Diary of a Diva: Giving me peace of mind

Meet our Diva, Jessica G. My name is Jess, and I have been a proud DivaCup user for a few months now. For the past few years, every time I’ve been in a store that sells The DivaCup, I’ve had the urge to check it out.

Before trying The DivaCup, I had to stop by the drugstore more than once per cycle to pick up tampons, pads and pantyliners. These cost me at least twenty dollars per cycle because of the heaviness of my flow. The thought of buying one product that would enable me to stop going on tampon runs for an entire year was extremely appealing to me, but I was really nervous to pick the product off the shelf and bring it to the check-out clerk, for fear of being deemed a ‘weirdo’.

I was also afraid The DivaCup might feel like applicator-free tampons, which I had tried previously in an attempt to reduce the waste created by my periods. I found them to be even more abrasive and messy to use.

Nevertheless, I finally tried The DivaCup after I had enough of irritation caused by pads and having to use pantyliners and tampons together due to leakage. Nobody likes the feeling of sitting in wet underwear all day and having to devise schemes in order to disguise one’s tampon or pad in a pocket-less outfit in public.

I am not the type of woman who has much extra time or energy to get attached to particular brands, but I now recommend The DivaCup to all my girlfriends. I am so incredibly grateful to be able to have the comfortable, clean, convenient period solution that is The DivaCup. No more rashes down there, no more hiding tampons under my shirt to use the public restroom, no more guilt over huge amounts of waste created by my tampons and pads, no more leakage, and best of all, underwear no longer necessary at night!

As a teacher, I no longer spend my recesses changing my period solution, and as an outdoor enthusiast, I no longer need to lug around a period bag on long hikes.

The product is reasonably priced and works like magic, and it gives me peace of mind about the environmental impact of my cycle.

Thank you thank you thank you! I used to change nasty tampons every few hours and now I almost forget that I have my period!

I don’t understand why every woman doesn’t use The DivaCup.

Jessica G.

I am a very active, energetic person with a passion for early childhood education and population-wide health. I am a busy University student, teacher-intern, swim coach and writing tutor who enjoys cooking, baking, hiking and traveling in my spare time.

 

Menstrual Hygiene Management 101

MHDI first learned about Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in grad school. A core class in the program centered on global issues and when it came time to writing my final paper, I wanted to tie my research topic on fem hygiene advertising to the theories of the class. I was surprised to learn that there was an entire field of research dedicated to menstrual health and feminine hygiene in the developing world. And even more surprised that I was never taught about the lack of care and support women receive when it comes to their periods.

Within just a few hours of research, I realized just how limited my viewpoint was on the topic of menstrual care internationally. It’s a topic we don’t often hear about, but one that deserves both our attention and resources.

As a new topic for many, the Diva Team thought to take some time to talk about some of the basics of MHM.

According to Wash Untied,

Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) starts with the articulation, awareness, and information about menstruation and menstrual hygiene practices.  Women and girls should be able to manage the period in safety, privacy and dignity by i) having  access to and using hygienic materials together with ii) the provision of adequate water and soap for washing and bathing and iii) assuring adequate collection and safe disposal of sanitary products – at home, schools/colleges, institutions, workplace and in public places.

Consider these facts:

  1. A little over half of the world’s female population is of reproductive age and experience a cycle that last between 5-7 days.
  2. In regions where women do not have access to feminine hygiene products, rags, dry leaves, newspaper etc. are often used to manage flow.
  3. UNESCO estimates that 1 in 10 African girls miss school during menses, which often leads to a higher dropout rate and missed opportunity.
  4. In countries like Bangladesh, female garment workers are reporting to miss up to 6 days of work because they do not have a way to care for their period.
  5. Many girls in developing countries are not educated about puberty or the menstrual cycle.
  6. In North America women throw away 11,000 tampons/pads throughout their menstruating years – yikes! Many developing countries do not have proper waste disposal infrastructure, which leads to an increase in public waste and hygienic concerns. For this reason reusable options like cloth pads and menstrual cups (where access to clean water and soap is readily available) are ideal solutions for women everywhere.
  7. Taboos surrounding menstruation are still prevalent in countries around the world. For example, 48 % of girls in Iran and 10 % of girls in India believe that menstruation is a disease.

What we can gather from these insights is that MHM is fundamental to advancing education, ensuring health, strengthening the economy, protecting the environment, realizing human rights and changing attitudes of both (men and women).

You can learn more about these key areas by viewing these fact sheets put together by Wash United. We want to welcome all our Divas to play a part in spreading the world about MHM.

On May 28th, 2014 we will be participating in the first ever Menstrual Hygiene Day and you can too! Organized by Wash United, and together with over 100 partners from around the globe, MHD is a global effort to draw attention the women’s right to hygienically manage their periods, no matter where they live.

AFRIpadsIn recognition of Menstrual Hygiene Day, Diva International Inc. has partnered with Lunapads and their One4Her program and have committed to donate an AFRIpads kit for every DivaCup sold on Lunapads.com during the month of May (up to 500 kits). To date we have been able to provide over 250 girls with a better way to care for her period for over a year! Help us reach 500 by buying a DivaCup for you or a friend today!

You can also get involved in MHD by sharing the many resources put together by the team at Wash United. Share the MHD infographic and #MenstruationMatters sign to your Facebook or Twitter profile, make a conversation starter bracelet or attend an event! You can also show your support beyond MHD, whether financially or through your time, by giving to one of the incredible organizations who are helping to provide women and girls with accessible and affordable menstrual hygiene products.

Reference Guide: All facts were drawn from the Menstrual Hygiene Day Fact Sheets produced by Wash United. View them here.
1. Menstrual Hygiene Matters. WaterAid, 2012
2. Torondel & Sumpter, 2013
3. Africanews, Sanitary Towels for Kenyan Teenage Schools Girls, 2011. 7. IBID
4. Her Project, Female Factory Workers’ Health Needs Assessment: Bangladesh, 2010
5. Dasgupta & Sarkar, Menstrual Hygiene: How Hygienic is the Adolescent Girl? 2008
6. National Research Center for Women & Families, Tampon Safety, 2010
7. WSSCC, A tide of change in India, 2012

Diary of a Diva: Dragon Cheers!

pebbles3My name is Carrissa (but most people call me Pebbles) and I play ultimate Frisbee in Oregon, USA. Every year in Oregon, there is a women’s ultimate Frisbee tournament called BOOTY (Bring Our Own Team, Yeah!). My team has been called The DivaCup Dragons for the past 3 years and this year we went pretty above and beyond for costumes and spirit (a girl on our team actually made dragon tails that we wore during the tournament!).

Now what does DivaCup Dragons even mean? Our theme is a combination of Divas, DivaCups, and dragons! (Random, I know… but Divas and dragons are pretty cool…) Since it is a women’s ultimate Frisbee tournament, it would only make sense to have a team revolving around menstruation! It is a topic that we can all relate to, but don’t necessarily talk about enough.  We didn’t set out to educate women on menstruation. In fact, we just wanted to play Frisbee, have fun, and wear ridiculously awesome costumes. But somehow, through our over-the-top cheers and costumes, we had many talks about getting your period and how it can be frustrating at times.

pebbles2Many girls on the team love their DivaCups and talked very highly about it to many women playing in the tournament. We even had DivaCups on hand (clean ones, of course) to show what it was actually like. People were very impressed that such a thing exists out there for women.

All in all, we had a blast! What could be better than being dressed up as a dragon, playing Frisbee with friends, and singing diva-licious cheers about your period?

Here is one of our favorite cheers that we sang/shouted at the tournament. Feel free to sing/shout this too! It’s a lot of fun!

To the tune of “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor

At first I was afraid, I was petrified
I thought I had a leak and I would have to hide
But then I found you in my purse, inside that hidden pouch
So I insert, and I could sit back on the couch

Go on now flow!
Into that cup
Now I’m a diva
and I won’t ever give you up

Those pads and pantyliners fill the aisles of the store
But that little Diva Cup offers ladies so much more

Vag now ROAR
Go on a hike!
Put on that swimsuit
You can even ride a bike!

So many nights I found my sheets all red with stains
But now I don’t stress
‘Cause I’m on that diva train!

Ohh and I-
I will stay dry!
Plus when I’ve got my period
I know I’m not with child

I’ve got all my blood to flow
Diva cups don’t let it show
I will stay dry
I will stay dry
Hey, heyy!

pebbles1

Carrissa H.
Carrissa is a fun-loving twenty-something living in the Pacific Northwest. When she’s not playing frisbee in a dragon costume, she’s probably teaching, summer camp directing, refereeing rugby, or playing the ukulele. Go DivaCup Dragons!!!

 

 

 

Divas in the Windy City

Chicago City View

Last week, The Diva Education Team was immersed in healthcare education in Chicago, IL which hosted two incredible conferences, the National Conference for Nurse Practitioners and the Annual Clinical Meeting for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Our first stop, the National Conference for Nurse Practitioners, was a very rewarding experience for our team. Those in attendance were excited to learn about sustainable period care and eager to pass along the information to their patients. Many were surprised to learn that menstrual cups even existed which confirmed to our team that there is a great need for us to continue in our mission to educate and empower women and health professionals about The DivaCup..

Booth-at-ACOG-ROur second stop at the Annual Clinical Meeting for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists was nothing short of incredible. Being a leader in the menstrual cup industry, the Diva Team had the incredible opportunity to both educate and be educated ourselves on products and services that are changing women’s lives for the good. Exhibitors ranged from pelvic floor support tools, prenatal care organizations, gynaecology technology, educational resources, publications of interest etc. The attendees we met were excited to learn about The DivaCup, many hearing about them from patients (thank you to all our Divas for helping to spread the word!!!). We handed out hundreds of Demo DivaCup Kits to doctors residing in the United States, Canada and Internationally.

Our team was pleased to meet and network with many exhibitors including the team at the Women’s Health Foundation (WHF). WHF is “committed to improving women’s pelvic health and wellness” through research, education, community initiatives and resource development and distribution. We learned about the fabulous event WHF is hosting at the end of May, titled: Below the Belt; an event to promote a new resource book for their adolescent pelvic health initiative titled, Below Your Belt. A sample of The DivaCup was also requested by the Collections Librarian at ACOG for inclusion in their History Museum which will help educate even more women and health professionals about menstrual cups.

IMSS---collage

1.) Corning’s Axis Traction Forceps c. 1930-1950
2.) Gynecological Examining Table c. 1900-1920
3.) Vaginal Specula (Roman)
4.) Obstetrical Stethoscope c. 1930

In between shows we had some time to tour Chicago and take in some sights. We walked through Millennium Park (saw the bean!), took in The Sound of Music at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and visited a few museums. One of the highlights for me on this trip was our visit to the International Museum of Surgical Science. The museum is home to four magnificent floors of medical history, spanning from Hippocrates, through to the late 18th century and modern medicine of today. Our team got to explore an entire exhibit on reproduction and gynaecology. The exhibit housed ancient tools used to perform basic pelvic exams, prenatal care and labor delivery as well as old examining tables. There was also an exhibit about nursing which paid tribute to the incredible work of nurses and midwives throughout history and noted how both played an integral role in women’s health as a discipline and practice. Our team would definitely recommend visiting IMSS the next time you are in Chicago.

Thank you to all those who visited The DivaCup booth over the past few weeks. We appreciate your enthusiasm and support!