Guest Post: Introducing The DivaCup to Refugee Women in West Michigan

Hello, Divas! My name is Christine Mwangi and I am a pharmacist with a passion for women’s health, specifically menstrual hygiene. My clinical background and interests lead me to create a menstrual hygiene management curriculum for refugee women in West Michigan through Bethany Christian Services. During my initial research for the curriculum, I came across The DivaCup and was immediately in awe of how a simple product can improve a woman’s management of her menstrual cycle. I was eager to try it for myself. I am happy to say that it not only validated what I read, but now I cannot imagine going without it!

I was not deterred by the leaks and fit issues I experienced initially because the online community of women who are using The DivaCup were very supportive and encouraging. Most of my questions had already been asked and answered. I was persistent in wanting to succeed in using this product and I finally used it successfully with minimal leaks during the second month.

After using The DivaCup, my menstrual hygiene management routine completely changed, as well as my outlook. I was determined to introduce The DivaCup to refugee women and girls as a cost-saving option in the first few months of their resettlement in the United States – when money is often tight.

In my work with a focus group of women representing 18 countries (Burma, Bhutan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo,  Ethiopia,  India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya,  Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Tanzania), I found there was no prior knowledge of menstrual cups, their use, benefits and product care. When I showed the women The DivaCup demonstration cups, they were intrigued and curious. Most of the women commented that they are not keen on internal products and have never used a tampon.

However, when I educated them on the benefits of The DivaCup in comparison to disposable options or cloth pads most currently used, they seemed more at ease. They were even more encouraged when I informed them that The DivaCup is now my menstrual management product of choice.

As I shared my personal experience with The DivaCup including the benefits, cost savings, management of leaks in initial months, and cleanliness, the women were more willing to try the product. Many of them will attend the Menstrual Hygiene Management Workshop next year and hope to try the product prior to in order to be better ambassadors of its value. I will follow-up with a report about the first round of workshops scheduled for Spring 2016!

Diary of a Diva Christine, Refugee PostChristine Mwangi
Refugee Services
Bethany Christian Services

College Diva Must Reads

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I know by now you are probably reaching your wits end with books and reading. College will do that to you. But before you throw in the towel on reading, try one of these books. They are great for lifting your spirits and will help you figure out life, school and everything in between.

1.       Yes Please! By Amy Poehler & Why Not Me? By Mindy Kaling

IMG_1214Not only are both of these women hilarious to watch on television, but they are also hilarious to read! Amy Poehler lays out timeless advice like “everyone is scared most of the time” to “be whoever you are” in an absolutely hilarious way. She shares her story of success, along with all the ups and downs of being a strong girl boss.

Mindy Kaling is a favorite of Diva International Inc., and not just because she plays a gynecologist on television. Mindy’s book is full of all the comedic drama you would expect and is non-stop funny. Whether it is discussing her short-lived experience as a sorority girl or the perks and challenges of minor fame, she does it in a way that will make you laugh and want to binge-watch The Mindy Project for days.

2.       The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

IMG_1216Sometimes you may not feel like reading an entire book, full of twists and turns and foreshadowing, and for those moments I give you The Book of Awesome. Every page or two, Neil Pasricha shares a small act or feeling that makes every day awesome. It could be anything from “finally remembering a word that’s been on the tip of your tongue for so long” to “the sound of rain from inside a tent”. No matter what kind of day you’re having, this book will help you remember the wonderful things about life that you may have forgotten about.

 

 

3.       The Girl’s Guide by Melissa Kirsch

IMG_1215Whether you are in college or not, every young woman should own this book. It is full to the brim of well researched and well written advice on everything from body image, to careers, to dating, to money. Every piece of advice you’d ever need to help you feel less lost in your new found freedom as an adult woman can be found in this book.

 

 

 

I hope you have a chance to rekindle your love of reading with some of these books. You may just need it when you are up to your neck in readings for class!

Until next time,

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Every Diva Needs her own Period Repair Manual

Lara Briden, ND, author of the popular book, Period Repair Manual talked with The Diva Team about her knowledge and expertise when it comes to all things period! This engaging book provides women with details, advice and tips about everything you need to know, do and follow when it comes to your period.

And… The DivaCup is offering a Period Repair Giveaway, entry details are below!PRM Book

Based on the information regarding the pill and its side effects, what is the best/most informative way to educate women on alternative contraceptive methods?

Non-hormonal birth control is a viable option for women of any age. As I explain in my book, the advantage of a non-hormonal method is that it permits healthy ovulatory cycles and therefore production of the estrogen and progesterone we need for bones, metabolism, and mood.

The best method of non-hormonal birth control is a combination of condoms and Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). Through FAM, women will learn to recognize their peak fertile days (charted according to fertility awareness-based methods), and then abstain on those few days per month. Strategic short-term abstinence greatly reduces the risk of pregnancy in the unlikely event of a broken condom.

A second non-hormonal method is the copper intrauterine device (IUD). It prevents pregnancy by impairing sperm motility and implantation, and is highly effective with a failure rate of just 0.6 percent (lower than the Pill).

Can you expand on the importance of hormonal receptors and the “river system?”

Our bodies get used to a certain level of hormones. In the book, I used an analogy of hormonal rivers carving out gullies, and the gullies are the memory of the hormone receptors. For example, when estrogen receptors become accustomed to the torrent of strong synthetic estrogen in the birth control pill, it can be difficult to adapt to the trickling stream of normal estrogen. This adaptation or—dare we day, addiction—to synthetic estrogen is the cause of post-pill symptoms such as acne and hair loss.

What effect does a woman’s diet have on her menstrual cycle? Do you feel women need to be more conscience about their diet during menstruation?

Diet has a profound effect on menstrual health. First of all, a period-friendly diet provides all the nutrients required by the ovaries and hormonal system. Those include zinc, iodine, magnesium, and iron—to name just a few. Many women don’t obtain enough of those key nutrients, which is why they suffer symptoms such as period pain and PMS.

A period-friendly diet is also an anti-inflammatory diet, which means that it contains little or no inflammatory foods such as sugar and alcohol. Inflammatory foods cause period problems because they interfere with hormonal signalling.

To be effective, a period-friendly diet must be followed all the days of the cycle—not just during menstruation.

What are the best ways for women to be more educated about their period?

I’m a big fan of period apps, which are smartphone applications that allow women to track data about their monthly cycles. Apps can track cycle length, as well as symptoms such as spotting, breast tenderness, and mood.

Many apps also track cervical fluid and basal body temperature so that women can detect the mid-cycle temperature rise that signals ovulation. Ovulation is the most important event in the menstrual cycle because it’s how we make progesterone. A menstrual cycle without ovulation is not a healthy cycle.

What are some symptoms of menstrual disorders that girls and women can look out for?

A menstrual cycle should be regular (21-35 days). It should arrive without premenstrual symptoms, and without pain. It should not be heavier than 80 mL (The DivaCup holds 30 ml) over all the days of the bleed.

Common period symptoms include irregular periods, spotting between periods, painful periods, and heavy periods. Those are all clues that I discuss in Chapter 5 of my book: “What Can Go Wrong With Your Period?”. I call them clues because period symptoms are almost always an expression of underlying general health. For example, irregular periods can mean a problem with the hormone insulin. Painful periods can mean zinc deficiency. The best way to fix periods is to fix the underlying issue.

You provide many tips in the book, but which three tips do you think are most important? 

  1. Learn to detect ovulation. Ovulation is the key to a healthy menstrual cycle because it’s how we make progesterone. Progesterone deficiency causes many period problems including PMS, PCOS, and heavy periods.
  2. Reduce inflammatory foods such sugar, alcohol, vegetable oils, and for some women: wheat and dairy products.
  3. Take magnesium. I call magnesium the Miracle Mineral for Periods because it’s my front-line treatment for almost every period problem including PMS, PCOS, and period pain. Magnesium helps periods because it helps the body to cope with stress. It also improves the function of insulin and thyroid hormones, and is essential for the manufacture of both estrogen and progesterone.

Learn more by picking up a copy of Period Repair Manual! The DivaCup is also giving our Divas the chance to win a Period Repair Manual Prize Pack! Enter for your chance to win a copy of Period Repair Manual, The DivaCup and DivaWash!

ENTER HERE!

Lara BridenLara Briden 
Lara Briden is a board certified naturopathic doctor who qualified from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1997. She currently runs a busy hormone clinic in Sydney, Australia. Lara has also been a devoted user of Divacup for more than 10 years.

 

 

Guest Post: Setting a Scuba Diving World Record for Women: 129 Divas in the Water!

4-Florida-N-Lasselin-8Female Divers: They represent, through good years and bad, nearly half of the certified divers around the world. They are recognized for their low air consumption, natural buoyancy and good judgment when it comes to taking risks.

In short, women make excellent divers, are pleasant, cautious and someone you can trust to guide you under water!

However, very few women are pursuing careers in scuba diving.

Is this due to a lack of physical strength? Or the fact that it poses far greater health risks? Or worse, menstrual blood may attract sharks?

Certainly not! Although women (and men) may have believed in these theories in the past, today it is clear that women are more than capable of exploring the seabed.

This is where Femmes à la mer comes in!

Femmes à la mer was created with the purpose of bringing together the female divers of Quebec. On September 12, 2015, 129 women gathered at Quarry Kahnawake, near Montreal, QC to set a world record: the largest number of submerged women simultaneously in cold water.

This had never been done before!

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For Nathalie and Daphné, organizers of the event, and also avid users of The DivaCup, “Femmes à la mer” went beyond a simple record of numbers. It was about making a statement – a way to show the world that women are present in the diving world and that nothing, even the hassle of periods, will stop them.

It was also a statement that we need to preserve aquatic environments, if we want to continue to discover them. This is why “Femmes à la mer” is committed to ecological sustainability. For example, on the day of the event, participants were called to carpool to get on the site and to bring their reusable water bottles. The sweaters that were handed over to the participants were made of organic cotton and were provided by a company that guaranteed an ethical treatment of employees.

Because of this ecological approach, and focus on physical activity for women, a partnership with The DivaCup was quite natural! What better product than a menstrual cup to assist women with a diving expedition? Compact during dive trips, environmentally friendly, economical and it offers leak free protection during long decompression diving sessions, The DivaCup is the perfect partner in a diving event for women. Furthermore, ten of the 129 participants had the chance to win The DivaCup, and will certainly promote all of its wonderful benefits within the community of underwater women divers!

Thank you to The DivaCup for partnering with “Femmes à la mer”! We hope to have an even bigger attendance of Diving Divas at our next submarine event!

Nathalie Lasselin
Natalie is an underwater filmmaker, technical diving instructor and explorer. She works on various documentaries around the world. She is the driving force behind “Femmes à la mer”.

Daphné Laurier Montpetit: Daphné is a fan of The DivaCup and has been a diver for several years, Daphné studied marine biology before taking a turn to communications. Today, she is Chief Editor for the diving magazine “En Profondeur” and is working towards becoming a certified diving instructor.


 

Record mondial de plongée : 129 divas à l’eau !

4-Florida-N-Lasselin-8Elles représentent, bon an mal an, près de la moitié des plongeurs certifiés. Elles sont reconnues pour leur faible consommation d’air, leur flottabilité naturelle ainsi que leur sagesse face aux risques. Bref, les femmes font d’excellentes plongeuses, agréables et sécuritaires. Pourtant, très peu d’entre elles poursuivent des carrières dans la plongée sous-marine.

Est-ce par manque de force physique ? À cause de plus grands risques pour la santé ? Ou pire encore, parce que le sang menstruel risque d’attirer les requins ? Certainement pas ! Bien qu’on ait longtemps cru à ces hypothèses, aujourd’hui perçues comme farfelues,  on sait désormais que les femmes sont plus que capables d’explorer les fonds marins.

C’est dans le but de rassembler les plongeuses du Québec que Femmes à la mer fut créé. Le 12 septembre 2015, 129 femmes se sont retrouvées à la carrière Kahnawake, près de Montréal (Québec) pour établir un record mondial : le plus grand nombre de femmes immergées simultanément en eau froide. Du jamais vu !

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Pour Nathalie et Daphné, les organisatrice de l’événement et divas confirmées, Femmes à la mer  allait au delà d’un simple record de nombre ; c’était aussi une affirmation. Une façon de montrer au monde que les femmes sont bien présentes et qu’aucune frontière, qu’elle soit solide ou liquide, ne les arrêtera.

Une affirmation, aussi, qu’il nous faut préserver les milieux aquatiques si nous voulons continuer de les découvrir. C’est pourquoi Femmes à la mer a prit un engagement écologique dans son organisation. Les participantes étaient appelées à faire du co-voiturage pour se rendre sur le site et à apporter leurs bouteilles d’eau réutilisables. Les chandails qui furent remis aux participantes étaient faits de coton biologique et fournis par une compagnie qui garantissait un traitement éthique des employés.

Dans cette optique écologique et axée sur l’activité physique au féminin, un partenariat avec Diva Cup devenait tout naturel ! Quoi de mieux qu’une coupe menstruelle pour une plongeuse aguerrie ? Peu encombrant lors des voyages de plongée, respectueux de l’environnement, économique et protégeant parfaitement des fuites lors des longues séances de décompression, Diva Cup est le partenaire idéal dans un événement de plongée destiné aux femmes. D’ailleurs, dix des 129 participantes ont eu la chance de gagner une coupe menstruelle Diva Cup, et propageront certainement la vague DIVA au sein de la communauté de plongeuses sous-marine !

Merci à Diva Cup pour ce partenariat avec Femmes à la mer, et au plaisir de compter encore plus de divas lors de notre prochain rendez-vous sous-marin !

Nathalie Lasselin:
Cinéaste sous-marine, instructeure de plongée technique et exploratrice. Elle travaille sur divers documentaires, partout dans le monde. Elle est l’instigatrice ce du projet Femmes à la mer.

Daphné Laurier Montpetit

Diva aguerrie et plongeuses depuis plusieurs années, Daphné a étudié en biologie marine avant de prendre un virage vers les communications. Aujourd’hui, elle est rédactrice en chef du magazine de plongée En Profondeur et poursuit sa formation de plongée afin de devenir monitrice.

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions like a Diva!

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If you are anything like me, you probably have about a million goals for the upcoming year, ranging from traveling the world, to being able to afford food other than ramen noodles.

But something I’ve noticed about myself lately, and I have a hunch a lot of you may suffer from this as well, is that I have a really hard time sticking to the resolutions I make on New Years!

Don’t feel bad, this is totally common. And I’ve put together some tips for us “optimistic resolutioners” so we can make 2016 the best year yet!

1. Don’t get carried away: I learned pretty quickly that if I make too many goals none of them get achieved. It’s easy to spread yourself to thin and want to change every aspect of your life that isn’t working for you. Instead, focus on a maximum of three major goals you can realistically attain in the next 365 days. Or maybe the next 730 days. Either way, make sure your goals are realistic for your life and your timeline.

2. Have a plan: One of my favourite quotes (and I may be revealing my Type-A personality here) is “fail to plan is to plan to fail.” And it couldn’t be truer when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. How many times have you made a goal and then promptly gave up or forgot about it? Well this year, create a plan of action for those three goals you set out for yourself. By constantly asking yourself “how?” you are going to be able to come up with a good idea of the steps you have to take to achieve your goal.

For example, let’s say you want to run a marathon. Well, how do you run a marathon? You have to train. How do you train? You create a training plan and schedule in your workouts. How do you create a training plan? You search Pinterest and talk to people who have ran a marathon before.

See what I did there? You now have steps to go forward and actually achieve your goal of being a marathon Diva! Not so bad, was it?

3. Choose things you care about: The easiest goals to maintain are the ones you are passionate about. Want to spend more time being creative? Find a friend and attend painting classes together. Want to make a difference in your community? Schedule some time to volunteer with local organizations or fundraise at your campus for a good cause. You are going to be far less tempted to give up on your goals when they really mean something to you and you will enjoy the journey in accomplishing them.

4. Don’t forget that not every goal is physical: Sometimes the goals that mean the most to us aren’t about learning a new skill or focusing on something physical like our bodies or our finances. Sometimes the most meaningful goals are about being kinder to others and ourselves, spending more quality time with family, or simply enjoying the small things in life. Don’t forget about these types of goals when you go about making your list of resolutions because sometimes no matter how much money you save, or how many inches you lose, you won’t feel as fulfilled as you’d hoped.

I hope that helps Diva’s and prepare for an awesome New Year!

Until next time,

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