I live for uncomfortable conversations. Especially ones that are a part of life, yet still somehow deemed taboo. Take menstruation. Even though the majority of women will go through it at some point in their lifetime, we still keep quiet about it. Very quiet. So quiet that between some women, just asking for a spare tampon or pad doesn’t happen with words, but with sign language, euphemisms (see Aunt Flow), and super hushed whispering. There’s nothing to be ashamed of and definitely nothing to be embarrassed about, but that’s just me.
A few months ago I saw another surge in think pieces and blog posts about the DivaCup. I came across the product a few years ago and thought it was cool, but the price tag threw me off. I didn’t care that I was going to save money in the long run from not buying anymore tampons and pads, I was just going to keep spending that $7 for a pack every month or two. Now that I’ve finally purchased my DivaCup, I don’t know what I was waiting for. It’s the perfect accessory for female travelers because unless your period is on a schedule (mine comes when she very well pleases) you need to be prepared for an emergency. Although I didn’t need it for my last trip, I still packed it for safe measures and know that a period doesn’t care if you’re jetting off to Europe or backpacking through Central America.
For those who don’t know, a DivaCup is a menstrual cup that is used in place of tampons, sponges, pads, or whatever it is that gets you through your period. It catches all the blood and uterus chunks, and to top it off, can be worn for up to 12 hours. That’s half of the day! You’re telling me I only have to empty this thingamajig twice a day? What’s the catch?
If you didn’t catch on, the DivaCup is a type of menstrual cup. It’s not the only one. There’s the Blossom and a few others. I saw a video by a popular website that featured women inserting the cup for the first time. It seemed like a breeze but it won’t be like that for everyone. It definitely was painful for me. DO YOUR RESEARCH before choosing a menstrual cup because not all cups are created equal. Some are smaller (might have helped with my insertion issue) and some are made with softer silicone (also might have helped).
In addition to researching the best cup, be sure to read the instructions that come with it. After my painful insertion I still had some discomfort. Upon reading the instructions (better late than never) I saw that the stem of the cup should be trimmed to suit your body. After doing this it felt a lot better.
You can wear it for UP TO 12 hours, but there’s no guarantee. My flow is by no means heavy, but I’ve come across women with much lighter flows. During the first few days of my period I have to empty my cup about every 4 hours except when I’m sleeping. Some may need to empty it more, others obviously less. Don’t wait until you have a spill to empty it, especially if it’s your first time using it. Keep an eye on how much you fill up the cup during a particular time frame. This is how I KNOW to empty every 4 hours or less, at least for the first 2 days of my 5 day period.
Don’t give up on pantyliners. Whenever I’m on my period, unless I’m wearing a pad, I’m wearing a pantyliner as well. Like the DivaCup, not all vaginas are created equal. I don’t know what it is but even my light days call for pantyliners. So while the cup eliminates the need to purchase pads, tampons, etc., I still spend under $2 on a pack of pantyliners every few months.
If you’re a frequent traveler like myself then I strongly recommend looking into a DivaCup. If you use one let me know you thoughts. I’m sure you have specific questions so definitely leave them below and I’ll respond as best as I can.