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A Little Review … A Diva Cup (Menstrual Cup) for Traveling Ladies

Diva Cup Review PhotoConfession time, I wanted to review the Diva Cup for ages but I hesitated out of fear of alienating readers. But really, I also didn’t want my cheeks to flame red with embarrassment as I write this personal post — you’re about to get to know me in a whole new way. The time has come though. My love for the Diva Cup means it’s time to share a bit more about how I handle my period on the road, and why you should consider it too. First though, a resounding warning:

Men, though you might want to move along now, you also may find this review helpful for your girlfriend or wife. Certainly every traveling lady should read it, so perhaps just forward it on to a traveling lady you know, and then move along.

Let’s get started with the beginnings. I was in the throes of planning my round the world trip when my cousin implored me to immediately buy a Diva Cup and start practicing with this thing during my period to take care of my monthly visits on the road.  I was skeptical. I assumed I would just use tampons on the road since — that’s what I had used for years. But, her endorsement was enthusiastic and her reasoning sound.

The Initial Verdict?

The Diva Cup is the most useful thing I pack when I travel. It gives me the confidence to go straight from a long bus ride to an epic hiking adventures. It never leaks. I’m never forced to schelp tampons nor dig holes to bury my pads. It just works.

The Diva Cup is one of the most useful things I took on my trip around the world.

I bought one and then I had a rough start to using the menstrual cup and almost gave up entirely. Then, I figured it out. It just started working after I spent a couple periods practicing. I’ve never looked back to the days of schlepping around pads and tampons.

The What?

If you’ve never heard of this thing before, you’re likely baffled. A Diva Cup is an eco-friendly “natural feminine hygiene alternative.” This specific cup falls under the larger umbrella of silicone menstrual cups (yup, there are several different brands of these things). The various cups all have some different sizing, shapes, and colors, but they all work the same way.

Basically, it’s these are medical-grade silicone cups that collects your menstrual fluid. When it’s inserted correctly, the rim of the cup forms a seal against your vaginal canal. Once sealed, it takes care of business. The menstrual fluid flows into the cup, then you just pull it gently and dump the liquid into the toilet or sink. These cups fully replace tampons and pads. In fact, I have never bought a package of pads since I switched over. Well… except that one time when my best friend’s dog ate my Diva Cup. Keep ’em tucked somewhere safe!

The How?

I won’t get overly graphic here — there are many sites that explain the how of the cup better than I could possibly. And if you’re wondering about the fit, the buying instructions for the Diva Cup outline the nitty-gritty details on if you need the A or B size, it has pictures of the cup, and instructions too. And stick around to the the end of the post where I share the hilarious and helpful reviews women have posted, as well as the other brands that work well for women of differing statures.

5 Reasons I love the Diva Cup for Traveling:

wearing the cup1. It can be worn for 12 hours at a time.
Traveling on a budget and in developing countries meant a lot of time on public transportation, with my Diva Cup I was safe for the never-ending 10+ hour bus rides. And when I was trekking, the last thing I wanted to do was dig holes and bury tampons during all-day treks—hooray for my Diva Cup! It’s completely safe to have in for up to 12 hours because there’s no risk for TSS like with tampons.

2. You can wear it before your period.
If I knew that I might start my period in the middle of a 10+ hour bus ride, I could use my Diva Cup before my period even started because it’s not drying like a tampon (and drying out can be a big issue with those, so menstrual cups are just nicer for your vagina). Bottom line, it saved me from some potentially embarrassing situations on treks like bleeding through clothes or wild animals digging up bloody materials.

3. It’s designed for any activity.
The site touts that you can do any of the following: swimming, aerobics, cycling, traveling, dancing, hiking, biking, running, camping. You can. Each and everyone without a worry. It liberated me from trying to plan major outdoor activities on non-period days because I knew I could head out on that six hour bike ride without searching out a clean bathroom and I knew it would give an embarrassing leak at precisely the wrong time.

4. You never have to buy other hygiene products.
I read horror stories about the availability of menstrual products before leaving on my round the world trip—some women even resort to bringing a full supply for their travels (hard to do when you’re on the road for a year!). This is literally the only thing I had to bring (well, soap too) and I knew I was never going to find myself hunting for sanitary products in a remote village in Nepal.

Diva Cup 5. It’s green travel and oh-so good for the environment.
So many of the countries I visited don’t have effective waste management systems in place; it made me feel good to not contribute to that problem and lighten my eco-footprint just a tad. The cup is reusable for a decade (unless your dog eats it) and there is nothing else you have to buy to use with it. Plus the non-BPA medical-grade silicone is far safer for your lady-parts than the surfactants, adhesives, and additives they use in tampons and pads.

DOWNSIDES:
I love this product and I have no shame in touting the fabulous qualities of the product. But, be warned, there is a learning curve to using the Diva Cup. It took me until my third period of using it to have no leaking and messiness… and I cursed it the whole time during my first two months. This hilarious Hairpin article is a good read. Or you can check out the many, many thousands of often frank and sometimes wince-worthy reviews on Amazon. Though it was rough going at first, now I’m converted. I truly, wholly believe that menstrual cups are one of the best investments for female travelers.

Tips & Thoughts on Using Diva Cups

  • Try it out before your trip! You’ll be thankful that you’re in your own clean bathroom while you discover the learning curve.
  • Bring a mild soap. I brought a small container plain body soap for use as a body wash and a cup wash, or you can buy a mild wash from the company itself too.
  • It’s not for the squeamish. You do have to get a little more “invasive” then you do with tampons if you catch my drift. You will be all up in your own business, to be frank. But you’ll also learn to understand your cycle better and get pretty good at using the cup without much issue.
  • That “twist” the instructions mention is the most important part of the process—that’s what ensures you have a good seal.
  • When they tell you it sits lower than a tampon, it’s SO true. Really low, make sure it pops open, then twist — it’s like magic. But, you definitely have to practice before it becomes second nature.
  • Buy at your local co-op or natural foods store instead, or online — at last check they sell for less than $35, which is far less than the close to $200 annually women spend on feminine hygiene products.

Major Cup Brands:

Diva
Lunette

Keeper
Mooncup
Lilly
Dutchess
Athena
Blossom
Lena
Femmy Cycle (for Teens)

I think Diva Cups are brilliant and anyone who is comfortable with their body should give it a try. But beyond anyone, I consider it essential for women RTW travelers, truly  :-)
And don’t take my word for it—look around online, there are a lot of women who have talked about their love (and learning curve) with menstrual cups. And very important is that once you get a Diva Cup, check out these links below for extra tips from women who have figured it out, they’re normally right on with their suggestions and the cup comes with some very explicit tips and pictorial instructions too! There are tricks to help it work better, and some brands are better for petite women.

Brands & Resources

  • The major contenders you should consider are the Diva Cup or the Lunette. Consensus seems to say that the Lunette works well for petite women and/or those with a short vaginal canal or low cervix.
  • Menstrual Cups.org: Good information on the wide range of options.
  • Menstrual Cup Info: Heaps of information to help you decide which cup might be a good fit for your body type.
  • An Ode to the Diva Cup: A hilarious article on the Hairpin with some advice and tips in the article, as well as the comments. I cried tears of laughter at her recounting of her conversion to menstrual cups — I have had those convos too. 

Shoot me an email if you have any other questions, or better yet, leave a comment. And if you’ve tried the Diva Cup, share your experience in the comments! If you haven’t tried it yet, just go poke around the Diva Cup page, read the reviews, see what it’s all about.

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  • Somethings make me happy to be male. This is one of them.

  • CandiceW

    Oh my lord. I'm not sure how I feel about trying it, but after reading all the scary pesticides used in the cotton of tampons, I might just have to convert too…although it looks rather large. You really can't feel it?

  • Now that is a product that looks like it could be very useful. Thanks for being brave and reviewing it. I am going to look into it. Do you have to order it online?

  • brookevstheworld

    Agree – the reusable cup is a must-have on my travel list. Won't go back.

  • ShannonOD

    You may have to order online – but my local co-op natural foods store carried it. I don't know if you have “Whole Foods” but they DONT have it. They have a store finder on the site: http://divacup.com/

    I seriously think it's worth a try considering your upcoming travels!!

  • ShannonOD

    I have no doubt ;-) This is one of those things were we likely wish we were male too half the time!

  • ShannonOD

    Try it! I seriously will not ever go back. There is an initial “Eww factor” to using it but you seriously can't feel it – to put it in you fold it, insert it, then it pops open – and let's be real, it's not that big ;-) If it's in correctly you will literally forget you are wearing it.

    • I was wondering- interestingly enough- the other day if you ended up liking this product. Good to know. I'd be interested in trying it out. Well done Shannon. :)

  • ShannonOD

    Glad to have some backup – I really have yet to meet someone who hasn't converted! I haven't heard of the Moon Cup but it's good to know they're options out there :-)

  • ShannonOD

    Oh! And thanks for the brave comment – I was kinda sweatin' it when no one had commented earlier today! ;-)

  • Somethings make me happy to be male. This is one of them.

    • ShannonOD

      I have no doubt ;-) This is one of those things were we likely wish we were male too half the time!

  • CandiceW

    Oh my lord. I'm not sure how I feel about trying it, but after reading all the scary pesticides used in the cotton of tampons, I might just have to convert too…although it looks rather large. You really can't feel it?

    • ShannonOD

      Try it! I seriously will not ever go back. There is an initial “Eww factor” to using it but you seriously can't feel it – to put it in you fold it, insert it, then it pops open – and let's be real, it's not that big ;-) If it's in correctly you will literally forget you are wearing it.

      • CandiceW

        Hah, yeah! I guess it just looks large in comparison to tampons. Totally intrigued though, great review.

        • ShannonOD

          Thanks Candice, you'll have to let me know if you convert ;-)

        • Pirates

          Exactly

  • Now that is a product that looks like it could be very useful. Thanks for being brave and reviewing it. I am going to look into it. Do you have to order it online?

    • ShannonOD

      You may have to order online – but my local co-op natural foods store carried it. I don't know if you have “Whole Foods” but they DONT have it. They have a store finder on the site: http://divacup.com/

      I seriously think it's worth a try considering your upcoming travels!!

    • ShannonOD

      Oh! And thanks for the brave comment – I was kinda sweatin' it when no one had commented earlier today! ;-)

  • brookevstheworld

    Agree – the reusable cup is a must-have on my travel list. Won't go back.

    • ShannonOD

      Glad to have some backup – I really have yet to meet someone who hasn't converted once they try it! I haven't heard of the Moon Cup but it's good to know they're options out there :-)

  • I was wondering- interestingly enough- the other day if you ended up liking this product. Good to know. I'd be interested in trying it out. Well done Shannon. :)

    • ShannonOD

      Call me if you do, I'll give you some tips so that you don't hate it! ;-)

  • Wow! I've been contemplating this particulary backpacking problem earlier this week. This sounds like a pretty great solution, definitely going to look into it. Thanks Shannon!

  • CandiceW

    Hah, yeah! I guess it just looks large in comparison to tampons. Totally intrigued though, great review.

  • Wow! I've been contemplating this particulary backpacking problem earlier this week. This sounds like a pretty great solution, definitely going to look into it. Thanks Shannon!

    • ShannonOD

      You're most welcome, it was a tough call to publish this on the blog, so I'm glad it helps :-)

    • Mama Mia

      I would think this would be HORRIBLE for a backpacking trip. How are you going to get your hands clean with limited water supply? Or maybe just walk around with blood stained cuticles?

  • ShannonOD

    Thanks Candice, you'll have to let me know if you convert ;-)

  • ShannonOD

    You're most welcome, it was a tough call to publish this on the blog, so I'm glad it helps :-)

  • ShannonOD

    Call me if you do, I'll give you some tips so that you don't hate it! ;-)

  • ShannonOD

    Call me if you do, I'll give you some tips so that you don't hate it! ;-)

  • ShannonOD

    Call me if you do, I'll give you some tips so that you don't hate it! ;-)

  • clny

    Thanks for the review! I'm travelling through Asia next year and never really gave much thought to that but it sounds like a great product and I think I'm going to give it a go!

  • ShannonOD

    I think it is definitely worth trying – give it a chance though because you're likely going to hate it the first month! :-)

    • ShannonOD

      So sorry to hear that, I emailed you so I'm hoping we can figure out an alternative for you!

  • clny

    Thanks for the review! I'm travelling through Asia next year and never really gave much thought to that but it sounds like a great product and I think I'm going to give it a go!

    • ShannonOD

      I think it is definitely worth trying – give it a chance though because you're likely going to hate it the first month! :-)

  • Virago

    I found this post when I Googled “menstrual cup” blog discussions. I know I'm late to the party, but I have to speak up in favor of menstrual cups. I wish I'd known about them much earlier! Not having to have a tampon/pad stash in my purse, at work, in my carry-on for the plane … not worrying if the dog is going to dig used “sanitary goods” out of the bathroom wastebasket … not getting the eye-roll from my (then) boyfriend when it turned out that the clog in the toilet was caused by tampons …

    Shannon, you're right — the Diva Cup isn't that big. Go to this link (http://community.livejournal.com/menstrual_cups…) and scroll down to see a picture of the Diva (and several other brands of menstrual cup) next to an OB tampon. Menstrual cups aren't any longer than an OB — and as for the diameter, the cups are very flexible and easy to fold.

    There are lots of different brands of reusable menstrual cups besides the Diva — the Keeper, the Lunette, the Ladycup (my favorite), the Mooncup, to name just a few. This website — http://www.menstrualcups.org — has all the scoop. When the Diva didn't work for me, I did a little research and found just what I was looking for.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me ramble. I'm glad the Diva Cup worked for you, Shannon — it's a great accessory for a RTW trip!

  • Virago

    Sorry for the double post — I was told that my post had been lost!

  • Virago

    I found this post when I Googled “menstrual cup” blog discussions. I know I'm late to the party, but I have to speak up in favor of menstrual cups. I wish I'd known about them much earlier! Not having to have a tampon/pad stash in my purse, at work, in my carry-on for the plane … not worrying if the dog is going to dig used “sanitary goods” out of the bathroom wastebasket … not getting the eye-roll from my (then) boyfriend when it turned out that the clog in the toilet was caused by tampons …

    Shannon, you're right — the Diva Cup isn't that big. Go to this link (http://community.livejournal.com/menstrual_cups…) and scroll down to see a picture of the Diva (and several other brands of menstrual cup) next to an OB tampon. Menstrual cups aren't any longer than an OB — and as for the diameter, the cups are very flexible and easy to fold.

    There are lots of different brands of reusable menstrual cups besides the Diva — the Keeper, the Lunette, the Ladycup (my favorite), the Mooncup, to name just a few. This website — http://www.menstrualcups.org — has all the scoop. When the Diva didn't work for me, I did a little research and found just what I was looking for.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me ramble. I'm glad the Diva Cup worked for you, Shannon — it's a great accessory for a RTW trip!

    • ShannonOD

      Thanks for these other great links and resources – I'll actually add them to the bottom of the post so that others know that there are more options out there if the Diva Cup doesn't quite work! I appreciate the thorough feedback!! I can't imagine ever going back to tampons and pads :-)

  • ShannonOD

    Thanks for these other great links and resources – I'll actually add them to the bottom of the post so that others know that there are more options out there if the Diva Cup doesn't quite work! I appreciate the thorough feedback!! I can't imagine ever going back to tampons and pads :-)

  • Andrea

    I am on my third month and still can't get it right, I've even watched tutorials on youtube. It leaks. I'm about to give up.

  • Andrea

    I am on my third month and still can't get it right, I've even watched tutorials on youtube. It leaks. I'm about to give up.

    • ShannonOD

      So sorry to hear that, I emailed you so I'm hoping we can figure out an alternative for you!

  • Justine

    Interesting item :)
    I'd love to use it, it would be especially useful during traveling as you say ! But I often travel to under-developed countries, where the tap water is not potable; would that be a problem to clean it ?
    and also, I often go to hostels, so my only opportunity to boil water is in the shared kitchen, and I'm not sure how comfortable I would be putting my divacup there for all to see !
    If you have any advice/tips for traveling to under-developed countries with a divacup, I'd be interested to learn :)

  • ShannonOD

    You can still use it! I used my Diva cup all throughout Laos, Cambodia,
    India, and Nepal.

    The most important point is that you can wipe out the cup with toilet paper
    until you get to potable water. In that way, if you're changing it but have
    no water, just wipe it out w/tp and wash it the next chance you get (bottled
    water in some cases ).

    And I unfortunately did go a couple of months sometimes between boils – but
    I did find the opportunity here and there – there are times when the hostel
    kitchens are empty – or in guest houses, you can request a cup of boiling
    water and they are so accomodating in India and other developing countries
    and I let that suffice :-)

    I loved using it particularly in these countries because it meant less times
    that I had to use the bathrooms and I found it easier than trying to dispose
    of sanitary products.

    Hoped that helped! I traveled around the world with the diva cup and it was
    great the whole time :-)

  • Justine

    Interesting item :)
    I'd love to use it, it would be especially useful during traveling as you say ! But I often travel to under-developed countries, where the tap water is not potable; would that be a problem to clean it ?
    and also, I often go to hostels, so my only opportunity to boil water is in the shared kitchen, and I'm not sure how comfortable I would be putting my divacup there for all to see !
    If you have any advice/tips for traveling to under-developed countries with a divacup, I'd be interested to learn :)

    • ShannonOD

      You can still use it! I used my Diva cup all throughout Laos, Cambodia,
      India, and Nepal.

      The most important point is that you can wipe out the cup with toilet paper
      until you get to potable water. In that way, if you're changing it but have
      no water, just wipe it out w/tp and wash it the next chance you get (bottled
      water in some cases ).

      And I unfortunately did go a couple of months sometimes between boils – but
      I did find the opportunity here and there – there are times when the hostel
      kitchens are empty – or in guest houses, you can request a cup of boiling
      water and they are so accomodating in India and other developing countries
      and I let that suffice :-)

      I loved using it particularly in these countries because it meant less times
      that I had to use the bathrooms and I found it easier than trying to dispose
      of sanitary products.

      Hoped that helped! I traveled around the world with the diva cup and it was
      great the whole time :-)

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  • barby

    That is great. I am planning to travel around the world next year, going to buy the cup asap as I want to try it on before deciding if it’s worth it to take it along with me.

    • ShannonOD

      I really highly recommend the menstrual cups. I also suggest you do some research around (and on this site: http://menstrualcupinfo.wordpress.com/ ) I use the Diva Cup, but depending on your stature some of the other brands might actually be more ideal (some readers have emailed since this post and noted that the Lunette could be a better choice for petite women!). Good luck with it! :)

      • Barbylucedistelle

         Ok, no Diva Cup here, only Moon Cup. I tried it last month and it worked like a bliss. A bit awkward at the beginning, afraid of loosing it or that it would get lost inside… ehm… awkward feeling when it moves to settle in but overall I’m going to stick with it. It gives you such a sense of freedom after a while you even forget you’re wearing it!

        • ShannonOD

          Yay! Glad to hear you’re a convert. My first attempt was pretty rough…messy and stuck don’t even begin to describe it. But, after years of using it, I can assure you, it only gets easier. And it really is so, so nice not to worry at all about this sort of thing on the road. :)

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  • LS

    Just ordered a Lunette so I can practise before my trip! I’m kind of scared about removing it though, isn’t there a spillage situation every time?

    • ShannonOD

      Very good to practice first, the learning curve is tough, and I hated it the first month! As for spillage, the first two months I used it, it was very gross, lots of spillage and scrubbing my hands after. Now though, I can really say that with practice it’s far easier. On my super heavy days it will spill a little, esp if I go too long, but other than that it’s really only mildly messier than a tampon to take out and put in. The top edge of the cup acts as seal, and if you pull and tip into the toilet as you do it, you’re in the clear! Good luck and shoot me an email if you really run into any difficulties! Oh! And have a wonderful trip! :)

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  • Austen

    I am from South Africa and its quite costly to ship the DivaCup over here. But I see that a local store has a similar one, ‘the Moon Cup’. is that as good as the DivaCup?

    • The Moon is very similar to the Diva, just a different brand and a little bit different shape. Some women can’t wear certain brands if they are super petite, but often they are fairly interchangeable. Here is an info site and a good review of it: http://menstrualcupinfo.wordpress.com/mooncup-uk-review/ — you may need to trim the stem after you’ve worn it a bit to see if it fits. Good luck!

  • Sandra

    I had been reading about the menstrual cups for a few days and really feel convinced about tyring it out. We do not have a wide market in Mexico basically because the tampon/pads brands would be highly affected so they keep it silent. I see in other countries such as USA, Canada and places in Europe it is becoming part of women’s daily life which is something that really makes me smile. I loved your review and will look into having one shipped over here, perhaps get a friend of mine to send it. Just one thought Shannon, menstruation is not gross at all and no, men are not more lucky than us not to have it. It is a natural phase in a woman’s life and one of the most important times for us. If you look into it, you will find information on how a woman’s period was almost sacred in antique cultures. It was considered a time of introspection and complete connection with themselves. It is sad to know that this patriarcal world has made us think it is gross and something terrible to live with. Women used to connect themselves to the energy of the moon and were led by its phases. It was a time of silent for having their period meant they were not pregnant, therefore not giving a new life so they were in complete meditation. Even in those days men had full respect for these women. It is important for men to get involved on these matters and stop trying to avoid it. How sad it is to see so uncomprehensive men around. Well this is just a thought I have with all the respect towards your ideas and all the women in this forum, just a personal opinion given from what I have studied and researched. Also excuse me if my English is not great, hope you all got my point.
    Greetings!

    • Hi Sandra, thanks so much for weighing in here. It’s an important topic and I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. I definitely think there is a lot that we need to do to raise the conversation. I think that some men are embarrassed by the topic, so that’s some of the tone that I took. In terms of “gross” — here I was a bit more talking about the entire process. The menstrual cups are more invasive in a way, you have to really get involved in your menstruation process more than with tampons or pads. This is something that really opened my mind a lot, just using the cup these past few years.

      I hope you are able to get a cup to Mexico! It’s really worth the effort, it”s an entirely different experience, and healthier and easier to manage your period in many ways. Best of luck and many thanks again for reading and sharing. :)

  • May

    I’m a 15 year old girl and am going on a four week trip to the Philippines from the US. I’m not traveling with parents or any REALLY close family and will be sharing a bag with my older cousin. I’m terrified at the thought of a) packing feminine products in a shared suitcase or b) having to buy more.. I’m debating buying one of these! It seems simpler, but I’m also a bit scared at the prospect. Gonna have to do a bit more research, I think ^_^

    • Definitely do your research to find out if you think it’s a good fit for you. I will note that I told my niece that when she is 14 (she is now 13) that she could switch to this — I really want her using this long-term. Also keep in mind that all the brands are a bit different sizes, so if you are smaller/still petite then you might want to consider the Lunette. And, if you do end up sticking with the tampons, you can always take the tiny sizes without an applicator — they are super compact and not much harder to put in than the ones with an applicator, and then seal them up in a bag. Your cousin will likely respect your privacy if you just have a small makeup bag with them or something like that. Just message me if there is anything I can do to help! Good luck and have an amazing trip May! :)

      • Mama Mia

        So she can break her hymen messing with this thing. Nice.

  • JoJo

    What is the best brand to get?

  • Random Acts of Gina

    Thanks for the info. Also the amazon comment you told us all to read was hysterical.

  • Cool Cat

    I have been using the Diva Cup for about 6 months now and I am so happy that I made it past the “learning curve” phase! I had read a few reviews online and picked up a few tips but I still had to figure it out on my own time. The review that you posted from Amazon was hilarious and I as well relate to the “no need to spin it” perspective. There’s no way that thing is spinning once it’s inserted and as long as I haven’t tried to insert it too far up (like a tampon) there’s no leaking. I’m super satisfied with it and haven’t bought pads or tampons since. It is a bit harsh on the old lips for a bit but that being said once all is said and done that thing stays in for 12 hours!
    *I now insert it with both hands, one holding the top (keeping it folded) and the other pushing the stem in and it seems to work like a charm.
    *I also find it really does help to pretend like you are taking a dump or spewing forth something from your vagina in order to bring it low enough to snatch onto it *SQUEEZE* it and take it out (the only issue with squeezing it and releasing the suction is if the cup is full it does get a bit messy – hands to the sky crying out “WHY”).
    *Before I started the old two hander, I would put one leg up on the bathtub or toilet and insert it like I would a tampon and this worked ok too…except for when the lips of the cup blast open while halfway into your vagina! Not cool Diva Cup, Not cool. The try again thing can get taxing.
    * Also this may sound a little bit funny but that’s ok! I had to acknowledge that I was shoving a silicone cup into my vagina and this is a bit intrusive. Now what I do is a hold the cup in my hands for a moment and say I bless you with light and love and then I insert it on an out breath! Tricks of the trade – just thought I would share!
    Go Green – Go Diva Cup – YAY!

    • I am so happy that you stuck with it through the learning curve and have come out the other side loving it! Thank you, truly, for sharing these tips here with the ALA community. It’s can be so frustrating to be all alone in your bathroom trying to figure out how the heck to make it work right!

      Go Diva Cups and hope you have a wonderful weekend!! :)

  • TimeToHike!

    I absolutely love your post and have found it very helpful! Just got a Diva Cup a week ago, literally right before my period, and it’s great! I can’t believe I didn’t know about these things during my travels in Africa and Asia – life would have been more worry-free! At first I was worried it would leak during my trail-run and I’d be stuck on public transit, but after a quick check in the WC, all was spotless! Eco-friendly and money-saving!!

    • So glad it worked the first time like that for you! It’s amazing and you’ll never go back. Thanks for sharing your success! :)

  • Tina

    After reading your post, now even i am considering using it!!! It seems to be a good choice….Just one doubt, doesn’t it feel uncomfortable when you are wearing it?

    • Way more comfortable than a tampon actually! You can’t feel it once it’s in, and it’s silicone and squishy, so nothing to be jabbing or poking. You’ll love it! :)

  • Brooke

    Okay, I’ve been hearing about these for a little while. To tell you the truth they terrify me (in a sense) especially after reading the amazon review (which was also very funny). I tried to use tampons when I was younger (I’m 24 now) and hated them. I couldn’t get them in right and when I tried to take them out it didn’t work- just not a good experience. I’m still a virgin and still using pads and planned on sticking to that route until after I got married. Now since I’m getting ready to go on an 11 month mission trip I’m rethinking some things.

    So with all that said would you still recommend I give this thing a try?

    • Yes! I would. Tampons feel complete different inside, and with a tampon, if you aren’t very heavy it can even hurt to insert because it is dry cotton. I would rec that you do a little more research on the sizes, find one recommended for teens (probably going to be a smaller fit). Off the top of my head, I think the Lunette might be best, but I haven’t looked into it much.
      It will be messy the first times you use it, start on a med flow day and just keep trying. I truly cannot feel it once it’s in correctly. It’s a great enough solution that I think it’s worth the money to see if you can make it work, esp if you’ll be doing any rural mission work. I felt exactly like that woman in the Amazon review the first two periods. Now it’s 6 years later and I cannot imagine going back. Good luck and I hope you have a wonderful trip!! :)

    • TlindaT

      Sorry to butt in, but I just replied to this article and then saw your review and thought I could give you some input too. After years of tampon use I recently bought a Diva cup and just started using it two days ago. I got lucky and didn’t have any problems even the very first day using it. But the reason I think it’s could work better for you than a tampon are the two main reasons (in my experience) tampon use can be uncomfortable.

      First is dryness. When your flow is very light (as is often the case with teenagers and young adults) tampons can begin to chafe and irritate your vaginal channel. When the tampon is too dry it also often isn’t slippery enough to just come out. It sticks to the walls and pulling it out can actually hurt. This could account for your problems in getting the tampon out. Some lubricant can help with this, but if the flow is that light a pad might just be better.

      The second reason is not putting the tampon in far enough. When a tampon isn’t inserted deeply enough it can press uncomfortably against your pubic bone which is very uncomfortable bordering on painful. The tampon should then go deeper until it is behind the little bone ledge formed by your pubic bone. As an aside, this is actually one of the reasons why I wouldn’t recommend tampons with an applicator for tampon beginners. It’s just much easier to feel the ledge and feel where the tampon should go with your fingers.

      Anyway, dryness is much less of a problem with the cup. As Shannon mentioned in her article, you can even insert the cup before you get your period and it will not dry your vagina out. And the cup is also less hard and rigid than a tampon, which lessens the impact of it pressing against any bones or sensitive tissue considerably.

      I truly would recommend that you at least try it out. The cost is quite reasonably in my opinion. If it won’t work for you, you haven’t lost much and can maybe even get a refund, depending on the seller. But if it does work, you will spare yourself a lot of hassle for years to come.

    • mom

      I’m 47 and rarely used tampons. I just tried the cup and it was way more comfortable than a tampon. Also worked for me first try…but I have had 5 kids. I would say try it. The benefits outweigh your fears. (I was a virgin til marriage. Good for you).

  • TlindaT

    I’m on day two of using my Diva cup for the very first time and I already know that I won’t go back to other products. It seems like I’m super lucky, but I didn’t have any trial period of getting it right at all. I put it in and it just worked perfectly. No leakage all night. No mess while changing it this morning. Not a drop outside the cup all day today. Maybe my lady parts just have a good shape for a cup like this. I got my mom a cup the same time I bought mine. She just tried it out for the first time too while on vacation and she had no problems or messy trial period either.
    However, I do not feel like my cup sits any lower at all than a tampon. But maybe that’s just me.

    • Yay!! So glad to hear it’s working for you. Mine sits a lot lower, but that’s just me. Everyone is different and if your lady parts are liking it, then that is excellent! Glad to know there’s another convert, it’s such a easier way of handling periods and I could never go back either. Safe travels! :)

  • Customer1224

    BUYERS YOU ARE RISKING A SCARY AND HUMILIATING NIGHTMARE IF YOU BUY THIS PRODUCT.

    I purchased the correct size of the diva cup yesterday, and followed all of the directions on inserting the cup. I did not feel it for the 5 hours I wore it, it and it did not leak, so I was convinced at this point the product was great. The nightmare began when I tried to remove it.

    Again I followed the directions on how to remove the cup, and I immediately found the cup had moved up my vaginal canal several inches and lodged itself behind my pelvic bone. I struggled for 30 minutes trying to remove the cup. The stem was simply too small and too slippery to keep a grip with two fingers, and the suction was too strong to allow the cup to budge.

    I was unsuccessful at removing it and hysterical at this point convinced I would have to go to the dr the next day. My husband volunteered to assist which was humiliating but necessary. Another 30 minutes later and four more manly fingers later, the cup came out.

    • So sorry to hear that you had a hard time getting it out, that sounds so stressful. It does form a tight seal sometimes and relaxing those muscles is hard when you’re not used to taking out the cup. Hopefully you find alternatives that work for you.

  • Michelle Addington

    Hi Shannon! I want to thank you so much for writing this review! I am currently walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain and I don’t know what I would have done without the Diva Cup. There are long stretches of the Camino where you don’t have access to restrooms and so using tampons would have created quite a problem. With the Diva Cup I didn’t have anything to worry about except putting one foot in front of the other. :) I would not have even thought about going with a menstrual cup if I hadn’t read your review when I was getting ready for my trip. I decided to give it a shot and I am so grateful that I did! You are a life saver! Thank you!

    • Congratulations on the walk — I have read several accounts of the pilgrimage and its one of the things I would like to do one day. I am so glad you found the cup useful on your travels, it’s one of those things that seems pretty odd until you try it. Safe journey.

  • Jess

    For anyone worried about cleaning your menstrual cup during your travels, have a look at http://www.meluna.org they have a small foldable silicon cup you can use in the microwave for boiling and also sterilising tablets.

    • Thanks Jess, looks interesting and great that it’s a bit easier to sterilize!

  • Terry

    I never even heard of menstrual cups until I was 50 years old and starting to get very heavy pre-menopause periods. I was looking to find SOMETHING to use for the two-week-long periods that I had to change tampons every two hours. I was actually to the point of wearing two super-plus tampons and an overnight pad (or later a baby diaper in my underwear), just to last two or three hours during work or overnight. I came across ‘the cup’ on an Internet search and ordered one. It enabled me to go for four hours with no leakage or smell. I became proficient with it just a few months before my doctor decided that it was time to do a cauterizing procedure to address the unhealthy amount of bleeding I had. In the following couple of years, I did have 3 or 4 normal periods in which I was able to use my cup. I WISH I had known about this lovely invention earlier in life, so I would have been able to not be enslaved by the tampon-and-pad system of having to carry around a bag or purse to contain those items and always remember to shop for and maintain my ‘stash’. One tiny little bag containing my ‘little buddy’ would have been all I ever needed–easily stashed in my purse or even in a pocket on my jeans! I tried to relay this revelation to my daughter, but she was already indoctrinated into the so-called “neatness” of the tampon, and wasn’t willing to change. Her loss. When young ladies are first educated about their menses, they should be educated about ALL forms of fluid collection. I don’t know why, in the early 60’s when I was in health class learning about “the curse” (LOL), that they didn’t say word one about cups (and there WERE around then)–only pads and, *horror*, tampons that only sluts or married women could use because they would take your virginity!

    • Thank you so much for sharing your own experience Terry, I know that a lot of people see it as a bit of an odd idea at first, but once you get the hang of it, it just has so many amazing implications on the rest of your health and life. I am also so glad to hear that you were able to take care of the medical issue that prompted you to find the Diva Cup! Cheers and thanks again for sharing your own thoughts on how you used it in your life!

  • menstrualcup.co

    Thank you Shannon for sharing your experience with Divacup. I invite you all to have a look at my info website all about menstrual cups, how and why using them and find out about all the brands available on the market today.

  • Cheri

    Does the Diva cup work with very heavy periods ? and what about clotting?

    • It definitely works with heavy periods too, you’ll just have to change it more often, and maybe even wear a pantyliner if you are super heavy. Not sure what you mean about clotting, but I linked to so great forums where they discuss a lot of the nitty-gritty details and perhaps you could ask there.

  • Dana

    Ok so I just recently found out I have PCOS which causes me to bleed literally 25 days a month (no joke) one or two days in between where my body loves me and I don’t bleed like a gutted pig. Is it safe to use that long?

    • Yes! Much safer than using tampons that frequently. It’s medical grade silicon, so it’s similar to the type of silicone they use in breast implants that live inside peoples’ bodies for decades with no harm. Do your research, naturally, as I am not a doctor, but the Diva Cup website says it’s tested as safe for long-term use so long as you keep it clean and sterilized via boiling often. Good luck!

  • J Murray

    Just to bring up a point that is outlined on the DivaCup site; they mention NOT to use oil soaps (Dr Bronner’s in an oil/castile soap), as it breaks down the silicone. Just thought you should know.:)

    • That is a fantastic point, thank you for letting me know, I will change the post now!

  • CanGirl

    Is bringing one Diva Cup enough for the RTW? Should I bring an extra, just in case? How do you often boil it?

    • One should last so long as you don’t lose it, they are made to last for maaaany years. I had mine for 6+ years now and it’s still fine. I actually just bought a new one last month because I needed the bigger size, but not because there was anything wrong with it. For boiling, I usually do it once a month. After every period I wash it really well with the mild soap and then boil it vigorously for 5 minutes. You can do it as often or few times as makes you comfortable. If I couldn’t get a stove for a couple months on the road, I didn’t sweat it. Good luck!

  • Tina Siegel

    I’m glad your experience been better than mine. I was initially very enthusiastic about the cup, even though – like you, and everyone else who uses it – there was a learning curve. Even once I figured it all out, though, the cup fell far short of expectations (and it’s own claims, frankly). I have a heavy flow, which is why I wanted to try it. I loved the idea of only dealing with it twice a day. That is emphatically NOT what happened. I have to empty my cup six to eight times a day, and it’s a difficult, messy process (particularly in a public washroom). I’ve gone back to tampons – they’re just much easier.

    • I am sorry to hear that it didn’t end up working out for you. I agree that doing it up to eight times a day would be a lot to handle considering the increased mess. I know some women report using it has lightened their periods, but it sounds like even a little lighter wouldn’t make a difference or make it worth it. Thanks for weighing in and sharing your personal experience with it! It’s important to recognize that even if you really want it to, it just might now work right for all people.

      • Tina Siegel

        I haven’t given up yet. I’m looking at other menstrual cups that can hold more. Maybe that will make a difference. =)

  • Amanda

    Hi! I’ve been thinking about getting the Diva Cup for a while now for my travels, I’m just worried about the risk of infection with the bad drinking water in parts of Asia. I’m heading to Nepal too (as I know you mentioned in the article). Was it okay for you to use the water to wash your Diva Cup? Any other travelers use it while traveling in developing countries?! Thank you! :)

    • That’s a good question Amanda. I used the local tap water in nearly every place I visited. But I did sometimes just wipe it out and wait until I could use clean water. That’s one of the great things about the cups — they tell you that if you are in a pinch, you can just wipe it clean with toilet paper and then wash it later. Usually you will be staying in places with at least running water, so if you have to use a sketchy bathroom, you can wait and wash it later. I know a lot of travelers who use the same method and have never had an issue.

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  • Casey

    I’m travelling in a few days and I was wondering if it was comfortable or anything to change your cup on the plane?
    How was it getting through security?
    I’ve read a few things online and I’m starting to get a bit worried

    • It’s made of medical grade silicon and therefor not a problem in security checks. None at all. As for changing it on the plane, no one knows what you do in the bathroom — there is a sink, toilet paper, and a toilet, you have everything you need right there. It’s a cinch on the plane. As easy as any alternatives.

  • Areed! I can’t imagine going back to changing them every handful of hours like you have to with tampons.

  • diva

    to my surprise we finally have found a solution to my long vacation trips off home. i did not expect that there is something that could be done for my time of the week. great work. thank you.

  • Lisa Tran

    Love this idea! I am planning a 2 month trip to SE Asia, and this seems like a great solution to my monthly needs. Only problem I am having with buying one is how do I determine what size to buy?

    • There are some helpful guides that list out the sizes of the cups and their lengths (I linked to them at the bottom of the post), but those only really help if you have an understanding of your vaginal canal. In general you are choosing two things, the width of the cup so that it will open wide enough and form a circular suction in your vaginal canal, and the length — these two things vary with each cup. For shorter statured people, sometimes they have a shorter canal and the Diva Cup is too long. Petite friends have reported that they prefer the Lunette. I love my Diva Cup and they tell you that if you’ve had a child or are over 30 you need the model 2 (which is a bit bigger circumference). I have the model 1 because I bought it before I was 30 and it still fits well. Think of your relationship with tampons as a guide (can you use them, can you take a super, etc). Then go read on some of those forums for more tips on selecting the right brand and size. They have a LOT of great info. You may have to buy more than one if the first is just not forming a good suction, but I promise it’s a good investment to figure it out! I would never go back. :)

  • Tara Jean

    Thanks for the awesome article!!
    The one thing I’m a little concerned about is how I’m going to wash it.
    I will mainly be staying in hostels with shared bathrooms, where the sink is open to everyone.
    How is it you avoided washing it with onlookers?

    • Glad you’re planning to use it on your travels! It’s actually not so tough on the road — easier than I expected. I also stayed in hostels with shared bathrooms, but you will find that there are often at least one bathroom in the place with a private setup. Or a handicap stall. And guesthouses in Asia will have small private bathrooms as the norm because they are retrofitted as communal living spaces. And if there is truly no discreet way to get to a sink, you can wipe it with toilet paper and clean it next time. I did this on hikes and places without a sink. Because it can last 10-12 hours (after your heavy day), you aren’t changing it every time you use the bathroom, like you would usually do with tampons. I usually change it three – four times on my heaviest day, then twice a day after that and it’s never been an issue. Hope that helps assuage your concerns! Between the long time it can stay in, and the ability to just wipe it clean with TP when needed, you will manage for sure. Also, if I can’t find a way to boil it, sometimes I would boil a cup of water, take it to a more secluded area and then let it soak in boiling water. :)

  • Stacey

    I tried the Diva cup and it is the most convenient female product I have every used. I will never buy tampons or pads again. The diva cup is a little pricey, but it save you from buying any other product every again. I didn’t t have to worry about embarrassing leakage. I did not need to wear a pad to prevent leaks from a tampon. I admit it is difficult to use at first, but once you learn the proper insertion method it is very easy. I wish this was invented years ago.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience Stacy! I know it’s so overwhelming for some people to think about the switch, but once you’re used to it there is just no going back. :)

  • Evie

    I am about to set out on a 5 month trip to Southeast Asia and Australia. The bulk of my trip will be spent in Thailand. I am really interested in trying the Diva Cup, I have heard so many amazing things about it. The question I have that no one seems to be able to answer is if it is safe to clean with water in developing countries. I know in many places over there the water is unsafe to drink, does that make a difference in cleaning/ the use of your Diva Cup? Is it safe to clean it with the water there?

    • Good question. The water will be safe to clean it with in Thailand (in most places, probably not if you are in a rural village), you can usually brush your teeth with the water in Thailand and be fine so the same is true for the Diva Cup (but you’ll drink filtered water). If I was in a sketchy situation with no running water I just wiped it clean with toilet paper. Other than that, I cleaned with water and soap and never had issues and I’ve used it in 40+ developing countries. You are only changing it twice a day usually for 5-7 days, so the instances where it’s sketchy are few, and you can use bottled water if the tap water is truly gnarly (rarely). Hope that helps!

      • Evie

        Thanks so much!

  • sharonodneal

    Great post…Thank you for sharing such informative ideas.

  • Elena

    Third month using the diva cup….. first 2 months i wore a pad i was so scared i would leak, and i did until i learned what to listen for sometimes you dont hear or feel that “pop” so i decided to use rubber gloves each time just to get a better grip of the cup when twisting it, i twist it until the bottom rounds out a bit more and after turning It i pushed it in and pulled a little till i feel a suction. Then i know i wont leak , first time i was in the bathroom putting this on i was in for almost an hour, frustrated trying to find which fold is best, im sticking with the c fold, and im in and out of the bathroom in less then 5 minutes. The freedom i have now with the cup is amazing, fishing for hours on a pier no bathroom,… im ok, driving four hours away on my 3rd day of my period…. im ok…. my husband laying his head on my inner thigh while watching tv… no problem ,no period smell… im thoroughly sold and will not go back to pads or tampons.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience Elena. Like you, I had a lot of issues those first two months while I figured out how to twist and pop it out. You describe to a tee what I do as well, with the little push and twist until you can feel that there is some suction. I am so glad that it’s working for you now!

  • Elsa

    Hi!
    First of all, thank you for this article!
    It comforts me reading that is was difficult at the beginning… (I’ve just bought it and used it on one period).

    HOWEVER, I was wondering how do you sterilize the cup when traveling?
    I love to travel too, but after I bought my cup I realized that BOILING it on the road is the one thing I could consider a downside.
    I’ll truly appreciate to hear (read) about your experience on is matter.
    Thanks a lot, Elsa.

    • Excellent question, I actually don’t boil my cup very often, once a year, maybe twice. I find that the other methods are better for the cup according to some, and better for cleaning on the road. The Diva Cup site says to boil, but the Keeper, the other huge brand, actually says that it’s not good for the cup long-term (http://keeper.com/learn-more/cleaning-your-cups/). My method has always been to carry a small jar of mild, fragrance free soap and use that only on my cup. And if I am in a shared housing situation like a hostel, or even a hotel where I can’t get to the kitchen, I will boil a cup of water (looks to others like I am making tea), add a bit of soap, and let it soak. Even that doesn’t have to happen all of the time if you are regularly washing with the mild soap. Silicone doesn’t harbor bacteria easily, so make sure the air holes on the top are clean and after that it’s *super* low maintenance. :)

      • Elsa

        Thank you very much for your useful advices!
        The link doesn’t work but I googled it and found the article!
        There’s nothing better for abolishing doubts than the actual experience of someone; thank you for sharing yours.
        Love, Elsa.

  • Erin Vogel

    Yup, it’s the best little invention ever in my opinion! And I’m not shy about telling everyone I know or meet all about it – my friends get all the TMI details and advice, and I feel a little crazy but I rave about how it’s not only way more convenient, safe, etc., but also how fascinating it is to actually SEE your period. I take all my friends to the tampon aisle to show them where it is, and advise any women standing nearby to try it out. Also, when at REI I have been known to give the full sales speech to women standing awkwardly in front of the Diva Cup box. LOL. It truly is the best though – for travel, for hiking and backpacking, for swimming and boating, for pool parties and days at the spa, for white pants/shorts/skirts any day of the month or year. Just yes. :)

    • Thanks for sharing your own experience Erin. I have to give you mad props, I have never yet pulled someone over in the shopping aisle, but I do see the merits. I wish everyone was shouting it out from the rooftops. Such a fantastic way to handle the period and I’ve yet to meet anyone who tries it for a few months and goes back to pads and tampons. It’s just better in every way. Cheers and thanks for popping into the site! :)