Answers to the Frequently Asked Questions:
- Yes, I know it looks like a funnel. I promise, it's not a funnel--there's no hole in the bottom. That 'stem' is a handle that facilitates getting it back out...
- Yes, it looks pretty wide, but yes, it will fit in you, even if you're a tiny little thing. I promise. Just think about what else can fit in there...this is not any bigger. I promise.
- No, it's not hard. Geesh, do you think I'm a masochist?! It's soft and bendy...like surgical tubing or, um, I dunno. Something soft.
- No, it won't give you a massive hickey when you pull it out. Just give it a little squeeze on the bottom and it breaks the seal and slips out quite easily.
- No, it doesn't invite infection--you wash it off in warm water between uses, and many women boil it for a few minutes after each period.
So here are some real reasons to make the switch:
- Most women experience shorter periods (mine went from 8 days to 3-4).
- It's eco-friendly
- It's economical ($30 will last you 10 years)
- It requires less attention than disposable options (it only needs to be changed once every 12 or so hours)
- I can't feel it--I could always feel tampons
- It will never slide down when full...it might leak after 14 hours on the heavy day of your period because you totally forgot it was in there because you couldn't feel it (not that I would know of course), but it will not slip down and become painful.
The official menstrual cup reviews page includs reviews of, and links to the diva cup, keeper, moon cup, luna cup, lunette, femmecup, and lady cup. They are all very similar, with the diva, moon cup, and keeper being the most common. (The former two are made with medical grade silicone, and the last of laytex rubber.)
Here is another useful review of the diva cup. (The author is highly amusing, she just favors the use of certain euphemisms for her girly regions, that I, um, don't...)
If you've got questions, post to the comments...you know I have no shame and I'll answer them all!!!
Q~Why the shorter periods?
I don't know of any hard science on this, but I suspect two things: one, the cup collects, rather than absorbing. A tampon can absorb only so much, and then it becomes a dam, holding back any additional flow. The cup allows everything to come down as fast as it wants to (the first day especially). I don't know that the total volume of blood is any different, but it seems to be released more efficiently.
The second thing is that I have heard the hypothesis that disposable menstrual products actually contain chemicals that increase bleeding. Whether this is intentional (to increase sales of the products) or unintentional (because the manufacturing process simply creates a toxic product to begin with) I don't know. I have not been able to find evidence to back this up, but I have heard it repeatedly, and everyone I know who has switched to a cup or to cloth pads has reported a shorter period afterward.
Q~Does it really last 10 years? The site says to replace it yearly.
Well, I've had mine for about 3 years...of course, I only used it for about 6 months before getting pregnant. I had heard 10 years from several sources...I've never heard 1. I suspect there is some potential for the cup to wear or crack or something, so they recommend replacing annually as a preventative measure...but I sincerely doubt that it's really necessary to replace that often. For myself at least, I fully expect mine to last 10 years or more...but that's partly because I won't be using it every month during that time due to babies. :)
Q~ What do you think of the diva wash they offer on the site?
I don't know, I've never tried it. I am pretty happy with warm water and a little mild soap + boiling it occasionally...
Q~what if you have a IUD to prevent pregnancy. Do these interfere with those at all (as in knocking them out of place)?
I'm not 100% certain where the IUD sits...but I believe the IUD is "intra-uterine" right? So no, it would not be a problem. The cup sits below the cervix, in the vagina--not up in the cervix and certainly not in the uterus. ☺