Diary of a Diva: How The DivaCup is rocking my flow – A musician’s story of stress free periods

NaomiHI’m a musician who plays in a few different bands. I’m the only female.

Having my period is annoying enough, but having my period and hanging around a bunch of guys is even more annoying. Thankfully, they’re all mature enough to handle a girl on her flow, and they’re even pretty sympathetic when I’m not feeling the greatest when Aunt Flow is being painful.

Though I have some pretty great guys in my life, it’s still a little awkward having to get up from the band meeting and lug my purse to the bathroom when it’s time to change a tampon. I don’t think anyone should be ashamed of their period, but sometimes I just like to keep matters private. But, the ‘lugging your purse to the bathroom is always the tell tale sign of ‘what’s going on’!

Or even worse – when I’m having practice at one of the guy’s house and his bathroom doesn’t have a garbage can! What’s a girl to do with her womanly mess? Ugh. And then there’s the actual act of performing on stage. Sometimes my period brings me a lot of pain. It’s hard enough trying to look like you’re having a good time on stage with the cramps, let alone hoping my tampon will hold up since I didn’t have time to change it before I went on stage.

It’s always a little embarrassing when I have to pull the vehicle over at every other gas station just to take care of business:

But you just peed!

Sorry guys, I have a heavy flow and my super duty tampon isn’t cutting it. Can you pass my backpack? I need to get my tampons and a new set of underwear, is that cool?

Ugh. Yeah, NOT happening!

All of these things are no longer a worry. I’ve had The DivaCup for two cycles. The first cycle was a struggle using it, but I was determined to make it work. My second cycle rolled around and The DivaCup and I are now best friends!

I’ve always been a little private about my period, but I love this thing so much I’m almost tempted to shout from my microphone – “Hey, girls! You’ve gotta try this!!”

Everything is so much better with The DivaCup. Going to see live shows is so much better when you don’t have to carry a purse around with tampons or pads. Being able to keep up with the guys and playing music is so much easier. Going 4-wheeling and hiking doesn’t even take a second thought.

I just wish I would have found out about The DivaCup sooner!

Naomi H

Naomi writes, records and plays music, shoots photography on the side and has an awesome active life with my husband and bulldog.

It’s time for change… Switch to The DivaCup!

concept healthy lifestyleToday more than ever, period talk is making its way into mainstream culture, online forums, doctor’s offices and classrooms. This is exciting because it provides a forum for women of all ages to ask questions, provide support and share in experience.

Diva International Inc. is passionate about educating and empowering women and health professional about The DivaCup and all things period. This year alone, The Diva Education Team has distributed thousands of Demo DivaCup Kits while attending medical conferences across Canada and the United States.

These conferences have taught our team a lot about the perception of period care within the medical field. Many of the attendees we spoke with had never heard about a menstrual cup and were surprised to learn about the harmful ingredients still found in disposable options. A number of the doctors we spoke to noted that they rarely talk to their patients about period care. In addition to our team educating doctors, they in turn provided us with great insight about menstrual health and patient care, helping us to better our educational efforts.

These experiences along with many others have reaffirmed the important work our team is doing. They have also taught us that there is a great need for menstrual product education at both the consumer and medical level.

And we are not alone.

In the United States, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has introduced a piece of legislation into Congress entitled The Robin Danielson Act, which if passed, will provide accurate information about feminine hygiene products, helping to draw attention to ingredients found in femcare products that can lead to health issues, including TSS. By advocating for a closer look at regulation regarding the ingredients found in feminine hygiene products, including dioxin and synthetic fibers, there will be better protection for women’s health and the environment. You can support this initiative by signing the online petition by the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research at change.org or on the  Women’s Voices for the Earth website. You can also contact your Member of Congress today and asking them to support the bill.

In addition to reaching out to your Member of Congress, educating yourself and others about the benefits of using reusable period care options is a great way to start a conversation about The DivaCup. You can visit our Eco Divas webpage for some helpful insight and facts.

A special thank you to everyone in the Diva Community who are helping to spread the word about sustainable period care and The DivaCup!

 

Diary of a Diva: Sold on The DivaCup

Natalie-GMy name is Natalie, and this summer I am interning at Sequoia National Park and Forest!

This is not your typical internship, and therefore does not deserve typical feminine hygiene products. As a Backcountry Intern, I am backpacking and hiking in remote locations for up to five days at a time. Hiking at elevations of 11,000 feet for days is difficult enough on its own; hiking at elevations of 11,000 feet while having my period is a whole other story.

U.S. national parks and forests have a “Leave No Trace” policy that prevents all visitors from leaving any sort of waste or trash behind, and to dispose of it properly in order to minimize any negative impact upon the environment.

As we all know, many women go through countless numbers of tampons and pads depending upon how heavy their period is or how long their period lasts. Mine usually lasts for a solid week, which really adds up. Because of the “Leave No Trace” program and lack of trashcans in the backcountry, many women who are avid hikers have to carry their used tampons or pads with them throughout the course of their trip! Yuck!

I knew the time would come when my period would arrive during one of my backpacking trips, and I did not want to be carrying around a bunch of used tampons in my backpack, especially since I would be working with mostly guys.

I needed an alternative, fast. Luckily, I heard about The DivaCup from a friend on Facebook who bravely shared a blog post about her switch to The DivaCup. Her raving review had sold me – it was the answer to my backpacking prayers.

When I finally opened up my brand new DivaCup, I was a little skeptical. Many women seem to find that there is a bit of a learning curve that comes with using The DivaCup, and that is certainly true. However, it is easy to get used to and after the second time using it, I felt very comfortable with it! I made sure to practice using it a few times before my internship began.

Natalie-G-1Eventually, Mother Nature did come calling on my second backpacking trip. I whipped out my DivaCup and used it just as I had practiced. It worked like a champ!

The DivaCup held up extremely well during my five day backpacking excursion. After hours of hiking up elevations of 8,000-10,000 feet, doing trail maintenance, and taking a quick swim in a lake, the cup did not move or slip once!

The DivaCup is very convenient for active jobs such as mine that require me to be constantly moving. Unlike normal tampons, where I have to keep removing them throughout the day or checking to make sure that they did not leak through, The DivaCup stays put and does not need to be emptied for up to 12 hours. It is also incredibly discreet, which is definitely a plus when you’re constantly around a bunch of guys. It also helps make my pack lighter! I have more room for other things that I need to bring along on multiple-day trips, instead of a five-day supply of tampons!

The DivaCup has made my internship so much more enjoyable and easier. I can spend more time focusing on my job and enjoying the beautiful sights of the Sierra Nevadas, and less time worrying about my period. I am sold on The DivaCup and have no plans to return to traditional feminine hygiene products. It is truly a great alternative for all women, whether you are spending time in the outdoors or curled up inside reading your new book.

Natalie G.
Natalie is a twenty-something outdoor enthusiast who loves a good adventure or two. When she isn’t busy contorting herself on the yoga mat, training for half-marathons, or going on a hike, she enjoys relaxing on the beach and soaking up the sunshine with a good book in hand.

Q & A with Molly Kirk Parlier from Women’s Health Foundation

The Diva Team was first introduced to the wonderful team of Women’s Health Foundation at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology Annual Conference. Since then, we have been in conversation about all things period and pelvic health. Check out our latest conversation with their Director of Communication, Molly Kirk Parlier.

Women's Health Foundation1. How did the Women’s Health Foundation (WHF) come to be?

After giving birth to her son, Missy Lavender experienced multiple pelvic disorders. Motivated by the prevalence of female pelvic disorders as well as lack of public attention, Missy founded Women’s Health Foundation (WHF) in 2004. The organization has sought to bring sensitive and stigmatized women’s pelvic health issues out of hiding and into the light. Today, WHF is made up of individuals united in their goal of connecting, educating and supporting women who struggle with pelvic health issues.

2. What exactly is pelvic health?

We describe pelvic health as anything including the bladder, bowel, uterine and vaginal organs, as well as the pelvic muscles and structures. Pelvic health issues are typically underappreciated yet critical health areas for women.

3. Why is pelvic health an important topic for women and girls to learn about?

Basic bladder and pelvic health education at a young age is virtually nonexistent. These basics are needed to prepare women for life events that affect their bladder and pelvic health, including pregnancy, menopause and the effects of aging. This may allow them to take preventative actions and make suitable health behavior choices to improve their bladder health sooner, thereby potentially avoiding and preventing dysfunction.

Female pelvic disorders, such as urinary incontinence, are common affecting approximately 33 million women (1 in 3); yet many women remain uninformed about basic female anatomy and pelvic muscular and organ function related to their own pelvic health. This lack of knowledge and understanding also leaves women ill-prepared for common life events related to the pelvis such as menarche, sexual activity, childbirth, menopause and the effects of aging. This deficit in knowledge is prone to impact the future health of women and girls.

4. Can you share a bit about why you’ve included a section called “myth busting” on the WHF website?

This section came about due to the wealth of myths we were hearing from our girlfriends, mothers, and sisters. There are so many common myths related to pelvic health, particularly with young women, such as not being able to get pregnant on your period. We felt this was the best way for us to get the RIGHT information out in the world.

5. What steps can young girls take to improve their pelvic health?

We have so many poor potty habits as youngsters which can have a big impact on whether or not you may be at-risk for a pelvic floor disorder later on. Probably the most important “myth” to bust is hovering over the toilet seat. We teach our women and girls to “build a nest” of toilet paper on the public toilet seat, and sit all the way down. This helps to completely eliminate urine from the bladder as well as allow the muscles to completely relax. If you’re worried about germs, think about this: there are more germs on a computer keyboard than a public toilet seat?

Currently we’re putting the finishing touches on two books: Riding the Potty Train, a potty training primer for little girls and their parents and Below Your Belt: How to Be Queen of Your Pelvic Region, for young girls ages 9-13 who are in the first stages of menarche. These books will help young girls (and their mothers) how to achieve ultimate pelvic health and wellness.

6. Since starting the organization, what has been the most interesting thing you have learned about pelvic health?

It’s incredibly difficult to list just one! But, I can tell you the healthy bladder tip that has been more affective and has changed my own life: I stopped “just in case” peeing. I was taught (like many others) to urinate even when I didn’t have to, “just in case” before a long car ride, etc. This behavior actually shrinks your bladder capacity over time and sends a signal to your brain to go, even when you have plenty of room left in your bladder. As soon as I stopped just in case peeing, I was able to go much longer without urinating – which has made all the difference on long car trips. You can learn more about our healthy bladder tips on our website.

7. How can people get involved with the work of the WHF?

There are so many ways to support our work, by volunteering in our office or making a donation. We also encourage women to share their story with us. This helps to eradicate the stigma many women feel and may get them to open up to someone about their issues. You can submit your story for others to read here.

You can also become a Total Control Program instructor, which is our evidence-based pelvic fitness program. The program is hosted nationally at various fitness clubs, hospital wellness centers, and YMCAs. Learn more here.

Molly Kirk ParlierMolly Kirk Parlier
As Director of Communication for the Women’s Health Foundation, Molly Kirk Parlier primarily focuses on health curriculum development, health content development, event planning, and public relations.  Additionally, Molly is “head blogger” for Women’s Health Foundation’s community blog and has contributed articles to a variety of print and digital health publications including EmpowHER, Neighborhood Parents Network, and the Healthy Women Community. In September of 2008, Molly accompanied a team of physicians to the remote mountainous region of Nepal to assist in a medical mission for women suffering from uterine prolapse. Molly recently completed coursework towards her Masters in Community Counseling.

Rallying for The DivaCup in the Moroccan Desert

mars 2014Caroline and I (Emmanuelle) first met in university and we pursued our school path together while there. In October 2014, we will be team #229 in the 14th Trophée Roses des Sables, a woman only orientation rally in the Moroccan desert. We will also be supporting a local charity organization helping children in need.

As a teen, when I (Emmanuelle) had my first period, I knew right away that liners and pads were NOT for me. I used tampons exclusively for a while, but was always scared to sleep with one, because of the risk of toxic shock syndrome. One day, in university, a guest speaker came to talk about different kinds of waste and the different environmentally friendly options available to avoid environmental destruction. I learned from him that, on average, a woman will use approximately 11,000 disposable pads or tampons in her lifetime! This “fun fact” disgusted me greatly and so I started looking for options and that is when I discovered The DivaCup.

At first, I was a bit reluctant to use The DivaCup for an entire day at school or at work as I thought it wouldn’t be convenient to empty and wash it in a public bathroom. Turns out I didn’t even need to worry about that, as I only needed to empty it twice a day (every 10-12 hours). For those who do need to empty their cup more often, a simple bottle of water will suffice to wash your cup discretely pretty much anywhere. Once I got totally comfortable using The DivaCup (which didn’t take long), I ”converted’ my close friend Caroline (let me tell you that it wasn’t hard to convince her!). On her end, she then told her family members and friends about The DivaCup; the list of ”converted women” goes on and on and nobody who we know that switched to The DivaCup has gone back to what they were using before.

If you are wondering how we were able to ”convert” that many women, let me explain!

It was actually really easy as The DivaCup offers so many advantages. For instance, Caroline and I love to travel. Between the two of us, we have had the chance to visit India, Ecuador, Peru, Togo, Cuba, Nicaragua, Morocco and Japan, and each time we are packing a bag for a long trip, we are grateful to have The DivaCup. Can you imagine carrying enough tampons for a 3 months trip? It would take up way too much space in a backpack! As travelers, The DivaCup is ideal because of its size. This is why we used The DivaCup in the past and we will certainly use it again for the Trophée Roses des Sables as well as for all our future trips around the world.

Also, like many people, we care about the environment. The DivaCup provides a great opportunity for women of all ages to contribute to a cleaner and healthier planet. Additionally, as the cup is reusable, you save so much money not buying products month after month.

As sexologists, we are always looking for ways to promote better options for women. For us, partnering with The DivaCup was an obvious choice and one we are really proud of. The DivaCup can do so much for women: saves them time, space, money and helps the environment as well as their health (as the cup is made from health care grade silicone, it is very compatible with the human body – even for the most sensitive of us).

It is hard to believe that a lot of people don’t even know that The DivaCup is an option! With the different sizes and related products available (little carrying pouch, DivaWash etc.), every woman should be able to find the right size and make their period as bother-free as possible.

We hope that with this blog post, we will be able to convince many women to switch from traditional options (disposable tampons and pads) to The DivaCup; for the good of the environment and their health!

Visit our blog to follow us in our journey during the Trophée Roses des Sables!

blogue 1Emmanuelle and Caroline

Emmanuelle Beauregard is a sexologist, massage therapist (in training) and a DivaCup enthusiast since 2006. She discovered The DivaCup during university while involved with the environmental committee. Caroline Ouellette, is a sexologist, social worker (in training) and has been a proud DivaCup user since 2007.