Finding the Right Gynecologist

finding the right gynecologist The DivaCup

 

Your gynecologist and you share a special relationship – and not just because they are checking out your vagina regularly. Your gynecologist is someone you trust with your health so it is important that you find the right gynecologist for your body and your health concerns.  For this reason, it may not be as simple as calling up the first gyno’s number you see in the phone book. There are many factors that play a part in finding the right gynecologist and the tips below are a great place to start.

Make a “Must-Haves” List

Every gynecologist should meet certain requirements, no matter who you decide on. Every gyno should be certified and educated, experienced with a number of years in the industry under their belt (hehe) and, depending on your body specifically, you can also look for gynos that have a certain expertise. For example, if you are living with endometriosis, you may look for a gyno who focuses on patients with endo.

After these initial must-haves are checked off the list, you should consider the following:

  • Is gender important to you? Everybody has different preferences and experiences, so think about whether you would feel more comfortable with a female or a male gynecologist. This can help you narrow down your list significantly from the get-go.
  • Where are they located? Obviously, you will want to know how close or far your gyno’s office is from where you live and the implications that may have. If you’re willing to have a gyno that is further away, keep in mind that you may not be able to get in for emergency appointments. Take into account your drive time, whether there is public transport stops close by or whether parking will cost you an arm and an ovary.
  • What is included in your health plan? Be mindful that there may be gynos or treatments not affiliated with your benefit package or health plan and ones that are, which may limit your options when it comes to coverage.
  • What are their values? Finding a gyno that shares your views and values is too often overlooked and is actually super important. Whether you are into alternative methods of birth control or really like a gyno with a sense of humor, these are important things to determine before you sign over your vagina to them.

Ask Around

Obviously, walking up to a stranger and asking who they recommend for your vagina may not be the most effective, but getting referrals is an easy way to narrow down your search. You could speak with your regular physician about gynecologists they recommend and get a referral appointment that way, or you could ask family, friends and trusted co-workers if they would recommend their gyno. It’s also important to ask if there is anyone they wouldn’t recommend, which could save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Do Your Homework

Remember, this is your health so don’t just take someone’s word and leave it at that. Do a little homework and look up your gyno candidates’ credentials, ensure they are properly certified and maybe even look at reviews online from trusted websites.

Make a Consultation Appointment

Narrow down your top choices and make a consultation appointment with each of them. This won’t be an exam, but rather a chance to sit and get to know your potential gynecologist. Don’t leave any stone unturned. Prepare a list of questions you have, from the general to the very specific, and ask each candidate their thoughts. It is important to ask about things that are important to you, whether it is alternatives to the pill or STI testing, so you can get a feel for how you and your potential gyno will groove.

Follow Your Gut

You know yourself better than anyone so don’t feel ashamed of turning down a gyno that seemed perfect on paper but that you just aren’t sure about. There is no shame in putting yourself, your comfort, or your health first. So if something isn’t sitting right with you, keep shopping around. Mindy Lahiri may not actually exist but the perfect gyno for you definitely does.

You Aren’t Stuck

Remember, this doesn’t have to be a permanent relationship. If you end up deciding to go with a gyno and later on find that things aren’t working out the way you had hoped, whether that is because you two have different values or wait times are too long, you are allowed to find a new gyno whenever you see fit.

Are you ready to #GetToYourGyno? Don’t be nervous – you are taking a big step in the right direction for your health. What are some tips you have for finding the right gyno? How did you know when you found her/him? Share your experiences with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

 

Top 6 Tips for Traveling with The DivaCup This Summer: Camping, festivals, and overseas travel!

Top 6 Tips for Travelling with The DivaCup This Summer

As convenient as it is to get 12 hours of leak-free protection… what do you do when you don’t have access to a bathroom or even clean, running water? This is arguably more likely to happen during the summer months when camping, road trips, and music festivals are common scenarios you may find yourself in. As the summer is now upon us, we decided to reflect on all of the scenarios in which a little innovation can go a long way for cleaning our cups when we don’t have access to running water and/or a bathroom.

So, the next time you plan to put on your adventure hat and Bear Grylls it up in the wild, or take a trip to the Amazon for 6 weeks, and your period decides, “yeah, I feel like dropping in right at this very moment,” remember these Diva survival tips!

Tip #1: Always pack potable (i.e. safe to drink) water with you

This is key because The DivaCup needs to be cleaned with clean and safe to drink water. So if you’re camping in the outback, heading to a music festival, or backpacking through rural Cambodia, make sure you pack a (reusable) water bottle to have with you. If you are in a pickle and can’t access running water, use the water from your water bottle to rinse off The DivaCup when you remove it. If you have DivaWash or a mild, oil-free and fragrance-free soap with you, use it to clean the cup. If you don’t, you can just rinse with water and clean the cup with soap as soon as you have access to running water and/or a bathroom. Remember you should do a full cleaning with soap and water at minimum 2-3 times per day.

Top 6 Tips for Travelling with The DivaCup This Summer

Tip #2: Wash your hands!

Whether you’re camping or at a music festival, the first thing you’ll want to do is to wash your hands with clean, soapy water before you start handling your nether regions with your hands. If you’re at a music festival and your only access to anything that resembles a bathroom is a porta-potty, then make sure you wash your hands before you head inside to clean your cup. If you’re heading into a porta-potty, remember to bring your water bottle with you from tip 1 to give your cup a rinse.

Tip #3: If you’re camping, dispose of your flow in a cathole

A cathole is when you dig a hole in the ground to dispose of organic waste and then bury the waste.  If you’re an avid outback camper, then this should be a no brainer. Dispose of the contents of The DivaCup just as you would if you went number 2. And yes, I’m talking about poop. Same rules as making a cat hole for your bowel movements apply here too. Check out this blog for really great step-by-step instructions on how and where to dig a cat hole.

Tip #4: Be prepared before you start your day

If you’re going to be at a music festival all day, or hiking for hours, be sure to prepare prior to heading out. In other words, before you head out for the day, make sure that you wash your cup at your hostel, hotel, campground, etc. This will ensure that your cup is empty and ready to go for a full day’s worth of activities and flow.

DivaWash and The DivaCup

Tip #5: Don’t forget about soap!

So this one is a bit tricky because it will depend on your situation and how long (how many hours/days) you will go without being able to access clean, running water. In other words, if you are at a music festival, chances are you will eventually head back to a hostel, hotel, campground, somewhere with access to a bathroom, at the end of each day. You can just rinse your cup at the festival with the clean, safe to drink water you packed (recall tip #1) and no soap. Then, when you return to your hostel, hotel, camp site, clean your cup with clean water and DivaWash or a mild, oil-free and fragrance-free soap.

If you are camping or backpacking, you may be stuck without potable, running water for days and so you won’t be able to wait to clean The DivaCup with soap. In these cases, make sure that when packing your water bottle that you will use to clean The DivaCup, that you also pack some soap. DivaWash is great for travelling because it can double as a body wash, face wash, and shaving gel, as well as a wash for your cup. But any oil-free and fragrance-free soap will do. Use this every time you empty the contents of your cup (2-3 per day depending on your flow) and rinse with safe-to-drink water from your water bottle.

Tip #6: Don’t forget to pack your Diva cotton draw-string pouch!

The cotton draw-string pouch that comes with The DivaCup is not only an adorable way to store your cup, it is also important for both maintaining the longevity of the cup and keeping it clean! Cotton is a breathable material, which creates the ideal environment for your cup to be kept in. The pouch is not easily substituted because not every material is breathable and this is important. So keep your pouch with you during your travels to keep your cup and your vagina happy!

So there it is Divas, with a little bit of prep work and some creativity, you’ll be travelling with your cup without a worry this summer! What are your best tips for travelling with The DivaCup?

Nina

 

 

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.

 

How to be a Summer Diva

Summer is a time for lazy beach days, carefree weekends at the cottage and soaking up the sun. But summer also means making sure you are prepared for those hot days to ensure you don’t get sunburnt or sick from the heat. We wanted to make sure that all of our Divas are equipped with the knowledge to have the safest, sunniest, most satisfying summer! Check out these tips we’ve put together so you can be a healthy, hydrated and happy summer Diva!

Stay Hydrated

Typically, summertime is hot. And dry. And that means that getting the right amount of hydration is important for your body to stay cool and healthy. Water is important and can help your body reduce water retention (i.e. bloating) and ease digestion during menstruation. However, water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated in the summer. Foods such as watermelon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, strawberries cucumber, tomato, and celery are all good options to incorporate into your diet during the summer to help keep your body hydrated. If you aren’t big on “eating your water”, try some hydrating smoothies or coconut water to ensure you are keeping your body cool and healthy!

Summer Diva Smoothie

Summer Period Care

Just because your period makes an appearance doesn’t mean that your summer should be put on hold. With The DivaCup, you can go anywhere without worry! If your period visits you at a music festival, camping or anywhere you don’t have the convenience of a bathroom, follow these simple steps for a no-hassle cleaning!

Step 1: Cleanse hands before removing the cup with hand sanitizer or wash well with mild soap and potable water.
Step 2: Remove cup and empty contents. Using a reusable bottle of water, rinse the cup. If you do not have access to water, simply wipe the cup clean with a tissue until you can next properly clean it.
Step 3: Reinsert The DivaCup and cleanse hands with hand sanitizer wash well with mild soap and potable water.

Unfortunately, cleaning the cup can sometimes be the least of your worries. PMS, cramps and bloating are a few culprits that can make summer periods a bummer. Try drinking some raspberry leaf tea over ice for a refreshing and yummy way to battle your summer period woes!

Dress Comfortable

Summer fashion makes way for adorable sundresses and swimsuits but there are some important tips to keep in mind when dressing for the weather. Try and avoid tight-fitting clothing as that may hold sweat close to the body causing sweat and grime build-up on the skin, which can lead to breakouts! Similar to changing out of tight fitting clothes, make sure you don’t spend all day in a wet bathing suit! This can create a perfect environment for yeast, and by extension yeast infections, to grow. Opt for cotton underwear when you’re not in your swimsuit as it is breathable and excellent for promoting ventilation and air flow.

But don’t worry! You can wear all the flowing sundresses, skirts and breezy shorts your heart desires!

Stay Cool and Protected

Sunburns and overheating are real dangers when the sun comes out, but there are many ways to make peace with the sunshine and enjoy your summer! The first is to make sure you ALWAYS wear sunscreen and reapply often throughout the day. Even if it’s a cloudy day, the sun’s rays can still penetrate the skin and burn you. Make sure to wear a hat and sunglasses and seek shade during the parts of the day when the sun is the strongest (10-2pm). If you don’t have air conditioning, be sure to invest in an indoor fan so you can stay cool indoors, especially while you sleep!

Stay Fit

Summer is a time where you want to feel your best which means that we are exercising more and enjoying more active lifestyles. Whether or not you are looking to get fit or have fun, there are many ways that you can stay fit in the summer without overheating! Try swimming laps in the pool or going on an evening run with a friend, or you could even visit a gym and take part in a class indoors if the sun is too hot outside.

Summer Essentials

Every Diva knows that there are some things you can’t be without in the summer. Here are some of our summer bag essentials:

Diva Summer EssentialsSunscreen
Sunglasses
The DivaCup & DivaWash
A reusable water bottle
A stylish beach hat
Comfortable sandals
Lip balm with SPF
A book or journal for lazy days by the pool
Ipod & headphones
A cute cover-up for the beach

What are some ways that you beat the heat or style yourself for summer? Chat with us at @TheDivaCup on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Some advice to girls…

Three-teens-rounded-corners_250.fwGrowing 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