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When it flows: your favorite mama hygiene products

Over on one of our other favorite online communites, Marion Rice gets the conversation started about "Biking with the Flow".  For me, the conversation couldn't be more timely.  Many cycling women recommended the Diva Cup, something I'd never even heard of.  To date, I am a mostly ultra-thin-long-with-wings kinda gal.  When I got the paraguard IUD, I've noticed that I get the most abundant flow on day 1 and 2, and I can run through three "super" tampons in a morning.

We're all mama pals here, and we've proven that we can talk about anything.  An urbanMama Liz emails:

I think it would be great to get a conversation going on how fabulous the various cups are.

Care to share?  What products do you use to manage the flow?  Glad ragsNo applicator tampons?  Good ol' disposable "sanitary napkins"?  The Diva Cup?  How do you even use a cup?


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I'll jump in! I'm a pretty small person (1/2" shy of 5 feet and hovering close to 100 lbs while I'm still nursing). I also have an IUD and noticed super heavy flows when things finally got going again a couple of months ago.

Not wanting to get back into the cycle of having to remember to buy tampons etc (and I have an issue with the whole "buying something just to throw it away" concept) I broke down and bought a Diva cup. And let me tell you, I was scared to death of how big it looked! But I gave it a shot and I will never go back. I won't say I love it, because I'd never say that about a tampon, but I do love that its available when I need it, its easy to put in and take out, and I don't really notice it when I'm wearing it.

Yes its messy, and you have to be comfortable with yourself and your body to deal with it. Its not something you can necessarily take camping in the back country. I had one nervous moment at work in the ladies room, but I quickly got over it. You can be covert and no one has to know. Or you can be less covert and try to convert your coworkers. ;-)

Now I just need to get myself some form of Glad Rag for those super light days when I don't need the cup.

As for how to use the cup - the instructions are very good. You simply press down on one side so it forms a U shape, then pinch it together and insert. It will naturally fall open (though they recommend that you grab the base and give it a full turn to ensure it has opened properly) and that's it. When you are ready to remove you bear down, which practically pushes it out on its own, grab the base and pull it out, pushing slightly on the side as you go to let out the air. Empty it, wash it, and you are good to go.

Sorry if all of this is TMI but since we're all dealing with it (and ever since I had a baby in front of a crowd of strangers in a hospital) it just doesn't seem like a big deal to me anymore!

This is only my second cycle with the Diva Cup and as Melissa pointed out, it is messy, especially when you are learning how to use it. So far I like it as I feel better about not blowing so much money on tampons every month--and having them end up in a landfill. It leaks a bit at times so I just use it with a panty liner for now. And unlike tampons, you only have to take care of it about 2-3x/day.

I just got my Diva cup about three months ago, and I love it! I also felt bad about throwing away all those tampons every month, and I had found that after kid 2, tampons leaked for me! And I have a very heavy flow in the middle, but now my cycle seems to have a plethora of light days on either end, which I find even MORE of a pain with tampons and needing to have different sizes on hand. Plus I just forget to get them! And oh yeah, I've been having to be extra-careful with the ones I throw away, because if it's accessible to him, the DOG will rummage in the garbage and chew on my used tampons - leaving bits all over the bathroom floor. Lovely!

So - the Diva cup. I found it quick to learn how to use. It's a little messier than tampons, I guess, but it doesn't bother me at all. It doesn't leak for me, and I find it extremely easy to put in and take out. And it's less work overall, what with the dog issues. Unfortunately, DH finds the whole concept disgusting. :)

So I have to chime in about the Diva Cup.. I got one at New Seasons ~1.5 years ago, and now that i've been using it for a while, I know i will NEVER go back to tampons or pads. In truth, i despise pads-having to wear them after I had my baby was TORTURE. So for me the Diva was an easy transition. I'd already been using applicator-less tampons (OB brand). I think the transition from tampons to diva is probably easier than pads to diva..

I love the fact that i will never again run out of tampons and be stranded in the bathroom at work, trying to figure out how to make do with a wad of toilet paper until I can get back to my desk and find some quarters.. ugh! I love not having to carry tampons at all. And I love the fact that I am not generating paper waste while saving saving $.

Now, as the others mentioned, you have to be VERY comfortable with your body, 'cause putting the diva in/out isn't for the meek. But once you get the hang of it, there's hardly any leaks.. I've found that when I did have problems, I either hadn't inserted it right and/or I took too long when emptying it, and some flow got beyond the capture point of the cup. Sorry, TMI, but you asked!

My husband also finds it a bit gross, but he's happy that I'm happy..

recommendation: try it for a month.. if you don't like it, you're out ~$20.. You've got nothing to lose and freedom to gain!

I've never used one, but it sounds just like when I used to have a diaphragm. Is it more or less the same thing?

Another vote for the Diva cup. I've been using mine for about 6 months now and it is awesome. It's important to get it in right - I sometimes have to fiddle with it a bit. But I've had no leaks at all and I only have to change it in the morning and before bed. On really light flow days I can still use it where before I would have been stuck with an uncomfortable tampon or a panty liner (hate those!).

I have seen some debate about if they are a good idea with an IUD. Something about suction causing trouble. When that's an issue for me again, I think I'm going to give it a shot anyway.

2 questions.

Sounds kind of cool but I wonder does anyone else feel concerned about putting plastic (silicon?) inside themselves? I ask this in an authentic not snarky way.

second question when I used an IUD I got UTIs often and had to discontinue use. Does this happen to any Diva users?

sorry correction I got UTIs when I used the diaphram NOT the IUD!! Sorry.

Thanks for posting about this subject. FYI for all urbanmama readers. Most people don't realize that GladRags is a local company, headquartered right here in Portland. North Portland to be exact. Many of our employees, past and present, bike with cups and/or pads with great success. We even had one customer who said her husband puts a pad in his underwear for extra cushion while biking.

To anon: silicone is not the same thing as plastic. There's a blurb about why the Diva Cup silicone is safe on the Diva Cup website Q&A section (see "Is the silicone The DivaCup™ is made of safe?")

Another new Diva Cup user! I've had 3 cycles now and love it. I just wanted to clarify a bit- when others say it's "messy"- in my opinion it's not nearly as messy as the "Instead" disposable things. The Diva Cup (and there are other brands, too...) is like a tiny flexible shot glass with a small (like 1/4 inch stem at the bottom. You can trim the stem to a size that is comfortable. I trimmed mine completely off. It doesn't spill, and everything stays inside the cup as you take it out. A worthy investment and so easy!

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