Confession 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.
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.
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!
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:
1. 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.
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.
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:
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.