been using mine anyway without any problem for nearly a year. Once I tried the Diva Cup and then got the IUD, there was just NO WAY I was going back to tampons and pads.

  19. The Diva Pad sounds like possibly the best thing that could happen to me this year.

    I'm a busy college student and I'm always running somewhere for something! As a secondary education major (middle/high school teacher) I'm running between classes and schools where I observe and practice my teaching skills. But school isn't all for me, I've got 5 jobs! I have to pay for tuition, rent, and groceries (including tampons/pads) somehow!

    But as much as I would love to try the Diva Cup, it's just too expensive for me to spend so much money at one time (even though I recognize that it would save me big in the long run!). But I'm scrapin' to get by as it is.

    Not only will it save me money, but I'll be so much more convenient in school. When you're a teacher bathroom breaks are few, far between, and fast. The diva cup would make my menstrual weeks so much more comfortable and worry free! I won't have to worry about leaking while I'm explaining a complicated topic to a 9th grader, or while sitting in 2-hour class just hoping it gets out early.

    And best of all, I won't be wasting resources! I've been involved with the "Break the Bottled Water Habit" campaign on my campus to reduce the waste that is created by drinking bottled water and I worry about the waste I generate on a regular basis. My generation is being forced to deal with these issues more so than any in the past -- and I'd like to do my part to be a good role model for my friends, roommates, co-workers, and generation!

    Having a Diva Cup will just be another great step towards the lifestyle I so desperately am trying to support but can't always afford.

  20. I have a love/hate relationship with my menses. Half the time I call them a curse, because of all the annoyances that come along with them. Of course, then I feel bad after because they are the sign that I can have children and am a healthy female; I often think I should call them a blessing instead.
    At the same time, though, I hate going to class for hours, and then having to either mess around in a public washroom where everyone knows what you're doing, or wait until you get home and realize you left it for just too long. Tampons aren't even an option; they are dry and uncomfortable, not only in a physical way, but also in a mental way - I don't want chemicals shoved up there! So I'm stuck with pads. I can only go swimming certain days, I have to worry about pad/panty lines showing through my pants, and there's always that worry about smell. Even worse, I'm worried that I'm doing damage to my vagina by using chemically treated products!
    Economically, these seem like a pretty decent idea - although, as my periods are often irregular in both timing and amount, I can't say for sure how much I spend on feminine products a year. Environmentally, they are clearly better than all that waste being thrown away every year!
    They seem like the solution to every problem associated with menstruation. After I try the DivaCup, I'm going to suggest it to my friends, my mom, and, when my younger sister starts, to her. I know it will be a relief for her - she's involved in almost every sport, just like I was in high school. I can easily remember wearing spandex just so I didn't have to worry about anything leaking through during the game, or for my panty lines/pad lines showing when I crouched (which, in basketball, is about half the time!).
    I honestly can't wait to get my hands on a DivaCup. Just think about more worries about the pad shifting and your underwear being stained, no more worrying about pads showing, no more stains on the sheets when you wake up. Cleaner, healthier, better!
    Well, I've probably ranted enough - I'm off now to do more research on the DivaCup at their website. Cheers for now, and thanks for such a great post - as you can probably tell, it really inspired me!

  21. Thank you so much for this post! I've been using the Diva Cup for about 4 years. I love it!

  22. I love that you included the numbers. I never thought about how MANY periods women have over the course of their lives. Times the number of pads/tampons.... wow. That's a lot of waste! Like someone else who posted above me, I have been planning to get one but haven't yet. I am on a temporary reprieve right now, as I'm breasfeeding, but it's only a matter of time before "Aunt Flo" comes to visit again. (Hee hee, there's another blog post for ya-all the slang and cutesy terms for one's menstruation. Funny/sad that we're so freaked out by it that we have to make up little euphamisms.)

  23. That was not only very informational but very entertaining to read! Advertising's role in not making feminine products widely available never really crossed my mind but now I see! Love the history too! Dive Cup has never been in our budget but, eventually I'd like to take that next step in helping our environment ( and my body!)! Thanks for the great read! You Rock!

  24. First off, FANTASTIC article! I'm a bit of a nerd for people who use references, and you did a fantastic job :D

    I really, really, really would love to try one out. I bought one back in April, but then I got pregnant!! And I bought the size 1, so I'll have to get a size 2 after the little one comes... wasted a bit of money on that one. (Not that I'm ecstatic about the little one though!)

    I have Polycystic Ovaries, which gives me wicked awful periods. I'm talking "stay indoors and wear a diaper" awful. My final frustration was wearing a tampon AND a super-absorbant overnight pad to bed, and STILL having an accident when I woke up in the morning. Terrible!!

    I would love to have the peace of mind to know that simply rolling over won't require a shower afterwards (eew!!). I truly can't wait to dive into the world of menstrual cups once this little bundle is here!

  25. thank you so much aboit this usefull information!

    This little trip through the history of feminine menstrual products was very interesting.

    I for one, am always looking for ways to recicle materials and help the environment as the world is ours to care for, and our only home.

    I have used to have very heavy cicles, and the pads weren't very effective as i'd go through them faster than superman could fly, plus they often get dislocated and i get blood on my clothes (it has happend several times i unfortunatly).

    The tampons, which were so far my product of choice, for their absorbant capacity were at fault for that same reason, leaving me with some vaginal dryness.

    The Diva Cup, seems to be the answer to all my problems! no waste of disposable products, no dirty clothes, no side effects for me and i save money!!!

    It almosts sounds too good to be true!

    I would love to get my hands on a cup to try it out, i really think if it works the way it is advertised to do, then its a god send, and i'll never use anything else ever again!

    thank you so much for this info and this great offer!


  26. I first heard of these cups when our local Home-school group was learning to become informed and streamlined over the Y2K scare. I was too young to truly understand. But the benefits to the environment and financially in such a practical everyday need is still relevant. Admittedly, I have not menstruated much in the past six years do to constantly being pregnant and or nursing, but when I get back in the swing of things, it will be worth a try!

  27. I had a serious, long post that I could not hope to repeat vanished by a sign-in error. To sum it up, I read the blog because I found the historical information fascinating. I always wondered what people did before disposable products. And I find the environmental impact disturbing :(

    My request for a Diva cup would actually be a challenge. The math doesn't work out the same for me--I spend about $30/year, or $2.50/month on products. Honestly, I don't think the Diva cup can keep up with my very heavy flow, nor do I believe it will be comfortable.

    So I would like to try one to be proven wrong. I see it as being no different than a tampon in both discomfort and inability to control my flow (I have to wear a full pad with the rare tampon, which I wear because neither is enough on its own some days). I would love an alternative option to damaging the environment and would like to give Diva a chance to save me (and the environment) from all the pads I have to use.

    So, prove it to me and I'll be a loyal customer, glad to fork over my $30/year to save the environment instead of to pollute it.

  28. I loved your post! I hate that periods are such a taboo to talk about... So, it's good to see a post like this, hah. Interesting history information there, too. I would hate to have to wear a "sanitary belt" like that, eww~

    I desperately want a DivaCup... I am 15 years old, and I HATE my period. I have endometriosis, which causes intense pain and bleeding (often at unusual times) associated with menses. It can lead to infertility, as it has with many members of my family (my mother had 9 failed pregnancies and 1 stillborn child before she ended up having her miracle baby-- me!).

    My mom doesn't want to get me a menstrual cup; she doesn't think it seems safe or practical. There's no way she'd spend 30 dollars on something she doesn't even like. However, I really want one! I hate having these awful periods... I have tried EVERYTHING to make it easier-- medicine, surgery... I even became anorexic for a year because it made me stop having periods (I am recovering now-- 103 lbs at the moment).

    I'd love to be able to go through a school day without multiple bathroom trips or "springing a leak". I'm a huge fan of the DivaCup-- seriously, I'm a fan of it on Facebook, haha (That's how I saw the link to this post). Yet, I've never used one. I've told all my friends about it and convinced some of them to make the switch. I even told the girls in SAVE club with me (Students Against Violating the Environment).

    I'm a huge hippie, haha. I love nature and animals. I hate using all these disposable products to deal with periods... I feel so bad! I tell people all about how they can help the environment, yet here I am, producing pounds of "sanitary waste" every month...!

    So yeah, I hope I'm considered worthy of a DivaCup, haha. xD Once again, I loved the post, and I hope to see more ones like this in the future! :]

  29. This is a very informative article, I liked it! But I would also like to offer another alternative: not having a period at all. Multiple birth control methods allow you to avoid a monthly period, and from what I've read and heard from my gynecologist, it's perfectly safe and does not affect your future fertility. I haven't had a period in over a year and I love it!

  30. Just as a complete sidenote, either walgreens or cvs actually carries either the diva cup or some alternative thereto in their brick and mortars. I saw them just the other day. I don't remember where....

  31. awesome article, Dionna! I forgot all about menstrual cups, how funny! I used a Keeper for a year when I travelled across Asia in 1999. It was a life saver, not sure what i would have had to do otherwise! Would make a lot of sense to start using one again! Never tried a diva cup!

  32. Thanks for the great article! The information that your research turned up was very interesting.

    I've been wanting to try a Diva cup for a long time, but haven't been able to get one, yet. But, after two AF's ago, I know that I definitely want one. I am student teaching in a first grade classroom and really don't have much time for bathroom breaks. I'm also on my feet more than I have been in a long time. Well, during my FIRST week of student teaching, my pad failed me and leaked through to my khaki pants! Talk about embarrassing! Luckily, I had on a long shirt and was able to hide the mess until I went home. I've never been one to wear tampons, because I've always thought they were uncomfortable, but last month, I wore a pad AND a tampon to school...just in case. Ugh!

    I haven't been able to find anyone local that sells cups, but I'd love to find a reliable website that sells them.

  33. Just a word to say that I have the chance to have been using a Diva Cup for over a year and just want to let women who haven't tried it yet know that if they don't win it, it is sooooo worth the $$. You will never want to go back to anything else, I can assure you! Do it for the environment or do it for yourself but just do it!!

  34. OK. All this is stuff I know. But I have still been too... icked out to try a Diva cup. Go ahead and change my mind!

  35. Hi Cheryl - I had heard of the Diva Cup for 6 years before I tried it for the first time.

    Tonia - I know how you feel wrt vacations. My first month with the cup was during a trip and WOW what a difference it made. Just felt like any other day.

  36. Just as a few tips for those of you who are concerned with:

    1. leakage
    2. yuck factor
    3. comfort

    I have been using the Diva Cup for about a year and this is my point of view:

    1. There is no leakage even on your heaviest days if you are wearing it correctly (which takes a cycle or two to get the hang of) and you dump it once or twice in the middle of the day. I have never had an overflow, but I admit that on those one or two heavy days, I wear a thin panty liner pad. It has never leaked on me since I figured out the correct way to wear it.
    2. Well, I don't think it is any more disgusting than wadding up a stinky, very full tampon or pad in toilet paper and throwing it away. In fact, I think the yuck factor is significantly less. If you think that it is yucky because of inserting and removing, then please realize that it is really not much different in terms of touching your body than inserting a tampon without an applictor, accept you use a different technique, of course.
    3. comfort: Again, once I discovered the proper insertion method for ideal position, I DO NOT FEEL IT AT ALL. I mean it does not even feel like a tampon. I discovered also that you can cut off the tip of the cup. I don't really understand why the tip is even there because I always pinch the cup when I insert or remove, not the tip. For the first two cycles I did not realize that the tip was extraneous and unnecessary in terms of performance. I highly recommend cutting the tip off to make a blunt, rounded cup. I promise you, if you insert correctly, you WILL NOT FEEL THE CUP!

    Just my 2 cents. Oh, and I bought each of my four sisters a cup as a gift because they thought I was crazy when I told them about it. They are all believers now. :)

    And yes, sometimes I really do think it is just too good to be true! But I use it again and again with no problems and love the freedom it has given me. I went swimming in the ocean every day of my cycle over the summer, and didn't have to worry about an over-sodden tampon causing leakage and discomfort.

    This invention is truly awesome, and no I am NOT affiliated or attached to the company in any way. I swear. :)

    Oh, and my name is Jessica G.. I can't seem to get my google name to appear.

    I hope this account of my experience helps some of you make a decision about it. I bought mine at our local Whole Foods store for $13 and I can't imagine why some of you have seen it for upwards of $20 or more unless the company has drastically raised the price in less than a year. I don't see this really breaking budgets considering the cost of pads and tampons.

    Please feel free to ask me questions about my experience if it will help you make a decision to buy. That is if you don't WIN the Diva Cup that this blogger is offering!

  37. Darn, how embarrassing. I meant "applicator" and "except" not "accept" in the above post. Sigh . . . and I was an English major.

  38. Well-written. I have had my Diva cup for over a year and I LOVE it. I wish I knew about it 20 years ago as it would have saved me money, time, my health and the planet. It's sickening to think of how much waste we produce each year in the form of pads, tampons and pantyliners. I haven't bought a single pack of disposable menstrual products since my cup came in the mail. I used to by the chlorine-free organic stuff which was NOT cheap. My Diva Cup paid for itself in a month. I started using cloth menstrual pads/pantyliners once I got the cup. Nowadays I don't use anything. I'm used to how it works and haven't had leak issues so I've been a lot braver about not using anything as back up.

    Thanks for writing this. I hope it inspires a lot of women!

  39. I tried the Instead cup, and it leaked. Regularily. And copiously. After being 4 years period-free, just having to think about a period is a bit of a shock; my reusable flannel pads are nice, but it'd be great to have something that didn't routinely threaten to fall in the toilet when I forgot it was there!

  40. I have only once felt like my Diva cup would fall out: The very first time I put it in wrong (which actually wasnt until the 3rd or 4th time I put it in)

    If that is the case, you just take it out, rinse it off, put it back in.

    Once it is in, you should not feel it at all, as a matter of fact when mine is in, I do not feel like I am even on my period!

  41. I want to try one very bad! If I had one, I might actually enjoy the return of my period after my baby is born... well, maybe not! :-)

  42. I beseech you pick me for your Diva Cup winner! I'm mom of two and just recently got my period back after 2.5 years, thanks to extended nursing. It's back with a *vengeance* and I can no longer use tampons and pads without guilt! Save the planet, give me a diva cup!

  43. I just had to post that I use one and LOVE it!! I've worn it for about 8 or so cycles and am so in love I don't know why I hadn't tried it earlier. I've heard that you have to have a baby for it to really work. A gal at the Whole Foods where I purchased mine said it didn't work for her. But I gave it a shot and love love love it!!

  44. I just made a post about this on my blog. I would love to win because I'm looking to get a Diva. After making the switch to cloth diapers with baby #2 I've really been wanting to which to reusable momma products as well. Baby #2 is going to be one this weekend and I know that my cycle's return is looming (yay breastfeeding) and this would be a great moneysaver to win.

  45. I desperately wish these cups would work for me! I had a cervical prolapse after my son was born over 2 years ago. Since then I have needed a pessary and as a result tampons don't really work for me. I tried a cup and it wouldn't stay in place because of my prolapse. If they could just solve that issue I'd be so thrilled!