The Menstrual Cup Saga Continues: Road Tripping In West Africa And The Diva Cup Potential

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted about how I had been trying menstrual cups for several months with no luck. By then I was on my third brand, Diva Cup, and still skeptical, but it seemed as if the Diva Cup was actually showing some progress after an initial awkward start, but I needed to do more research.

I have gotten my period again since that post, and once again I used the Diva Cup. This time around, I was in a new environment where my period was acting erratically and I was road tripping. Basically, I went on a nine day trip to Ghana and Togo, and my body reacted. In case you didn’t know, traveling across time zones can affect your period, especially if you go somewhere tropical. If that wasn’t a test then I don’t know what was!

I willed my period to come early, as in, a week before the trip, but I was playing myself because my period comes like clockwork, never early, never late (I think it was late once, but you get the point). So, it was just my luck that I woke up on the morning of my afternoon/overnight flight to Ghana with full on blood in my underwear. It wasn’t heavy, but I figured that by the time I got to Accra the next day, it would be heavier. I’m not about that plane bathroom life (I’ll hold my pee for entire flights if I can; the longest I went to date was 10 hours) or changing pads and tampons while traveling, so when I got to the airport, I inserted the Diva Cup about an hour before my 9.5 hour flight.

When I got to the other side, I discovered that the cup served me well. There was no spotting in my underwear and everything was in the cup. However, being the cynic that I am, I still doubted it. I had to wait until my cycle turned up the volume before I made a decision, and figured that I’d have at least another 3 more days before I could fully determine. My period usually lasts for about 6 days, and I get a good 2 heavy days, and one and a half medium days out of that.

Side Note: This is me in Togo, by the way:

Anyway…

Traveling made my body act really screwy. Not only did I have an 8 day period (#DaFuq), but my period was misleadingly light for the first 3 (It’s usually at full power by the second and third day), and then turned on the heavy blood works toward the end, but it kept coming and going between light and heavy (I wasn’t the only woman on the trip who experienced that). It was annoying and weird, but I must admit, the Diva Cup kept me sane. I was still worried about it, but it got me through two 5 hour road trips, and a 14 hour road trip was was supposed to be 5 (um…road tripping in West Africa can be dramatic, and traumatic, and I still question my sanity, but that’s another story). On the latter road trip, I should have changed midway, but I decided to be trifling and keep it in (also because rest stop stations aren’t really a thing there, so your other option is to pray for a gas station that actually has a bathroom, or go in the bush, and the latter wasn’t happening with a cup because…soap, water and germs). When I got to my final destination, my cup had almost runneth over and there was some spotting on my panties, but it wasn’t terrible.

Overall, here’s what I noticed: On my really heavy days, there was no way I could keep the cup in for the full 12 hours because after a while, some blood droplets began dripping (slowly, but still) down to my panties. It wasn’t soggy or gross, and honestly, I didn’t notice until I looked, but I’m not about that blood stains coming through my pants life, so I remained vigilant. What worked for me on heavy days was changing after about 8 hours. I also noticed that I shifted on occasion. It didn’t happen much, but when it did I noticed and made the proper adjustments.

I’m getting a better hang of inserting my Diva Cup, but I still need some practice. If you put it in too high then the cup will definitely cause leakage, and if it hurts when you insert it start over, because you’re probably putting it in wrong. Like I said, I’m still practicing, but I’m getting closer to success. Perhaps I’ll be a pro by the end of my next cycle.

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Starrene Rhett Rocque is a former member of Dumbledore's Army who now enjoys gallivanting at pole, yoga and dance studios. She also occasionally fantasizes about becoming a shotgun-toting b-movie heroine.