Friday, June 8, 2012

Diva Cup [WARNING: TMI for some, especially men]

I just want to start this post by warning that it may be TMI for some, especially men.  You may just want to skip this post. 

This post is about female stuff, more specifically menstruation.

I recently learned about a woman who was about to insert her tampon & she accidentally dropped it.  It popped out of the applicator & she saw black & green mold growing on the tampon.  She took a picture of it (I have seen the photo, I may try to get it posted in this blog) & sent it to the maker of the tampon.  The company replied telling her it was a "harmless, vegetative, mold" & that it happens sometimes, but that the tampon was still totally safe to use.

I also learned that cotton is commonly contaminated with mold, just as corn, peanuts, pistachios, & some other grains are.

Now, I'm a tampon user for may reasons.  I have less cramping when I use a tampon over a pad.  Obviously it's much more comfortable than a pad.  Those are probably at the top of my list as to why I choose tampons over pads. 

And I have been struggling with systemic yeast/fungus (yeast is a fungus) issues for the past few years, mostly due to taking too many antibiotics for most of my life. 

Now I have to say that I don't believe that that tampon is safe & harmless.  And I wouldn't want to be putting that mold inside my body, even if I didn't already have yeast/fungus issues going on. 

As I pondered this more, I have to wonder what chemicals they treat the tampons with, since they are prone to mold.  So now I have to question which is more harmful in my body?  Mold or chemicals that the tampons are treated with?  I really don't want either inside my body.

So I started doing research, looking for tampon alternatives.

I have heard of the diva cup, but I really didn't know much about it.  As far as I'm aware really the only tampon alternative is the menstrual cup.  There are several brands out there, though the diva cup is the only one I was aware of prior to doing research.

I purchased a diva cup, although I do think it's worth checking out the other brands before deciding.  I didn't realize there were other brands until after I had bought the diva cup.  And I was able to buy the diva cup at a local health food store.  In order to buy one of the other brands I think you'll have to purchase online.

I have to say that I really like it.  There is a bit of a learning curve as to inserting & removing it.  But it reminds me a lot of when I first started wearing contact lenses.  It took me a really long time to insert them & even longer to remove them, but as time went on I got better at it & now I'm a pro, popping them in & out in the blink of an eye (pun intended).

There is also a learning curve of how long you can keep it in for.  It is stated that it's safe to leave in for up to 12 hours, but of course that depends on how heavy your flow is.  So you have to get to know your body & your flow & how often to empty your cup. 

I also see some other advantages to the cup.  For one thing, there is NO ODOR.  I find this very odd, because obviously the odor (come on ladies, we all know) is from the cotton itself & not our menstrual fluid.  That makes me question the cotton once again.  And another thing, though this won't benefit everyone out there, is that since I had my son I have lots of clots now.  I'm not sure if it's because I had a c-section.  And I had a friend once who said after she had a tubal ligation she had lots of clots, so maybe it's because of the tubal (although I've never been able to figure that one out physiologically).  But yeah, I have LOTS of clots (& never had a single one prior to having my son) & they just clog up the tampon really fast, so I go through LOTS more tampons these days.  So I don't have that problem with the cup at all.  There's no absorbency factor, it just holds everything the same.  And one final advantage I see: as a person who monitors what my urine, feces, & nose drainage look like (it's probably because I'm a nurse, not sure if others do this too) I can now monitor what my menstrual fluid looks like, as well as monitoring the actual amount more closely.

All in all I really love the diva cup & recommend it highly.  It cost me $40, but I don't have buy anymore tampons, so in the long run I will be saving money.  And I've read that it can last for up to 10 years.  About the only downside I can see is dealing with it in a public restroom.  Although I must say that I don't use public restrooms very often.  But I did see some suggestions online of carrying a bottle of water to be able to rinse it out & rinse off your hands over the toilet.  Moist wipes are also a good thing to carry for this situation as well.

As for the diva cup, it is made of 100% medical grade silicone.  So there is no risk of allergic reaction.  And there are no other chemicals, foreign ingredients.  It comes in 2 sizes.  One size is for those under age 30 who have never given birth.  The other size is for those over the age of 30 or under the age of 30 but who have given birth. 

As for the other brands of cups out there, they are made of a variety of materials, some silicone, some not.  And there are varying sizes, colors, etc.  I personally would definitely stick with a silicone model, but again, it's a personal choice.

And that's all I have to say about that. 


Danielle-Marie said...

I have a Diva Cup too. I first got the one designed for women who have given birth before. It said whether you have had a vaginal delivery or a c-section that you should use the one for women who have given birth. Well that one was TOO big and it got stuck. I never used it again. I got the size for women who have not given birth and it works great. I've always been really afraid of TSS and with the Diva Cup that isn't a concern. It also means I can wear a Diva Cup all night. I HATE using pads even if it is just overnight because they just feel dirty. If I'm having a heavier month I do need to pair it with a panty liner but that's no big deal. My only suggestion for new users is to buy some KY to help with getting it in the first few times. There's definitely a trick to getting comfortable with it and until I was totally comfortable I of course got nervous and that just made me tense thus making it even more difficult to get in. Anyways, great post. This is a really awesome product.

Frau Guten Tag said...

That's interesting that the size that should've fit you didn't. Although I suppose everyone is different & that's just a general guideline. But to my knowledge they are non-refundable so that kinda sucks to spend that money & not be able to use it.

I really hate using pads too. I still need to get better at knowing when to empty my cup on heavy days. Does that get easier with more experience? I usually only have 1, sometimes 2, heavy days during my cycle.