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

Confession time, I’ve wanted to review the Diva Cup for ages. I hesitated out of fear of alienating male readers… but really I also didn’t want my cheeks to flame red with embarrassment as I write this pretty personal post because you’re about to get to know me in a whole new way. The time has come though, and 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 might want to consider it as well. First though, a resounding warning:

Men, move along now. We’re about to talk about a lady’s menstrual cycle and her nether regions—but, if you’re not easily embarrassed, you 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.

Diva Cup Review Photo

Let’s get started with the beginnings. I was in the throes of planning my round the world trip when my cousin (a bit of a hippy type and a frequent traveler) 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.

I bought one, I had a rough start to using the menstrual cup and almost gave up entirely. Then, I figured it out and looked back to the days of schlepping around pads and tampons. You see, it turned out that the Diva Cup is one of the most useful things I took on my trip around the world.

If you’ve never heard of this thing before, you’re likely a little baffled about what the heck I’m talking about. A Diva Cup is an eco-friendly “natural feminine hygiene alternative” and it falls under the larger umbrella of silicone menstrual cups (yup, there are several different brands of these things).

Basically, it’s a medical-grade silicone cup that collects your menstrual fluid; when it’s inserted correctly it forms a seal around the top of the cup and takes care of business. It fully replaces tampons and pads. In fact, I have never bought a package of pads since I switched over (except that one time when my best friend’s dog ate my Diva Cup… keep ‘em tucked somewhere safe).

I won’t get overly graphic because there are many sites that explain the how of the cup better than I can, and if you’re wondering about the fit, the Diva Cup website outlines the nitty-gritty details, pictures of the cup, and instructions. 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.

Here’s why I love it and how it worked on my travels trip:

wearing the cupIt 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.

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.

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.

You never have to buy any other product
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 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 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 Amazon review hilariously summed up her first bathroom experience with it… yeah, mine was a lot like that too.

But now I’m converted.

A few other Diva Cup tips and thoughts:

  • 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 of Dr. Bronners Magic eco-friendly soap to wash it with.
  • 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.
  • 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 I tampon, it’s SO true. Really low, make sure it pops open, then twist. It’s like magic but you 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.

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, here are some of my recommendations:

  • 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. Smaller statured, very petite friends of mine prefer the Lunette.
  • 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.
  • Other major contenders include: Lunette, Keeper, and Mookcup UK

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! 

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  • http://twitter.com/AdventureRob Robert Fitzsimmons

    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?

  • http://twitter.com/theplanetd Dave and Deb

    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

    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.

    • http://www.lisandrainthecity.tumblr.com lisandravazquez3

      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

    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://www.divacup.com/en/search/

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

  • 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! ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/AdventureRob Robert Fitzsimmons

    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

  • http://twitter.com/theplanetd Dave and Deb

    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://www.divacup.com/en/search/

      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 :-)

  • http://www.lisandrainthecity.tumblr.com lisandravazquez3

    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! ;-)

  • http://twenty-somethingtravel.com/ Stephanie

    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.

  • http://twenty-somethingtravel.com/ Stephanie

    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 :-)

  • 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.