Thursday, July 2, 2009

DivaCup: an Update!

The other week I was listening to the cbc and heard a strange new radio advert... this sing-songey voice telling us what not to flush down the toilet: diapers, q-tips, floss, condoms, tampons... People FLUSH those??? In any case, the idea being that since the city sewage processing plant flooded and has been pumping "floatables" into the harbour I guess HRM's approach is to blame it on the people...

In any case, the "tampon" comment reminded just how happy I was that my monthly gift wasn't contributing to the landfills any longer (cuz who actually flushes them? no really... people DO that?). Out of all the weird, green, small or big eco-changes that I've made over the past few years the DivaCup has been THE best! I've talked about it a few times here on the EcoYogini blog (ps- if you're reading this and can't see my new summer banner, then it's been posted without my permission, come on over and join in on the conversation!), and I was surprised just how many other fantastic eco-yoginis out there also LOVE their cup! I've learned a few new issues on the topic and thought I'd share them :)

Quick intro for those that might be new to this awesomely fantastic cup:

For such an integral part of most women's lives, who KNEW it caused SO much waste: an estimated 12 BILLION tampons in American landfills yearly (and I guess in the harbour too!). Our messy, used feminine products, made of plastic and absorption chemicals (placed in such an intimate area, why did I expose my vagina to that?) are never just thrown "away", but are hanging out for years to come. In enters the DivaCup for myself, or one of the other eight or so menstrual cups out there.

Trust me, it took TWO years for me to gather the courage to give it a try and the first few times were a bit entertaining... to say the least (really when the instructions say "DO NOT PANIC" they mean it!! lol). If you're reading this and are nervous about the whole thing, you are not alone! It was weird, but SO worth it! After a few months of interesting experiences and revelations (please check out my "Overshare" post for details) I was STILL struggling with the random "POP" opening surprising me in the most inopportune moments. Andrew thought it was hilarious... but really it was getting off-putting after a year and a half.

Thanks to the wonderful sharing and comments left on my "overshare" post, that no longer happens! Still haven't mastered the "push down" fold (just resulted in more crazy dancing in the bathroom hoping it will open!) and no turning at all was accomplished (Andrew kept asking if I was ok after some banging and swearing like a trucker... hah). The Most Fantastic Tip: HOT WATER. OMG, warming it up prior to doing the crazy, ridiculous wiggle dance to get it in has resulted in no more surprise openings! WOOT!

Seriously, even my yoga practice has changed as a result of wearing the DivaCup. I no longer worry about random leaking, pulling or uncomfortable-ness. After a few weird thoughts of: "ew, during shoulderstand it's just... you know... going around in there!", with no disaster occuring, my moontime no longer affects how I choose to practice yoga. I can travel for 12 hours without worrying about needing a bathroom nearby, or having my purse with me to the bathroom (like no one notices that!). The best: I NEVER have to buy more tampons AGAIN. I've never had an overflow, and didn't think it was possible, but I have friends who do need to empty their cup every few hours and still swear it's fantastic.

Unfortunately, just like the whole "yoga machine" awakening, I recently was made aware through Crunchy Chicken's blog that the DivaCup peeps aren't all out to save women's menstrual cycles. As I'm not an instruction reader (Andrew read out the "DO NOT PANIC" from outside the bathroom for me that very first time) I had no idea that DivaCup recommends that we replace our cup every.single.year. Ahem. Their reason: supposedly Health Canada requires this for safety regulations. According to this article, Health Canada denies any such statements... and that they have no concerns regarding safety of prolonged use. If I have to replace my cup yearly that would be an extra 30-40$ to the DivaCup company per year... and wouldn't make sense economically OR ecologically (as you can't return the cups for recycling) for myself. I'll just continue brushing and boiling away until I hear something a bit more definitive. (A DivaCup knitted case!! SO FUN! Taking from here)

Also, I had NO IDEA that there were other alternatives like "the Keeper" (latex- which has been documented to degrade in contact with biological fluids, unlike silicone) or "The Fleurcup" (France) and have a sneaking suspicion that the ridiculous certification allowing the DivaCup to assure medical grade safety in Canada also means they may be the ONLY menstrual cup allowed to sell in Canada. That's pretty handy for them to have a huge monopoly on price (hence the 40$ price tag) and regulations.

Regardless of the drama, I do continue to HEART my DivaCup!


  1. I keep looking at them but I havn't quite taken that step yet..... Maybe next month I shall buy one...

  2. Rose, take the plunge, you won't be sorry!

    Love the post, Lisa. Warm water is definitely helpful. It's so funny about the pop - I kept waiting for that to happen, but it never has, in three months. Every body is so different! :)

    I LOVE the Diva Cup so much. I've been on my cycle for the past few days and before bed, I keep thinking: Oh yeah, I have to empty my Diva Cup. I forgot I was on my period! (Love it!)

    But I, too, am annoyed by this change of policy at Diva Cup. I'm not getting a new one every year! I read the article you linked to, and wow - that makes me mad!

    Thanks for the info.

  3. Rose: yes yes- take the plunge!! :)

    Greenspell (how come it sometimes says greenspell and then it says YogaWitch? lol): you are welcome! you know, it's good you didn't get a "pop", I had one today,... argh. it is funny how all bodies are different though :)

    I'm with you- I'm not getting a new one either... well not for a while!

  4. I love my Diva cup! It took me many years to make the change but now I will never look back.

    I had not heard about the needing to replace it every year. There is no way I am going to start doing that. When I see wear and tear then I will consider it.

    Thanks for your overshare!

  5. I did'nt mention it in my comment to Alli but please feel welcome to call me anytime you're in the Clare area.

  6. I really enjoyed reading this post as well as your earlier ones on the
    Diva Cup.They sound great. My daughter has one and she had the same problems getting it to open...not sure if she has conquered it yet...I'll have to ask her. I considered getting one myself if for nothing else but a good laugh, but I wonder how other women my age, 50 + a few, are making out using them. It might be fine and dandy for you young things, but what about the middle aged woman whose pelvic inner works are heading south. I worry that it would just pop out.I would love to hear from the older crowd. Or course the other consideration at my age is, do I want to buy one now when I'm hoping the need for one will soon be a welcome thing of the past.

  7. Marjean: those are fantastic questions, and my mom is SO happy to be done with the whole period thing! I can only aspire to be as awesome as she is when I've reached her wisdom :)

    I know there is a second size (one pre-birth or pre-30yrs and another post-birth, or post-30 yrs). I would also be interested in hearing how other women's experiences! :)

  8. Glad you liked the post... I havn't read the medicine road, yet! I have the onion girl waiting right now and two more to come in the post...

  9. I had no idea of the whole replace your cup every year - PAH!! - I think NOT. Annoying, but not surprising to hear, I suppose...

    I don't get the *pop* either...:( But thanks to your post and some of the comments I've totally mastered the *spin* required to ensure no leakage...picture me twirling merrily away...okay, maybe not such a good idea to picture that! ;) Overshare? Warm water is a definite help...

    Rose - you just me,'ll be glad you did!!

  10. I LOVE my Diva cup. Seriously, I will try to convert anyone who will listen. I travelled around Ecuador last year for 7 months and you can imagine the space I saved by bringing just my one, trusty Diva instead of boxes of pads and tampons.

    Besides, you're not even supposed to flush TP in Ecuador, nevermind tampons, so hurray!


    pS. Check out my blog sometime!

  11. I'm nicely 'paused' now (yes, it's great!) - found your post delightful.
    I made myself & used flannel pads with little 'wings' n snaps for ~ the last 10 years of my cycle, & was tickled when my daughter began using them as well. Very comfy, & simple to throw in the wash.
    I remember being 'stuck' without any in the mid '90s, & after looking at prices for disposables, bought a yard of flannel & some snaps at the fabric store next door to make a couple on the spot!

    My dau-in law began making 'all in one' diapers & sells them thru her etsy shop, angelbums - hmmm, maybe I should suggest making cute flannel 'pads' as well . . .

  12. I just ordered my Divacup. So glad that I found this blog, I will be using some of the tips suggested.
    For others thinking about buying one, I got mine for $21.20, including shipping at iherb. It's $24.70, but there is a $5.00 discount (code BAT047). Not a lot, but every little bit helps!


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