Well, spoiler, but this post is about woman products. It’s good information for anyone to know because men have women in their lives that they care about. But I can understand why it might turn off male audiences from my blog, but I think it’s very valid for travel.
So if this makes you uncomfortable/you have no interest, best to get out of this post now.
From a general health point of view, I did a project for a science class in college and researched the pros and cons of the different feminine hygiene products. I, personally, used pads and only used tampons for swimming activities. For this project I discovered or became fully aware of the downfalls to these options.
1) The environment is harmed as you are putting plastic, non-biodegradable products into the ocean or into landfills.
2) Tampons are not the best as fibers can come loose when in use and cause an infection in your area. They also sometimes don’t absorb everything causing stains or the use of a liner as well.
3) The cost of replenishing every month is ridiculous. There are cheap brands, but often they are made horribly-hint the lower price. If you are buying a brand, say Always, a really good product, you could be spending around 35 bucks every month. Of course depending on your needs and what exactly you like.
Through this project, I first learned about the Diva cup. A silicone cup that is inserted into the area. You buy it once and you can reuse it….pretty much forever. There is no environmental harm as you wash it out. This is where people are grossed out, but it’s your blood ladies.
As I started preparing for my first bike trip, I researched what other female cyclists have done for that time of the month. They all recommended the Diva cup (or other menstrual cups). Well, since I’ve wanted to try it for a couple of years and had done the research on it for class, I went out and got one.
Insertion is different than a tampon, but like anything its practice. I’m not going to go into the specifics, there are instructions and I’m sure videos online to help.
This post is to promote the travel benefits of a menstrual cup.
1. No need to worry if you have enough for that time of the month while on the go.
2. No need to worry about finding the right brands or tampons in underdeveloped countries or even in developed countries.
3. No contribution to the environment (for all of you that are avoiding using plastic items…)
4. Saves money for traveling!
A lot of women ask how to clean it and deal with it in a public setting.
First, you can leave it in (recommended) no longer than 12 hours. By this point, you will be back in your own hotel room or a private setting.
You can even sleep with it in, which is so helpful.
For cycling, it is ideal because you want limited to no chaffing and with a pad or tampon there will always be something rubbing.
There are also a lot of health posts and videos out there on cleaning and mantaining, but what I do while traveling is boil some water or ask for boiled water from the hostel and stick it in it (in a mug) before and after my cycle.
During my cycle, every time I take it out, I dump the contents in the toilet (remember to flush) and clean it with hot water and a gentle soap like Dove (no overly fragrant soaps and/or those that are not so nice to skin in general).
For wild camping or camping with no running water, I find a private space or outhouse, dump the contents out and rinse with some fresh water from my bottle. It isnt a thorough clean, but good enough until the next time.
Don’t be embarrassed! We are all women and everyone knows what women go through. Now, I’m not saying wave your cup around the hostel (though if you are that comfortable, go you!), but own who you are!
I can’t recommend the cup enough- it definitely has saved me time, money, and worry- all things I can then move towards travel!