I heard about the DivaCup years ago, but I always thought it sounded a bit too much: too messy, too unreliable, too risky. But then a few weeks back when I was talking to a friend about the Period documentary I’d just watched with my girls, she mentioned that she used the DivaCup. Actually, she’d been using it for years, she said, and she loved it.

Curious, I did a little research. I read up on different menstrual cups (my friend sent me a great article detailing a variety of options), and then I turned to the Amazon reviewsSo many reviews; so much enthusiasm. I had no idea.

I paid particularly close attention to the question and answer sections: sizing, how to know when to change it, how to change it, etc. The answers (and all the comments) were enlightening and encouraging. The whole DivaCup thing suddenly seemed realistic. Easy, even.

So I bought one.

When I told my husband, he looked a little worried in a “sounds kind of messy” way. My girls, though, didn’t bat an eye. They were like, “Awesome,” and “Heck yeah!”

“I’ll try it first,” I said. “If it works, then I’ll get one for each of you.”

Because, like my husband, I was a little apprehensive. I had visions of ruined clothes, public mortification, and a crime-scene-esque bathroom, but guess what. No ruined clothes (I used back-up pads during my heaviest days), zero public mortification (and I even changed it in public restrooms, hear me roar), and nobody ever wondered if someone got murdered in my bathroom.

Actually, that last point is the most surprising: I find that the DivaCup is actually less messy than tampons. Because the blood flows and collects naturally, more cleanly, without any, um, how shall we say, backlog, the whole process is amazingly tidy.

The first day I used it, I couldn’t stop raving. I couldn’t get over how streamlined it was — there’s not even a tampon string to get in the way — and I loved being able to measure my blood flow. Think about it: I’ve had my period since I was ten, and yet I’ve never known, until now, how many ounces of blood I actually lose. The knowledge made me feel empowered and in control of my body.

So giddy was I about the whole thing that I called my husband into the bathroom so he could witness the marvels for himself. He wasn’t as enthusiastic as I was (that would be weird, I suppose), but he was politely tolerant. Appreciative even. He knows full well that menstruation is a part of life — no: it is life — so he’s cool with it. Women bleed, period.

Regarding the DivaCup, I’m still on a learning curve (the pamphlet said that it takes several menstrual cycles to get completely comfortable with it), but I’m proud to report that I did a couple days of kickboxing (squats! sit-ups! roundhouse kicks!) with no extra protection and zero problems.

Guess it’s time to buy DivaCups for my girls!

Do you use the Diva Cup? Would you use it?

 Or maybe everyone is already DivaEnlightened and I’m the last one to the party?

Oh, and what about cloth pads and period panties — have you tried those? (I haven’t; should I?)

P.S. Now that we’ve watched the Period documentary, my younger brother and his wife recommended that we watch Padman. Sounds like a perfect family night movie to me!

This same time, years previous: about that house, snake charmer, in which we didn’t need the gun, ice cream supper, the quotidian (5.26.14), rosa de jamaica tea, the quotidian (5.28.12), through my daughter’s eyes, the boring blues.


  • Margo

    Yes! I switched to a Diva Cup and blogged about it last year! I'm VERY happy with it and sorry I didn't make the switch sooner. I have also been totally fascinated with my flow and watching it change over time. But my husband was not super-interested when I wanted to show it to him, hahahahah!
    Did not know about the period movie, so thanks for that. I will suggest watching it with my big kids.

  • Katie

    I love my cup! There are so many varieties. I use the Lena cup which I like but for the past few years I’ve been in various stages of pregnancy/postpartum so the fit isn’t always great. There’s a helpful website called “Put a cup in it” (you might have to google for the exact url) – where you can take a quiz to find the best cup for you! But yes, so handy, and surprisingly less messy than tampons (at least that’s how they feel to me too!).

  • Anonymous

    I use the Ruby cup, they donate a cup to a woman in need for every cup purchased. I wish I had tried a cup sooner, it's so much easier and less messy than pads or tampons. I have cloth pads, and use them on occasion (mostly only in an emergency when I don't have my cup with me). I don't mind them, but I find the cup much more comfortable and less work.

  • Karin

    I use both the Lena cup and cloth pads. You should definitely try cloth pads! They're more comfortable, affordable (especially if you make your own), and so much less wasteful.

  • Anonymous

    Btw, if you do decide to try cloth pads (and I think you should!), I find the all-in-one design a lot easier to manage and there are many designers on Etsy. Yurtcraft has been a favorite for a long time. The pads are really well made and I have never had a leak with any of mine.

  • Anonymous

    I have used a Lunette menstrual cup for five years now and never looked back. I also use cloth pads for backup or light days. I love the cloth pads because they are so much more comfortable, and I don't have to waste disposable pads waiting for my period to come; I just use the cloth ones and if it doesn't come I wash them. When it arrives I switch to the cup!

    In 5 years I have bought two cups and about thirty pads, so I've also saved money. Less mess, less waste, more comfortable… I can't think of one reason that I would rather use disposables anymore.

  • Anonymous

    I'm not a cup user, although I'm becoming convinced I should try it. I do, however, use period panties which you asked about….and love them! I've used THINX panties for probably 2-3 years on my moderate-light days. I've never had any accidents with them. Just rinse them out before throwing them in the washing machine. My cycle isn't overly regular, so I also like to wear them around the time I'm expecting my period to avoid surprise accidents.

  • Apettis in Oregon

    I use the Lena cup, I LOVE it!!! THey are a great company that donates cups to those in need and they have amazing customer service. Plus they are made in the USA!! When my girls are older I will offer them a cup.

  • Second Sister

    Been using this for ages. Love it. And yes, I also use and love fabric pads. I don't use huge ones, only the equivilant of panty liners… Glad you're discovering and enjoying these!

  • Camille

    How I envy that the Diva cup had not been invented in time for me to use it. After a rough 40 years of menstruating with heavy periods and endometriosis, I could not WAIT for menopause to arrive! I so much admire the openness and sharing in your family. It's been such a taboo subject around the world far too long. And the Period Documentary was great. Looking around for Padman!

  • Miriam

    I used a DivaCup the last several years before menopause. Wish I would have discovered them sooner. It handled even my heaviest days, which could be substantial. Loved the saving money aspect, as well as less waste generated. Only thing better than the cups is being post-menopausal and not having to worry about it at all anymore.

  • Chepkirui

    I used a Diva cup for a while, and loved it – but then hear that it's not safe with an IUD, which I also use. So—back to old school stuff. On a related note, do you think that The Period Movie would be a appropriate for a 10-year old? She's not started menstruating, but has started early puberty, and I'm looking for as many ways as possible to talk about women's bodies (in appropriate ways, of course!!). We've talked about menstruating, of course…

    • Jennifer Jo

      I don't think there was any inappropriate or disturbing material in the Period Documentary. If anything, she might find it boring — it moved slowly. (But I wasn't watching it with a ten-year-old in mind, so I might be wrong…)

      My girls and I were fascinated by how some of the women/girls in the movie were so ashamed and embarrassed by the topic that they couldn't even talk about it — THAT made a big impression on us. Also, the limitations that the women faced: because they didn't have anything for the blood, once their periods started, they had to drop out of school, and they couldn't take jobs. It's kind of mind-blowing, really.

  • Green Zebra Market Garden

    Thanks for writing this! I've been either pregnant or breastfeeding for the last 2 years, and haven't gotten my period back yet. I'd love to try something new once it eventually starts up again.

  • Anonymous

    I LOVE my Keeper Cup. Started using it about 14 years ago, and have been through 3-4 cups over the years. As I recall, it took a few months to figure out the best position for comfort and minimal leaking. On my heavy days, I empty the full cup multiple times and it's wild to see how much blood I'm shedding. I do use a pad on heavy days for backup, and cloth pads at night as backup. I made my own cloth pads about 20 years ago, and they're very worn now. Interestingly, shaped cloth diapers make excellent night pads. (The ones that weren't completely worn out after two kids used them for several years each.) I have flannel fabric to make some new cloth pads, though I probably don't have many years left to bleed.

    – Kris

  • lisa

    I use a different brand but these have changed my life. It took me a few cycles to get used to it, and I had to get a different kind for my daughter, but I think we've got it figured out.

    And, I went to an intence high-level yoga class on a heavier day and NO ACCIDENTS!! I was amazed. SO much better than tampons and pads! I'm so grateful!

  • katie

    It will change your menstrual life! Not having to worry about running out of tampons when you are out and about (or backpacking! or traveling!) not to mention no longer having to worry about poisoning myself by leaving it in too long on light flow days is amazing.

    It took me a good long while to figure out how to place it just right so that it was comfortable and reliable but y'know, you can always use tampons and pads while you work it out, or if you don't feel like using it on any given day. I definitely keep a little supply of the other stuff on hand for when they work better for whatever reason.

    I use the Keeper cup like someone else mentioned. And I did get the next size up as recommended after having my babies. I love that they are available at regular grocery stores now. I had to search it out at Pittsburgh Food Co-op when I first got mine. To me that is testament to their value as much as one or two personal stories.

  • Rose Shenk

    I've been disappointed with my experience of trying the diva cup–it just doesn't fit, and won't stay in, and is uncomfortable = (. I regret it doesn't work for me, and I'm doubly happy for those who can use it. I'm astonished by how much waste menstruation causes. I heard that every pad is worth 4 plastic bags. Applicator-less tampons are supposed to be better for the environment, but I have difficulty with those too. I think my uterus is falling down on my vagina and makes it hard to stick things up there. Unless they're really big. OK, we'll leave that there. Still, menopause can't come quickly enough! And btw, loved your male model. Your kids are not of the ordinary kind.

  • JAG

    I love mine, until I ended up with a prolapsed uterus and a vaginal canal about 1/2 inch long (not the fault of the cup, the fault of crappy pelvic floor muscle tone and a heavy fibroid on my uterus).

    No room for a menstrual cup anymore and I really miss it. It was especially great because my flow can be kind of temperamental and it worked well regardless of whether my flow was heavy or light. With pads I had a number of accidents where things seemed like they were slacking off, until they suddenly weren't anymore and my light pad didn't cut it.

  • Eurika

    Yep, used The Keeper (natural rubber) for about 10 yrs., then when it needed replacing I bought the DivaCup. Used them both with a thin cloth pad. Now I'm old and don't need nuthin'! Saved a ton of money and a bit of the environment. Both my daughters are Diva Girls.

  • Mandi Jo

    I know a lot of EMUers (including me!) that switched to the Diva Cup (or something similar) for their cross-cultural semester. So much easier than packing several months of tampons/pads and spending three months of hoping you’ll have access to a place to change/dispose of used tampons.

    My favorite DivaCup related story, however, was back when I worked at a Target Service Desk and I had a couple who came to return an unused Diva Cup together. It appeared the woman had purchased it on her own and then her husband had pressured her into returning it. Throughout the return process he made a number of remarks about how it was an overpriced and ridiculous item and that he couldn’t believe anyone would actually use one.

    My favorite point in the transaction was when he turned to me and said, “I mean really, would you use one of these?” And I got to state that I had actually been using a Diva Cup for several years and loved the freedom it gave me as well as the money I had been able to save from not needing to purchase tampons anymore. Definitely not the answer he had anticipated!

  • Suburban Correspondent

    I tried a very early version of this and liked it (I think it was recommended by Tightwad Gazette, back in the 90s). It's a great idea! Maybe I'll see if my girls want one.

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