Monday, May 26, 2008

Maleficent's Consumer Report: The Diva Cup

When we were preparing to move to Israel, one of the things people told us was that paper products are expensive and not what we are used to in the States. Now, while I am a Charmin and Bounty woman (who doesn't like squeezable softness on one's hiney or the joys of the "quicker picker-upper"?), I have been conscientiously trying to limit the use of paper products in general around the house. This is made more difficult by Nigel's upbringing in Wisconsin, where paper reigns supreme and half of any town was employed by some paper mill during his childhood. He just HAS to have his paper products. Still, I figured that if I kept my own and the kids' use to a minimum, we could make a small difference. My determination may have something to do with the fact that I did use disposable diapers when the kids were babies and I'm still experiencing a bit of guilt. Our diapers (triplets times at least 6 changes per 24 hr. period) probably made a land-fill of their own.

Now, on to the products in question: Feminine hygiene products; pads and poons; plugs and mattresses. I have always hated pads. Bulky, uncomfortable, smelly, no matter how "soft" the cover, no matter how frequent the change, no matter how mom-ish the pants, pads have been my bane. They are also hard to transport without taking up needed room in the tiny purse, and all purses end up being too tiny, no matter how big they actually are. Like George Carlin's "Stuff," things just multiply until there is no more room. Poons (a euphemism stolen from my best friend from high school, along with the name "Charlie" for our periods, as in "Aw, crap, Charlie's here for the week!" or "Chuck got to my house yesterday.") are much better, but still a pain to transport without getting purse-dirt all over them when the packages open. Subject for another post: my first tampon use, complete with lesson from above-mentioned friend, in a "not for customers' use" bathroom, on Bourbon Street, during a choir trip to New Orleans my sophomore year of H.S. Good times!

At any rate, someone on a forum I frequent had mentioned a Diva Cup in response to a complaint from another forum member. In researching this interesting item, I found that there is also a Moon Cup, which is very similar. I chose the Diva Cup because of its availability in an actual store, so I didn't have to mail order.

TESTIMONIAL: I love this thing. I've been using it for four cycles now, and I can say that I do not ever want to go back to sticking paper inside me or in my underwear.

That said, this product is not for everyone. It does put you in close contact with your menstrual blood, and it takes some practice and some getting used to. It took me a cycle and a half to get the hang of insertion and removal, but I only made a mess one time, so not that big a deal. The sight of blood doesn't bother me, unless I can see tendons or bones through it, so that wasn't a problem either. I don't have any issues with having to put my fingers into my vagina to adjust things if necessary, so no problem there.

There are only two sizes of Diva Cups. The small size is recommended for women under 30 who have never given birth. The large size is for women over 30 OR women who have given birth. According to this formula, I should be a size large. However, I find that the large size is a bit too large for me, even though I am both over 30 AND have given birth. When I replace my cup, I will be getting the small size to try. Their reasoning for my use of the large size is that vaginal muscles get looser with age and with childbirth, and my hips are wider than they were prior to childbirth and maturity (physical maturity, that is!). Still, I have done my Kegel's, and I am a very small person to start with, so I don't think these rules apply to me.

I highly recommend this product. Here are a couple of helpful hints for beginners if you should choose to buy a Diva Cup:

1) When you are first learning to use the cup, run your finger around it after insertion to be sure it is all the way open. I found that when mine was new, it sometimes remained partially folded, causing leaks. I could correct this by gently pulling it down until it fully opened up and then gently pushing it back into place.

2) When you are first learning to use the cup, be sure you are gentle when removing it and that you are holding it upright. My first removal was a little too quick and that's when I made the mess.

If I remember correctly, my Diva Cup cost me $35.00. This is pretty pricey, considering my flow is not too heavy and I didn't go through poons like more heavy-flow women do. Still, I like it so much better than other products, and I will no longer be contributing used pads and poons to the landfill, so I think it is worth it.

No comments: