I have a confession that only the women in my immediate household know. I do not like talking about womanly stuff. To anyone. To be specific, the thought of pregnancies kinda grosses me out like a teenage boy and I always seemed to have an outer body experience when the topic of female reproductive organs arose in health class. Periods are no different and it seems as if I may not be the only one. The International Women’s Health Coalition, in partnership with a menstrual health app called Clue, revealed in a global survey that women use over 5,000 different euphemisms to refer to a woman’s period. The number of terms used to beat around the bush to avoid the topic illustrates that talking about menstrual cycles still remains a taboo issue around the world. To be frank, it would behoove all of us if we spend a lot less time and energy pretending that no one has them.
As a frequent traveler on the go, I have shied away from talking about the best way to handle your menstrual cycle while traveling. Imagine that, keeping one of the best secrets all to myself. I’ve wanted to review the Lunette Menstrual Cup since earlier this year but I hesitated out of fear that people would think that I was “gross” for considering an alternative method to handling my period. I would rave privately about the product offline to a few family members and friends yet never shared my enthusiasm for it publicly out of the fear of humiliation and embarrassment. I mean come on, have you seen the negative feedback left on social media about menstrual cups in general?
However the time has come to talk directly to those who are ready to discover a healthier feminine product in hopes of reaching someone who may benefit from this amazing little product; especially since my admiration for the Lunette Cup equates to hassle free periods for travelers and non-travelers alike.
If you are a male reader who has taken the time to read this so far, feel free to continue reading! While this may not be relevant to your specific needs, I hope that you will forward this article to your girlfriend, wife, female traveler or anyone else who could greatly benefit from this information. Bravo for making it this far. *insert thumbs up emoji*
Let’s start at ground zero. When I was planning for my trip around the world, I knew that my menstrual cycle would not magically disappear and that dealing with it while traveling to different countries was enough to send me a little on edge. Thoughts ranged from Are tampons accessible in xxx country? to Would I be close enough to a store to get pads when I needed it? It wasn’t until I overheard a coworker talking about it that I started to do my research. And when I say research, I mean an entire month dedicated to extensive analysis from reading articles, blogs and YouTube videos. I was skeptical at first but convinced enough to purchase my Lunette cup from Amazon a few months before l left the U.S. in order to learn how to use it. I added it to my shopping cart and never looked back. It turns out that it is one of the best purchases that I made before my trip and I am grateful that my travels compelled me to seek an alternative to tampons and pads. Now let’s dig into the details.
What is a Lunette Menstrual cup?
For those unfamiliar with menstrual cups, you may have been at a lost up until this point. Don’t worry, I got you covered. The Lunette cup is a safe, reusable and environmentally friendly alternative to pads and tampons that is offered in two model sizes. The ability to reuse it makes it a great one-time purchase that won’t tug on your purse strings during your cycle. The insertion is likened to that of a tampon but the cup collects fluids which is then emptied into the toilet, washed and reused. Here are a few quick facts from the Lunette website:
The Lunette Cup is:
- made of medical-grade silicone
- odorless, safe, sanitary and doesn’t contain rubber latex
- intended to be used for all ages and sizes; I purchased the model 1 but recently received a model 2 which I am excited to test and compare
- designed for sexually active women and those who have yet to engage in sexual intercourse as well as those who use a contraceptive ring
- enables you to monitor your flow
How does it work?
Remember how I told you that I was squeamish about periods? That hasn’t changed. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, the company created a how to guide using illustrations and instructions that can be found on the website and on the product packaging.
Why Lunette Works for Me
My initial research revealed women who championed a range of menstrual cups, in particular The Diva Cup, however I am not one to believe the hype without conducting my own analysis. After much research, I choose The Lunette cup because of its unique design that is shorter in cup length yet maximizes capacity for a petite woman such as myself. This was the best fit for me (pun intended) because when the cup is properly positioned, it feels comfortable and I don’t feel a thing. At all. Plus, the cup is tailored for women with sensitive bladders and does not push against it (I’m a water drinker so there’s never a time I don’t have to go). Keep reading to the end of the post where I share a few tips that have worked for me and learn about a surprise.
7 Reasons Why I Travel with the Lunette Cup
- Easy to pack without consuming space. At 1.6 inches by 1.9 inches in size, the Lunette cup fits in the palm of my hand and doesn’t take up as nearly as much space as a month’s supply of pads and tampons, especially since I am traveling indefinitely. Who has space for that? Not me. I will admit that I still purchase panty liners and pads occasionally as protective measures for my own peace of mind in the event of a leak. Let’s be honest, user error happens from time to time. But I am exploring waste-free options such as reusable feminine products and panties. Either way using the cup significantly reduces the amount of back-up products that I purchase because they are often not used at the same rate compared to the average woman uses approximately 17,000 tampons, pads or panty-liners in her lifetime according to the Lunette website.
- Eco-friendly to the environment. Some of the countries that I have visited are not equipped with proper waste management systems. This means that flushing as much as toilet paper is highly discouraged. Knowing that I can reduce my waste footprint through sustainable choices reassures me that I am not contributing to a sewage dilemma. Oddly enough, I also found that quite a few residences in westernized countries did not have a bathroom garbage to dispose of personal waste which I find baffling. Even if I were to use ‘mainstream’ feminine hygiene products, where would I even dispose of the contents and the wrappers? My point exactly.
- Lifestyle friendly to meet your needs. The cup is designed to allow you to participate in active sports just as you would if you were not on your menstrual cycle. It allows you to partake in any fitness activities including hiking, camping, swimming and the like.
- Wear for up to 12 hours. Unlike tampons that can only be worn for a specific amount of time to avoid TSS, you can wear the Lunette cup for up to 10+ hours. This is a major sticking point for budget travelers like me who spend time trekking across countries, riding ground public transportation or long flights for long periods of time. The last thing I need to do on a trip is to find a bathroom every 2 -3 hours to take care of my lady business.
- Don’t get caught off guard. Since the cup allows you to wear it for an extended period of time, you can wear it before you even get your period. This is important for women who know the time of the month is near during a long excursion. Simply use the Lunette Cup before a 10-hour bus ride or before you go to the beach to prevent an embarrassing moment. The best part is that youcan eliminate the need to make a special trip to the store and remain worry free if you happen to visit a remote village.
- Breathe easier on your period. Since wearing the Lunette cup, there have been times where I simply forgot I was wearing a cup let alone remembered that I was actually on my period. The same goes for my day time activities and during the night when I am most panicked about leaks while I am asleep, especially when I went camping in New Zealand and lived out of a caravan in Australia! Have fun with it by choosing one from a variety of colours. Even if no one else sees it, it’s cool knowing that a feminine hygiene product fits your personal aesthetics.
- Get familiar with your body. Many seek menstrual cups as an alternative to the dangers of tampons, its fibers, toxic shock syndrome (TSS) or complications with pads. After discovering the reasons why women opt for menstrual cups, I learned that the cotton in tampons and pads undergo a chlorine bleaching process and include other harmful ingredients that can be absorbed into the bloodstream with the potential to damage organs. This is harmful because vaginas are incredibly absorbent where chemicals can be distributed throughout the body. Menstrual cups tend to be safer since it is made from medical-grade silicone and will last for a few years. Additionally, cups keep you in tune with your body to identify lighter and heavier cycles which brings an entirely new factor of cool that unleashes my inner biology nerd.
When inserted correctly (which can be a bit tricky for a first timer), the cup is sealed by insertion through various folding methods. Each menstrual cup user has a folding preference that may take a bit of time to determine which one is right for them. If at any point you can feel the cup after insertion, it is not positioned correctly. You should not feel anything.
Cleaning Your Cup
Before and after your cycle, there are a few ways to sanitize your cup. You can use peroxide or rubbing alcohol to disinfect it. You can also boil it for 5 – 10 minutes. But Lisa, where would I find a pot and stove on the road? I’m glad you asked. One thing has remained consistent during my travels: my lodging has always been equipped with an electric hot tea kettle. This is perfect for boiling water to be poured into a disposable styrofoam cup until it is fully emerged. If a disposable cup is not available, I’ve also used a zip lock bag or a plastic grocery bag by tying a knot closer to the base of the bag to create a small pouch to submerge my cup in hot water (the bags have held up, just be cautious). Whichever method you choose, please do not use someone else’s drinking cup to wash your menstrual cup. In my opinion, that is unacceptable and disrespectful if they are unaware of your intensions. As long as you own it, to each her own!
There are a few ways to clean your Lunette cup during your cycle. Cup wipes are a great option for the ‘girl-on-the-go’ to sanitize your cup or use toilet paper when you cannot rinse it within a stall. You can also opt to use the liquid cleanser made of lemon and eucalyptus oil. As an alternative, wearers have suggested to bring a bottle of water into a stall to rinse the cup or will discretely wash the cup under cold water in a bathroom sink since it is small enough to conceal. Either one of these cleaning options may work considering that in many countries the toilet and the bathroom, equipped with a sink and shower, are often times in two separate rooms. All the more reason to diversify your cup cleaning options.
As with every new product, there is a learning curve. Embrace it! My suggestion would be to purchase this at least a few months before you start traveling to get a few cycles under your belt. You will thank me later when you’ve mastered the cup in the comfort of your clean bathroom.
Be forewarned, this is not for the light hearted; then again I did say I was squeamish so there’s hope! If you’re easily grossed out, you may want to reconsider this. The learning process is a bit steep but once you get the hang of it it’s incredibly easy. Dumping the contents in the toilet may put people off but if you’re accustomed to inserting a tampon without an applicator this may be right up your alley.
Some have expressed concerns that menstrual cups seem too large to be inserted. I am usually baffled by the women who mention this after knowing that they’ve birthed a baby or two but that’s neither here or there. I too had similar concerns however a combination of the soft silicone material coupled with the cup’s design to be used by active and non-sexually active women is reassuring, not to mention that the vagina stretches quite a bit for, well…babies. But I digress.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- Always wash your hands before and after inserting your cup. You do not want to introduce ‘unwelcome’ guests.
- Cut your nails. Since it takes a certain level of intimacy to insert the cup, you do not want to introduce sharp objects to your vagina. You’re welcome.
- If you run out of cup wipes or liquid cleanser, be sure to use a mild perfume and oil-free soap.
- Try not to insert the cup straight up. After looking at a diagram of the vagina *again* (did I not tell you I had an outer body experience during health class?) I realized that the cup should be angled backwards, in the direction of a drinking glass when sipped. You’ll know because the stem will point slightly forward and not straight to the ground.
- When the directions say rotate the cup, make sure to do so to avoid leaks. This is a work in progress for me.
- If you’re not completely confident that you’ve done it correctly, wear a pad or liner to catch any leaks to avoid an embarrassing moment. It’s ok if you don’t get it the first time. Relax.
- If you have trouble maneuvering your cup, try inserting it in the shower using water as a natural lubricant.
- As you can see from the illustrations, there is a stem that protrudes from the cup which is comfortable for me when inserted correctly (the Lunette stem is solid therefore no blood can collect there which is a huge bonus to sticking with this brand). The stem is helpful for locating the cup as it will sometimes float up into the vaginal abyss even if it initially sits low. Those who are bothered by the stem can simply cut the stem off without harming the functionality of the cup.
Enter to win a FREE Lunette set for yourself and consider paying it forward by gifting a Lunette starter kit to a friend in the U.S. or shop the online global store for international orders. Oh, and by the way, *Oprah voice* the giveaway is open to participants WORLDWIDE!
To enter, simply:
- FOLLOW me (@PhysicalCanvas) on Instagram or Facebook
- TAG a friend in the comments section of the Lunette giveaway post, and
- PICK your preferred Lunette cup color and model size.
Increase your chances of winning by entering on both Instagram and Facebook.
This giveaway is open worldwide with no purchase necessary.
The giveaway runs from December 1 – December 9. Winners will be announced on December 11 and will have 24 hours to respond once contacted.
This giveaway wouldn’t be possible without Lunette which sponsored the giveaway products. All opinions and thoughts are 100% mine; this post contains affiliate links.
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