IUDs (Intra Uterine Devices) can be a really helpful option for those looking for a hassle free birth control solution. The hormonal form of IUDs can also provide ease for those living with menstrual related disease and heavy bleeding. These T shaped devices are hassle free, discreet and can be very effective. IUDs need to be inserted by a healthcare provider and the procedure itself only takes a few minutes. Depending on your healthcare coverage, an IUD can be costly, and the insertion experience for some, may be uncomfortable (remember to relax those pelvic floor muscles). Most who choose the IUD route have put good thought into the option and keeping their IUD in place for years to follow is the ideal.
Insertion involves a speculum (the same tool used when you get a pap) which is inserted into the vagina. Then, an inserter is used to place the IUD through the opening of your cervix and into your uterus. Often, having an IUD inserted during your cycle can make the experience more pleasant as the opening to the cervix is a bit wider.
We are often asked: Can I use my DivaCup with an IUD? The great news is that yes, yes you can! But, there are a few things you’ll want to check on before inserting your favorite period care solution with an IUD.
Timing is Everything
The main concern with using a menstrual cup with an IUD is expulsion – basically your strategically placed IUD, falls out. IUDs may naturally expel from the body, and often this will occur within the first 3 months of insertion. For this reason, we recommend that you wait at least 3 months, or until cleared by your doctor, to resume using the DivaCup. In the meantime, cloth pads are a great solution, especially since many experience spotting for the first few months after IUD insertion (sigh).
The good news is that research has shown that there is no increased risk of IUD expulsion with the use of menstrual cups. Unfortunately for some, after insertion, the body rejects the IUD naturally. In other cases, incorrect placement leads to expulsion. Be sure to choose a healthcare provider who regularly inserts IUDs as this will ensure both comfort and proper placement.
After an IUD is inserted, it is important to schedule a follow up appointment with your healthcare provider within 3-6 months to ensure the device is correctly in place. A pelvic ultrasound is the easiest way to determine proper placement.
IUDs have two strings that hang naturally at the opening of the cervix. We recommend checking on these each cycle prior to inserting your DivaCup.. If you have any concerns regarding the strings, or can’t find them, we recommend you check in with your doctor. Many DivaCup users ask their doctor to trim the strings to they won’t interfere with cup placement.
Know your Cervix:
Did you know your cervix changes shape and positioning throughout your cycle? Since the DivaCup is designed to sit low in the vaginal canal, away from the cervix, the IUD strings shouldn’t interfere with cup placement. However, for those with a dropped cervix, you may find your cup sits close to your cervix. Being mindful of this when inserting and removing your DivaCup is important. Not sure how to find your cervix? Check out our Cervix blog post.
Release the seal… then remove. Regardless of if you have an IUD or not, it is important to first release the cup’s seal before trying to remove the DivaCup. To do this, grip the base of the cup and pinch it gently. Pinching the cup will release the seal and collapse the cup, making removal easier.
If you know your cup sits closer to your cervix, we recommend gently sliding your finger alongside the outside of the cup prior to removal to ensure the strings of your IUD are out of the way. Once confirmed, gently pinch the the base, release the seal and remove your cup.
Above all, talk to your healthcare provide and take time to understand your body.
It’s hard to believe that an acronym as small as PCOS can have such a big effect on a person’s life. PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is an endocrine disorder that effects up to 15% of people who menstruate. There is currently no cure for PCOS and no clear understanding of what causes PCOS to develop in the first place. Many people are left confused and scared both by the myriad of symptoms, but also about their future ability to lead fulfilled and healthy lives. So let’s get into the nitty-gritty of all things PCOS.
Most Common Symptoms
PCOS effects many systems in the body and a person can experience a large number of seemingly unconnected symptoms. Below are four of the most common, but there are many more than just on this list.
- Cystsers Unite!: One of the classic, tell-tale signs of PCOS are multiple cysts on the ovaries. These cysts develop in the follicle where the egg would normally be released. This can disrupt normal menstruation cycles as well as impact fertility due to lower instances of ovulation. Many people have no symptoms of these cysts, but they can be very painful, especially if they rupture.
- Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: That’s right one of the best diagnostic tools is your hair. Because of the raised levels of male androgens in the blood many people with PCOS experience male-pattern baldness as well as excessive growth of hair on faces, stomachs, and chests. This can of course be very unsettling but there are a number temporary and permanent options available for dealing with unwanted hair including shaving, waxing, and electrolysis.
- When It Rains, It Pours: Another of the most common symptoms of PCOS are irregular (or absent), painful, and heavy periods. Some people experience periods that can last for weeks or even months, while others don’t have one at all. This of course can affect your quality of life due to the discomfort and unpredictability of your monthly flow, but also can have implications for fertility.
- Gains & Losses: The metabolic symptoms of PCOS are also a common component of diagnosis. PCOS can cause a person to put on excess weight easily, while also making it extremely difficult to lose. This can also lead to insulin resistance and for many diabetes.
Tips For Sur-Thriving With PCOS
With all of the doom and gloom around PCOS symptoms it is hard to imagine a life that is happy, healthy, and fulfilling but fear not cysters below are some tips to help you live your best life.
- Extra! Extra! Read All About It: Getting educated and staying informed about this condition is critical. PCOS has begun to receive attention from the medical community with new research being produced and new treatment protocols being offered. Staying current on your condition helps you to make informed decisions and take a holistic approach to your health.
- The Balancing Act: A healthy diet is one way to see immediate improvement in many PCOS symptoms. Visit Soul Cysters for delicious PCOS-friendly recipes. Because of the metabolic component of PCOS there are certain dietary considerations to keep in mind when planning meals.
- One such consideration is avoiding sugar as much as possible. It not only helps to sensitize your cells to insulin again and restore them to normal functioning, but also helps to reduce many of the inflammatory symptoms such as joint pain.
- Eating whole foods and good fats are also critical to maintaining your health. These food groups can help to control cholesterol, blood sugar and pressure, as well as improve body composition and mange weight.
- Get Into The Groove: Movement is important for everyone to stay healthy, but especially for people who have PCOS. Finding movement that helps bring you joy and vitality will not only help treat some of your current PCOS symptoms but will also help to prevent some potential future health complications. Try something fun like belly dancing, swim aerobics, or taking a walk in nature, your mind, body, and soul will thank you!
- Treat Yo-self: Self-care is an important part of thriving with PCOS. Focusing on ‘you-time’ helps with stress management, improves sleep, and lifts your mood which this condition can all effect. Try incorporating things such as mindfulness meditation, at-home spa days, or even a few extra minutes in a hot shower. The Hormone Diva has a list of self-care activities that are solely focused on PCOS wellness. Anything that leaves you feeling relaxed and centered will go a long way.
So now that you have a better understanding about what PCOS is and how live well after diagnosis what else can be done about PCOS? The medical community is now starting to focus time and resources on answering that question. One very important step is focusing studies on the lived experiences of people who deal with PCOS on a daily basis. DivaCup has partnered with the OM Health Study to help gather this important data. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with PCOS please consider being a part of this study as it will provide critical insights into this condition.
Recycling started to become a buzzword in the 1980s when curbside recycling really began to make headway in the US and Canada. We (hopefully) do it pretty automatically these days, but why stop at simply putting things in the recycling bin? Did you know that you can re-purpose many of your recyclables into art as well some great useful household items? There are a ton of awesome ideas online, but here is a project to get you started!
Mosaic memory box using old DVD’s
Do you have any old CDs, DVDs, DVD-Rs or CD-Roms hiding in your closet? If so, we have a great craft for you! Since almost *everything* has gone digital, you can repurpose these old disks into something super cool – a mosaic memory box!
Here’s something that I made with old DVDs.
How to: Using scissors cut into the DVD (or any related disk). When you cut you will notice that a DVD is actually made of two layers. You can discard the clear plastic layer or save for another project, you will only be using the silver layer for this project (CDs only have one layer but won’t have the fun and vibrant purplish color you get with old DVDs). Cut the silver layer into a variety of shard shapes. You can use these to decorate whatever you are making the mosaic on (I used an old wooden box, but you can use any kind of surface really).
Carefully, apply a strong glue to the surface and start placing the pieces however you like cutting the pieces to fit the right shape (it’s kind of like doing a puzzle). I found that I really liked the look of leaving a thin line of space between shards. Also be careful, these shards can be very sharp and this can be a messy project.
After you are done, you will want to use a crystal clear gloss as a finish, otherwise all the beautiful shiny stuff will simply wipe away!
Congratulations on making the switch to The DivaCup!
You proudly walked out of that store with your new cup in hand, head held high, excited for your period to arrive. Or you quickly stuffed the box into your bag and scurried out hoping no one saw you.
Whichever experience you had with purchasing The DivaCup, congratulations!
Tomorrow when your period is due to arrive, you will open up that shiny new package, take out The DivaCup and experience immediate period bliss… that is the hope anyway.
The truth is for many first time users, finding success with The DivaCup can take a few days, or even a few cycles and that is really okay. In fact, it is more common than you think. Unlike tampons, The DivaCup is inserted differently and makes you get up close and personal with your vaginal health.
We spent some time chatting with our Consumer Care Team (who are menstrual cup gurus) to find out what advice they’d offer to first time users. They gave us lots to draw from and we’ve put it all together for you below.
Read the User Guide!
First things first, read the User Guide. While you may be able to get away with putting together your new closet organizer without reading the instruction manual, The DivaCup’s User Guide is one you do not want to ignore. Plus, your vagina deserves the best and the best is what The DivaCup can give it. The User Guide not only explains how to insert, rotate and remove The DivaCup, but also gives lots of assurance for first time users.
Before trying The DivaCup, be sure to thoroughly wash the cup (and your hands) with warm water and the DivaWash or a mild, unscented, oil-free soap. If you have longer nails, be sure to clean them well and trim them back a bit.
Use only during Menstruation!
Many of our Divas are so excited to try the cup that they decide to try it while not on their cycle. This is a bad idea for many reasons. The cup is regulated for use only during menstruation, meaning a key element of success is menstrual flow. If you find yourself saying, “What’s the harm in practicing beforehand?”, stop! If the cup is inserted when not menstruating, the vaginal canal is often less lubricated and the cup will not glide in as easy (and will be quite uncomfortable). The cup will also not open as easily which can lead to difficulty with removal and an overall unpleasant experience.
Relax! No really, relax!
You may be wondering what people mean when they say, “Relax your pelvic floor!”. Enter a pelvic health physiotherapist. A pelvic health physiotherapist will not only show you how to relax your pelvic floor, but also teach you how much your pelvic floor muscles matter to the rest of your anatomical make up.
For many first time users, inserting The DivaCup can be tough, because it is different, and much bigger than a tampon. Add tense muscles to the mix and insertion can take on a whole new meaning. With tense muscles, insertion will be uncomfortable and the cup will most likely not open or be placed at the right angle. The reason being, the vaginal muscles are what hold the cup in place. While they are designed to naturally expand and contract, if you are nervous or stressed while inserting the cup, your muscles will react with intensity.
So how does one exactly rest the pelvic floor?
To relax the pelvic floor, take a deep breath in, breathe out and consciously envision releasing the pelvic floor muscles (similar to the feeling you have after having to pee and finally being able to). You can also try imagining that your vaginal muscles are holding a ball and releasing the ball as you exhale with your breath. Your deep breath should be felt deep within your belly, not just in your lungs.
Angle really is everything!
The instructions note to insert the cup horizontally, but what does that even mean?
Unlike a tampon, which is inserted upwards, the cup is inserted horizontally, toward your tailbone. Think of it this way, take your cup and place it on its side on a flat surface (such as a chair). Slide the cup back towards the back of the chair – this is a horizontal motion.
When you are inserting, pay close attention to your wrist on the hand that is holding the cup. Be sure that as you insert, you are not twisting your wrist upwards, but rather that it is staying straight. If you are turning your wrist as you insert, the cup is most likely also being inserting upwards, rather than horizontally. We would also recommend trying our “Push Down” fold option as this should help the cup glide in easier, open up and allow you to better position the cup at the opening. When you insert the cup horizontally, you should feel it slide into place at the base of the canal and open up. If you find the cup is moving up the canal, it is most likely not fully open. Standing with one leg up on the tub may also help to relax the muscles.
Although it may make sense, we do not recommend using any lubricant with The DivaCup as it may compromise the integrity of the silicone and the vaginal environment. As The DivaCup sits in place for 12 hours at a time, if lubricant is used to insert the cup, the lubricant will also sit in the canal for the same time and may irritate the canal. We recommend using only warm water as this can help warm the cup. Warm water, combined with the lubrication of the menstrual fluid, should help the cup slide in easier.
Rotation: a mandatory, not optional step.
Some may wonder why we instruct that the cup be rotated a full 360 degrees. The reason really is to ensure the seal is in place. Although you may feel The DivaCup open as you insert it, it does not necessarily mean that it is open all the way. Oftentimes it may feel as if the cup is open, but after feeling around the cup, there is still a part of it that is folded in. Once inserted, try sliding your finger along the outside of the cup and your vaginal wall, pressing gently on the sides of the cup, this should open the cup fully, creating the seal and will make rotation easier.
If the cup is not fully open, the cup can move up during wear which can lead to difficulty with removal.
Because the vaginal canal is only about 3-4 inches long, The DivaCup will not get lost inside of you. If the cup was not angled correctly, fully open at the base of the vaginal canal, this may lead to removal taking a bit longer than a few seconds. When positioned properly, the stem should sit about a half inch in the canal, with the labia covering the stem.
Similar to insertion, the key to success with removal is to relax your muscles. Because the muscles hold the cup in place, having tense muscles will not loosen the cup for removal. Once relaxed, a trick that often helps is to stand with one leg up on the tub. The reason this position is helpful is that it aligns your body in the same horizontal position you were in to insert the cup. Sitting on the toilet and squatting are also good options, but they can add extra stress to the pelvis.
After taking a few deep breaths, bear down with your abdominal/pelvic muscles (as if you are having a bowel movement) and gently insert your thumb and index finger into your vagina until you can reach the stem. If you cannot reach the stem right away, continue to take some deep breaths and bear down. We recommend five deep breaths in between each time you bear down. A hot shower or bath or taking a walk can also help to relax the muscles.
Once you can reach the stem, gently pull the stem until you can firmly pinch the base of the cup to release the seal. The key to successful removal is actually in the base, not the stem of the cup. Many of our Divas cut their stem off as the stem can irritate the labia. Once you have a good grip on the base with your thumb and finger, squeeze the cup gently, and angle it slightly sideways while moving it from side to side to release the seal as you remove it.
It may also be beneficial to talk to a pelvic health physiotherapist or your healthcare provider as they may be able to offer some insight on the strength of the muscle and pelvic floor. Some customers may experience difficulty as a result of weak muscles, but others may have difficulty with removal as a result of tense muscles. Learn more about pelvic health here.
Clean The DivaCup, every 10-12 hours.
It is really important to clean The DivaCup every 10-12 hours with warm water and our DivaWash. Not cleaning the cup in between uses can lead to some unpleasant odors and irritation. Ensuring the four holes around the brim are clear will help ensure the seal is in place and against leaking. While there are many cleaning products on the market, using DivaWash, or a mild, unscented oil-free soap, are your best options. For a list of ingredients to avoid, please visit our Care and Cleaning webpage.
Try The DivaCup during the day on your first try!
Our Consumer Care Team is here to help, but they too need to go home to see their beloved families. If you are hesitant to try The DivaCup, we recommend trying it during the day (8:30 am – 4:30 pm EST) so that you can reach out to our team with any questions or concerns. We do not recommend trying the cup for the first time before you hit the hay. The reason being, when we sleep our muscles often relax and if the cup is not positioned correctly, fully open at the base of the vaginal canal, it may move up during wear. Once you have mastered insertion, wearing the cup at night is sheer bliss! With The DivaCup you don’t need to imagine a world with clean sheets on day 1 of your period because with The DivaCup, this scenario becomes an amazing reality.
Connect with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-866-444-9482 or by using our online Contact Us Form. Our Instructional Video below also has some helpful visuals and you can always find our User Guide online for easy reference.
While this is a lot of information to take in, trust us, it will help you when your period comes and you put The DivaCup in for the first time.
The power of Instagram is undeniable. Every account displays a unique story that is shared across the globe. The social channel is designed for uploading photos and videos with a click of a button; using different filters and edits. The Diva Team came together and created a list of the top 10 Instagram accounts worth following!
1. Angela Liddon (@ohsheglow)
Angela Liddon shares her award-winning recipes for those food enthusiasts. From energizing vegan recipes to meat-eaters and picky children, Angela has a recipe for all. The mouth-watering images will definitely inspire you to get in the kitchen. Angela is a Canadian mom whose relationship with food goes deeper than the roots! Follow Angela as she shares new recipes for all types at @ohsheglows.
2. Happy Quotes & Inspiration (@happsters)
Having a bad day and need a little inspiration? @happster can do that and much more! Read creative quotes and sayings that inspire, fuel success and breeds happiness. Follow Happy Quotes & Inspiration for that extra pick-me-up!
3. Mind Body Green (@mindbodygreen)
@mindbodygreen (MBG) is the ultimate account for “revitalizing the way you eat, move and live!”. This account is a must to follow when it comes to promoting conversations about health! MBG provides tips and ideas on how to live a healthier life, while inspiring you to continue being the best version of you.
4. Brooke Saward (@worldwanderlust)
If you’re looking to explore exotic, breathtaking photos, @worldwanderlust is your ultimate travel buddy! Follow Brooke as she travels across the world with a “mission to inspire, intrigue and inform followers to travel more”. Get a glimpse of her journey around the globe today!
5. People Tree (@peopletreeuk)
@peopletreeuk will make you feel good about purchasing new clothing! Made with ethical and sustainable materials, People Tree is known for being the pioneer of the Fair Trade fashion industry! Follow People Tree to receive first looks at new and upcoming styles!
6. Fiona Michelon (@crafthunter)
Looking for new home décor ideas?! @crafthunter can certainly help you out! From crafts, to home and office décor, Fiona has tips and tricks for every age! Follow Fiona as she posts creative pictures of her designs and shares the details on her blog!
7. Dormify (@Dormify)
This one is for our campus Divas! Need some DIY inspiration for your dorm room? Follow @Dormify for your dream room décor, tips and tricks… and of course cute pillows!
8. Elsie + Emma (@abeautifulmess)
@abeautifulmess gives followers the chance to showcase their crafty DIY’s! Not a crafty person? No problem. The account links to a variety of stationary materials such as journals, agendas, stickers and more! Join the DIY enthusiast and create something new!
9. Yoga Inspiration (@yogainspiration)
Namast’ay in bed isn’t always the best option! Follow @yogainspiration to get your daily dose of happiness, positivity and everything yoga! Take the time to relax, learn new poses and read inspiring quotes!
10. Living Pretty Naturally – Kate (@livingprettynaturally)
Kate’s fun and interactive account, @livingprettynaturally, provides creativity to health, beauty and wellness! Kate will make you feel radiant from her natural, organic products, recipes and witty quotes!
The Diva team would love to hear about your favorite Instagram accounts! Don’t forget to follow The DivaCup on Instagram (@TheDivaCup) for Diva inspired photos, news and giveaways!
Smoothies are a staple during the summer. They are fruity and refreshing with so many different flavors to mix and match to suit your tastes! But did you know that smoothies have more benefits than just being a healthy, delicious snack?
The Diva Team blended and taste-tested four different smoothie recipes; each one helps your body replenish much needed nutrients for each phase of your menstrual cycle! So whether you’re craving something fruity and tart or sweet and decadent, we’ve got the smoothie for you.
Try the recipes out for yourself and indulge in the delicious benefits!Phase 1 – Menstruation (Days 1-7) During the first phase of your cycle, known as menstruation or your period, it is important to get lots of iron to replenish your body after losing important minerals in your blood. Spinach is high in iron and other minerals and is a great addition to smoothies! Banana, which is high in potassium and B6 can help boost your mood and regulate the bowel. We also recommend adding in foods rich in vitamin C, like orange and peaches, to help with the absorption of the iron into the body. Additionally, red raspberry leaf tea is known for its benefits to the female reproductive system by regulating hormones, menstrual cycle and flow, and offering relief from cramps. It is also high in vitamins A, B complex, C, D and E to help your body replenish vitamins lost during menstruation. Try this delicious Orange Peach Green Smoothie to help your body replenish essential vitamins and minerals for an easier period!
Orange Peach Green Smoothie
1 large orange, peeled and segmented
1 large banana
1 cup fresh or frozen sliced peaches
2 cups spinach
1/3 cup vanilla or peach Greek yogurt
½ cup brewed and chilled Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
1 cup ice
1 Tablespoon flax seed
The second phase of your cycle, the follicular phase, is when the eggs begin to develop in the ovaries. The lining of the uterus begins to thicken to prepare for ovulation and implantation (pregnancy). It is important to eat protein rich foods, like Greek yogurt, during this phase of your cycle to help your body rebuild and grow. You are strongest and most energetic during this phase of your cycle, so protein may help you build muscle and amp up your metabolism too! Additionally, cinnamon and honey are excellent period regulators and offer the body important minerals such as iron, potassium and magnesium to help replenish the body after your period. Try this delicious smoothie to satisfy that sugar craving while getting your body the protein and minerals it needs.
Apple Pie Protein Smoothie
1 apple, peeled and core
1 cup ice
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt OR 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
½ cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoon raw honey
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp of coconut oil
During the third phase of your cycle, ovulation occurs. Ovulation is when the eggs are released from the ovaries and move along the fallopian tubes towards the uterus. If pregnancy doesn’t occur, the eggs will disintegrate within the next 6-24 hours. During this phase of your cycle, antioxidants are important to keep the cells in your body, including your eggs, healthy. Berries like raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, and fruits like pomegranate, are chock full of antioxidants and other essential vitamins. Additionally, flax seeds are a fantastic source of omega-3 oils and are great for regulating ovulation and reducing cramps and breast pain sometimes associated with ovulation and the upcoming luteal phase. Blend up this delicious and sweet Berry Pomegranate
Smoothie and enjoy a nutritious snack to keep your body healthy!
Berry Pomegranate Smoothie
2 cups mixed frozen berries (Use a mix of raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries)
250 ml unsweetened pomegranate juice
250 ml raspberry leaf tea, brewed and chilled
1 tablespoon of flax seed
1 cup of ice
1 small banana, peeled
During this phase of your cycle, if there has been no implantation, the thickened uterine lining begins to deteriorate. This phase is also known as the Pre-Menstrual Stage, and can play host to many of your PMS symptoms such as mood swings, bloating, cramps and nausea. To offset these symptoms it is important to stay hydrated with juicy fruits that help to banish bloat and ease cramps like watermelon, strawberries and mango. Mango can help balance your hormones and is high in vitamin B6 and iron to help with PMS and preparing the body for iron lost in menstrual flow. Additionally, ginger is fantastic at combating period induced nausea and is an anti-inflammatory to help reduce cramps and breast pain. Blend them together in this delicious Berry Water-Mango Smoothie to reap the benefits and keep yourself feeling comfortable!
Berry Water-Mango Smoothie
1 large mango, peeled and pitted (or 2 cups frozen mango)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
4 ounces almond milk
1 cup whole strawberries
1 cup watermelon
1 small banana, peeled
For more information on how to chart and better understand your menstrual cycle, visit our Menstrual Education page!
The month of May is a favourite at Diva International Inc. for many reasons. The sun is shining, flowers are blooming and it plays host to one of our favourite days: Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD).
Organized by Wash United, and together with close to 300 partners from around the globe, MHD is a global effort to draw attention to the women’s right to hygienically manage their periods, no matter where they live.Why does it matter?
In other parts of the world, women have very different experiences during their period. Girls and women in developing countries miss 20 percent of their education or work because they are unable to attend while they are menstruating. This can be due to insufficient water and sanitation facilities, poor access to menstrual materials and a lack of menstrual hygiene education.
In order to change the attitudes surrounding menstrual hygiene management (MHM), there needs to be education. However, in many countries menstruation is still considered taboo and many women are left in the dark about what is happening to their bodies and how they can manage their cycle.Did You Know…
- 83% of girls in Burkina Faso and 77% in Niger have no place at school to change their sanitary menstrual materials.
- Many women and girls use unsanitary materials such as old rags, husks, dried leaves, grass, ash, sand or newspapers because they do not have access to affordable, hygienic and safe resources.
- By the time a girl finishes grade 8, she will already have missed up to 30 weeks of school.
- Commercial menstrual pads can be too expensive for low-income girls and women to afford. In Mukuru, Nairobi many girls aged 10?19 have reported having sex with older men to pay for basic items, such as pads.
- In one study by HERProject, 73% of the Bangladeshi garment workers they interviewed miss work for an average of 6 days per month (resulting in unpaid work days) due to vaginal infections caused by unsanitary menstrual materials.
- 48 % of girls in Iran and 10 % of girls in India believe that menstruation is a disease.
- Chhaupadi’, a practice that forces menstruating women and girls to sleep in separate huts or sheds (and subjects them to other harsh restrictions) is still widely observed in many rural areas.
- In Western parts of Uganda, country cattle owners do not let menstruating women attend to their cows for fear that the milk may turn bloody.
While many of these facts are surprising, organizations and individuals are working to create a unified voice for women and girls around the world to break the silence surrounding MHM.For example:
- Looking at current market trends, more and more women in developing countries are getting access to hygienic menstrual products.
- The Kenyan government will spend over USD $2 million to provide pads to 678,770 disadvantaged school girls and Kenya eliminated the import tax on menstrual products in 2011 to reduce costs.
- Many NGOs & social businesses are making enormous progress on delivering menstrual hygiene education
- There are many men working to de-stigmatize and break the silence around menstruation by advocating for improved MHM.
You can 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, 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.
At Diva International Inc., MHM means a lot to us and we believe that all women deserve to manage their period safely and with dignity. That is why, in recognition of Menstrual Hygiene Day, Diva International Inc. is partnering with Lunapads and their One4Her program, committing to donating an AFRIPad kit (complete with 5 pads and 1 carrying bag) to the girls and women of Pader Girls Academy for every DivaCup sold on Lunapads.com during the month of May.
Help us reach our goal of distributing 500 kits; purchase The DivaCup today to help support girls’ and women’s futures around the world!
Reference Guide: All facts were drawn from the Menstrual Hygiene Day Fact Sheets produced by WASH United. View them here.
Growing up is hard sometimes, especially when you feel like you don’t quite fit in or meet other people’s expectations. Some of us worry about being pretty enough or smart enough, while others worry about being good enough.
But, the truth is, everyone feels this way at different times in their lives. These expectations are put in place by many different people, organizations and the media which makes it impossible to be everything to everyone.
Our experiences vary.
Sometimes we try to fit in while other times we choose to follow our heart. Whatever your experience has been, the experiences of younger generations are probably not too different.
Our hope is that the girls of today (and tomorrow) will learn to be confident in themselves and that those around them will come alongside of them, encouraging the same confidence.
The change starts with all of us (both women and men). However unnoticed or unintentional our words and actions are, they have a strong impact on young girls. When we hide something as natural as menstruation or speak ill of our bodies, younger girls will follow our example. We must learn to be kind to ourselves so that younger generations will learn to do the same.
We asked some of our partners and fellow women’s health advocates to share why empowering girls and women is so important. This is what they had to say:
“I am asked all the time the best way to help our girls delay sexual involvement. And the answer is always self-esteem. While people choose to have sex for many different reasons, we know that the girls who feel best about themselves tend to delay sex with someone else the longest. There are many benefits to waiting. Help your girls find what they are good at, whatever that may be, and give them the tools they need to excel in it!”
Stephanie Mitelman, Certified Sexuality Educator, Director, Sexpressions
“When it comes to empowering girls, the most important thing you can do is model the way. That means being really conscious of the ways you talk to and about yourself in front of them; treating yourself more kindly benefits you and them, because young girls are watching your every move and picking up all kinds of clues on how to be, think, and act. It’s pretty astonishing to see all the instances where you’re tempted to criticize yourself out loud. Give them a good example to follow.”
Kate Hanley co-author of the 28 Days Lighter Diet
“I find that when a girl is thoroughly informed regarding the various menstrual management options available to her, she understands the power that is in her control to manage her own needs as best suits her. It is a very personal choice and by making it independently she will surely feel a positive acceptance and ownership of her body and its needs that will serve her well.”
Alison Sanchez, Feby Empowerment Inc
“Possessing self-love and educating yourself on topics like health and wellness at an early age will empower you to achieve the incredible. Make a promise to yourself to never stop learning, and always dream big.”
Leslie Klenke, author of Paleo Girl
“As the Mother of a 9 year-old girl, I am trying to offer her as many diverse role models as possible, as well as teaching her to understand and value how her body works, rather than focus on her appearance. A simple but important and powerful thing we can do for girls is to teach them the accurate names and locations of their reproductive anatomy, not just lump it all under the misleading umbrella of “vagina”. Another idea is to co-create some form of ritual or celebration when your daughter starts her period. She may feel embarrassed, however it’s worth seeing whether she’s interested – as an adolescent I yearned for such an event, however didn’t know how to make the request. So powerful was this childhood dream, in fact, that it ultimately led to the creation of G Day – a modern rite of passage event designed to celebrate and empower girls ages 10 to 12 as they enter adolescence. On April 28 of this year, we hosted 250 girls in Vancouver to talk about leadership, career goals, relationships and what life is like for girls in the developing world, topped off with a ritual where they tied red ribbons around one another’s wrists as symbols of Sisterhood.”
Madeleine Shaw, Co-founder, Lunapads.com
“Across the globe, Spring brings to mind flowers, new life and warmth. Metaphorically Spring can highlight the start of better times. The inner spring in a women’s life as she transitions from a girl to a woman, regardless of her culture or background, is a vitally important and sacred time. This time, facing puberty and more specifically menarche (or a girl’s first period), brings many new beginnings. So often we consider this ‘spring’ time in a young women’s life as something secret and even dirty and forbid our girls to speak about it. As a taboo, this special springtime is disempowering to our girls. Girls who have positive information about puberty and menarche are more likely to have improved body image and self-esteem, leading to a better life.We, as women, mothers, sisters, aunts and friends guiding our girls into their spring, need to support them in positive ways and ensure she begins her beautiful journey in a positive way. Open yourself to learning about the importance of this time in a girl’s life, and have and support positive conversations in our children as early as possible.”
Jac Torres-Gomes author of Cycling to Grandma’s House
“We will be making progress if mothers become more comfortable encouraging their daughters to cherish their bodies by helping them navigate the complexity of their anatomy as a female. If mom’s are not comfortable talking to their daughters, they can seek literature for their daughters to read on their own and open the door for their daughters new wonders of her body. Women’s Health Foundation’s upcoming book, Below Your Belt, is a primer for young girls to know the inner workings of their magnificent bodies. Also, embracing a girls first period by planning something special for her, verses a dreaded afterthought, can change our culture and have girls feel supported during this new journey of being girl, as they all should.”
Molly Kirk Parlier, Women’s Health Foundation
With summer just over a week away, the Diva Team thought to put together some summer travel tips for the Diva Community. Whether you are planning a beach vacation, trek around Europe or interior camping trip, there’s a tip below just for you!Period Care While we may do our best to plan trips around our periods, they sometimes decide to show up when we least expect it. Being prepared with basic essentials can make a world of difference. First things first, never leave home without The DivaCup – it takes up little to no space in your luggage and is the most reliable method of period care for travel. A hot water bottle, ginger tea and comfy (stretch) pants can also provide some relief to those pesky cramps. Extra Set of Clothes When you can, check a bag and when you can’t pack an extra pair of clothes in your carry on, including underwear! Foot Care While buying a pair of flip flops for $3 is a bargain deal, your feet deserve the best. If you are planning a trip that will include a fair bit of walking, invest in a good pair of flip flops or sandals that offer both comfort and support. Walking or hiking shoes that allow your feet to breathe are also a must. Hydrate Ensuring that you have access to clean drinking water is important for any trip. Pack a reusable water bottle and fill up at the water station at your campsite, hotel or airport. Eating water rich foods such as cucumbers, radishes, celery and watermelon can also aid in keeping you hydrated. Journal Documenting a trip is one of my favorite parts of traveling, even for business trips! If you will have easy access to the internet a travel or photo blog is a great way for family and friends back at home to journey with you. Sun Care While we all love to soak up the sun, it’s no secret that the sun’s rays can have damaging effects. A sunburn can limit the activities you can participate in on your vacation, disrupt sleep and lead to health concerns. Pack only a high level SPF sun block, forgo the tanning lotion and ensure you have a good pair of sunglasses, a hat and cover-up. Pack a Book! I’ll admit I’m a bit of a bookworm, always have been and always will be. Reading is a great way to soak up the sun or pass the time when a flight is delayed. Download a book to your personal tablet or pack a small paperback for your next trip. Snacks Packing a protein bar in your carry on will ensure you get some nutrients if the flight is delayed and can make for a great pick me up once you’ve landed in a different time zone. Tune up! If you are planning a summer road trip don’t forget to get an oil change and your brakes checked. Pack Ahead We are often told to plan ahead, but how many of us pack ahead? Being on the road with Diva has taught me to pack a few days in advance. This allows for laundry to be done and essentials like toothpaste to be purchased well in advance. Downsize While I’d love to bring 6 pairs of my cutest flats with me, I have learned that you really only need three types of footwear for any trip: good walking/hiking shoes, flip flops (if the temperature allows) and flats. If you are traveling somewhere that experiences a lot of rain, rain boots are a great option and you can often pack them full of socks, shoes and clothes. Packing a bottle of DivaWash is a great way to reduce bottle space as it’s great for face, body and The DivaCup. Games! Pack a deck of cards or smaller board game (such as Boggle) for flight time, a camping weekend or rainy day at the cottage.
Whatever your summer plans are, all of us at Diva International Inc. want to wish you a safe and happy summer!
Share your Travel Tips with the Diva Community below