Should You Use a Diva Cup?

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Carpino, Italy

Dear Male Readers of Adventurous Kate: I love you, I appreciate you, you make up one third of my audience, but while I know you enjoy many of my female-oriented posts, today’s post is not going to be enjoyable for you.

If you’re a dude, I suggest you catch up on a hilarious vintage post instead: like the night I crashed Vanilla Ice’s stage or when I was an extra in a really bad German movie or pretty much anything on the newly redone Best of the Blog page.

Really. Today’s post is not for you. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you Monday.

It all began with a conversation I had last night while at dinner with my friends Beth and Gayle. Gayle was talking about her upcoming speaking engagement.

Kate: “That’s great. The more you speak, the more they’ll ask you to speak, and then you’ll start getting paid to speak.”

Gayle: “Do you get paid to speak?”

Kate: “Sometimes.”

Beth: “Did you get paid to speak at the Women in Travel Summit?”

Kate: “No, but I got a round-trip flight from Guatemala and a hotel room and some swag. And a DivaCup.”

Beth and Gayle: “What’s a Diva Cup?”

Kate: “You’ve never heard of the DivaCup?”

Beth and Gayle: “No.”

Kate: “It’s a reusable silicone menstrual cup. It’s awesome. It saves you so much money.”

Beth and Gayle: “….”

Kate: “It’s great! Seriously! It’s perfect for travel, great for the environment, and you’ll never have to buy tampons again!”

Beth and Gayle: “….”

Kate: “And you get used to it. It feels like nothing.”

Beth: “Do you have it with you?”

Kate: “Um, yes. Inside me.”

And so began a long, in-depth conversation about menstrual cups and why they rock. We had such a great talk, I decided that it’s finally time I talk about the Diva Cup.

Diva Cup

First things first: this post isn’t a paid advertorial — this is just a product that I use and like very much. I’ve been a Diva Cup user for nearly five years now. I started right before quitting my job to travel the world in 2010 and have been using one ever since.

Though, in the interest of full disclosure, I did receive a complimentary Diva Cup in my swag bag at the Women in Travel Summit. Nobody asked me for a review; nobody is expecting a review; I haven’t been compensated; I’ve never even spoken to anyone at their company.

San Blas Bay, Gozo, Malta

Why should I use a menstrual cup?

There are lots of benefits to using a silicone menstrual cup, whether a Diva Cup or another kind, both as a woman and as a traveler.

1) It saves you tons of money.

If you care for a Diva Cup properly, it can last for years. How much money will you spend on tampons and pads in that time? At least quintuple what you’d pay for a Diva Cup, and that’s if you’re being super-economical.

2) It’s good for the environment.

Think of how many tampons and pads you use in a year. Imagine a giant pile. Imagine women all over the world with equal amounts of trash. Now imagine if that waste never existed.

3) No more packing tons and tons of tampons.

Not to mention tampons of different absorbencies. Just one cup in its little bag and you’re good to go.

4) You won’t have to worry about finding tampons in a foreign country.

No more last-minute Googling to find out whether you’ll need to stock up on a large box before arriving in Sri Lanka, or Laos, or Nicaragua.

5) You can wear a cup for longer than you can wear tampons.

Menstrual cups hold a lot more liquid than a standard tampon does. Most tampon manufacturers recommend wearing tampons for a maximum of eight hours, while you can wear a menstrual cup for 12. You can also insert it ahead of time when you’re expecting your period to start.

Which brings us to our next item…

6) Zero risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Toxic Shock Syndrome is a potentially deadly disease that can result from wearing tampons for too long, but it’s not a factor with a menstrual cup.

7) No excessive dryness before sex.

If you are your partner have sex during your period, you’ll be dryer than the Sahara when you pull your tampon out. Using a menstrual cup keeps things slippery in all the right places.

Myoli Beach, Sedgefield

Isn’t it gross?

Not really. Whether you use tampons or pads, you’ve been dealing with your period for a long time and you know what it looks like.

Is it difficult to insert?

I won’t lie — it takes a little getting used to at first. It will take several tries before you get into a rhythm, so please don’t be discouraged in the beginning.

Because your first few tries will be hit or miss, I recommend wearing a panty liner the first few times you try a cup.

How to Fold a Diva Cup

How do you insert a Diva Cup?

Take the cup, pinch the edges together, and fold it in half until it resembles a U, as pictured above. Insert the cup inside yourself as far as it will go, let go of the edges, and rotate it in a circle until it unfolds into its normal shape. This rotation forms a seal.

If you’ve pushed it in far enough, you won’t feel it, just like a tampon.

How often do you change a menstrual cup?

You can wear a menstrual cup for up to 12 hours, which is nice — you only need to change it twice a day. I change it once at night and once in the morning.

How do you take out a Diva Cup?

Reach in, pinch the bottom of the cup gently, and pull it out. Pour the blood in the toilet, clean yourself up, and wash the cup.

You can wash the cup with gentle soap like Dove or buy a bottle of Diva Wash, which is specially formulated for the Diva Cup.

Do menstrual cups leak?

If worn correctly, menstrual cups don’t leak more than a tampon, which is rarely. I do recommend, however, that you wear a panty liner with it at first, just in case it takes a few tries before you’re inserting it correctly.

Can you wear a Diva Cup or other menstrual cup while swimming?

Absolutely. And you can exercise, take baths, hike, or do anything else that you would do ordinarily.

Can you wear a Diva Cup during sex?

I won’t say that it’s impossible, but I would highly discourage wearing a DivaCup during sex due to the nozzle on the end.

Do you need to get sized for the Diva Cup?

No. It comes in two sizes: Model 1 is for women who haven’t given birth, Model 2 is for women who have given birth.

Are there other brands besides Diva Cup?

Yes, there are! Moon Cup, Lunette, and Dutchess Cup are some of the other brands.

I can’t speak to their efficacy, as I’ve only used the DivaCup.

Where can I buy a Diva Cup for cheap?

It’s cheapest on Amazon. $27.99 for Model 1, $28.64 for Model 2.

The Takeaway

The Diva Cup revolutionized how I handle my period during my travels, saving me quite a bit of money and helping the environment in the process. I highly encourage all female travelers to give it a try.

This is not an advertisement and I was not compensated for this post — I just love my Diva Cup and wanted to write about it. However, this post does contain affiliate links. If you choose to buy through these links, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, which will help reduce the increasing costs of running this site. Thanks!

Have you ever used a menstrual cup? If not, would you try one? Share away!

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128 thoughts on “Should You Use a Diva Cup?”

  1. Yes for all the reasons above, but especially: it saves SO MUCH SPACE when packing. When you’re living out of suitcases and moving to a different country every year, even that little bit of space that would normally go to a couple boxes of tampons becomes valuable real estate.

  2. YES, I love my menstrual cup. I’ve been preaching it for almost two years now, don’t know why girls get so freaked out about it. now the thought of a tampon really weirds me out, you just realize how WRONG a tampon is for your period anyway.

  3. Sorry, but it’s definitely not for me! My best solution is not to have periods at all- I had an implant fitted three years ago, and haven’t had one since! I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s so nice not having to worry about cramps or leaking (even if it is rare). And of course, it’s nice to know that I’m covered on the pregnancy front too! So much more room in my luggage now it’s not full of tampons and months’ worth of birth control pills. Perhaps not practical if you have to pay for birth control (I imagine it’s pricey), but great for Brits and anyone else who gets it free.

      1. It’s called Implanon. They have to make a small cut into your arm to insert it (although they numb it first so you won’t feel it). But my doctor told me that most women don’t have periods when using it, it lasts 3 years, and has a 99.95% success rate for preventing pregnancy as well. To me- it is a miracle!

        If you’re put off by the idea of having the implant inserted, Cerazette (pill) and the Mirena coil are meant to have a similar period-blocking effect, because they use the same/similar hormones. Cerazette definitely stopped my periods, but I haven’t tried the coil.

        1. Hey Jo, I’m super interested in getting the implanon for all the reasons you mentioned! I’m just worried about the side effects; have you noticed any?

          1. Hey Ali, I’ll pipe in here. I’ve had Implanon for almost a year. My side effects have included some weight gain (which has happened whenever I’ve switched birth control) and a change to oily/acne prone skin for the first time in my life. Definitely not ideal, but I really, really like that there’s option for user error to decrease the effectiveness (vs with pills, condoms, etc.), never getting my period, and not having to deal with taking a pill every day.

          2. Just wanted to hop in here – my friend had it for several months and just got it taken out because she had SEVERE hormonal reactions. She said she didn’t feel like herself the entire time she had it implanted, and apparently for some women who already have a predisposition to anxiety or depression it can really worsen these feelings. Just another possible angle! If you’re talking to your doc about this though he/she should warn you of this potential reaction so it would just be another possible side effect. All depends on each individual person. 🙂

    1. Hey, that’s totally cool. But I would FREAK OUT if I never got my period (and take pregnancy tests a LOT). I’ve done various forms of hormonal birth control in my early twenties and they all messed with my emotions; I’m personally against hormonal birth control, not least because we don’t know all the repercussions.

      Were you told that you wouldn’t have your period with an implant, or was that an unexpected side effect?

      1. Only some women stop having periods altogether. I have an implant (is amazing, you can just forget about it) but still have periods. Also a huge fan of my moon cup and thought this post was great Kate.

      2. I was told the majority of women don’t have periods on the implant. It’s the same for most hormonal birth controls, even the pill if you take one without a break.

        The implant has a 0.05% failure rate (both perfect use and in practice) compared to condoms which fail 2% of the time even if you use them correctly. For me, having almost perfect protection is worth more than a less foolproof method with the reassurance of periods. Especially when travelling long term, where even noticing that you missed a period doesn’t mean you can deal with an unwanted pregnancy immediately.

        If you don’t like hormonal birth control because it doesn’t suit you personally, then that’s obviously perfectly reasonable. However, I do object to your claims that ‘we don’t know the full repercussions’ of it. As a non-scientist with no in-depth knowledge of the topic, you are scaremongering by making statements like that. Which is a shame from you in particular, since you make your living telling other people not to believe the scare stories from people who don’t travel.

        1. Jo, we honestly *don’t* know the repercussions of birth control at this point in time, and it’s not scaremongering to say so. Just a few years ago, Yaz was the hottest new birth control pill. Now, you can’t turn on daytime TV without seeing commercials about class action lawsuits against Yaz. We simply don’t know.

          That goes for everything. Remember when the bottom of the food pyramid was all bread? Hell, remember when you could smoke in shopping malls? We are learning all the time about formerly innocuous behaviors that are actually harmful to your health. I honestly think in the next few years we’re going to learn that sugar is far worse for us than we think it is now.

          We don’t know everything. Admitting that is a wise thing to do.

    2. I just take continuous pills and no period for at least 5 years now (I had a horrible cramp issue and then heard about the no period possibility). In the USA, only about $18 a month for pills even when I had no insurance (look online for “drug discount card”).

    3. Implant may be great when you are using it but try to get rid of it… jajajaj it causes crazy hormonal imbalances, you can be ¨menstruating¨non stop or just randomly. Personaly I wouldn´t do any hormonal birth control, it´s so unnatural…

      I´m a proud menstrual cup user for over a decade, I can only recomend it for all women, it makes your periods pleasant, reduses or kills the pain (there are no official statistics but when you look up the info you will see that most of the girls who suffered with cramps admit that after switching to MC they disappeared) and you actually bleed less (did you know that tampon producers use a special ïngredient¨to make you bleed stronger?). MC changes the way you experience your period!

  4. Yes! I’ve been using mine since 2007 and I wouldn’t be parted with it (except for that time it fell into the bottomless pit of a bush toilet in Australia, but that’s another, distraught, story!).
    I freak at the idea of using tampons now, how gross are they!
    I have a Mooncup and it is perfect for travel on so many levels: tiny to carry, no sourcing tampons, environmentally awesome….
    I carry a couple of sterilising tablets to give it a thorough clean when I travel. To clean it on the go, I carry a small hotel soap in a mini body butter pot (you know the ones you get from Body Shop) with a toothbrush with the handle sawn off. I can give it a quick scrub even when there isn’t soap: I do a lot of camping, hiking etc.

  5. YES! Thank you for talking about this. I used a mooncup until I had my IUD fitted and loved it, I’ll wax lyrical to my lady friends and it’s nice to see people getting less ‘icky’ about it. To be honest plugging yourself up with cotton or catching the flow in your pants with plastic is way more gross IMO!

      1. I have the IUD fitted aswell – it is a tiny little device inserted into your uterus which stops your period by slowly releasing a hormone and has to be refitted every 5 years (can be done in your Drs office). It. Is. AMAZING.

      2. There are two types of IUD, I think with the hormonal one your period stops. I´m not sure if you can get both of them in the US, you should ask your gynecologist or do your research. You can also use a menstrual cup while having IUD inserted.

  6. I love my Diva Cup too! I’ve been using it for the past few years and it makes living overseas sooo much easier. I live in Venezuela and I almost never see pads and tampons on the shelf (not unusual since we can’t find milk, shampoo, or many other basic products too). It is so nice to know that I can just pack this little cup and be good to go!

    Someone mentioned an IUD, which I’m also thinking about using. Has anyone had any luck using the IUD form of birth control AND the Diva Cup?

    -Amanda at http://teachingwanderlust.com/

    1. I’ve read that they don’t recommend using the Diva cup with an IUD (though I’ve also read that many people do, without issues – as long as you release the suction before you start to remove the cup). I just got an IUD a month ago and have switched back to tampons for the time being (hoping my period goes away all together…) and I already miss the cup so much! I may try the cup again if my period doesn’t go away before my next long trip.

      The Diva Cup website says this: Please note the following when using The DivaCup with an internal birth control device such as an IUD or NuvaRing®.

      The DivaCup is worn low at the base of the vagina and away from the cervix. This means that it should not interfere with an internal birth control device. However, please use caution when using any internal feminine hygiene product with an IUD as there is the possibility that they can be dislodged. When using The DivaCup, it is important to carefully follow the directions in our User Guide, paying close attention to inserting The DivaCup low in the vaginal canal and breaking the seal (suction) before removal. Many of our customers use The DivaCup with an IUD or NuvaRing® simultaneously, but we recommend that you become familiar with your birth control device’s risks (such as the body expelling the IUD, etc.).

    2. Yep, IUD (copper coil – non hormonal type) user and Diva cup fan here. I find a non-hormonal IUD gives me heavier periods and more significant cramping, still worth it to me to not use hormones and deal with anxiety/acne/weight gain.

      Diva has helped somewhat with menstrual cramps, headaches and general bloating. I know it sounds crazy but being stuffed full of soggy cotton made me feel extra bloated and ‘gross’ .

      When combined, I’m pretty happy. I’m thinking about having kids in the next 3 years so I don’t want to take hormones that take months to work out of my system, I know some friends who have taken the pill long-ish term (10 – 15 years) have struggled to conceive and I’ve always wondered if the two things are linked.

  7. I have to admit that I have been super skeptical to try a Diva cup. the whole idea of it weirds me out. But after this I’m considering it. One question? What about in more remote locales? For example an overnight bus ride, you’d either be changing it in the bus bathroom or at a maybe not so nice, possibly no running water bus bathroom stop. Have you used it in these situations too? or is it more for on the beaten path travel?

    1. Honestly, I haven’t taken a bus lasting more than 12 hours since 2011 (that epic 30-hour bus from Vang Vieng to Hanoi). But if I had, I just would have changed it in one of the bathrooms at the rest stops and used a bottle of water and soap that I carried with me.

    2. Hey Megan I changed mine in a teeny bus toilet and in the middle of the Bolivian desert behind a rock. Just take a small bottle of water and I always carry travel handwash. Obviously overnight on a bus there’s not so much space but I found it fine.

    3. It also doesn’t hurt to simply empty it and wipe it with some tissue if you’re really in a pinch. I only recommend this when it’s really necessary because obviously it isn’t the most hygienic option.

    4. hey Megan, just thought I’d share some of my own experiences –

      I’ve been using menstrual cups for about 2 years now and tried 3 different ones -the Lunette, Victoria’s Love and Lily Cup Compact which you can see more details of here: http://theoccasionaltraveller.com/?s=menstrual+cup

      the one i like best (even though it is physically the largest) is the Victoria’s Love because it has a really convenient valve at the bottom so you don’t even have to remove the cup to empty it out. it’s really useful for long transits when you don’t have a nice toilet to change, and also because sometimes during heavy flow it gets a bit messy, especially when you’re first starting out. I try not to wear the cup for too long at one go usually, but in a pinch this is the most practical one for me!

    5. Diva Cups are awesome, admittedly I nearly gave up with mine but gave it one last try, I’m so glad I did as it’s so easy and convenient to use, way cheaper, and really discreet. I’ve changed mine in a portaloo before, which wasn’t that great but was possible, Occasionally when I’ve been hiking I haven’t been able to easily wash it out, but you can get away with emptying and reusing straight away, although it’s not ideal.

      Give it a go, get used to it first using it in easy places if possible, (like large toilets with washbasins, or the shower!) and give it a few tries, it takes a while to get used to inserting it and taking it out. Good Luck

      Gemma

  8. I have been hearing about the Diva Cup for a while now. Lately, it’s been popping up more for bicycle touring and long-term travel. I am so curious, but I’d be lying if I said I weren’t a little wishy washy. But you’re totally right! It’s no better than any other solution we’ve got! Thanks for the info. Maybe I’ll be brave soon. 🙂

  9. They seem good in theory, but I’m still not convinced. I considered getting one before setting off on our overland Eurasia trip, but didn’t. Over the past eight months I’ve visited so many “toilets” that were in such disgusting condition that I was glad I wasn’t reliant on needing things like soap, hand sanitiser, or clean water to remove/wash/reinsert a Mooncup/Diva Cup, because none of that was available. There are times when you’ve got little time, little privacy, little light, or are carrying a 12kg backpack that you can’t put down, and it’s way easier to change a pad or tampon in these situations. Tampons take up space but they’re an absolute necessity, and I’ve managed to find them in almost every country we’ve been to (for a price, of course).

    If I got one as a gift I’d give it a try, but for now I’m satisfied with lugging around a bag of tampons on the road.

    1. Exactly the same doubts I have! Plus I don’t think this small cup could last for me for 12 hours, because in the first days I have to change pads very often…so I would have to change also at work!

      1. I LOVED my Diva cup, no longer use because YIPPEE menopause. But I used to have a very heavy flow the first two days and the cup never leaked (once I got the hang of it – 3 periods to become expert). Then the only problem was forgetting it was in and having to get out of bed and reset. It is a wonderful alternative to pads and tampon which messed up my tender skin.

    2. Hey, fair play. 🙂 I’ve never had to change my DivaCup in a bathroom like that because I change it once in the morning and once at night, while at home. If I were on a multi-day train, I’d bring a bottle of water and a bit of soap with me to wash it that way.

    3. I hear what you’re saying, but wouldn’t the same be true for tampons? You still have to put your pack down, sterilise your hands etc. And I find you need to change a tampon far more often than emptying a mooncup.

  10. I’ve been using a diva cup for 6 years now, and I LOVE it. I think the only real trick (after you get used to it) is being able to find a toilet with a sink. I cannot manage the whole process without being in a bathroom that also has a sink… shared bathroom stalls in a public restroom is a no go for me and my diva cup.

  11. I’ve had my diva cup since 2003 and talk it up when I can. I feel back then there was more hesitancy in trying it compared to now. After so many years with it I can’t imagine regularly relying on evil tampons!

  12. I actually got a Mirena IUD before I moved to Australia (and when I was planning on extending my trip through Southeast Asia) because in addition to dealing with tampons/etc. on the road, I didn’t want to have to deal with getting the pill or worrying about birth control options on the road. That was five years ago, and I am SO grateful that I got it! Even though I’m now kind of eh about the hormone side of things (yoga teacher training heyo), I still think it was a really great way to put my mind at ease while traveling!

  13. I love the warning to your male audience. Lol.
    I remember being in university and a female classmate doing a five minute presentation on the Diva Cup to our male dominated business class. That girl was fearless and watching the males faces was priceless!
    Granted, I still haven’t tried the cup, but every time I travel it seems more and more practical. I must just have to give it a go! Thanks for the article!

    1. I remember we were once discussing it in one of the travel blogger groups on Facebook.

      This was pretty much the conversation:

      Female Blogger: “Hi everyone, will I be able to find tampons in Brazil?”

      Me: “Girl, get a Diva Cup! You’ll never have to buy tampons again!”

      Male Travel Blogger: “What’s a Diva Cup?”

      Male Travel Blogger, ten minutes later: “Well, I learned something today.”

  14. Brilliant post, I’ve been working on a similar one myself! I’ve been a Mooncup user for a few years now. I genuinely can’t imagine travelling without it, and think they are the future of menstruation. The dry pull of a tampon is something I never ever want to feel again and never will! Admittedly the first couple of times I used it, it was a bit weird, but I was pretty much immediately a total convert. I would recommend one to anyone, especially travellers! 🙂

  15. Awesome! I’m so glad you posted this! I started using a cup in 2012 and I absolutely love it! It’s so awesome to hear that my favorite blogger uses one too!

    One thing that you kind of mentioned but I think needs to be emphasized:
    There are many different brands and types of menstrual cups.

    There are disposable ones that can be worn during sex (SoftCups), ones made of medical grade silicone (Lunette, DivaCup, SckoonCup…), and some old-school ones made of rubber (the Keeper). I suggest if anyone’s interested in getting a cup, they do a lot of research first. I did about a month and a half of research before deciding on Lunette.

  16. I love my Diva Cup and have been using it for months!

    But one thing I wonder, when changing it when travelling, do you end up in awkward situations in shared bathrooms? Most hostels I’ve stayed at have stalls and shared sinks and I would assume it would be weird to start washing out your cup next to a bunch of strangers washing their hands.

    1. I personally never have, Madison. Then I’ve always ended up being the only person in the shared bathroom when it’s time to clean it, or I’ve cleaned it in the shower.

  17. Awesome post! I’ve had the implant for the last few years too, so no periods but as soon as I come off, the diva cup will be my first purchase!

  18. I have read about this one before, I think it was Shannon from A Little Adrift who wrote about it. But I have to say, as convenient as it sounds, I just don’t think I could get myself to use one.

  19. I think that anything that is good for the environment should be seriously considered. Today I read about a movement to provide sanitary towels to UK homeless women. They should definitely consider this alternative!

  20. Yes! I use a Mooncup and I must admit I’m only a very recent convert (literally one period in!!) but I LOVE it! I kept telling my boyfriend how amazing it was. Truth. I feel ridiculous because I bought it a year ago and it sat unopened on my shelf for all that time. After being bollocked by my friends for being such a wuss, I gave it a go and immediately regretted not doing it earlier.

    I remember menstrual cups being discussed on the “Women Travellers” section of the Lonely Planet Thorntree Forum many years ago, at which time it seemed like something only mad hippies would use, and I simply wasn’t convinced. How things change over the course of a decade! I’m SO glad that it’s becoming more mainstream and only wish I’d listened to those mad hippies, all those years ago . . .

  21. You ladies seriously have me thinking about this again. I have a weird question for all your Diva Cup users. I’ve never actually been able to use tampons. I think I must curve weirdly or something. I could never get one inserted properly all the way. Has anyone who’s not been able to use tampoons BEEN able to use a Diva Cup?

    1. I’m pretty sure the Diva Cup is designed to sit lower than tampons traditionally do, so that might help! Also – I’ve heard several times that the Moon Cup is a little shorter and opens more easily than the Diva Cup, so that could make a difference. There’s definitely a bit of a learning curve involved, but I think it’s worth it!

  22. Love the Diva Cup!!! I’ve been using mine for the past 4 years and don’t ever want to go back! I know so many people that think its gross, but have never tried it. More women should definitely try it out. Great write up!

  23. I got the Lily Cup Compact a little while back and I love it. I was getting really angry over how much money I was spending on tampons and I was very lazy when it came to changing them! Not safe at all! I love that I only have to deal with my period twice a day now–once in the morning and then it is out of mind till bedtime. As a swim instructor, I prefer the cup over the tampon while swimming. It just feels so much more hygienic (not to mention, no string). I’ve heard that the compact version is tough for beginners, but I’m getting the hang of it! Now I have a box of tampons that are gathering dust 🙂

  24. About menstruation, I’m happy to be able to say “Been there. Finished with that,” but if I were still dealing with “the curse” (as some have referred to it), I’d definitely go with a cup device. Back in the day (before HIV), we used to use diaphragms for birth control. The insertion method and principle (barrier method) are the same, so if your grandmothers could use a diaphram, your generations can learn to use a Diva cup device instead of tampons. Sounds like a great idea.

  25. I’ve been using a mooncup for for 3 or 4 years. I never rinse it even – except at the beginning and the end of my cycle. In out in out. I need to wash hands but some discreet wipes can take care of that if no toilet facilities available.

  26. I also can’t say enough about the Mirena IUD. I had one implanted after the birth of a child. 5 years later we decided against having more children so I got a new Mirena implant. I haven’t had a period in 7 years and can’t explain how freeing and wonderful it is to never have to worry about Aunt Flo and feminine products ever again.

  27. Like “male travel blogger” I learned something today. Sorry, I know you said your male readers shouldn’t read today’s post but you had me curious on what the post is about. There’s always something new to learn. Maybe one day I’ll be “male travel blogger” in a conversation and I can tell the “female travel blogger” and kie something they don’t know. *smile*

  28. I just had my 2nd Mirena removed… Did not have a period in 9 years, but I felt like I had enough of the hormones and want to give my body a break. Plus, I am having some issues and wanted to see if Mirena contributed to them… Anyways I am still waiting for my first period after the Mirena removal( they said it could take up to 6 months) but I am definately buying one of these!!! Thank you 🙂

  29. I’ve heard about the diva cup, and in some uncanny way it has always freaked me out…only because I haven’t done so well with anything I have to insert. I’ve only been able to use tampon twice, they have been so uncomfortable, I haven’t managed to get any of them in all the way and it’s a little painful getting them out..so I gave up.
    On your recommendation, I will try the diva cup and see how it goes.

  30. Not going to lie…I had never heard of a Diva Cup before, so when I saw the title I instantly pictured one of those bedazzled cups that say “Pimp” or “Diva” or “Birthday Girl” like so: http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=29975941

    Needless to say, I thought this was a super strange topic for you to cover hahah. But the ACTUAL content of this post was super informative!

  31. I used something similar, years ago. It looked like a diaphragm and since it was flat, you could have sex while menstruating (something you obviously can’t do while wearing a tampon). I loved it! Cost-effective, easy to use, no TSS, easy to pack and no hindrance to sex.

    Win-win!

  32. I want to comment on the implant birth control. I have one and it is hands down amazing! I struggled for years with oral birth control that gave me mood swings and still didn’t relieve my horrible cramps and heavy bleeding. I still have my period sometimes buts incredibly light and cramp free. I also feel normal unlike I did on other birth control. I am so happy I had it while back backing because I didn’t need tampons just the occasional panty liner. It is becoming available in areas that didnt carry it just a few years ago. Seriously, look it up! I wish I had it 10 years ago!

  33. Love this post, Kate! I’ve been considering getting a menstrual cup for a long time and I’m literally on Amazon about to finally pull the trigger. Another great option I saw on Kickstarter was the Lily Cup (they just made a new one, Lily Cup Compact, that folds completely flat!) http://www.intimina.com/en/lily_cups and this one seems just PERFECT for travel! Totally awesome! I traveled for three months last summer and specifically got an IUD so I wouldn’t have to worry about my period the whole summer. It totally backfired, my body rejected it and I was on my period for 5 months straight. I’m also totally not for hormonal birth control, so I figure if there are awesome products out there to help out what’s going on naturally…I’ll take it!

  34. Hi – I have to admit I don’t understand how you go about cleaning it.

    Do you do it whilst in the cubicle with your own water and soap you’ve brought along, or go out to the sink, clean it potentially infront of others, then go back inside the cubicle to re-insert?

    Could someone please explain for me with a bit more detail?

    Thanks! 🙂

    1. You clean it however you feel comfortable. If that means going into the cubicle with your own soap and water, so be it. If you’re cool washing it in front of other people, great. When I had to clean it and I’ve stayed in hostels, I lucked out that no one else was in the bathroom at the same time as me. So I would leave the cubicle, clean it, then go back in the stall to put it back in.
      Another alternative is to take it out and clean it when you take a shower.

  35. Kate – thanks for bringing this subject up and for all the safe travel tips. My comment is to Jo re: Kate “scaremongering” by stating “we don’t know the full repercussions of hormonal birth control.” Jo – You are correct. You are not a scientist. Truth is we do know a lot (but not all) possible repercussions including blood clots, migraines, depression, increases risk of some types of cancer, etc. And scientists are trying new variations all the time and women are the guinea pigs. So Kate was being honest we don’t know all of the long term risks and I am the educated professional who is scaremongering.

    1. Anita, if you have a problem with taking hormones, I sure hope you don’t eat anything made with soybeans, or even worse, serve anything made with them to any men in your life, because there’s been all kinds of studies that point out the dangers of soy, for men In particular due to the high concentrations of estrogen. Let’s not forget the dangers of GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, unacceptable mercury levels in rice, and of course, isn’t everyone allergic to gluten these days?

      Birth control hormones primarily consist of progesterone, which does occur naturally in the body, and yes, I know there are variants, including estrogen in some. I have never taken any of them, and am also a Paleo avoiding all the above, but that’s just me. I’m not getting up on any high horse because I just know the day is coming where they (ie. the “professionals”) will release a study revealing that condoms cause cancer.

  36. I really want to try one, and have been looking at it for a while but I am too scared to try it with my Vulvodynia. If anyone with V has tried it please let me know!!

  37. I first read about the Diva Cup when you posted what was in your backpack for SEA. I immediately bought one and haven’t looked back since.
    Prior to that, I only used pads. I tried a tampon once and hated it. For those who have any reservations about getting a cup A.If you use a tampon, you’ll be fine using a cup. You’re already used to walking around with something in you, the cup isn’t any different. B. it’s only as messy as you make it. C.You don’t bleed as much as you think you do, even heavy flow-ers. The cup can hold a lot. D. It’s really not that big of a deal cleaning it while out in public. Like Kate said, take it out in the morning and at night. It doesn’t need to be exactly every 12 hours. Most of the time, you’ll have the privacy you want/need. E. You’ll no longer have to walk around with pads or tampons. I cannot stress this enough. I hated trying to discreetly get a pad out of my bag or have one poking out of my pocket if I was in class or somewhere in public to go to the bathroom. Now I don’t have to worry about that.
    I could seriously go on about this all day.

  38. I have the Lunette cup and I love it. I removed the little stem and smoothed it off like I read in some blog suggestions on the subject. I recommend menstrual cups for travel! So much less stuff to carry around. You have to have a certain level of comfort with your own body to get used to using one, but the idea of a tampon sitting there instead just really grosses me out now.

  39. I am a big fan of the Diva Cup, too. I was just talking to some fellow female travelers about it in Cambodia, where one of them couldn’t find tampons when she really needed them. All of them had never heard of the Diva Cup but wanted to try it on the spot… hard to find them in Asia, though 😉 By the way – in the U.S. Diva Cups are sold at Whole Foods.

  40. Wow! I have never heard of a Diva Cup before, but I live in Ho Chi Minh City and they do not use or sell tampons only pads which I hate! So when ever I go home or someone comes to visit I always get tampons. They take up so much space! I have a feeling this is going to revolutionize the way I pack 🙂

    1. Hi Jessica, I live in HCMC as well and they sell tampons in Citimart (Kotex and Helen Harper brand), also in FamilyMart although there are less of them around, they are cheaper than back home in Australia so have a look while you are waiting to find the Diva cup.

  41. Funny! I literally just wrote the exact same pot a couple weeks ago about the SckoonCup (same thing basically). These are life savers for female travellers! Never going back!

  42. There was a period (pun intended) in my life when i was really fed up with having a period, so I went on the shot. 1 birth control shot every 3 months = no more periods. But I did start to think this was quite unhealthy/unnatural albeit very convenient.

    I’ve been thinking about starting with a cup for a while now. Ordering today after reading this article. Thanks for the push, Kate.

  43. *finally* started using one a couple months ago, and there’s no way I’ll go back (regardless of the occasional email article from my mother stating why the things are a bad idea…which basically boil down to ‘take care of it and yourself correctly’). I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that they save me money in spots other than the usual ‘no more pads/tampons’. I’ve been fortunate in that my PMS symptoms are minimal and rare. Well, fortunate in the “I don’t feel like shit and my body’s not being a jackass’ department. My symptoms are minimal enough that I’ve forgotten about it completely until that moment went the tampons full and overflow occurs. Oops. Way to go at being a woman! 😀 *headdesk*.
    The only issue I’ve had with it is overnight when I’m asleep. There’s almost always a little leakage. Apparently it’s not completely sealed somewhere and the switch in gravity and position found it.

  44. This is such a good post Kate, so honest and realistic.

    I have been using a Moon cup for about a year now and it’s amazing. I am so happy with it and would never go back to tampons, particularly as I too am a long term traveller. I haven’t had any issues with it but you are right to say that it takes a bit of getting used to — I had to keep trimming the end

    Weirdly, loads of my girlfriends think it’s totally weird and to be honest, a lot of travellers I meet tell me they think it’s icky too!

  45. Or you could get a Mirena IUD and have basically no period at all, plus of course being very effective long term birth control! (although clearly not useful for STD protection)

    I’ve never used a Diva Cup, but it always worried me about what if you had to change it in a busy restroom with stalls and no sink, but it sounds like that’s basically a non-issue if it’s just twice a day, and the first would definitely be firs thing in the morning.

  46. I am so happy that you wrote about this, Kate. I love your frank and open manner; we definitely need more of that in regards to topics like this! I have been casually considering using a Diva Cup for awhile now, but don’t know anyone who uses one, and so have been hesitant to pull the trigger. After reading this, I am definitely considering it a lot more strongly than before! Thanks so much for sharing your opinions.

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