I have the world’s craziest periods.
Ever since I started menstruating that fateful day before Christmas break in the 6th grade, I have been plagued with irregularity, severe mood swings associated with that time of the month, and even worse, abnormally heavy periods. When I say heavy, I mean “it’s so heavy I’m going through a super tampon an hour the first two days” kind of heavy. Not only is this obviously frustrating, but having to keep tampons and panty liners in stock like that gets expensive and inconvenient. When I had the opportunity to test drive a Diva Cup, I was skeptical to say the least. My first experience putting in a tampon still brings back bad memories, so how could I possibly ever be comfortable with actually having to dig around my vagina to get this thing in and out? How could this tiny cup possibly hold a not only a whole periods worth of blood, but be okay to wear for 12 hours? How would I wash this thing in a public bathroom? With little solutions on the market to combat the inconvenience of my cycle, and the hassle that comes with it, I decided to just dive right in.
Before I tell you all about my experience using a menstrual cup, let me give you a bit of a background on the Diva Cup. It’s a flexible cup designed for use inside the vagina during your period to collect menstrual blood. The cup actually collects the menstrual flow rather than absorbing it like tampons or pads do. Most menstrual cups are made of silicone or rubber. Contrary to what you may believe, menstrual cups aren’t some millennial feminist invention. They have actually been around since 1937, but haven’t gained widespread popularity until recently. The cup Some of the supposed benefits of Diva Cups are that they are leak-proof and comfortable, reusable for years and Eco-friendly, save money, undetectable externally, and ideal for extreme sports- all for the price of $29.99. Basically, a Diva Cup is everything you have been needing during your periods.
As I mentioned above my periods are crazy. Since I naturally don’t ovulate every month, I can go months in between periods. This time around I was on day 54 of my cycle when my period decided to start DURING my pap smear at my yearly gynecological visit. Talk about mortifying. Thankfully I had some spotting a few weeks earlier, and was able to do a test run with the Diva Cup, so that when I got home I could immediately put it in. What I wasn’t expecting was to be having intense cramps. When I got it out in, I had to waddle around for a bit until I couldn’t feel it anymore. I made to sure to put on a pantyliner in case anything leaked and went to work. I didn’t really feel it for the rest of the day, and when I went to the bathroom after having it in for a good 6 hours, I hadn’t even bled through (pretty miraculous for me on my first day). Taking it out was a different story. Luckily for me, I have a private bathroom in my office, so I had a little privacy. Since the Diva Cup had been inside of my who-haw for a good 6 hours untouched, it was pretty well suctioned in there. I also learned that’s it’s best to keep your nails trimmed while using the Diva Cup, because you will pinch the living crap out of your poor labia and opening of your vagina trying to grasp onto the end of the cup. Finally, after I figured out to relax my pelvic floor, it slid out. I also learned that the smell of such a significant amount of fresh blood that had been pooling inside the cup would make me gag (then again- it’s REALLY not any different from the blood that comes from anywhere else inside your body right?). After I died a little inside, I washed the cup off with some hand soap and warm water, and put it back in. I didn’t change it again until right before I went to bed at 1 am that night, and again no bleeding through- just miserable cramps.
Day Two/ Saturday:
If anything was proven on this day, it’s that I’ve been 100% right thinking that my period was way heavier than the average person’s for the last 10 years. Like every other person, peeing in the morning is the first thing I have to do. When I was vertical for the first time in 7 hours, I felt that “whoosh” feeling down there, and knew that I had just bled through. It’s really hard to want to take the time to take out the Diva Cup when you feel like your bladder is going to explode, but I pushed through the pain and got it out. In my haste, I pulled too hard and instead of dumping the contents into the toilet, the momentum flung my arm outside of the toilet and 7 hours worth of period fell out onto the bathroom floor. Yeah, I know right :-)? After I cleaned up what looked like a murder scene, I left the cup under water so hot it was steaming with some soap and hopped into the shower. When I got out I popped it back in, but an hour later I felt wetness down there that can only mean one thing, and sure enough I had bled through. I do n’t know if I didn’t make sure it sealed, but judging by the amount of blood that came out of the cup, I probably just bled through. For the rest of the day I kept up with emptying it out every few hours, and filed my nails down so it wouldn’t feel like I was getting attacked by the hermit crabs my mom let me keep as pets when I was 10 every time I took it it and tried to get it back in. I bled through a few times throughout the day, but it was always light. I’m starting to think the Diva Cup one won’t solve all of my problems when it comes to my heavy periods, but it was nice only having to worry about taking it in and out vs having to carry tampons around.
Day 3-6/ Sunday-Wednesday:
Like all of my other periods, if I can get through the first 2 days, I can easily get through the last few days. For days three through six, it was almost like i didn’t have a period thanks to the convenience of being able to wear the Diva Cup for 12 hours. On these days, I was generally changing it in the morning (thankfully no murder scenes had to be cleaned up this time), on my way to the gym at about 5:00, and right before I went to bed. I never had any leaks, and even on the last day or so of my period I didn’t get the usual dry and uncomfortable feeling that tampons usually would give me.
While I can’t say for sure yet if the Diva Cup will be the primary tool I use to keep from bleeding all over myself and ruining every cute pair of VS underwear I own, I can say that I am willing to keep trying it. It did make my period seem like it almost wasn’t there, I saved money, and it wasn’t all that inconvenient. Happy Menstrual Hygiene Awareness month!
Keep an eye out for a future post where I’ll update you on tips and tricks I have learned while using the Diva Cup.
All images courtesy of Google Images.