For an Inquiring Mind

My sister shared an article on Facebook earlier about New York considering making tampons free in public restrooms, which is cool and all, but I clicked on a suggested article and immediately felt the twitching in my fingertips that meant I must respond. Fair warning: it’s all about the DivaCup. If you are squicked out by period stuff, click away. It will get a tad gross if you’re squeamish.

The article is titled 11 Questions I Want To Ask Women Who Use The DivaCup. Melissa, I could answer you there if you had a comment section. Maybe you’ll see this one day. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll just answer these questions for someone else who’s dying to know. Whatever, it’s cool.

1. How do you pull it out without inciting a bloodbath?

In a word, physics. In more words and phrases, it’s rarely full to the brim when I pull it out. I mean, it’s actually big enough to contain most of an entire menstrual flow. There just isn’t that much in it most of the time. Also, cup isn’t just a fancy word. It comes out like a regular old cup, as in, the opening is opposite the pull of gravity. Don’t turn it upside down until you’re ready to dump it, and you’re golden.

2. What happens when it fills up?

I recommend removing it in the bathtub if you know it’s full. This has happened to me three times, but listen up, that’s not normal! The DivaCup holds an ounce. A whole ounce is way past heavy flow. An ounce is two super plus tampons. If you experience this and are unaware that you have a medical condition that will cause this (in my case, PCOS), see your doctor now. But if that’s going to happen, you will expect it. So what happens? In your words, a bloodbath.

3. What the hell is going on in the public bathroom?

Regular usage. A DivaCup is not a tampon. You can take it out and put it back whenever you want without the dry dragginess of a fresh tampon. So if I’m going to be out of the house when I will need to dump my cup, I simply do it before I leave. I have never removed my DivaCup anywhere but at home.

4. What is going on with your fingernails?

Not much. I wash my hands. It’s not dried blood under there, so it washes right off with soap and water. No biggie.

5. What’s in the cup?

Ratio of solid to liquid? That’s really an individual thing. Also a cycle-to-cycle thing. It just depends.

6. Is this thing going in the dishwasher?

No. Didn’t you read the FAQ? And yes, I do remove debris from the seal-creating holes with a toothpick. I don’t want that rotting in there. There’s my line, you’ve found it! I don’t want to put rotten blood into my vagina, that’s gross. Ew.

7. What about the smell?

Nope, doesn’t smell. If it smells you should probably get a new one or review your cleaning procedures.

8. What if I can’t get it out? What if it falls out?

Mine has never fallen out, although I have, on occasion, had difficulty retrieving it, especially in the morning. Sometimes it creeps up. Don’t worry, just take a break, have a cup of coffee or whatever, and try again in half an hour or so. It does creep back down to where it belongs.

9. Are o.b. tampons the gateway drug to the DivaCup?

Not in my case. I only used obs once, when I got a free sample. I had placement issues with them. I just jumped into DivaCup full force. I didn’t even have a learning curve.

10. Do you miss shopping for ‘feminine hygiene’ every month or two?

I’m probably not the right person to answer this question for the average Jane. I never shopped for ‘feminine hygiene’ regularly. I would be thrilled if, for the first time in the twenty-one years I’ve been menstruating, I needed to do so. Again, PCOS. But even only buying tampons a couple times a year made me angry. This is a necessary product that we have to pay through the nose for. Not cool.

11. Do you think I’m kind of a terrible person?

Not for your views on the DivaCup. You may want to brush up on your knowledge of the female reproductive system, however, if you  truly believe that menstruation equals fertility.

7 Comments on “For an Inquiring Mind”

  1. LRose says:

    I want to share something along the same lines of, it-sometimes-is-what-it-is:

    • April says:

      Thank you for sharing–I’ve heard quick-and-dirty mammogram descriptions, but never anything in depth like this. I am sorry you had this experience.

  2. Kate says:

    I use a diva cup, too. I think the experience definitely depends on the user and the user’s cycle. I have had blood baths before, but I have stage 4 endometriosis. This would not have worked for me 4 surgeries ago. I generally only have to change it at home, and generally my flow is much more normal now, but there are months when it’s like two days of someone being murdered down there and I can bleed an ounce in 30 minutes. (Like an ounce every 30 minutes for 2 days. This is short for me, as I used to bleed this heavy for two weeks at a time, every month, for a couple of years. I had no idea it wasn’t normal.) I hate when that happens when I’m out and about, so I try not to go anywhere between hour 12-48 of my cycle, since I never know when a killer cycle is gonna hit, but that is sometimes unavoidable. So I try to pick restrooms with a sink in the same stall as the toilet. Or I carry a mega pack of baby wipes, so that I can clean up enough to not look like I just killed a small child in the stall before I can make it to a sink to clean my hands. I’ve only had to use this method once, at a public park, when I was a 2 hour drive from home. Sometimes you gotta break your own rules (hours 12-48 I go nowhere) to make your family happy. But most of the time, I flat out refuse to leave the house for any reason during that stretch of time. I do wear 2 ultra thin overnight Stayfree pads, too, every day of my cycle, just because of overflow potential. Since I’m infertile, I’m kind of jealous of your lighter cycles. Heavier cycles have done NOTHING for me but cause me inconvenience, PAIN (oh the pain – which again, 4 surgeries later is much less than it used to be, but still IT HURTS!!!) and mess.

    Thank you for talking about this. I’ve always been curious but too afraid to talk about the topic.

    • April says:

      I don’t talk about it much either, an occasional comment when someone posts an article on Facebook, but this one just struck a note with me. And it’s something that needs to be openly discussed, I feel more than infertility, just because there are more menstruators than infertiles, but especially because the two are NOT mutually exclusive.

      I know I’m lucky that two of my three ounce-in-half-an-hour ordeals happened while I was a stay-at-home, and even more lucky that they’re not the norm. But I feel you on the baby wipes. Just in case.

  3. abbiosbiston says:

    I am not brave enough to use one of these but I am impressed with everyone who does!

  4. Stasy says:

    How does it compare to tampons (not just ob ones)? I have never ever found a tampon that was comfortable for me, so I’ve always just used pads. I kind of want to try the diva cup, but I worry about it being uncomfortable.

    • April says:

      It’s more comfortable for me than tampons. And I didn’t realize how much of my cramping was due to tampon use until I switched.

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