A Swimmer’s Review of the DivaCup

Most swimmers have heard of tampons. A good portion of us uses them! Both during swimming and everyday life. But what about menstrual cups? While they’re still not used as frequently as tampons are, they’re gaining popularity. 

And with their healthy alternative to tampons, eco-friendly, and cost-effectiveness, it’s not hard to see why!

As a swimmer, menstrual cups offer an array of benefits. The most important being that you can train and compete in them with ease.

Want to know more? Keep on reading 🙂

DisclaimerThese are only my opinions, thoughts, and observations contained in this post. They are provided only for informational purposes and shouldn’t be used or considered as medical advice. I’m not a doctor or medical practitioner. I encourage you to speak with your doctor or health care provider if you have questions regarding swimming on your period.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase something through one of my links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please check out my disclosure page for more information.

Image of a pool in the background with a gradient of purple and light pink. White text reads: a swimmer's review of the diva cup, plus 7 tips and tricks for you.

What is a Menstrual Cup?

A menstrual cup is a safer alternative to tampons. They’re made of medical-grade silicone and are shaped like a bell to collect menstruation fluid instead of absorbing it as a tampon does.

Because a menstrual cup doesn’t use cotton and other fibers, they lessen the chance of Toxic Shock Syndrom (TSS). And most brands come in different sizes to accommodate a wide range of body types and menstrual flows. 

Due to the design and use of materials, menstruation cups can be worn for a longer period (ha) than a tampon. Lastly, menstruation cups can be washed and reused for multiple uses before needing to buy another cup 🙂

Healthy for my body and saves me money? Can you see why I like my cup over tampons?

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The DivaCup

The DivaCup is my go-to menstrual cup for swimming on my period. Or any day-to-day activity, really!

I’ve used the DivaCup for my periods since about 2018 and for the most part, I’m pretty satisfied! Yes, there was a learning curve for me as I switched from tampons to menstrual cups. 

And there are some frustrations at times.

But personally, I don’t want to go back if I can help it. It’s comfortable, cost-effective, eco-friendly, and 12-hour protection is fantastic. 

Let’s break down some of the pros and cons of the DivaCup. Along the way, I’ll give you some of the tips and tricks that I use for a better period with my menstrual cup. 🙂

Best Menstrual Cup for Swimming on your Period

DivaCup

The DivaCup comes in three different sizes to accommodate for various flows. It’s soft but still firm enough that there’s no worry about leaks.

Menstrual cups are safe to use in and out of the water, and are a safer alternative to tampons.

Why I Like the DivaCup

My Health

Toxic Shock Syndrom (TSS) is 100% real and 100% terrifying. As a swimmer, I try to watch my health and take care of my body as much as I can. Eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep.

Why should my period be any different?

The fact that menstrual cups reduce the risk of TSS is one of the many reasons I switched from tampons. DivaCup, in particular, is made from 100% medical-grade silicone and is BPA free. No plastics or chemicals!

12-Hour Protection

The DivaCup and most other menstrual cups can be worn for up to 12-hours. In comparison, a tampon should be changed at least every 4 to 8 hours. 

As a swimmer who trains and competes, having those extra hours means I don’t have to stop what I’m doing. Meets can be long and trying to wiggle out of a wet tech suit to put in a new tampon isn’t high on my list of favorite things.

With the DivaCup, I can last a whole meet without needing to change my product. This saves so much time for me. Not just in swimming but in my day-to-day life. Going on vacation with a DivaCup was life-changing, haha.

When you realize how little you need to pack for a meet or a trip, there’s something to be excited about! Now, I don’t have to worry if I have enough tampons with me. All I need is my menstrual cup and I’m good to go 😀

NOTE: The hours that you can wear a menstrual cup vary by your flow. When I’m bleeding heavier, I try to empty it before the 12-hour mark. Much like I would change out a tampon on heavy flow days.

Image of swimmers with a purple bar to the right. A white text back with black text reads: periods are natural and are nothing to feel ashamed about. Yes, they can be awful but you shouldn't let them stop you from chasing your dreams and doing what you love."

Eco-Friendly

While this list is in no particular order, being eco-friendly is one of my top 3 reasons to love my DivaCup. 

Because menstrual cups are made from silicone and not cotton/rayon, you can reuse them. Not just every period, but every day! 

This cuts back on the number of pads and tampons that an individual uses in their lifetime. During a single cycle, I might’ve gone through 6-10 tampons alone. That’s about 72-120 in a year.

Lets not even get into what that looks like in a lifetime! And those numbers are only for tampons. We’re not even counting in the number of pads/panty liners someone goes through. 

Pads and tampons create a huge amount of waste around the world. The plastic applicator for a tampon doesn’t decompose. And more often than not, it will make its way into the water.

Water is the building block of life. As a swimmer, the water is a second home to me. If switching to a DivaCup helps clean up the waters and environment, even by a bit, I’m A-okay with that.

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Cost-Effective

One of my other favorite things about the DivaCup? It’s cost-effective. 

Yes, it’s more expensive in the short-term. I admit that I had sticker shock when I got my DivaCup. And that was with a coupon! 

But looking back to the amount that I’ve saved on purchasing tampons and pads? It’s pretty much paid for itself. That’s because a single DivaCup can easily last you a year or longer. Provided you take care of it, this little menstrual cup will keep going. 

One and Done

When I’m traveling anywhere, I never have to worry about if I have enough tampons with me. My DivaCup lasts up to 12 hours and can be reused. So long as I have it with me (and it never leaves my swim bag), I never have to worry.

 Overall Period Experience

Despite their size (which I’ll touch on a bit later), menstrual cups are comfortable. I’ve never had any discomfort while wearing my DivaCup. I can train, compete, or go about my daily life and forget that it’s even there.

The material is firm enough that I don’t worry about the cup squeezing too easily and resulting in leaks. The firmness also makes removal a bit easier than other brands. At the same time, it’s still soft and malleable enough to fold and insert with ease. 

One other benefit I’ve found might not be the same for everyone. But I know some people, myself included, who have had less intense cramps while on their period. I’ve also found that my period runs shorter.

I don’t know if this happens to everyone or not. But personally, I’m 100% okay with having shorter and less painful periods!

Some Downsides of the DivaCup

While there are a fair number of good reasons to switch over to a menstrual cup, there are also some other things to consider before making that switch. Menstrual cups aren’t for everyone and I had my own doubts and struggles along the way.

Size

Phew, let’s talk menstrual cup size for a second. Raise your hand if you’ve looked at a menstrual cup and felt intimidated. Is your hand up? Cause mine is. 

Truthfully, when I got my DivaCup, the size scared the heck out of me. All the questions of ‘how is that going to fit?’ jumped to mind. Never mind that I know the vagina can stretch. It can stretch to fit a baby, for goodness sakes!

But that knowledge still doesn’t stop you from feeling anxious the first time. Much like you felt anxious the first time you used a tampon.

The good news is that yes, it will fit. 

Getting Personal with Your Body

This wasn’t an issue with me, but it can be for some. Truth time. Are you ready? You’re about to get real familiar with your body.

With a tampon, you have an applicator that helps insert the tampon into your vagina. A menstrual cup doesn’t have one. Just as a tampon has a string to help with removal. Again, the menstrual cup doesn’t have one.

I’m going to be frank because I don’t want you paying for a DivaCup (or another menstrual cup) without knowing this first. When it comes to inserting and removing, your fingers are going to go into your vagina. 

Usually, it’s just the tips of your finger as a menstrual cup sits low in your vagina. But for some, this is enough of a turn off to never consider it again.

And that’s okay! Being comfortable on your period is hard enough as is. Don’t force yourself to wear one if you’re not ready or comfortable. 

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Learning Curve

More honesty time. A menstrual cup is completely different from a tampon. They’re on different ends of the spectrum. And while that’s not a bad thing, it might not be a good thing for some people.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest differences is that a menstrual cup collects menstrual fluid. Whereas a tampon absorbs it. And one of the biggest things you’ll notice is the lack of an applicator for inserting and a string for removing.

The string on a tampon is like training wheels if you will. Menstrual cups take away the training wheels. It makes inserting and removing challenging when you’re used to your tampon. 

But many will quit or stop trying to use a menstrual cup because they can’t get it inserted. Or because once inserted, they couldn’t remove it easily. It’s frustrating, scary, and different than what you’re used to with a tampon.

And I know that there were times that I wanted to give up and just go back to the tampon. It seemed easier that way!

Now that I know some tricks for both inserting and removing, the process isn’t bad at all. It was just a learning curve for me. And it’ll probably be for you, too!

Mess

Periods are messy. I think we can all agree on that. While a menstrual cup is clean, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be messy at times.

I’ve found that waiting too long to empty my DivaCup during a heavy flow means I might have a mess on my hand. Literally, haha. 

When it comes time for removal, you’ll empty the collected fluids into the toilet. Yes, this means you’re actually pouring out blood, tissue, and other fluids. 

For some people, this can be a huge turnoff. If you don’t like dealing with the mess that comes with periods or bodily fluids, that’s okay! Everyone is different and there’s no shame in feeling uncomfortable with menstrual fluid.

7 Tips and Tricks to Using Your DivaCup

Still on the fence or want just a bit more advice? I’ve got you covered! In the years that I’ve worn my DivaCup, I’ve found certain tips and tricks to make the overall experience even better. 

Best Menstrual Cup for Swimming on your Period

DivaCup

The DivaCup comes in three different sizes to accommodate for various flows. It’s soft but still firm enough that there’s no worry about leaks.

Menstrual cups are safe to use in and out of the water, and are a safer alternative to tampons.

1. Relax

Ha, easier said than done, right? I’m so guilty of tensing up when I’m frustrated with my DivaCup. Stress and frustration though only make your muscles tense up more. And in turn, makes it more difficult to insert.

That said, try to relax. Breathe deep a few times and then try again. Relax the muscles in your legs and up through your shoulders. You probably won’t get it right the first time. Or even the second time!

The key though is to keep trying and try not to let yourself get frustrated. 

2. Inserting

DivaCup has two suggestions for insertion: the U-Fold or the Push-down Fold. Personally, I use the U-Fold, but I know several of my teammates prefer the Push-down Fold. I keep meaning to tell myself that I’ll try it next cycle, but old habits are hard to break!

For me, I had more trouble inserting my DivaCup than removing. And that’s because I kept trying to use one hand. You’ll need two hands to insert your DivaCup. 

One to hold the cup itself. And the other to separate your labia.

TMI time.

I’ve found that once I have the DivaCup situated, I can use my free hand (not holding the cup) to help insert/guide my cup. While this will work for some, it might not work with others.

You’ll also find that a menstrual cup is easier to use when you’re bleeding more. If you’re dry, it’s a bit harder. Yeah, probably TMI, but if you don’t hear it, you might continue to struggle.

3. Rotating the Cup

Part of inserting your DivaCup includes rotating the cup itself to help form a seal. It’s tempting to skip this part because you’re just ready to be done at this point. But it’s important to follow through as this will help prevent leaks.

Once your cup is inserted, you’ll need to grasp the base and rotate the cup 360 degrees. Yes, this means you’ll need to slip the tips of your fingers into the entrance of your vagina.

I’ve found that it works best for me to rotate the cup after I insert my DivaCup. This way, I’m already in position and I already have a good grasp of my cup.

4. Removing

Removing your DivaCup the first time is nerve-wracking. There’s a constant fear when you first get one that you’ll never get it out. And that’s okay! It’s normal to feel anxious about that.

Just remember that:

  • You can’t lose your DivaCup. The vagina is a closed-circuit system 🙂 In that, it doesn’t connect to other parts of your body. So there’s no way you can lose it. Or a tampon!
  • Your vagina was designed to deliver babies. It’s strong and has muscles specifically built for pushing. 
  • You’ve got this!!

When you’re ready to remove your DivaCup, push with your pelvic floor muscles. Much like you would push when trying to deliver a baby.

But pushing is only half of the job. You’ll need to reach into your vagina and grasp the base of the cup with your fingers. Give the base a small pinch to help break the seal and pull down. 

I’ve found that still pushing while removing my DivaCup helps, too.

One final suggestion for removing. I recommend going to the bathroom first before trying to remove. It’s difficult to remove your DivaCup when you have to go to the bathroom at the same time.

5. Picking a Size

DivaCup offers three sizes (at the time of this writing) based on different stages in life.

While this is a great starting place, it’s not always accurate. For example, my teammate wears Model 1. But due to her flow and how it fits, she needed to switch to Model 2.

Conversely, I use a Model 2 and should probably use a Model 1 based on my flow.

That said, review the different sizes and look at DivaCup’s questionnaire. Talk with others who use a menstrual cup and see what works best for them. 

6. Cleaning and Storing

Before storing, make sure you wash your DivaCup with warm water and some soap. DivaCup recommends their DivaWash to help avoid an irritated vagina. 

Make sure you check that the stem and the 4 little holes at the top are cleaned out well. Menstrual fluids collect here and should be scrubbed clean.

Once washed, make sure you wash your hands, too! 

Your DivaCup comes with a cute little storage bag and it’s where you should store it. For me, I dry my DivaCup off first and then let it air dry overnight before storing it until next month. This way, I know for sure that’s it dry.

7. Training and Competition 

Much like you would keep tampons in your swim bag, you should keep your DivaCup in your bag, too. I still keep tampons on hand in the event a teammate needs one.

If you’ve inserted your DivaCup correctly, you won’t feel your cup at all. Not during training or competition. And that includes any dryland!

And unless you’re on a heavy flow and haven’t changed your cup recently, you don’t have to worry about leaks. As an added bonus, no tampon string means you never have to worry about it hanging out for everyone to see!

Related article:

When it comes time for competition, I keep my DivaCup in my bag. But if I need to change into a technical suit, I’ll keep my cup in the protective bag with my suit. This way, they’re always together when I need them.

Is it possible to train and swim competitively with a DivaCup? You bet!! I’ve been training and competing with one since 2018 and I’m so grateful I made the switch. The added time that I can wear my cup is a blessing.

All the other positives that come with it are just icing on the cake 😀

In Closing

You’ve made it to the end! Now all that’s left is deciding if a menstrual cup is right for you. If you’re still not convinced or have more questions, check out the DivaCup’s FAQ. They’re the experts 🙂

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you if a menstrual cup is right for you. That has to be your choice. But you’ll never know until you try. And even then, it might take a few tries to get truly comfortable with one.

That said, I hope you give it a chance or another try! I think you’ll find that it’ll better your period experience. And make swimming that much better.

As always, to happy swimming!

Chevron


Bonus Content:

Swimming on Your Period (And Why You Should): Whether you’re a competitive or leisure swimmer, it’s perfectly fine and normal to swim during your period.

Swimming on Your Period FAQ: Yes, you can swim on your period! From one menstruating swimmer to another, here are some frequently asked questions I get about swimming on your period.


Want to Improve at the Pool?

Join swimmers and swim parents to receive my free newsletter and receive a free Swimming Glossary e-book as a thanks!

Every month you’ll receive tips and coaching to help you find success at the pool.

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