This is part of a regular segment called “You want to know WHAT?!” where we answer some of the questions we get from readers. Have a question? Email us.
[Gentlemen, you may want to skip today’s post. It is likely far more information than you ever wanted to know about the time of the month you want to avoid anyway. Feel free to skip down to the comments to suggest a “men only” topic for Warren to address.]
Question: How will you handle having your period on the road?
Answer: You’d be amazed at how often I get this question. And truthfully, I had not even considered it early on. But after doing a little bit of research, I found that in many places in South America tampons are unavailable or scarce. Not only that, but will I really want to give up precious space in my backpack to carry a supply of something I’ll only need a few days a month?
A potential solution seems to be the Mooncup. It is a small silicone cup that is worn internally during your period. You simply wash it out and re-use it.
This appeals to me for a few reasons:
- Fewer chemicals in my body – Tampons may contain pesticides and bleach from the growing and processing of cotton. Ewww. My friend Jude has been preaching about chemicals for some time, and a lot of what she says makes sense.
- Convenience – With a silicone cup in my backpack, I won’t have to trudge around looking for tampons when it is not convenient to do so. Space is obviously a concern, and while tampons don’t take up a ton of room, there isn’t a lot of room to begin with. A single silicone cup will take up almost no space.
- Less waste – Tampons produce less waste than pads, but there is still a significant amount of waste piling up in landfills and sewage plants. Reusing a menstrual cup each month means zero waste in the sewers and landfills.
I’ve had both good and bad reports about the Mooncup – some women swear they’d never go back to tampons, and one told me it was too messy for her.
My experience with the Mooncup
I ordered my own silicone Mooncup and recently tried it for the first time. It was a little tricky to use at first, but I finally got the hang of it (it comes with a diagram to help with insertion and removal).
What I didn’t like was that it was a bit messy at initial insertion, but it was less over time as I got used to it. And if you don’t “seat it” right you will be able to feel the stem, though it doesn’t hurt.
I’ve only used it for one cycle and plan to try it a few more times before making my final decision. I didn’t have any spotting with running or yoga, but I did once overnight. I may not have had it seated properly, though.
At this point, I would consider it a backup solution if I do not have tampons available, but over time I may change my mind and consider it my permanent solution. It will mainly depend on where we are traveling and what kind of access I have in both supplies and facilities.
Have you ever tried a menstrual cup before? What was your experience?