Channel Your Inner Diva

It’s time to talk about everybody’s favourite health topic: menstruation!

My own personal story begins when I made the big switch from pads to tampons after joining the high school swim team and starting a part time job as a lifeguard.

I started wearing tampons exclusively to avoid the “diaper feeling” of a maxi-pad.  It was only when I traveled to Costa Rica and became familiar with the hippy-traveler crowd that I first heard of the “Diva Cup“, or menstrual cup.  At CCNM the topic of menstrual cups has come up more that once.  So, last year I decided to buy one and give it a try, forever changing the way I view my monthly “flow”.

A Diva Cup is a reusable medical-grade silicon menstrual cup that collects menstrual flow, rather than absorbing it.  I bought mine at Essence of Life in Kensington Market, Toronto, where you can find them for $30 CAD (a great price, they’re usually $40) and took it with me while backpacking through Colombia and camping on the Colombian Caribbean coast.  It made a wonderful travel companion and I’ve never looked back!  Here are some reasons to make the switch.

It is healthy and safe.  The medical-grade silicon is inert in the body.  It sits low in the vagina and allows the vaginal walls to self clean, as they would do naturally, which prevents infection.  A Diva Cup does not put you at risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome, as a tampon does, and it doesn’t contain synthetic dyes, fillers, additives, bleaches or other chemicals, as tampons do, which can irritate the inside of the vagina.  Many people report a reduction in menstrual cramps while using a Diva Cup and I can attest to the fact that using one has decreased the amount of pain and discomfort I used to experience with menstruation.

It’s clean.  The Diva Cup should be washed twice a day and can be left in for up to 12 hours.   It is completely safe to wear while sleeping, swimming and playing sports.  Once you get the hang of it, there is virtually no concern about leaks.

It’s easy to maintain. A menstrual cup can be simply rinsed out with potable water or cleaned with a natural fragrance free cleaner (like Diva Wash or Dr. Bronner’s fragrance free castille soap) each time you empty it.  It’s recommended that you boil the cup for 10 minutes after each period to properly sterilize the cup and maintain it’s longevity.

The Diva Cup is convenient.  You can travel with it, it comes in a cute little sack and it fits into the palm of your hand.  You never need to buy another tampon or worry about packing enough.  You also save money in the long-run, considering that a $30 Diva Cup can last you up to 10 years!  While traveling I found I could easily fit it into my backpack and not worrying about getting tampons wet during the heavy monsoon season rain.  I also didn’t have to worry about where to dispose of my sanitary garbage.  I felt more in touch with nature by traveling light and not having to worry about leaving a trail of feminine garbage behind me wherever I went.

It’s environmentally friendly! One cup lasts up to 10 years and is completely reusable. One internet source says that each woman uses 12,000-16,000 tampons or pads in her lifetime.  If there are 2 billion menstruating women in the world how many tampons are being thrown out?  Lots, let’s just say.  Nowadays we all use reusable grocery bags and water bottles so, as George Carlin says, “if we’re going to recycle, let’s get serious!

It’s naturopathic!  When you go see a naturopathic doctor, chances are, if you’re a woman, he or she will ask you, “how is your menstruation?”  Menstrual health gives us great insight into our energy and hormone levels, nutrition status and overall health.  I found that, while using tampons I wasn’t in touch with my menstrual flow at all.  This is because Tampons absorb menstrual flow, which hides it away and then are quickly thrown into the garbage.  This is why we like Tampons in the first place; they hide us from the natural, healthy secretions of our bodies that society has told us are “gross.”  According to tampon commercials, periods are nothing more than part of the inconvenient burden of being a woman.  However, women are fortunate to be able to have an external means of learning about their body’s reproductive health and for the opportunity to cleanse every month.

Even if we may feel uncomfortable about it, getting in touch with our bodies involves observing the characteristics of our menstrual cycles, including what our menstruation looks like.  Details about a woman’s menstrual cycle can indicate whether she has excess inflammation going on in her body, could benefit from supplementing iron, the cause of fatigue, the need for detoxification and hormone status, among other things.  Wearing a Diva Cup helps get up close and personal with our monthly cycle and, therefore, how our bodies are working.

In short, I highly recommend adding a Diva Cup to your health routine.  We obsess over our activity levels, supplement intake, diet, hair and skin health, why not start taking care of our menstrual health too?

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