Diva Cuppin’

If you’re squeamish about periods and stuff, grow up um, perhaps skip to the end and I will put a picture of a cat in a cup so you don’t have to think about menses.

But for you ladies that are active and have a period, let’s chat the shedding of your uterine lining.

So, I was on the Mirena for a long, long time, and didn’t have a period.  When I got into discussions with other women about it, a lot of folks were really quick to let me know that they felt that there was no way that this could be healthy, which I internally rolled my eyes out.  I run like a million miles a day, eat rabbit food, and drink kombucha.  I’ll take no period, and hope I work out enough to offset the risk.  That they claim there is none of, but whatevs.

So after 5 years on the Mirena, the clock had run out, and I got the Mirena removed.  It came out about a million times easier than the insertion, and it came out without incident.  I had a little spotting, and then, a few weeks later, I had my first period in nearly half a decade.  It wasn’t fun, and it wasn’t pretty, and I found myself buying a fairly expensive collection of tampons, some scented, for the first time since camp.

I tried something similar to the Diva Cup some years ago, called Instead, with a lot of issue.  My friend Melanie suggested that I try that Diva Cup, as she had been practicing with it in prep for international travel, and tampons aren’t super easy to purchase OR store overseas.

I googled it, and got one from the Harris Teeter, and waited for my next period.

It took like 3 full cycles, and a lot of googling for me to figure out.  But I think I’m a fan of the Diva Cup!

11-questions-i-want-to-ask-women-who-use-the-divacup-0

A few women I’ve told about it have been really skeptical, almost to the point of disgust as it pertains to a menstrual cup.  And then this somewhat ignorant article started circulating, and I realized that I needed to set the record straight regarding menstrual cups.

What are they?

They’re pictured above.  Instead of using a pad or a tampon, that absorbs blood, the idea is that the cup collects blood to be disposed of later.

Why?

For me, the menstrual cup was a good option because of a really heavy flow.  I had this issue as a teen, and it reappeared when I got my period again after Mirena.  My period is really heavy.  I’ve combated it with exercise and anti-inflammatories, but I was having a really hard time keeping a tampon in for longer than like 2 or 3 hours.  The Diva holds a bit more than the tampon does, and if you get it in correctly, you don’t get that terrible string leak that has ruined most of my good undies.  They also hold up well with and during exercise, and my tampons just weren’t doing that.

Growing pains. 

For one, you need to be completely comfortable with your vagina.  If you’re not, and you’re grossed out by it, that’s something that needs to change, or you’re in for a really rude awakening.  Vaginas are capable of a lot.  It’s not something to be weirded out by or ashamed of.  For me, that wasn’t hard to get past, but I read that some women are just grossed out by that.

Once you’re passed the vagina bit, you’re looking at this cup, and you’re not sure what to do with it.  You can read the instructions, but that’s just not fun.  Look at a few blogs, look at YouTube, and you will be just fine.

For me, without getting too graphic, I had to relax, like super relax, and sitting with my bum on the floor of my shower seemed to be the easiest and most comfortable.

Getting it out proved to be another area of learning for me.  You don’t just yank it out.  There is a little bit of wiggle involved.

And finally, the disposal of the thing is best done at home (in my experience).  It gives you a chance to remove, wash, and reinsert with little problem.  Of course, you can’t always be at home, and that’s been my largest struggle to date.  But it’s doable, and to me, I feel a little bit better now that I’m not spending tons of money on scented “sport” tampons, and I don’t feel gross and leaky all the time.

My verdict?

As an active woman who has struggled with a heavy period, I really needed a change.  Doing the Mirena again wasn’t really something I was super interested in – though we’re not super trying for kids, I want my body to do its own thing for a time, and go through it’s natural monthly cycle, which I’d love to talk about more in another post.

Hear me loud and clear.  I will never be one of those people who will post repetitive articles about how birth control is the downfall of humanity and blah blah – it did a lot of good for me, but now is not its time for me.

With that, comes my period, and for me, the Diva has been the most sustainable, least messy, and most collective option that there is out there.  If you’re skeptical, but looking for a way to manage each month I would really encourage you to check out Diva.

Questions?  Comments?  Thoughts on the Diva?

Here's the cat in the cup I promised!
Here’s the cat in the cup I promised!

Running and Your Period

So, first-off, if period and vagina stuff makes you uncomfortable, maybe this post isn’t for you.  But we’re all grown-ups, so come in!  Ladies, let’s chat.  Men, learn something that you can help your wife out with!

I have cramps for the first legitimate time in like, 5 years.

Thanks to Mirena (which we will talk about fully here in the future), I’ve managed to live, work, and run without much period or issue, which has been really really nice.  But Mirena lasts for a measly 5 years (totally kidding about the measly part), and it was coming up on time for me to get it taken out.  I’d made arrangements with my gyno to start on the pill prior to having it removed, which meant there was no gap in my coverage, but it means that for the first time in 5 years, I’m having a full-blown period with cramps, bleeding, bloating, and now I’m looking for a way to deal with it that isn’t necessarily going to require a sideline for me – especially on those weeks when I have a long trail run that could require me to change a tampon in the middle of the run.   Which is gross, but hey, it happens.

So my running and period options (given that I have a 12-miler on Sunday) are this, depending on where we are on Sunday.

Playtex Sport
via DrugStore.com

I’ve been a fan of Playtex Sport for a while, and prior to me getting my Mirena, they were all I used, a lot in part because Playtex sponsored the state school I went to, so in my time at URec, all I’d have to do was scoop up a giant armful of them, and not have to worry about spending a dime on the stuff while I was living off of a student loan and a server’s paycheck.

Playtex sport was great because it was one of the more comfortable tampons I’ve used, and seemed to stay put when I was teaching classes or working out. I have not yet run a ton of mileage because I wasn’t running at the time, but I can say that for my activity level, epescially when I was at camp in the Poconos, that it it really did alright. Now, one thing I didn’t love was the scent that they put in all of their tampons – there’s no way it can be good for your stuff, and I don’t think that can be great for the environment, right?

So, though I’d given something called Instead a try in high school, which I really couldn’t get to stay in place, I reconsidered the Diva Cup. A friend of mine, Melanie, is making an epic journey across the world, and if you’ve ever traveled, you sort of know that tampons aren’t usually something you can just find at your local CVS, especially when you’re hiking 15 plus miles a day. She started using the Diva Cup, and recommended I try it. I researched it, and picked one up the other day.

Diva Cup
Diva Cup

Now, it looks a little intimidating, but evidently, you can keep it in for 12 hours, and the way it works is that you sort of fold it up, Nuva Ring style, pop it in, and once you get it to sit in place correctly, which is the tricky part in the beginning, you can wear it for up to 12 hours without any leakage, or a string sticking out (which unfortunately can cause some chafing difficulty as well).

I tried it over night. After a few trial times of getting it in, I got it to sit correctly and walked around comfortably and was able to sleep without any leaks or having to get up and changed anything. Plus the bit about poisoning yourself or the environment (which sounds super dramatic, I know), is taken care of by the fact that it’s a thick, rubberized material, not bleached and scented cotton. If you’re into that sort of thing.

So I will try to keep you guys posted on how this is continuing to work out for me, especially as I continue my prep for Chicago.

My super-active girls – how do you successfully deal with your period while you remain active?