It’s not called a “flower,” “muffin” or “va-jay-jay.” It’s called a vagina. And which hygiene product you use to care for it is very important.
Although they have been around since the 1930s, there is a newfound buzz about an eco-friendly alternative to the go-to standard tampon and pad feminine hygiene products. But what exactly is a menstrual cup?
There are two types of menstrual cups. The first is a soft, flexible, disposable cup that resembles a diaphragm. The second is a bell-shaped cup made of latex or silicone that can be reused after thorough cleaning. These eco-friendly cups are known as a “natural feminine hygiene alternatives” that sit inside, similar to a tampon but lower, and collect menstrual fluid.
When inserted correctly, a menstrual cup forms a seal against the vaginal canal allowing fluid to flow into the cup. This means that menstrual cups don’t have to be changed as frequently as tampons and pads; they smell and leak less and, they free women with heavy periods from having to get up during the night.
Diva International was founded by Francine and Carinne Chambers. In 2003, the company launched the Diva Cup, a flexible, reusable, bell-shaped silicone cup that women insert manually into the vaginal canal to catch period blood.
“I quickly grew tired with the unsanitary, uncomfortable and impersonal feel of disposable tampons and pads. As I grew older, and began researching alternative menstrual care products,” Chambers says on the company’s website.“ I wake up every day excited to share the Diva Cup with women who are not only looking for a better product but also a new relationship with their menstrual cycle.”
Their invention can be left in the vagina for 12 hours and reused for up to a year. Sold for around $40, it can also save the average woman — who spends $100 per year on pads and tampons —thousands of dollars over her lifetime.
Diva International is the first and only menstrual cup manufacturer in the world to be certified to ISO 13485 standards and is also cleared for sale by the Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada and the Australian TGA.
The Diva Cup comes in two different models. Model 1 is recommended for women under the age of 30 who have never delivered vaginally or by caesarean. Model 2 is recommended for women aged 30 and over or for women who have delivered vaginally or by caesarean.
Another product sold alongside the Diva Cup is Diva Wash, a botanically based, all-natural cleanser specifically designed to protect the silicone material of the Diva Cup and your body.
“I switched to Diva Cup after using tampons for years, I get my period twice a month and have severe cramps,” said Genesis Green, a 23-year-old from Norfolk, Virginia. “The chemicals used for tampons can cause imbalances in my PH and be harmful overall, switching to the Diva Cup reduced this risk as well as the chance of toxic shock syndrome.”
The Diva Cup was voted “Best Women's Product” by Canadian retailers for six consecutive years by the Alive Awards.
“A year ago I began using the Diva Cup and my cramp pain decreased, as well as my flow,” said Ariel Bracey, a 25-year-old from Jacksonville. “I would never go back to tampons or pads. I know some women are scared of menstrual cups because they don't understand how they work but I suggest all women do their research. You will become very comfortable with your vagina and having your period.”
Enormous deals are clearly acknowledged, yet for Diva Cup’s founders, going mainstream was the best method to change how women encounter their periods. "It would’ve been way easier to sell jewelry,” says Francine Chambers, “but I wanted to do this. This product actually changes lives.”
For more information on the Diva Cup, visit their website at www.divacup.com.