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You proudly purchased your DivaCup and are now excitedly waiting for your period to arrive. When it arrives, you’ll open up the box, take out your new DivaCup and be one step closer to period bliss. That’s our hope anyways.
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’s really okay. In fact, it’s a very common experience. Unlike tampons, the DivaCup is inserted differently and can be an intimate new experience with your vagina.
We connected with our Consumer Experience Team — the real menstrual cup gurus, to find out what advice they’d offer to first time users.
How To Insert a Menstrual Cup
Read the User Guide
First things first, read the User Guide. While you might be able to get away with putting together your new closet organizer without reading the instruction manual, the DivaCup User Guide is one you don’t want to ignore. It not only shows you how to insert and remove the DivaCup, but does so in a step-by-step manner for first time users.
Use Only During Menstruation
Many users are so excited to try the cup that they decide to try it while not on their cycle. This is a bad idea for a number of reasons.
The cup is designed to be used during menstruation, meaning a key element of success is menstrual flow. If you inserted your cup when you’re not menstruating, the vaginal canal will be less lubricated and the cup will not glide in as easily. This can be uncomfortable, the cup may not properly open, and it can be more challenging to remove — overall a very unpleasant experience.
Relax Your Body
For many first time users, inserting the DivaCup can be tough because it’s new and different. Add tense muscles to the mix and insertion can feel impossible. Tense muscles can make insertion uncomfortable, the cup might not open to create a seal or it might get inserted at the wrong angle.
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 your cup, your muscles may tense up.
To relax your pelvic floor muscles, take a deep belly breath in, and then breathe out while consciously envisioning relaxing your muscles. This is 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. Standing with one leg up on the tub may also help to relax the muscles.
A pelvic health physiotherapist specializes in the pelvis and its muscles. If you are struggling to relax the muscles of your pelvic floor, they can help you access these muscles and work through this tension. It may be the strength of these muscles. Some users may instead experience difficulty as a result of weak muscles.
Angle Your Cup Correctly
When you’re learning how to insert a menstrual cup, they recommend you insert it horizontally. But what does that mean?
Before trying the DivaCup, be sure to thoroughly wash your cup (and hands) with warm water and DivaWash or a mild, unscented, oil-free soap. If you have longer nails, you might choose to wear a glove to avoid scratching yourself.
The DivaCup is inserted horizontally, toward your tailbone. For example, take your cup and place it on its side on a flat surface, like a chair. Slide the cup back towards the back of the chair – this is a horizontal motion.
When you insert the cup horizontally, you should feel it slide into place at the base of the vaginal canal and open up, once rotated. If you find the cup is moving up the canal, it is most likely not fully open.
While inserting, pay close attention to your wrist on the hand that is holding the cup. Be sure that as you insert, you are not tilting your wrist upwards, but rather it is staying straight. If you tilt your wrist as you insert, the cup will insert upwards, rather than horizontally.
We also recommend trying the “push down” fold first. When the cup is folded down to the size of a tampon, the cup can glide in, open up, and find the proper positioning near the vaginal opening easily.
Be Careful Using Lubricants
Although it may seem like a good idea, we don’t recommend using most lubricants to insert your DivaCup. Ingredients used in many lubricants may compromise the integrity of the 100% medical grade silicone, as well as natural vaginal pH. As the DivaCup sits in place for up to 12 hours at a time, the lubricant will remain in the vaginal canal for that time and may cause irritation.
An easy tip for helping with insertion is to wet your cup with warm water. Warm water, combined with the lubrication of menstrual fluid, should help the cup slide in easier.
Rotating Your Cup
The DivaCup needs to be rotated a full 360 degrees to ensure that it is properly sealed in place. Although you may feel the DivaCup open as you insert it, it does not necessarily mean that it has opened all the way. Oftentimes it may feel as if it’s open, but if you feel around the cup, you’ll notice there is still a part of it that is folded in.
Once inserted (but before rotating), slide your finger around the outside of the cup, between it and the vaginal wall, pressing gently on the sides of the cup. This should help the cup unfold fully, creating a seal and making rotating your cup easier.
If the cup is not fully open, the cup can move up during wear making removal more difficult.
Because the vaginal canal is only about 3-4 inches long, the DivaCup will not get lost inside of you. When positioned properly, the stem should sit about a half inch in the canal, with the labia covering the stem.
If your cup was not angled correctly or fully opened at the base of the vaginal canal, removal may take a bit longer than a few seconds. Similar to insertion, the key to success with removal is to relax your muscles. Because the vaginal muscles hold the cup in place, having them tense can make removal difficult.
Take a few deep belly breaths to relax your body. 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 deep breaths and put your foot up on the side of the bathtub before trying again. A hot shower 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 the base, not the stem of the cup. Once you have a good grip on the base with your thumb and finger, squeeze the cup gently, and move it from side to side to release the seal and gently remove it.
Clean Your DivaCup Regularly
Remember to clean your DivaCup every 10-12 hours with warm water and DivaWash. Ensure the four holes around the rim are clear so that they can create a proper seal and prevent leaks.
While there are many cleansing products on the market, using DivaWash, or a mild, unscented oil-free soap, is your best option to protect the 100% medical grade silicone of your cup, as well as your sensitive vaginal ecosystem. Read here for a list of ingredients to avoid when cleansing your cup.
Try It First During the Day
We recommend trying your DivaCup for the first time during the day. We do not recommend trying the cup for the first time overnight. The reason being that when we sleep our muscles often relax and if the cup is not positioned correctly, it can move up. Once you have mastered insertion, wearing the cup at night is bliss — clean sheets on day 1 of your period kind of bliss.
Consumer Experience Support
Our Consumer Experience Team is always available during the day to answer your questions or address any concerns. Connect with our team online via Contact Us.
While this is a lot of information to take in, trust us, these tips will come in handy when your period arrives and you can try out your DivaCup for the first time. It’s going to be life-changing.