So… this is noooot a topic I really want to be known for, which is why I haven’t written on it before now.
…But I’m doing it now because a.) I’ve seen a number of articles from ladies who just couldn’t get along with their menstrual cup and gave up, and b.) the Diva Cup gave me fits at first too, so I know how they feel.
When I first got a Diva cup, it was solely because I wanted to stop buying paper products, both for sustainability and because of the chemicals, as well as because I didn’t want to wash cloth pads – even though I know quite a few people who love their cloth menstrual products.
I knew it was a risk, because I’m an avid hater of tampons – can’t stand the things – and wasn’t sure the menstrual cup would be any better.
It was a risk, but one that paid off, and now, I LOVE mine, I’m glad I stuck with it, and I don’t want to see other gals give up on something that will truly make their monthly visit from ol’ aunt Flo a better experience.
So here it is.
Before you get started, the most important thing to know is which cup is right for you. I chose the Diva Cup brand, and have been super happy with it. I’d love to try all the brands to know how they compare, but I also want to retire sometime before I die too, so I guess I’ll just save my money – for now. 😉
After you get your Diva or other menstrual cup, the next thing you need to know is how to insert it. I recommend reading up on it here.
So, with the basics out of the way, here we go:
How To Make Friends With Your Menstrual Cup
Get comfortable with yourself
You need to know your anatomy and how everything works down there. If you’ve had a couple of babies, this probably won’t be a problem for you, but if you’re a gal who hasn’t, then chances are, you need to get more comfortable with yourself, because um, you’re going to be inserting a menstrual cup and you can follow instructions all day long, but without knowing which direction things need to go, and what you’re fitting the cup over, it won’t do you much good.
Practice makes perfect
When I first started using the Diva cup, I was surprised to find that it would leak if it wasn’t inserted exactly the right way – and I only managed to get it right about 50% of the time. Bummer. Worse than that, I managed to (I think) bruise my cervix a time or two, and that really hurt, plus, sometimes the stem would chafe when I went running. (sorry for the TMI, but they’re just body parts ya know.)
To say it was no fun is an understatement, and I truly wanted to give up for a while. I think the only reason I didn’t was shear determination, and *really* not wanting to buy (or wash) sanitary pads on a regular basis.
Because you’re only using the menstrual cup 3-5 days out of the month, it might take several months to finally get the hang of using it comfortably – it did for me – but if you keep practicing, you will get the hang of it. So don’t give up!
Get some pantyliners
I know the whole point of using a Diva cup, aside from sustainability, is so you don’t have to buy chemical-filled paper products anymore, but take it from me, while you’re still getting the hang of it, wearing a pantyliner to protect your clothes against accidents will save a lot of hassle!
Trim the stem
For some gals, that stem is really pesky. For a while, I thought I would have to trim mine, but after I finally got consistent with putting the cup in correctly, I changed my mind.
Not everyone has that experience though – after all, everyone is built differently – and I’ve heard a lot of ladies like to take a pair a scissors to the stem, whose sole purpose is to provide and easy grip for removal. In other words, it’s not necessary, so if it bothers you, trim away! I recommend trimming only a little at a time, and leaving as much as you can, because it really does make the cup easier to insert and remove.
Rinse and insert your menstrual cup while showering
This makes the whole process easier and less messy, plus it ensures that you’re all clean “down there” which cuts down on leaking (though it’s not really leaking, just draining of discharge that was in your vaginal barrel before the cup was inserted – remember, the cup is only catching what’s coming directly from your cervix.
Make sure you’re really clean before and after insertion to prevent leaking
See paragraph above.
Remove and rinse cup frequently
The directions that come with the Diva Cup say that you should remove and rinse twice per day – once in the morning, and once in the evening. However, you may need to rinse more often on your heaviest days.
You’ll know your cup is too full when it starts leaking. Personally, I do a midday rinse on the first day or two of my cycle just for good measure, because waiting until it spills over cramps my laundry style.
Of course, a midday rinse means you may find yourself having to use a public bathroom. Not the funnest thing in the world. You’d think that as a stay/work at home mom, I’d be able to avoid that, but unfortunately, during a few of my travels, I haven’t, so here’s my advice:
Use the family bathroom when you can
Some stores, schools and most airports have a family bathroom – usually situated between the men and women’s bathrooms. It’s one room with a toilet and sink all to yourself, and gives you privacy for your private chores.
If you can’t avoid using a public restroom, here’s what I do: remove, empty (carefully so it doesn’t splash), re-insert, and wipe hands downs with toilet paper the best you can (or wet wipes if I have the foresight to bring them). Then of course, you can go out and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
The obvious drawback is that you don’t get to rinse your cup, but don’t worry! It’s not a tampon, so toxic shock syndrome isn’t really a thing.
Conclusion: Don’t give up! I promise if you stick with it, you’ll get good at it, and LOVE it! In fact, you’ll forget your on your period half the time. It doesn’t get much better than that!
P.S. These are pictures a generic menstrual cups from a stock photo site, because apparently I’m not okay with taking pictures of my personal cup.