Crunchy Chicken puts out these Challenges every now and then, a fun and gentle nudge to get people to try things they may have been sitting on the fence about until someone gave them a supportive push. Her latest is the Diva Cup Challenge ’08. She did one last year, long before I found her wonderful blog. I’ve been a Diva Cup user for three years (since my period returned after having two children) and the thought of using a tampon now just gives me the willies. I am pretty passionate about reusable menstrual products as a way to live healthy and sustainably. In fact, I was recently invited to be a Guest Blogger over at the Lunapads Blog. So, in honour of the Challenge I thought I would write a list of reasons why I love my Diva (and why you should love one, too).
1) Make like a Girl Scout and Be Prepared. You know those days when you are pretty sure you are going to get your period but don’t know when it will arrive? Could be today, could be tomorrow? You can wear the Diva even if you aren’t flowing. With tampons you have to wait until you start bleeding, hope you are somewhere near a bathroom, hope you remembered to pack your tampons, and hope you catch it in time before you have an accident. Or you could wear a plasticky, sweaty disposable pad and end up throwing it in the garbage if Aunt Flo does not, in fact, grace you with her presence that day.
2) Things that make you go “OUCH!” We’ve all experienced it…you used a tampon that was too absorbant for your flow that day, or maybe you thought the tampon was fully soaked and needed to be changed. Either way you ended up trying to remove a tampon that was still somewhat dry. It hurts! Well, turns out that it is worse than you think. Tampons are made with rayon, which is a synthetic fibre. The individual fibers of rayon are not soft and actually do damage to the lining of the vagina when being scraped along the vaginal walls. So when you feel the pain of removing that underused tampon, you are actually experiencing the infliction of multiple tiny lacerations along the vaginal wall. None of this is an issue with the Diva because it does not soak up all the moisture in an environment where all that moisture is essential for good health. And the medical-grade silicone does not abrade your delicate mucous membranes on its way in or out.
3) And speaking of Flow… I have a pretty heavy flow during the first two days of my period and I used to use Super Plus tampons on those days. I can go much longer with my Diva than I ever could with those most absorbant tampons – it simply holds more fluid. What is really interesting is that I can actually feel when my cup is full and needs to be changed (it’s not an uncomfortable feeling, it’s just a different feeling, if that makes sense). I’m not sure if anybody else has experienced this, but it is darned convenient. Point is, while some worry about having to empty their cup when out in public this is generally not an issue because most ladies find they can go all day without needing to empty it (not that emptying it in public is a big deal anyway).
4) Know your body. Using the Diva allows you to guage your flow. Let’s face it, we are not robots. Our miraculous female bodies change over time and so do our periods. I’ve been menstruating for 28 years now and I’ve gone from having periods every 3 months or so, to a more regular 30-33 days, and lately I’m having much shorter cycles than ever (26 days is not uncommon now). My flow over the course of my period has similarly changed over the years. With my Diva I am always aware of what my body is producing. You may ask yourself why this even matters. Well, if you are worried about pregnancy (yes, some women do get a period or two even after conception) or if you are trying to conceive, if you are thinking perhaps menopause is on its way, or if you just like to be in touch with what your body is doing in case something goes wrong with the pipes…these are all reasons why being able to monitor your flow is a Good Thing.
5) Keep your Blood out of the Landfill. What happens to your used tampon after you flush it? Well, according to the Poop Report (its true, there is a website for everything) solid materials are lifted out of the wastewater as a first step. Which means that no, your used up tampons are not washed and cleaned before they are removed…they go straight to the landfill. Just stop and think about that for a minute. Imagine people who have blood-borne diseases, who are on high doses of medications that are not metabolized in the blood…those liquids (millions of tampons worth of them) are being washed down into the water table every time it rains on the landfill.
6) …if it even makes it to the landfill.
From the PoopReport article linked to above:
“We literally have tens of thousands of these beach whistles lying in the rip-rap around the lagoons. And tens of thousands more get screened out of the composted biosolids when we dredge the lagoons. Ladies, these aren’t biodegradable and belong in the trashcan, not the toilet. The basics of what should get flushed distills down to this: if you haven’t eaten it, or used it to wipe off something you’ve eaten, it goes in the trash. That also applies to the device that these applicators are designed to insert. Wrap ’em with a wad of Charmin if you are embarrassed by them, but please, please, please don’t flush ’em
If that ain’t a good reason to quit using tampons, I don’t know what is….
Note: I’ve just been informed by the good folks at Lunapads that the One Year Guarantee for the Diva Cup is NO LONGER AVAILABLE. Apparently Health Canada had issues with sending used cups through the mail or some other such bureaucratic nonsense …so I’m sorry for misleading y’all with outdated information! And thanks to the Lunapads gals for setting me straight!