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So there’s one thing about traveling while female that can be a real downer—your period. Am I right?
There have been so many times that I’ve planned a fun trip, not thinking to count the days, then Boom! Trip week arrives at the exact same time as my flow. Sucktastic. Besides the fact that I get debilitating cramps, bleeding while on vacation is just a dang pain (pun intended.)
It’s a mess. You have to remember to pack adequate supplies, and you have to constantly keep finding a bathroom. Then there is the possibility of leaking everywhere. A period during travel is super, super lame.
But it doesn’t have to be so incredibly awful. Not after you start using a menstrual cup.
- It’s Life-Changing…
- What is a Menstrual Cup?
- Why is a Menstrual Cup Good for Travel?
- All the Things You Wanted to Know About a Menstrual Cup but Were Afraid to Ask
I know there are a ton of jokes circling the internet about how menstrual cup users are part of a cult. I’ve also heard that cup users are contractually obligated to say its life-changing…but…it’s life-changing.
Seriously, it is the best thing for travel periods (and home periods actually.) Plus, it is a more sustainable way to deal with that time of the month. So, bonus, right?
Using a menstrual cup also cuts down on your overall period costs which means more money for traveling.
What is a Menstrual Cup?
A menstrual cup is a reusable feminine hygiene product generally made of silicone. It is flexible and funnel-shaped, and it sits inside your vagina to collect all the blood and tissue from your period. It can hold a lot more blood than a tampon which is why you can wear it for up to 12 hours without needing to dump it.
The Dutchess Cup comes in two sizes—I use the small. I don’t know exactly how different the sizes are, but I’ve been told that the larger one is better for those with heavy flows or who have already had kids. But small works for me, and I can check both of those boxes…except my kids were C-sections, does that make a difference?
They also come in a variety of colors because that makes your period more fun. Or whatever. You can find plenty of menstrual cup brands on Amazon.
Why is a Menstrual Cup Good for Travel?
Well, number one is the convenience factor. You only have to change it every 12 hours and it is very comfortable. You can rock your white shorts and not have to worry about it, and it won’t take up a bunch of space in your luggage. Plus, if you are overseas, you won’t have to worry about the stores not carrying your preferred brand of pads or tampons.
Also, as I mentioned before it is more sustainable. You won’t be tossing out a bunch of packaging and used feminine hygiene products. This can be a key factor for making the switch for a lot of people, especially if you like to camp and hike when you are exploring the world.
All you have to do is dump the blood, give it a wash, and reinsert. Boom. All day and all night coverage. Time to ditch the tampons, don’t you think? My menstrual cup is definitely one of my travel essentials.
All the Things You Wanted to Know About a Menstrual Cup but Were Afraid to Ask
Before I made the switch, I was checking out all of the articles I could find on the product, but they weren’t really answering the questions that I had. Finally, I found out that a friend used one, a friend I can speak candidly with, so I was able to ask those questions.
I’m going to be your candid friend.
Is it gross?
Things can get a little messy when putting it in, and your hand will get a bit bloody.
When inserting, you fold the cup up nearly in half, and then you put it in using a method similar to inserting a tampon that doesn’t have an applicator.
Once inside, you have to give it a little twist to create a seal and keep it from leaking. All of that maneuvering can and will leave you a little messy, but it isn’t anything washing your hands won’t fix.
Will it fall out?
I’m not going to lie, the first day I tried it, I was walking around very…clenched.
But there was no reason to be worried. Your menstrual cup isn’t going to slide out or anything. I have noticed that it can shift a little, especially overnight, but it definitely doesn’t fall out and the shifting isn’t enough to leak.
Can you lose it up there?
While it may shift around a bit, as I mentioned above, it doesn’t disappear into your womb or anything. Also, the videos made it seem like it gets placed way farther inside your body—like forearm deep—than it actually does. It isn’t much different than removing a tampon that had a very short string.
You do need to go in for it, but it isn’t like a treasure hunt or anything.
Can you swim while using a menstrual cup?
Feel free to do all of your normal traveling activities while wearing your cup.
Can you have sex?
Uh…I don’t know.
I’ve heard that some people have, but I personally think it would be in the way. But I can’t speak from personal experience at this time. Or in the foreseeable future (I have no intention of trying.)
What about Toxic Shock Syndrome?
If your sex ed classes were anything like mine, TSS was touted as this huge and scary problem associated with tampons. I worried about it every single period during my middle school years. According to health.com, the risk of toxic shock syndrome is minimal, “There’s a possibility of developing toxic shock syndrome, but the risk of TSS is 1 in 100,000.”
Menstrual cups don’t eliminate the risk, however. If it is something that you are worried about, you can empty your cup at four or six-hour intervals instead just like they recommend when using a tampon.
How do you clean a menstrual cup?
The official cleaning rules from Diva Cup say to boil it before your initial use, wash your hands before inserting, don’t use any cleaners or vinegar on it, don’t put it in the dishwasher, and buy a new one after a yeast infection.
I boiled mine before using it the very first time, and I boil it in between each period. During my period, I give it a good rinse after dumping. Luckily, my bathtub is right next to my toilet so rinsing it is very easy while at home. I’ve been careful about timing to avoid having to change it in a public restroom, but rinsing in a hotel room is no problem while traveling.
I read somewhere that you should only rinse in potable water which is something to keep in mind if you are traveling to places with undrinkable water.
Let’s talk about boiling for a minute. I feel uncomfortable boiling my cup in a pot that is also used for cooking. Logically, I know there is no issue. The pot would go in the dishwasher and there is no way that any period residue would end up in my ramen noodles or whatever. But…
My friend has a menstrual cup boiling pot that she picked up at Goodwill for a couple of bucks. Its only job is to boil the cup once per month. I don’t have a spot to store an extra pot, so I have a menstrual cup coffee cup that stays in my bathroom vanity. The boiling water gets poured into the coffee cup so that the pot never gets tainted (but I still wash the pot after boiling even though it never even comes in contact with the cup. I probably have issues.)
So, those are all the questions that I can remember having before switching to the cup. I hope you found the answers you were searching for here too. Oh, and did I mention…it will change your life? 😉
Did you have a question that I didn’t answer? Feel free to ask in the comments below!