Plus Size Diva

Only Women Bleed – Alice  Cooper

Okay, this one is for the girls.  (Gentleman, you’ve been warned).

I decided to write this post because the subject of menstruation keeps coming up in my daily life. 

Almost always, the topic of the Diva cup comes up and usually I get a lot of curious glances because I’m very much in favor of the cup.  (I love Diva cups.  No really, I love them and I’m not shy about telling others that I love them either.  My only gripe about them is that I wish they’d come out sooner.  I am mildly allergic to something in tampons and pads which always leads to some pretty unpleasant skin irritation.  Since using the Diva cup, I no longer have this issue).

First thing to know about the Diva is that it comes in two sizes:  Size 1 and Size 2.  The best way I know to tell you about sizing is this, if you’ve never had a baby use Size 1.  If you’ve had a baby, go with size 2.  However, if you’re like me and have never had a baby, you might think you go with Size 1.  I tried that, didn’t work.  I use a Size 2.  So if you haven’t had a baby and are over the age of 30, I’d say go with a Size 2.  I discovered this because I bought a Size 1 and it would slip down during the day.  It never came out, but I could feel it going South and it was quite uncomfortable.  I bought the Size 2 and never had another problem with it slipping.

Another thing that newcomers definitely need to know is that you do have to “reach up in there” and fiddle around a bit to get this in place and to take it out.  If you’re comfortable with that, then no worries. If you’re not comfortable with that, it will take some time to get used to it. 

Not sure why, but originally I fell in the second category.  It’s not that I don’t know what all “that” looks like or that I didn’t want to touch my own vagina.  It was simply because it’s weird and I wasn’t sure how to fit it properly.  I read a lot about it and seems like I even watched a you-tube video of a girl inserting one (maybe that was a sponge).  If you fall into the category of thinking you can’t do it, let me assure you that it gets WAY easier with practice.  After a little while, it’s easier than dealing with pads and tampons and liners, oh my.

More than once, I’ve been asked if “it gets lost up there.”  No, it doesn’t.  The vaginal canal is only about 4 or 5 inches long and ends at the cervix.  To properly insert the cup, it should sit low at the base of the vaginal canal.  You have to flex the cup in a C or S shape before you put it in.  Once inside, it expands and will fit snugly against the vaginal wall and won’t move around (unless you have the wrong size and then it just slips down). 

To take it out, you have to break the suction by sliding your finger between the cup and vagina wall.  Once you feel the edge of the rim and slide your finger above, the suction should break.  Gently slide the cup down and empty it.

There are a LOT of other cups besides the Diva.  Many of them come in multiple sizes other than just the two offered by Diva.  They also have them in many colors and shapes.  If you are interested in finding out a lot more information about the cups and brands, The Vagina Monologues has the best review I’ve found.

I do want to offer a word of caution to those using IUDs or NuvaRing┬«.  You can use cups, but be sure to read the instructions.  Also, they are usually made with silicone or latex.  Be sure to check the material used to make the cup if you have allergies.

A few things to know about using the cup:

  1. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands!  I can’t stress this enough.  Wash before you touch and again before you reinsert.  Seriously, wash your hands.  The biggest problem with cups is the risk of infection from whatever might be on your hands.
  2. You will have to remove the cup and it will contain the blood that you normally would find on your tampon or pad.  You will need to empty and clean it before reinserting, so probably not a good idea to take it out at the mall when you’re not near a sink.  This shouldn’t be too much of a problem as the cup can stay inserted for up to 12 hours.   I recommend changing it every 6-8 hours.  (I’ve never had mine leak, but I do change it about every 8 hours).
  3. I get asked a lot about how much blood it can hold.  Most women lose about 30 – 40 ml of blood in each cycle. Heavy cycles are around 60 – 80ml. A Diva cup will hold 30 ml. What that means is that the cup will hold about as much as you will lose in your entire cycle. Two cups for a heavier bleeder. So, if you’re emptying it twice a day, no worries.
  4. The cup actually cuts down on smell.  Why?  Because menstrual blood only begins to smell when exposed to air.  The cup is suctioned inside so no air gets to it.  No air, no smell.  Better than using all those deodorants that we use to smell fresh, but really are only telling other women that “WHY YES, I AM ON MY PERIOD.”
  5. They are reusable and save you a bunch of money when you don’t have to buy pads and tampons every month.  *(I would recommend that a cup be replaced at least every year though.)
  6. There are disposable cups made to look like a diaphragm (dome).  These are made with sex in mind.  There’s no blood to deal with and your partner can’t feel them.
  7. On light days, you may still want to consider a panty liner as there is an issue with dryness. 
  8. Your cup will get discolored, it doesn’t mean it’s “dirty” if you care for it properly.

If you just don’t feel like you can do a Diva cup, but you want to cut down on cost and also, embarrassment, these are a few other products on the market you might not know about.

Reusable pads

For a review and list of Top 10 reusable pads, click here.

Period Underwear

For a full list and review, click here.

Also, if you’re a hiker, or enjoy outdoor activities where finding a bathroom is basically copping a squat, you’ll need to know about these:

Female Urination Devices or FUD

For a list and review, click here.

(For the record, I have a Freshette and a Go Girl)

And for all those ladies out there who know why I’m posting this…

Pee-Proof Underwear

Icon Pee-Proof Underwear

If you are considering using any of these products, please be sure to read up on them via reviews and the manufacturers information as there may be issues that you have that I have not touched on here.  My purpose is to make sure that you are aware these products exists and that you have options. 

If you have a favorite product or have had issues with any that I have mentioned, I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for stopping by!

~PJ

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