I was putting off trying this product for the longest time.
I heard about it years ago, but it seemed, awkward, really strange and well – pretty icky.
I’m not going to lie, it is a bit of an awkward topic. Men will certainly want to stop reading right now! But, this is a product that has actually made long term travel for me, as a girl, cheaper and most importantly, easier.
It’s become my number 1 on my backpacking essentials list – and should be added to your packing checklist too.
I’ve been testing it out for a few months, and I’m ready to tell all of you ladies about it.
My Menstrual Cup Review
I posted about menstrual cups in a previous article, however I had never tried it myself. At the time a few of you commented that you also hadn’t tried it but were maybe interested in learning more about the product.
I put the thought out of my mind until I was housesitting for a woman a few months back in France, who said “do you use a menstrual cup? As a traveller it will change your life forever”. We chatted for ages about the pros and cons of using the menstrual cup (‘Cause seriously, I can’t talk to Tom about these things). Afterwards she had me convinced – I decided to throw myself in the deep end and give it a go.
What is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is a bell shaped, medical grade silicone cup. When placed correctly it creates a barrier in the vagina and collects the menstrual fluid. There are quite a few brands out there to choose from. They all seem to be offering a similar product.
Some of the major brands are:
I’m not going to go into details of placement and use, as this is something that is different for everyone and it’s best to read through the instructions to find what’s best for you.
All of the above mentioned websites have fantastic FAQ’s to help you with any ‘technical’ questions. It’s also a good idea to check out forums to see how everyday people have had success with the cups.
If you want to consider using the menstrual cup, please use one of the above links to check out the options.
How is the Menstrual Cup better than tampons or sanitary pads?
- The cups are made from medical grade silicone, so there are no nasty chemicals coming into contact with your lady bits. And there has not been a single case of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) reported with the use of this product.
- They are reusable. Which is not only great for the environment and keeping down waste, but it also means you will spend less money in the long run. In fact they have a lifespan of up to 10 years, but you need to make sure you take care of it. If it looks a bit worse for wear after a few years it’s best to replace it. Or it the dog you are housesitting for happens to break into your handbag and chew it to bits – it will certainly need replacing – just sayin’
- Tampons and pads are designed to absorb the fluid. The cup merely collects it. Absorption and drying out of the vagina has been said to be the cause of some stomach cramping in women. This is avoided with the menstrual cup – honestly, I have experienced less cramping since switching.
- You can use it for both light and heavy flow.
Did You Know:
- Every year in the US alone, aprox 20 billion tampons, pads, and applicators are sent to landfill. And many of these products take years to actually breakdown.
- It is said that the average woman will spend around $4 a month on menstrual products which adds up to around $1900 or more in a lifetime. This depends on the country you’re from and your particular flow etc. Also if you like to use all natural cotton products – that costs even more.
We’re talking about a lot of money being thrown away – literally.
Why is it great for travellers?
- You can keep the cup in for longer than tampons, without fear of leakage. In fact the makers say you can keep them in for 10-12 hours (depending on flow) without fear of leaks or TSS. So no need to be seeking out clean bathrooms across the planet, like you would with tampons or pads. You can wait until you get back to your hotel at night. Many women even prefer to empty the cup while in the shower so they can give the cup a good clean with water before reinserting.
- It takes up less space in your backpack. Just think. One, small silicone cup? Or a bag full of tampons, pads etc. I have wasted so much space carrying around these items, now I have a cup it fits neatly into our toiletry bag and takes up barely any space.
- It can stay in all night without leaking – you just need to clean it out first thing in the morning
- You can wear it while swimming, playing sports – anything really (but not while having sex, that’s a no no)
Some of the downers with the Menstrual Cup (it’s not really that bad – seriously)
- You have to be pretty comfortable with your body in order to use this. But just remember, tampons were weird at first too!
- It takes a bit of time to find the right ‘folding’ technique for you. In order to insert the cup it needs to be ‘folded’ in a way that will allow it to be easily inserted, but still open up and provide a barrier once inside. Once again read the instructions thoroughly to learn the correct techniques.
- The cup itself seems really huge and a little daunting at first. The thought “will that even fit” might cross your mind. But relax, it will fit. The cups come in 2 different sizes, and the one you choose will depend on your age and if you’ve ever had sex.
- Start doing some kegel exercises today. Being able to use your pelvic floor muscles efficiently will help in removal, but it can take some practice. The good news is ladies, knowing how to use these muscles is pretty handy anyway.
- If it’s not placed in properly there can be leakage. As I said before, it can take a couple of tries before you get the placement right. I read through every instructional book I could find online, and reviews from other users, to know what it feels like when it’s in properly – I highly recommend doing this also.
- You need to be in a place where you can sterilise the cup properly. Guidelines say that you need to boil the cup before and after your period. If you’re on a short trip this shouldn’t be a problem but long term travellers (especially those staying in hostels dorms etc) might find this difficult.
Personally, now I’ve changed permanently to the menstrual cup and I will never change back.
It’s great for the environment. It’s cost effective because it lasts for so long. You don’t have the hassle of having to find sanitary products in unfamiliar countries. It doesn’t take up much room in your backpack, unlike pads. And seriously, don’t get me started on applicator tampons – they take up so much precious space, for something that only happens once a month. As a bonus, for me it honestly has lessened my stomach cramps, to virtually non-existent.
Having a period while on the road is no longer a major issue or inconvenience. It’s allowed me to travel with confidence and enjoy every day I’m on the road, without the need of having to take my stupid period into consideration.
Although I was hesitant at first, I’m now one of the converted – and I’m not looking back.
Still not convinced? Maybe this Mooncup rap will help. Enjoy…
Interested in trying the menstrual cup?
Take a look at some of the best rated options available:
Would you use a menstrual cup? Tell us in the comments below?
Don’t keep this info to yourself! If you think other travellin’ ladies could benefit from this article please share.
Disclaimer: I am not sponsored by any of the companies mentioned above. I make a small commission on sales through Amazon on recommended products. Please consider supporting this blog by clicking any of the 4 links above. Thanks 🙂