As an avid tampon user, although I was eager to find more eco-friendly tampon alternatives, I was hesitant to make the switch from tampons to menstrual cups.
Menstrual cups, unlike tampons, seemed too big, too firm, and too scary for me to even consider trying.
Then, one fateful day while at work at the office (before the days of WFH), I got my period. I asked my co-workers if anyone had tampons and pads on them – no one had any period products for me to use.
I went to the washroom and expected to pack my underwear full of toilet paper, so I could make it to the drug store to buy some tampons. Luckily for me, my office building had just introduced ‘menstruation baskets’ in their gender-neutral washrooms. They provided many different options. And sitting right there in the middle of the basket was a DivaCup.
I thought I might as well give it a try—I had been wondering about menstrual cups for a long time.
I grabbed the box and started to flip through the instructions. Turns out the DivaCup can prevent leaks for up to 12 hours!
Seems worth a try, I said to myself.
Trial and Error
Having been a tampon user for many years, I am quite comfortable with inserting products to absorb blood and manage my period.
I opened the menstrual cup user’s guide and figured the best position would be with one leg on the toilet seat (eek, I know, I was in an office bathroom). But a girl has to do what a girl has to do.
I washed my hands with soap and went to the nearest stall to try my first ever menstrual cup.
Turns out that I had the Model 1 and it was the perfect size. As a 32-year-old who hasn’t given birth vaginally, I thought maybe it would be too big for me (it looks so much bigger than tampons!). The soft, medical grade silicone really made it seem achievable—I believed I could, so I did.
Like the instructions said, I folded the period cup into a few different shapes to see what felt best—kind of like period origami.
I ended up trying out the “punch down fold.”
With my foot raised on the toilet seat, I gently inserted the silicone cup. Because I was so used to the sensation of insertion, I barely felt the DivaCup begin to slide in.
While I’m not used to using my fingers to push a product deeper into my vaginal canal, with the DivaCup it came quite naturally to me. Getting the cup in the right position took a couple tries, but once I felt the menstrual cup secure into place, I thought to myself, wow that’s just as easy as tampons!
I turned the base while holding on to the stem, so that a seal could form and I felt the DivaCup pop open.
Then I was done and ready to go back to work.
The Menstrual Cup Learning Curve
There was a bit of a learning curve while trying to insert my first ever DivaCup, and removal was no different.
I had forgotten I was even wearing the cup for the rest of my day in the office. And then when I got home, panic set in. It had only been a few hours, but I’m so used to tampons collecting my menstrual flow that I forgot and rushed to the washroom.
Once I got to the washroom, I remembered I was wearing a cup, and breathed a sigh of relief.
In order to remove the cup, check on my flow and make sure I wasn’t leaking, I put my thumb and index finger into my vagina to find the base of the cup. Once I found it, I tried to pinch the base to wiggle the cup free.
I felt a little tug, which scared me. But I paused, took a deep breath again, and realized I needed to get the seal to break in order to remove the menstrual cup successfully. This was also a reminder that the cup was inserted properly (go me!).
I tried again and it came out smoothly, without spilling it or having it leak into the toilet.
The Best Part of Tampon Alternatives
The best part about switching from a tampon to a DivaCup is that it produces no waste. The cup had me covered for the rest of my workday. When I took it out at home, I only had to dump my menstrual blood, cleanse the cup, and re-insert. It was the perfect excuse to ditch tampons for good.
I am so used to carrying around tons of tampons, all swimming around at the bottom of my purse. The minimalism of just a DivaCup and DivaWash (which I immediately went online to get) felt so much easier.
My first-time experience made me a DivaCup devotee. DivaCups are life-changing tampon alternatives that has made my periods easier, more sustainable, and absolutely worry free.