Finally! (Day 238)…

Diva Cups

Of all the suggestions people have offered me throughout this challenge, there’s been one that has continued to come up over and over again. It has nothing to do with recycling, or tote bags, or going vegetarian. It’s the Diva Cup. Seriously, at least 50 women have written in recommending this alternative menstrual device (or The Keeper, which is rubber instead of silicone), and since the very first day I’ve been waiting to try it; the problem was, I’d gone off the pill and that time of the month was gradually turning into that time of the century — my progesterone had gone into hibernation, my ovaries had gone on strike, and my little cup was left sitting under the bathroom sink gathering dust.

But finally — FINALLY — the time came, and I was able to test it out. Unfortunately, things started progressing in the middle of the night without any warning cramps, so the whole … um … insertion process was accomplished in a hurried, somnambulant daze. When I woke up the next morning, there was a slight complication (OK boys, really, feel free to stop reading now): The cup got stuck.

Reading through Crunchy’s blog posts on this topic, I’d noticed that she and a few other women felt they needed to trim the little stem, but in my case I would’ve been more than happy to have had a longer one, or at least something that was easier to grab onto. Either way, I remained calm and went over to the troubleshooting page at Diva Cup headquarters, where they explained precisely what to do in this situation. I followed the instructions, and presto, problem solved.

This is definitely something I’m going to continue using. Not only is it easier to manage, far more comfortable and less expensive, but it also reduces all the waste that comes with using disposable feminine hygiene products. As the manufacturers of the Diva Cup point out, over 7 billion tampons and 13 billion sanitary pads, plus all the associated packaging, ends up in landfills and sewage systems every year in the U.S. alone. Sick! Who wants to be part of that statistic?

Not me, and I hope not any of my fellow green chicks.

So here’s the fun part! I’ll be interviewing the mother-daughter duo behind the Diva Cup — Francine and Carinne Chambers, from Kitchener, Ontario — and posting it on Green as a Thistle either this week or next. Feel free to submit any questions you have for them below; whoever has the most original question wins a free Diva Cup!

66 Responses to Finally! (Day 238)…

  1. Tracy says:

    Yay!!! I’m glad you finally got to try it! I love my Diva.

    Here’s my question. I’m 27 and don’t plan on having any children. When should I move up to the after 30 size? I don’t imagine that on my 30th birthday, my vaginal muscles will suddenly be too small/weak for the smaller size. So how do I know when it’s time to graduate. I’ve had my Diva for about 3 years now.

    This is one of my favorite blogs, btw!

  2. Denise says:

    My question is:

    What do you think keeps DivaCup (and similar products) from becoming more mainstream?

  3. teaspoon says:

    I’m thrilled that you finally got to use this. I know I’m one of the women who wrote in suggesting this change. I use the Keeper, and I love it. I’m also thrilled that you’re going to continue using this after the challenge ends.

    Tracy: On the website for the Keeper, the two sizes are for before childbirth and after childbirth. I’d guess that’s a pretty good rule of thumb for the Diva Cup as well. If you haven’t had kids, and the smaller size still works, why move up?

    Denise: I think it’s not going to become more mainstream anytime soon because companies won’t be able to make nearly as much money of the DivaCup and the Keeper as they can off of tampons and pads. Sure, it’s more expensive than a box of tampons, but for each woman it’s a one-time (or extremely infrequent) purchase, so the companies wouldn’t be able to keep taking money from the same people. That, and a lot of people I’ve talked to about it seem to think that it’s really gross.

  4. Denise says:

    I think the grossness is a minor reason,
    about money, I think you might be right, but there have to be other products which you buy infrequently (I can’t seem to think of one in the same price range right now), and this one applies to almost half of the population.

    I think most women just don’t know about it, or don’t consider it as a possibility (maybe because of grossness, but I think it’s probably because it’s unfamiliar and they don’t know other women who tried it)

  5. Rachel says:

    I want to know who the prototype diva cups were tested out on!!

  6. gettinggreen says:

    Great questions… I especially like Denise’s. I’ve tried to talk a couple editors/writers/etc about articles on this, and no one’s really interested. The main problem, I think, is that readers are still squeamish about using such a product (which I totally don’t get; it doesn’t require any more “ickiness” — which is so not the right word, but anyway — than a tampon without an applicator). My mom and sister think the words “menstrual cup” just sound disgusting. But it’ll be interesting to see if Francine and Carinne have a different take.

  7. Jen (SLC) says:

    Hurray! Diva cups are the best. I used a keeper for 8 years and then got rid of it when I went on continuous birth control. I had one period without it, and it was so horrible. I ordered a diva cup right away.

    I have no idea why they don’t catch on more. I think a lot of women are nervous about how they are inserted and removed. Personally I think they are much more hygienic, comfortable, economical, and green.

    Glad you made the switch.

  8. Amanda says:

    It’s amazing how many pads and tampons end up in the landfill every year!

    Right now, the only question I have is why haven’t I bought one of these yet?!

  9. emily says:

    The grossness factor has to do with the level of body comfort that many women (don’t) have. I remember mentioning my use of a diaphragm (for contraception) to a friend who just couldn’t imagine “going there.” She felt so uncomfortable about the idea of touching herself. (I pointed out that someone else was already there, and it’s her body not his!, but it didn’t seem to convince her.)

    I have become a big proponent of the following yeast infection cure: take 1 clove of garlic, peel it, cut off the sharp end, and insert before going to bed. Leave it in overnight. (And don’t worry, you’ll find it again later!) It’s cheap, easy, only 1 night is necessary, and leaves behind no smell or discharge (unlike those awful creams), and causes no trash.

  10. AnnaMarie says:

    Is the manufacturing process of the Diva Cup Green?

  11. Mad says:

    My question is does the after childbirth size still apply if you had a c-section?

    Thanks,
    Marie-Lynne

  12. Liz says:

    Congrats for taking the plunge (and pardon the pun), but I just can’t do it yet. I see the advantages (environmental and financial), but it just doesn’t seem practical for me.

    My first reason is that I spend very little time at home and I cannot imagine having to empty and rinse my diva cup in front of strangers in public washrooms or at work–I think it’s offensive to others’ sensibilities–it’s pretty gross. And even if i were to forego the rinsing and carry a ‘back-up’ cup in my purse, I do not want to carry around a used cup with me! That’s gross too! The website has recommendations, but they all seem messy and unsanitary.

    The website indicates that the cup can be inserted for 12 hours–isn’t this unhygienic?

    How is it that this cup fits everyone? I tried The Keeper when I went camping and it was a nightmare–it didn’t seem to fit and my cup runneth over. I need more convincing that this is a challenge I want to tackle…

    I want to know how this cup can fit into my busy lifestyle?

  13. debbie says:

    Awareness is a biggee. I am 52 and never heard of the Diva Cup before this blog. Now I don’t need one, but it sure sounds handy.

  14. Greenpa says:

    Have you noticed the total lack of male comment on these topics? Sure, you KNOW, but have you NOTICED? Not only here, but all the huge long disucssions over at Crunchy’s.

    I think women are so used to men running out of the room as soon as conversation on any aspect of menstruation comes up that women don’t think much about this aspect of “why women do this, or that”. It’s a huge blank wall women are just used to working around, since there’s not much choice anyway. The men are outta here.

    I’m male, yes; also a father, husband, and biologist. I’m actually familiar with most of this stuff, surprise, surprise. Unlike most men, though, I’m curious as the dickens as to why men are universally “outta here”.

    I’m far from certain I have answers; but I do have a hypothesis. It looks to me like good old biology. Let me see if I can state this lucidly-

    Men don’t menstruate. Yes, we all know that, but I think it’s a big deal to realize. They have no first hand experience with what is a totally normal and healthy process for women.

    For men, blood means only one thing- a wound; an emergency that needs to be dealt with, immediately. This is a really basic and deep instinct; hardwired way down in the pre-primate brain probably. “blood=danger/disaster/run away/help/DO something”. And the amount of blood is important- more is scarier; the amount of blood most women shed during a normal period is enough to terrify any man- that’s a huge, life-threatening, wound. Except it’s not… permanent deep conflict. And yes, of course, the place where this is going on adds to the conflict.

    This is totally not true for women. But I don’t think men are ever able to really get over this reaction- even when they become husbands/boy friends, and DO have to face it, deal with it, first hand. The woman needs calm acceptance, and may be in an emotionally fragile state – and the man is freaking out about what his hindbrain is screaming is a disaster.

    Even when the man is able to ACT calm and accepting and helpful- he’s still upset, and struggling to cope with the conflict. Guess what? The women know that their man is upset and off balance not happy- and it bounces back to them.

    It’s a standard comedy bit in our ruder sitcoms now; the girlfriend asks the boyfriend to pick up some tampons/pads since he’s at the store… wow, is that amusing! And the guy does it- feeling incredibly noble for his sacrifice.

    It’s funny because it IS universally true; this is a simple sensible request- that does freak guys out. What silly-heads these mortals be.

    I think this may be the source of the tension/confusion. Poor men are just never able to get over the association of blood with an injury; it’s hard-wired;- and it makes them perpetually uncomfortable/unhappy. And women know- and pretty sensibly resent that their men are not able to understand this totally normal stuff.

    So why am I taking the time to point this out to a mostly women’s audience? (Incidentally, as you probably know- the men are READING this- secretly- but not commenting…) 🙂

    Because I’m foolish enough to hope that “understanding” can be useful. I think the Diva Cup is a wonderfully sensible development- made much more possible by the development of good silicone materials- and one of the reasons more women don’t know about it is that women are reluctant to TALK about it; in any way- because they are used to being quiet about menstruation- because it makes the men crazy/nervous, and everybody would just rather avoid the whole thing.

    What you need to do, ladies, is ignore us. Pat your men on the head; say to yourself, “poor baby, he just can’t understand” – which I think is exactly true- and ignore us; and talk all you want. The environmental and health benefits seem pretty huge.

  15. Sarah says:

    Yeah!

    Funny side story: I’m on a public computer reading your blog today, and as it was loading I thought “wouldn’t it be funny if this was the day that she posted about the diva cup? With a huge picture?” I almost laughed when the page loaded!

    Congrats! Glad to hear you’ve switched!

  16. blah says:

    Greenpa- you’re hysterical.

    I think the reason why this hasn’t caught on to the mainstream is sort of stupid and yet obvious. I have yet to ever in my entire life see one stickin’ commercial for this on TV or hear about it on the radio.

    Honestly, that’s how most people get thier information – either in the TV, on the radio or in a newspaper. In fact, the first time I heard about this Diva Cup, I was reading your blog and had to go to (of all places) Wikipedia to look it up.

    At first glance, the idea of carrying this thing around would weird a lot of people out (it’s reusable…and it goes THERE!…gross). I think it probably took women a long time to get used to the idea of using tampons (the idea of inserting anything in there is met with a bit of trepidation). Then again, a lot of things that just seem crazy, odd and gross are now used frequently and not given a second thought. The idea of injecting yourself with Botulinum toxin once freaked everyone out – now they hold parties at people’s houses to get shot up with the stuff.

    When you do this interview with the Diva’s, ask them why they haven’t had an advert on the radio or the tele. If they did, I’m sure women would convert in droves.

  17. Sarah says:

    (Sorry, I read the comments AFTER my first post)
    To reply to liz:
    First, check out crunchychicken.blogspot.com. She recently had a diva cup challenge, where many women were asking questions about logistics and stuff like that.
    Second, you can leave the cup in for 12 hours because it COLLECTS fluid and tissue, but doesn’t absorb it. The problem with tampons is that they absorb blood and tissue, and bacteria as well. They make a nice little cozy environment for the bacteria to live in. But the cup is just hold in all (in it’s usual form) until you empty it. Toxic shock syndrome (the big concern with leaving tampons in) hasn’t been linked to menstrual cups, or at least there is no published data on it. (I checked the scientific lit yesterday).
    Third, you mentioned that when you tried the keeper, your cup ‘over-floweth.’ This happened to me a couple times when I first started using the diva cup. It’s usually not because you run out of space in the cup, but it’s because the cup hasn’t formed a proper seal agains the walls of your vagina. It takes a bit of practice to get things in right, but once you do it works well!
    Oh, and last thing, I think using a diva cup is a perfectly legitimate reason to use the ‘accessible’ washrooms (the ones for persons in wheelchairs, with sink and toilet in one closed off room). And I usually only change it in the morning when I get up, and 12 hours later that evening.

    I hope this helps you! And if you do think you want to give the diva cup another shot, just try to stick with it for a few months. It does take a bit of getting used to (like tampons your first couple times) but it is worth it!

  18. blah says:

    Oh! I know, you know at all those Hollywood (or Toronto) premiers they have what is known as “swag”? Why don’t they put the Diva Cups in with the swag? It sounds silly I know, but we all know the power that celebrities and the media have on people. Besides, there have been swag parties that hand out things that are more waaaay personal than Diva Cups.

  19. Hellcat13 says:

    My question – I participate in a lot of physical, active sports (e.g. – hockey) where there’s a fair amount of contact involved. What are the chances of the Diva Cup “shifting” and, well, spilling?? Just how good IS that seal?

    I’d love to try it, but sort of have a leakage fear. I don’t really want to revert back 15 years to 9th grade paranoia 🙂

  20. gettinggreen says:

    Omg, these are all AWESOME questions, and I’ll for sure ask all of them — man, I’m starting to feel a little inadequate as the journalist here!

    And Sarah, that is too funny that you were at a public computer the one day I write my Diva Cup post… I love it.

  21. enkyenky says:

    I also have to recommend Part in my Pants (PIMPs), made by my darling friend Luci. I’ve used them for four years and never had an “accident” with them, even overnight, and I’ve had a fairly heavy flow off and on. These are great. http://www.partypantspads.com/

  22. Kristine says:

    I’ve never, ever heard of the Diva Cup before now, so thank you Vanessa! Here I thought I knew everything — well, not really. 🙂 Guess I should visit Crunchy’s more too.

    Greenpa, you are quite funny (and you’re probably right – I bet they’re reading along too!) and thank you for posting. I went over to your blog, enjoyed myself, and have you bookmarked now.

    Here’s my question(s), Vanessa. As I’ve alluded to before, I am in the midst of the hurricane known as “perimenopause” and I wonder — can a woman who doesn’t know where or when or how much she will bleed use one of these cups? Can it be worn every day if necessary?

  23. Melinda says:

    After reading Crunchy’s posts and comments about the cup, I ordered one about a week ago. Anxious to try it, as I have been hoping for some alternative, more ecologically sound product for years! I always thought there has got to be some other way….

    Has anyone researched the silicone aspect? Is there real research that makes sure the product is non-toxic? This is my only fear about it. I switched to organic tampons about a year ago, and my cramps suddenly became much better. It was weird, but got me thinking that maybe the chemicals have something to do with it. Or I’m insane to think there is a connection, which is possible too!

    Greenpa, love your comment. I agree the blood factor invokes a fear/flight instinct in men. I’ve found that the more us women treat it as normal, the more men get used to it.

  24. Chile says:

    Here’s my question, and it fits right in with what Greenpa brought up, “Any suggestions on what you should tell your spouse when you pulled the Diva Cup out too hard and spilled blood all over the floor and your white shoes?” It looked like a murder scene…and I had to warn him not to go into the bathroom while I went for cleaning supplies!

  25. Theresa says:

    Hooray for trying the Cup, Vanessa! I was lucky enough to win Crunchy’s diva cup raffle several months ago and have been using it ever since. It took me about three cycles to really get the hang of insertion/removal and I still have some challenging moments early and late in each cycle, but I am most definitely a convert to the Cup.

    I used to have the idea that menstrual flow was ‘gross’ and ‘dirty’ too, but the Diva Cup and the Luna Pads I just bought have really had the effect of causing me to become more respectful of my own body and its normal processes and substances. The feminine hygiene (even the term implies that we’re cleaning up something dirty) industry has really done a number on all of us, and I’m just not buying into that anymore. Figuratively and literally — I haven’t had to go down the tampon aisle in months!

  26. Stephanie says:

    I’ve read about the Diva Cup before (TreeHugger perhaps?) and thought about trying it…but was hesitant (gross factor). But after reading your post and all the stuff at Crunchy, I ordered my cup! I mean, how can I argue with ALL of these women that love their’s and will never go back? I’m only disappointed that I will have to wait a whole month to use it 🙂

  27. Sniff… what a thing of beauty!

    Vanessa – I’m so glad you are giving it a try. For some reason I thought you were already using it, otherwise I would have bugged you about it.

    I won’t rant too much – I’ll leave you all to view the various posts and comments on my blog, but I did want to reiterate that you CAN leave it in safely for 12 hours. So you wouldn’t really need to deal with it in a public restroom unless you never go home.

    Chile – ease up there woman!

    Greenpa – you’re not the only Diva-curious guy out there. Within the first hour of my brother-in-law visiting us over the summer, he wanted to know all about it, how it worked and wanted to see it.

    To the sports-minded folks out there: don’t worry about it shifting. Once you figure out how it get it into place, it’s in there. Good. I mean real good. See Chile’s comment.

    I don’t really have a question for the inventors since I’ve already researched the bejeeesus out of it. Just give them my thanks (and maybe suggest better directions :()

  28. Jennifer C. says:

    My question for the inventors of the Diva Cup:

    “Have you been interviewed or otherwise contacted to add some content at the Museum of Menstruation? There is only a small portion of space there devoted to menstrual cups…I’d love to see it increased!”

    http://www.mum.org/MenCups.htm

  29. jesse says:

    I adore my Diva Cup! Thanks for posting this. It’s the best thing to happen to periods!

  30. Greenpa says:

    Hey, Chronchikitita- I didn’t say lack of CURIOSITY- I said lack of comment! I even said all the guys ARE reading this; but just lurking, because they’re sissies. Did he stick his silly male neck way out and actually TALK in PUBLIC about it?? hah? did he? or WRITE?? 🙂

  31. Cassan says:

    I have a question about the Diva cup. I have tried it, and I absolutely loved it (for reasons that have already been mentioned- comfortable, economics, environmentally friendly, no leaks/smell!) but, I too got it stuck. I actually went to the doctor to get it out because I couldn’t find it anywhere! The doctor mentioned that being a virgin might be the reason that I had trouble with it (my hymen is still intact and my vaginal muscles are not stretched). Is there any truth to this? Does being a virgin affect Diva cup use? In the meantime I’m kind of scared to try it again.

  32. Ok, Greenflaps. I hear ya (said whilst backing away slowly, avoiding eye-contact…)!

    No, you’re right. I’m sure there are plenty o’ curious guys out there, that just aren’t comfortable joining in on the conversation. Probably in the same way many women wouldn’t feel comfortable jumping in on an all-male conversation about their problems with premature ejaculation. It’s just hard to relate, ya know?

  33. ashley says:

    cassan —
    i got the diva cup when i was a virgin and i had no problems — it was slightly difficult my first period or two to figure everything out…and the first few times i was removing, i felt like it wouldn’t come out and had a mini heart attack. but i just “beared down with my muscles” (aka: poop muscles!). it also felt like it was stretching me out the first day or so but it GETS better. promise 🙂

    greenpa —
    my husband loves the divacup. not only because it’s super environmentally friendly, but he’s honestly interested in learning about it. i’m as detailed as i want (not many girls i can talk to about it :)) and he’s STILL not grossed out!! so you’re NOT alone.

    vanessa–
    how about: what’s the best way to teach young girls how to use the diva cup?? i have already thought about how i want to get my future children to use the Diva Cup and am sort of stumped. it was difficult for a 20 something to figure it out! (hey, i think ahead! plus i have teenage sisters..)

  34. teaspoon says:

    Cassan–I’ve never heard of a menstrual cup getting lost; that seems very strange. I don’t know why that would be caused by being a virgin. It seems to me that, if anything, it would be harder to lose it if the hymen was still intact. I do have a friend who’s a virgin and hasn’t been able to get the Keeper in or out comfortably because her vagina is not elastic enough, but that’s a different problem.

  35. Amanda (a different one) says:

    Hooray, in theory, for the Diva Cup! I have many friends who swear by it, and I wholeheartedly support the idea — because I am not at all bothered by my blood…

    But I can’t use it because even after months of trying, I never did get it to sit right without being uncomfortable, and inserting and taking it out was just too painful. A very small number of women suffer from vaginismus, which is random vaginal pain, and another group of us have unusually thick vaginal muscles and overly sensitive skin, which means that inserting what is basically a plastic Dixie Cup up there hurts like hell.

    I also tried sea sponges, which are supposedly easier to use — but even those I found so abrasive to my skin that I couldn’t use them.

    Unfortunately, even trying to insert a tampon without an applicator is painful…

    So I’m more or less stuck with organic cotton tampons, with cardboard, non-coated applicators, because I’m not willing to feel drippy with pads and I’m not willing to cry every time I try to change a cup or a sponge.

    But the rest of you women — the ones who don’t have abnormally sensitive vaginas? Get over your squeamishness and switch to the Diva Cup!!! It’s awesome!!

  36. dahlia says:

    am i the only green girl concerned about the potential toxicity of regularly inserting silicone into my vagina?

  37. Chile says:

    I believe the silicone is more inert than tampon fibers, especially if not using “green” tampons. Pads only are not an option for me.

  38. teaspoon says:

    dahlia–And if you don’t want to insert silicone into your vagina, use the Keeper instead, which is made of natural gum rubber.

  39. Yay!!!! At long last. So- are you wearing the pin?

  40. Kim says:

    Yay! you started using the DivaCup! I started a year ago and I love it. For anyone that works long or wacky hours, I’ve left mine in for 12 hours with no discomfort or leaking. I’ve hiked and moved with one in I think.

    I started using one when i started going more green but you guys can’t even believe the amount of money i spent on tampons and the like. I save a bunch of cash now that i don’t have to go buy that stuff every month!

  41. gettinggreen says:

    Whoa man! 40 comments! WordPress is going to explode or something… and no, Meg, I am not wearing the complimentary lapel pin that comes with every Diva Cup. Though I have considered it.

    OK girls (and Greenpa): I think the winner of the Best Question has to go to AnnaMarie for asking about how green the manufacturing process of the Diva Cup is — I mean seriously, what’s the point of going on about how eco-friendly this thing is if it’s being made in China with a zillion toxins and shipping this-and-that around the world?

    However, if AnnaMarie already has a cup or declines hers, I’m giving second place to whomever the inventors of the cup think had the best one! I’ll keep y’all updated 🙂

  42. emily says:

    A word of defence for some guys (well, one): my husband was really excited when I reported that my Keeper and the cotton pads worked out well. I made the switch all at once and am never looking back. He’s enough of an eco-freak to find everything interesting, for one thing. But, since we’ve had a lot of conversations about ovulation, using a diaphragm, and other topics… this must not have seemed like anything new!

  43. Hellcat13 says:

    When I showed him your post about the Diva Cup, my boyfriend had the funniest look of “ew” on his face. His questions:
    Which way does it go in?
    Dumping it? Isn’t that a little…gross?
    What happens if it overflows?
    Once I explained the concept to him, he got over his squeamishness (I think Greenpa’s hypothesis explained the squeamish thing well) and his final question was “Can I play with it when you get one? I mean, when you’re not using it.”
    Sigh. I do love the boy.

  44. Greenpa says:

    Hellcat – ok, I’m rolling on the floor here; almost literally! Your boyfriend is a hoot!

    About the silicone- if made properly, it’s one of what I would consider the “good” synthetic substances. It’s truly almost totally inert; being made mostly of silicon (like in “rocks”) it really won’t support microbes; there’s nothing there for them to eat. It’s extremely durable, and useful. “Silicone”, with an e, is actually polysiloxane, a long oxygen polymer of “silicon”, NO e, which is the element. Somebody in marketing decided customers would never accept “polysiloxane”, so they simplified; and confused, it for us.

    Natural rubber is difficult for bugs to live on; but not impossible; and some folks are seriously allergic to it. You almost CAN’T be allergic to silicone- it’s just chemically from a different planet. The suggestions that leaking silicone from breast implants could cause health problems are not silly- under those circumstance, it might; but it’s more a matter of physical irritation than biological interaction.

    In the case of the Diva Cup, technically, it is “outside” your body; from a biologist’s standpoint, it should be safer than anything organic, like cotton or rubber.

  45. limesarah says:

    On public restrooms — you don’t have to rinse it every time you use it. If you’re really worried, you can wipe it out with some toilet paper, but I usually just dump out my Keeper and put it back in, and then wash it in the evening when I get home.

  46. Rachel says:

    Hooray for this change! I’ve been using a Divacup for over a year now and I’ll never go back. I’d like you to ask the makers if they’d consider making an even slimmer size for non sexually active teenage girls, like one of the above posters I’m thinking ahead for my daughters.

    I personally think that even if the manufacturing process isn’t very green, being a one time process it’s still muuuuch greener than the manufacture of disposable pads and tampons, not to mention the landfill space it saves. Even organic tampons use up land and water to grow the cotton when those resources could be used to feed hungry people, and cloth pads require a lot more water to wash after each use than a Divacup and their life expectancy isn’t as long, I believe. Even imagining a worst case scenario in the manufacturing of the cup, I just don’t see how the net effect doesn’t still beat the alternatives all to heck.

    And I loved your post, Greenpa. For all those women who say their husband/boyfriend is totally cool with it, see how he reacts when you want to add the contents of the cup to the bucket of water you’re watering your outdoor plants with. My husband is GREAT about all that girl stuff on the surface, but his true squeamishness came out at that point:)

  47. Carreen says:

    Is the Diva Cup any softer than the Keeper? I used to have one and found it difficult to insert because it was so rigid. Also, there were times when I was removing it that I felt like I was going to rip out my whole uterus. Was I doing something wrong? I thought I was breaking the seal so it shouldn’t have felt like that, but maybe not… I’m willing to try the Diva Cup if it is more comfortable than the Keeper.

  48. Chile says:

    Carreen, I’ve used both and find the Diva Cup to be stiffer than the Keeper. I used to run hot water over the Keeper before inserting to soften it up a bit. That doesn’t work with the Diva Cup. The only time I’ve had trouble removing either was when my flow was so light there was little moisture. That does make it harder to remove, but you should be able to break the seal. (Push in on the cup portion above the stem to break the seal.) When my flow is light, I now use pads only. Cloth, of course.

  49. My question is which is more environmentally friendly, cloth pads or the Diva Cup? I’m thinking the latter because of less cleaning … but assuming you use all natural cleaning products, dry in the sun, is it a wash (so to speak)?

    I LOVE the comment about using the “flow” for plants – sounds like a good source of iron. I’ll have to suggest it to my gardener husband. 😉

  50. Miss Kathy says:

    I wouldn’t be writing you were it not for the photo of the protester shaking her bloody hands in Dr. Ferragamo’s face on the cover of the National Post today. I simply had to have my own copy of the most moving protest image of this century (so far).

    As a fifteen year user of The Keeper ( the divas ugly older sister), I was thrilled to see your article on the Diva cup and slightly amused by the symbolic coincidence of the bloody handed woman on the cover and the menstrual themed article within (all on the full moon no less!).

    I’m as cheap as they come and I first read of the Keeper in the the Tightwad Gazetter in the early 90’s. I was sick of spending money to put dioxin in my vagina!

    My boyfriend likes me to save the blood in a jar in under the bathroom sink so he can put the flow in his compost pile. (for lady energy, he says)

    He is an avid composter and has turned at least a half-dozen grandmother-aged women into humanure composters with his fervent love (and forced lending) of the “Humanure Handbook”

    My friends routinely give the “after baby”sized cup as giftsat baby showers. it would be nice to see a smaller one for younger women.

    My friend who worked as a landscaper used relieve herself on the grounds rather than walk all the way back to the facilities. When she had to empty and clean her cup she would just pee on it. This might be too much for some, I can’t vouch for the medical safety, but she never had a complication from such a practice.

    I have some friends in a rock and roll trio from Detroit by the name of the Demolition Doll Rods.
    (Go ahead and google them, I can wait. You might want to check out their myspace page so you can have a little musical accompaniment to this story.)

    Some years ago when I was living in Portland, Oregon, they called me from the highway to ask would I do them a huge favor and pick up a Keeper for guitarist Margaret, who had just gotten her period but forgotten her cup back in Michigan. Conveniently I lived just up the street from the Luna Pads warehouse and I was able to run down and get one before they closed.

    If you’re looking at the photos of the band, you’ll understand when I describe them as the most wholesome exhibitionists I know. The two sisters in the band are professional “go-go dancers”. They meditate and do yoga. They’re vegan. They don’t drink, smoke or do drugs. Not even ibuprofen!

    Let’s say you’ve been on the road for a month or so living in a van with your sister, your ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.You’ve been washing your thongs out in gas station bathrooms and hanging them up to drip dry on the panty wheel laundry rack that hangs in the van. Eating cold takeout from a cooler and sleeping in a moving vehicle.

    What are you going to do when Aunt Flo comes calling? Curling up someplace comfy and quiet with a hot water bottle is not an option when you’re headlining another smoky, crowded bar.
    Here’s what Margaret Dollrod does: she stretches, straps on her guitar and rocks the hell out that club! In less clothing than I would wear to the beach. On the first day of her period.
    Never mind doing gymnastics in a white leotard, how about splits and high kicks while playing hot licks in a g-string?!!

    I’m not trying to be gross but you should know that Margaret has found the conventional feminine hygiene products utterly useless in these high-intensity situations. They simply are not absorbent enough to handle the flow of a heavy rockin’ woman, not even for an hour long set! Other women rockers I know have had similar complaints.

    (I will spare you the details, unless you’re really interested in rock and roll menstrual folklore.)

    After closing an amazing set with a rip-snortin’ solo-shredding finale, Margaret grabbed the mike and proclaimed, “I wanna tell all you ladies out there, there is this thing you can buy called the Keeper, get one, USE IT. It is AMAZING!”

    Just trying to encourage the timid out there….

    Hey check out my blogs where I explore the worlds oldest eco-building technique!

    http://www.rammedearth.blogspot.com
    http://www.sonoramarammedearth.blogspot

  51. just ducky says:

    OK, 2 funny quick Diva Cup stories…

    1) My husband didn’t want me to buy one because he was afraid that “blood would get everywhere in the bathroom”…as if I would spill it and not clean it up?!?!? I joked with him and said “Oh you mean I can’t tie a string to the end and whip it like a lasso every time I take it out?”

    2) The month after I bought my Diva Cup…I had to have a hysterectomy. I spent all that money and only used it once! I thought I was doing something environmentally friendly but the joke was on me…because I used it, I can’t pass it on to someone else, so I have to throw it away—right back in a landfill with all the other pads/tampons….

  52. Miss Kathy says:

    Hey Just Ducky,

    Don’t throw it away! Surely you have a close friend or relative who might want it.
    If it’s clean enough for you to use over and over, why not another woman?
    I loaned mine to a friend who wanted to try before she bought and we didn’t get cooties.

    Yes, I have bought underwear at thrift stores…..

    Miss K

  53. dahlia says:

    thanks, greenpa! you’ve eased my longstanding fears i’ll get one and give it a try this month!

  54. kimberly says:

    mad: i haven’t had a baby, so i’m not totally sure. but i would assume that you wouldn’t need a larger one after a c-section, seeing as how the baby didn’t go through your vagina and thereby stretch it out. that sounded kinda crude, sorry… but that’s the reason for the larger one, right?

    melinda: i just recently switched to organic pads and tampons and my cramps got much better too! i was actually wondering myself if it was all in my head…

    hellcat: your bf sounds hilarious! i laughed so hard when i read the part about him playing with it!!!

    i think my boyfriend is actually a little TOO open-minded. he’s always been open to the idea of making love when flo’s in town, but i have strict rules against that… but then again, i’ve been training him too i guess. 7 years of me complaining in excessive detail every month will probably do that 😛 hehehe…

  55. GreenYogini says:

    Ok, I have a confession to make: I *did* hear about menstrual cups a handful of years back, but I was convinced that either a) they were not sanitary, b) they wouldn’t work for my active lifestyle, or c) I would manage to make a disastrous mess.

    Greenpa, you’ll love this next part: It was in fact my *man* who instigated my further research into it – specifically into the DivaCup. (I’d only heard of The Keeper previously.) !!!! He and I were both semi-crunchy before we met, but now we’re working together to green more of our lifestyle. (I have to say, having a partner in crime makes the more difficult transitions so much more do-able.) Here’s the kicker, though: We went to a party months ago, and he joined in – as an *active* participant – on a discussion between a bunch of females about the DivaCup and its benefits. !!!! He wasn’t squeamish at all! (swoon!)

    So although I purchased a DivaCup months ago, I have yet to use it (blush). I have been practicing the insertion/removal, but still can’t get it quite right. 😦 (I figured that practicing while I’m not menstruating is the most non-disastrous method of learning how to use it.) I’ve contacted the DivaCup directly, though, and they’ve given me a few tips on what to try next. They’ve been very helpful, and I would recommend visiting their site and/or contacting them if you have any fears about trying the cup.

    I think the menstrual cup is a fantastic concept, and I can’t wait for the day when I never have to buy feminine products again! (or ask my man to do so for me) 😉

  56. Good for you! I’ve been using a Keeper for over 5 years now and absolutely love it! Hope you enjoy it, too.

    Don’t know if you’re still taking questions, but here’s mine: now that they’ve figured out how to reduce waste by inventing a reusable menstrual cup, could they move on to figuring out some way to replace disposable cotton swabs (i.e. ear cleaners)? 🙂

  57. Sonia says:

    My question:

    Here in the San Diego area, I found the Instead cups (non-reuseable) in a CVS Pharmacy. I think it’s pretty darn cool that a greenish product is found in pharmacy not particularly known for green products! I tried them, liked them, and now I’m ready to try the Diva cups. With Instead opening up the cup market, I think Diva will soon be able to reach many more people than just us crunchies… my question, when is the IPO planned for?

  58. Sonia says:

    another question:

    Has anybody else noticed a shift in self esteem using these things?

    My first month, there was a bit of eww, and I treated my (non-reuseable) cup just as mom taught, (wrap it up in toilet paper before throwing it away so as not to offend anyone’s eyes…)

    My second month, I found that I actually enjoyed seeing the beautiful, vibrant, and alive color RED (vs. the stale blood color of tampon) — it made me feel healthier and happier just looking at it.

  59. Hi,
    My question is: I live in Brazil. How can I get that for my girlfriend?

  60. peregrine says:

    To those concerned about physical activity with the divacup…I’ve been swimming, dancing, biking, etc with mine in and had no problems.

    However, doing yoga one morning, I was in a downward dog, lifted one of my legs up in the air and started pushing it back in the direction of my head…and heard that signature pop of the seal breaking. Needless to say, I was extremely grateful that I was home and could run to the bathroom to avert disaster. It’s the only time I’ve ever had a problem, but I’m extra careful to empty the thing *before* I do my yoga. My hips are really loosely jointed and some of the poses I do apparently pull my cervix out of its normal cylindrical shape, thereby allowing the cup to leak.

    So you are warned. But I have to say, I still love the thing unconditionally.

  61. Resource and Information

    Resource and Information

  62. Womens Plus Size Clothes…

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you….

  63. danger says:

    Hello from Melbourne Australia again. I found your blog today and have faithfully read from day 1 to here. Gotta stop here though and will pick it up again tomorrow for the final third. Anyway a friend from Canada bought me a Diva Cup. Well, I was a little freaked out by it at first and it sat in a draw for a month and half (ie I didn’t use it on the first oportunity) but the friend kept asking me about it so I summond the courage the second time opportunity knocked. It was a bit weird at first but I have never looked back. LOVE IT. Today I was talking to another friend about it and we are going to order 12 over the internet and give them to our sisters and girlfriends. I haven’t seen any here in Australia yet but I think the carbon miles are OK to save tons of product going into landfill.

  64. Fred Jones says:

    I was searching online and I found your site on google. Just finished reading a few of some of your other posts here. I’ve already added your site to my Google News Reader. Thanks for your good and educative posts and please keep up the good work as I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future.

  65. Krysta says:

    I read your book a few weeks ago, which brought me here. I just wanted to let you know that I purchased one of these crazy Diva Cups today and I’m excited to use it. I would never have considered buying/using one of these if it hadn’t been for the amazing review you gave it in your book. I’ve been using reusable pads, but they are too bulky to wear with my work clothes, so I still throw away tampons every month. Maybe this will be the solution! Yay to never buying another tampon!

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