There has been some recent concerns about the safety of menstrual products- the chemicals used to create the tampons and pads could possibly leech into the body. Some claim that those chemicals can cause anything from cancer to heavier periods. Then there are the concerns for TSS (toxic shock syndrome). Plus there are the environmental concerns with the disposal of said products. The Diva menstrual cup is made from medical grade silicone, so there would be no leeching of chemicals into the body, and there would be no addition to the landfill. Experts also say that you can't get TSS from a menstrual cup. The initial cost is approximately $30, which is more than you would spend on a box of tampons, but it would pay for itself within a couple cycles, and the cup is supposed to last 10+ years. Sign me up!!!
The Diva comes in two sizes: A (for AFTER vaginal childbirth or AFTER age 30) or B (for BEFORE childbirth or children). Since I have four kids, I got size A. I was really excited to be environmentally friendly and healthy to my body, and to save gobs of money and space.
The learning curve to insertion is pretty steep. You either insert it right, or so, so wrong. There's lots of websites devoted to proper insertion and folding, so I won't go into it now, except that to say it takes some practice. A disposable tampon with applicator is definitely easier until you get the hang of it. i have never used an non-applicator tampon, so I can't compare to that.
The first time wearing the diva, I found the stem to be incredibly uncomfortable. The company said if you cut off the entire stem, the warranty was void, but I didn't care. I cut the whole stem off and it was much, much better.
Once I got the hang of inserting it correctly, I usually liked it a lot. Sometimes it would go right in, and feel great, and other times it just never felt quite right. The nice thing is that once it's in right, it will not leak, no matter how heavy your cycle is. You can go up to 12 hours between emptying the cup, depending on how heavy your cycle is. Considering it holds up to an oz of liquid, and the average woman only menstruates 1-2 oz TOTAL each cycle, it's a very large capacity. Because it's so high, you can quite easily avoid public restroom changes. As an interesting side note, it has oz. lines on the side so you can measure just how heavy your cycle is.
When it does come time to empty the cup, you gently squeeze the base and pull the cup out and dump the contents into the toilet. It comes out as easily and quickly as a tampon. You then rinse out with water and reinsert. If you do happen to be in a public bathroom, you can just wipe out the cup with toilet paper and reinsert. The public restroom aspect is really overblown in critical reviews of the cup.
The biggest two cons for me are: Sometimes it SEEMS to be inserted properly, but just doesn't feel right. It can take a couple of tries to get it right, and it can take up to three cycles to really get the hang of it. The other con is that it almost seems too long for me. There are a dozen or so different brands of menstrual cups, and the Diva is the longest of the bunch. One of these days I will try a different brand and see if the length on one of those is better. Even though I complain about the length of a diva, when you compare it to a tampon that is wet with water, they are similar lengths.
Even though I don't use it exclusively, I pretty quickly had it pay for itself. I definitely prefer it on the really heavy days because it is much better at not leaking than a tampon.