Isn’t it gross? Really big? Weird to empty in a public toilet in Asia? I can hear the questions popping up in your head.
We had questions too, and we hadn’t even heard of this thing until a few weeks before we started travelling. But when we tried our first OrganiCup, we wondered: why isn’t every person with a uterus using a menstrual cup already?!
Ever since, we’ve been on a mission to tell everyone about this incredible invention (which was already invented in 1937 by American actress Leona Chalmers, crazy!).
We set out all the menstrual cup pros and cons to make it easier for you to buy one. We’ll also dive into how to use and clean a cup while travelling. Believe us, after this article you don’t want anything else but a menstrual cup. Period.
Pros: why you should travel with a menstrual cup
The biggest reason to use a menstrual cup is that it’s incredibly convenient. It takes away so many worries like what if I run out of tampons?
What if I can’t buy any tampons in places like Asia? What about water activities and I’m on my period? And what about that long flight?
You don’t feel the cup, there’s no awkward string that might pop out of your bikini, and you will never run out of it – because it’s reusable!
- It holds more and longer
Part of the convenience is that it holds more fluids and therefore lasts longer. You can ‘wear’ the cup up to 12 hours and there’s no danger if it’s a little longer.
That’s a full day/night without thinking about it! And think about that long flight: worry-less hours, love it.
Of course, it depends on your flow how long you can go without emptying. Per period it’s normal to flow 10 to 80 ml of menstrual fluid.
The OrganiCup I use has a volume of 25 ml (where a regular tampon holds 5 ml!). On my first day, it’s full in 12 hours.
It doesn’t leak, but I obviously like to change it by then. Roxanne has a similar flow, but simply loves to be ‘safe’ and like replacing it a bit more often in the first days. Again, do what feels right for you!
- Saves money and space
We all want more money to spend on travel, right? A menstrual cup is actually an amazing way to save money!
Did you know you are likely to spend $2000 on tampons in your life? Menstrual cups are reusable for at least 5 years (the OrganiCup up to 10 years even!) and are therefore a lot cheaper than tampons and pads in the long run.
Let’s calculate a little, shall we? The average person with a uterus uses approximately 240 tampons each year (20 per cycle), on average a tampon costs $0.20, which means you’ll spend 240 tampons x 5 years x $0.20 = $240 every five years on tampons.
So if you invest once in a cup of $26… You get the point. And think of all the space you save in your backpack or suitcase (because you can’t buy tampons in every country, you gotta bring loads with you).
- Helps the environment
You don’t have to be a genius to think about the huge amount of waste your period creates.
240 tampons in a year, plus packaging, plus plastic individual wrapping, plus extra toilet paper that you wrap around your tampon: it’s insane.
And did you know 90% of pads is plastic?! Four bags of plastic to be precise. Buying one cup immediately reduces the waste to ZERO. You can make a big change!
If you’re a fan of sustainable travel, read our article about how to be greener!
- Healthy and safe
It’s a lot healthier for your parts, whereas tampons absorb natural moisture too and can cause vaginal dryness, a cup doesn’t interfere with the vaginal environment.
No risk of getting TSS (that scary tampons disease) too. My OrganiCup is made of 100% soft medical-grade silicone.
No BPA, no latex, no dye and certified vegan. It’s so much safer than tampons and makes for a happier, healthier vagina!
The final argument: it is simply the best solution for travelling. While travelling, you will experience different levels of hygiene.
From “how can they call this hole a toilet” (China) to “wow this toilet seat has music options”(Japan). And especially when standing in the former, you do not want to struggle with your sanitary products every couple of hours.
Nor do you want to deal with leaking problems when there is no (clean) water to be found. And if you were planning on avoiding these things by continuous use of your contraceptive pills, think again.
With the time differences and having no routing while travelling it is so easy to forget it or taking them a few hours too late, your flow will start immediately (that’s Rox’ experience speaking).
Convinced already? Shop your OrganiCup now!
Cons: why you shouldn’t travel with a menstrual cup
- It’s gross and messy
Honestly, I think tampon-leaking and getting rid of a tampon or pads in the Mongolian desert is way messier.
Pads – in my opinion – are the grossest things ever. I only tried them the first two days of my first period and after leaking everywhere in my bed at night I was done with them. Blဝဝd and periods are a natural thing and on average, a person with a uterus is menstruating 3500 days. That’s 10 years of blဝဝding every day! So, better grow up and get used to it ladies.
- There’s a learning curve
“OMG I love my period, it’s so easy” no one ever said. So yeah sure, you gotta work on it and your first cup-try might not work.
So what? My first tampon-attempt was definitely unsuccessful. I actually started menstruating pretty late, I was 15 (the average is 12 years).
It’s the age, it’s awkward not to know how it works. I didn’t put in my tampon deep enough and joined the class for P.E. My tampon fell out after the second lap of running. Yup, can it get any more awkward?!
As for tampons, menstrual cups take a bit of practice and just like tampons, you need to figure out what size fits you.
- So many other worries
- Can a cup get stuck?
- It’s intimidating and scary
- How do I insert the cup?
- Will it fit?
- Is it safe?
- What if it leaks?
- Can I pee with a cup?
- How to deal with a cup in public restrooms?
- How to deal with a cup on a flight?
The list of worries is endless, and you’ll see how the six menstrual cup pros outweigh the three cons. So let’s dive into it a bit deeper (funny thing: a tampon actually goes deeper than a cup) and let’s get rid of the worries.
Check out OrganiCup.com and use promo code “JOURNEY” for a 20% discount!
How to use a menstrual cup
Find your fave fold
If you see a menstrual cup for the first time, you might be intimidated by its size. Don’t worry, it will fit!
Your parts were designed for much bigger things to go through, so there’s no need to panic. Panic is actually very unhelpful because it might close everything up down there.
You do not have to cram the whole thing in there as it is. You’ll fold it first, and it’ll open when it’s inside.
The best thing to start with is practising folding the cup, and figuring out what works best for you.
There are many ways to fold the cup, but the most popular ones are the 1) C-Fold, 2) Punch-Down Fold and 3) 7 Fold. Practice folding before inserting the cup and don’t rush it.
Relax & Practice
There’s absolutely no harm in trying inserting the cup when you’re not on your period (or in the last days, with little flow).
It might make things less messy and more comfortable for you to try. Relaxing is the very best thing to do, as it will make things a lot easier!
Find a place and position where you feel comfortable and just try it out. I personally like inserting and removing the cup in the shower, especially in the first days. It helps me relax and to not worry about a mess.
Unfolding and ideal placement
While practising, you might find out you actually prefer another fold, or you find out the cup isn’t opening.
Don’t worry, it’s a learning curve and you are the only person who can make it work for you.
If the cup isn’t opening, try twisting the cup or move it up and down a little bit.
Good to know: a cup can be placed lower than a tampon, so don’t push it up too high, as that might result in leaking. Also: you can cut the stem if it sticks out or irritates.
What really helped me, is learning about the cervix. It’s the lower part of the uterus and it’s basically a small doughnut with a hole in the centre. You can actually feel it with your finger. That’s where the blဝဝd is coming from, so a quick check after inserting your cup – just go around the cup and feel around the base of the cup. The cup must feel round (= creating a vacuum) and the small doughnut must be ‘gone’, so the cup must conceal the cervix.
Panty liner backup
So, placing the cup in the right spot is important and it might take you a few times to get it right. You might feel more secure with a panty liner for backup the first (few) times you try. If you still leak after proper placement, it might be excess menstrual blဝဝd left in the vagina, simply go around the cup to remove it (hence the shower-tip, it’s great to get this done when the water is running).
After you’ve learnt more about your cup and your menstruation, you can actually learn to plan better.
As the cup can stay in for 12 hours (no need to take it out for peeing or pooping!), you can actually plan when it would work best for you.
Right before a long flight, in the morning and at night in the safe environment of your house or hotel: you can actually schedule this a lot better than tampons!
How to clean a menstrual cup while travelling
Removing the cup
It’s a good thing to know that a cup cannot get stuck. It might move up a little, but it can’t get stuck. Simply find the base of the cup, try to push down with your muscles down there, and pinch in the cup a little (breaking the vacuum) and gently take it out. Blဝဝd will flow, so it’s easiest to hang above/sit on the toilet or stand in the shower.
Cleaning your cup
During your period you only have to rinse your cup before you put it back in.
While traveling, this can be tricky, but our best tip is to bring your bottled water with you for a safe and clean rinse. Works everywhere: in squatting toilets or on the plane. Also, always make sure to have clean hands!
After your period the best practice is to boil your cup for a few minutes. In many places, you can find a kettle or a 7-eleven that sells hot water.
We actually bring a little travel kettle with us everywhere we go, it’s one of the unusual but unmissable things we travel with.
How to choose a cup?
“Ignorance is bliss” is best to describe my search for a menstrual cup.
The first time I saw something about menstrual cups, it was an ad of OrganiCup on Facebook – and I noticed so many of my friends were liking the page already!
I was flabbergasted: “she’s using a cup like this? OMG, and she?!” I just decided to go for it (their size options are super easy: size A when not given birth vaginally and size B when given birth vaginally) and only later found out there are so many more options.
I really like my cup, so I doubt I’ll try another one, so I really suggest: just try it. You can actually try it out risk-free. So if you’re not satisfied after 90 days they’ll give you a refund (use promo code “journey” for a 20% discount!). Besides blဝဝd, you got nothing to lose!