Mom travelers, well, any female traveler, this post is for you. It’s all about my personal favorite travel accessory: the menstrual cup. Wait! Before you groan, this post is not sponsored by any one brand. My favorite travel blogger lamented about people writing gift lists and putting some brand of menstrual cup on the list, because really… who gives menstrual cups as gifts?!
She’s right. It’s a weird gift to give someone (but I’ve considered it for a really close friend), partially because period talk is still sort of taboo and actually far more importantly: because every woman has different needs.
Here’s why the menstrual cup is my favorite travel accessory!
What is a Menstrual Cup?
A menstrual cup is an alternative to using pads or tampons during a menstrual cycle. Cups are made from latex rubber or silicone. The collect your period flow, instead of absorbing it as pads or tampons do.
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How do I choose which is the Best Menstrual Cup for Me?
All bodies are different, so there are many different options available. While a few brands offer one-size-fits-all, most companies offer different sizes. Since menstrual cups come in different sizes, shapes, capacity, and firmness, there is a cup out there that will be comfortable for you! What’s the best period cup? That depends on your needs.
What is the best menstrual cup for beginners?
Since every woman has different needs, this is going to vary on a person by person basis. I know you were hoping I’d say “buy this brand,” but if I did that, half of you would hate your cup! For the best cup for a beginner or not, a few factors must be taken into account. Is your flow heavy or not? Is your cervix high or low? Have you birthed children or not?
How do I measure my cervix?
It’s pretty easy. First, wash your hands and then insert a finger or two into your vaginal canal. If you put your fingers all the way in and can’t reach your cervix, you have a high cervix. If your fingers are pretty far in there and are definitely touching it, you have an average cervix height. Finally, if your fingers go just inside before reaching the cervix, you have a low cervix.
For reference, a cervix is firm but still a little bit soft, kind of like the tip of your nose.
It is best to check your cervix height on the first day of your period and a few times through out the month to get an idea of how your cervix moves.
What is the best menstrual cup for heavy flow?
A cup with a higher capacity. Most cups can hold quite a lot. You can compare the cups by capacity on the chart below.
What is the best cup for low cervix?
Shorter cups and bell shaped cups usually do the best for a low cervix.
What is the best cup for high cervix?
V shaped cups that are longer in length will likely work better for a high cervix.
What’s the best menstrual cup after childbirth?
Usually, manufacturers recommend moving up to the larger size cup if a woman has given birth and is over 30. The best cup will depend on additional factors, like cervix height and heaviness of flow.
Which are the Best Menstrual Cups? The 2018 Comparison Chart
Here’s my 2018 comparison chart for the best menstrual cups.
Menstrual Cups are great travel companions
As a mom and traveler, I have to pack for three people (me and my two children). I always try to pack as lightly as possible and packing feminine hygiene products does take up a lot of space. My cup doesn’t take up much space in my luggage at all.
Menstrual Cups Are Small
They take up very little space. You don’t have to worry about “running out” if you have your menstrual cup along on your travels.
Menstrual Cups are Reusable
This right here. The initial investment is a little higher, but mine is around 2 years old and going strong. Plus, you won’t be throwing away used pads and/or tampons at your destination. Win-win!
Can I wear a menstrual cup while going to the bathroom?
Can I wear it while swimming?
Will a shark chase me if I scuba dive while on my period?
Um… please don’t ask me because I’ve had this exact fear and even asked the dive master in a frenzied panic. In case you wondered, you can wear your cup while scuba diving! Okay, I did research and no, shark won’t chase you because you are diving on your period. Phew!
Can a menstrual cup get stuck in me?
That’s a big, fat nope! So breath a sigh of relief. It also cannot get lost inside you. You may have to get up close and personal with yourself to get it (especially if you’ve cut off the cup’s stem), but it will be retrievable.
What about Toxic Shock Syndrome?
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but serious, life threatening bacterial infection mostly associated with super absorbent tampons.
First, I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. In my research, I’ve learned it is highly unlikely to get TSS while wearing a cup, though not impossible. Even better, there are only a few reported cases stemming from cups being left in for days. Don’t leave your cup in for more than 12 hours, do boil it for five minutes between uses, and it’s extremely unlikely you will have any issues.
If you suspect you have TSS, please seek immediate medical attention.
But Menstrual Cups don’t work for me!
While there are people for whom a cup just won’t work, there are a lot of different cup options and different bodies will need different cups. I also found an awesome video of troubleshooting tips that changed my life. Okay, that was a bit of an exaggeration. Finding out that menstrual cups exist and purchasing one did change my life for the better, though.
Here are a few easy and quick troubleshooting tips:
- If the stem is irritating, you can turn the cup inside out and use it that way. Obviously, it’s a bit more invasive to remove it, but it won’t get stuck inside. Without the stem, you have to squeeze the bottom of the cup to remove it.*
- Don’t insert and remove your cup too frequently because that can cause irritation.
- Experiment with different folds. The directions for mine came with directions for using the “C” fold. There are other folds and the video below demonstrates the punch fold and the 7 fold.
- You can use lubricant! I think this would be especially helpful for first time users, until you get the hang of it and as long as you need it.
*I recommend trying it out before chopping the stem. I did not do this. It was a mistake. The trimmed stem was extremely irritating and I had to turn the cup inside out to use it.
The video below is my holy grail of troubleshooting tips for menstrual cup leaks. I learned a lot from the presentation and I’m even happier with my cup now. If you have any problems with your cup, watch this!
Go Forth and Travel Without Worrying About Your Period
You can go forth and travel without worrying about running out of feminine hygiene products. It can be packed or worn for travel (based on manufacturer’s instructions). You won’t be leaving unnecessary waste at your travel destination. You can wear it while swimming and going to the bathroom (and there’s no wet tampon string to worry about). Most brands can be left in for up to 12 hours, though check your cup’s website for specific instructions.
Go forth and travel, with your menstrual cup!
What’s your favorite menstrual cup? Is there a brand you think is best?