Play it Again

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!

Okay, so I bought The DivaCup… now what?!

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.

DivaCup
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.

DivaCup Insertion

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.

push-down-fold

Avoid lube.

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.

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.

DivaWash

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 support@divacup.com, 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 DivaCup Presents: Top 10 Unique Instagram Accounts!

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!

Instagram-Photo

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!

instagram-filter-image6.       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!

 

Refreshing Relief for Your Menstrual Cycle

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 Orange Peach Green Smoothie - Smoothies for Your Menstrual Cycle | The DivaCupfemale 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

Phase 2 – Follicular Phase (8-21)

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 Apple Pie Protein Smoothie - Smoothies for your Menstrual Cycle | The DivaCupyour 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

Phase 3 – Ovulation (Day 14-16)

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 omegaBerry Pomegranate Smoothie - Smoothie for your Menstrual Cycle | The DivaCup-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

Phase 4 – Luteal Phase (22-28)

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 Berry Water-Mango Smoothie - Smoothies for your Menstrual Cycle |The DivaCupcan 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!

#MenstruationMatters to Diva International Inc.

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.MHD
  • 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.

Changing the Future for Women

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.

Get Involved!

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.

diva500-2What we are doing to help?

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.