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 Support 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.
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.
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.
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 Support 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 [email protected], 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.