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help me WOMEN-asia-travellers! -.tampon talk and such.-

Travel Forums General Talk help me WOMEN-asia-travellers! -.tampon talk and such.-

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11. Posted by Cool Paul (Travel Guru 611 posts) 8y

note to self:

Read entire topic before clicking.

12. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 8y

Im actually moving this thread to general talk as l think it is more appropriate there. I would suggest you see Isadora - she generally is our local TP guru on any matters medical or like!! And l do remember this topic coming up somewhere previously - so if you have time perhaps a thread search might be appropriate!!

Still l will move it and hopefully you will get some of the answers you are looking for!

Heather

13. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 8y

Quoting Cool Paul

note to self:

Read entire topic before clicking.

14. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 8y

Wow - a thread actually moved to GT rather than out of it! And this should teach me to look at the Asia Forum more often as I missed this one...

The first issue that comes to mind immediately - do you have an allergy to latex? If so, only the disposible cups are latex-free. The re-usable cups could cause an allergic reaction as the cup will be in contact with your body for hours at a time.

Menstrual cups do take practice to ensure proper insertion, placement and removal. If you want to see if they will be the right product for you, try them out while you are still at home. If you plan to start traveling very soon then they may not be the best choice. Most cups also come in two sizes. Depending on your body, the wrong size can cause problems. If the cup is too large, you will have trouble with proper insertion and difficulty with removal. Too small and they can slip down causing leakage. Each manufacturer does have information about the length of time a cup can be inserted compared with a tampon. (Ie: tampon = 4 hours use, cup = 6 hours use, etc.)

Emptying and proper cleansing can be a hassle depending on your travel area. As JungleJano commented, using bottled or boiled water is the best option. The re-usable cups can take higher water temperatures without degrading. A mild soap is recommended whenever possible but thorough rinsing is very important there. Soap residue can cause irritation of the mucous membranes. When not in use, the cups must be kept in a container that allows for airflow. (Most come with their own cloth pouch for storage.) A damp cup placed in an airtight container can cause mold/mildew growth on the cup that may not be visible to the naked eye. Some women do develop yeast infections due to improper cleaning but that percentage is small.

Lubricants (petroleum jelly/K-Y Jelly) should not be used around the rim of the cup to aid insertion. Petroleum jelly, being petroleum-based, quickly degrades latex. It is also very hard to remove from the cup during cleaning (without a lot of soap) which can trap fluids and allow bacteria growth. Both can cause the cup to slip out of place at the wrong time.

Again, if you have the time - give them a try at home. Many women are very happy with the cups once they have mastered the proper technigues for use. Outside of the emptying issue in more rural settings, cleaning and proper care are essential.

As for tampons, the "digital" ones (those without the applicator) are quite effective. Packaging is small and will take less room in your pack. The tampon itself is about the length of your thumb (or mine at least) and without the bulky applicator, perfect for traveling.

One last comment - for anyone else curious about this issue - the cups can be used during intercourse but are not a barrier birth control device. The cups are designed for one use only. A diaphram needs to be fitted to each individual woman to ensure proper protection and requires the use of a spermicidal jelly for full effectiveness. The cups fit similarly, but not exactly the same way, inside the body and are not effective barriers.

15. Posted by ashschu (Budding Member 17 posts) 8y

Isadora had some excellent points in her post, but I just want to correct a couple things she mentioned (for any that are considering a cup whether for travelling or not). Sorry Isadora, I don't want to prove you wrong or anything, just want to share what I have learned.

I am currently testing out the Diva Cup for the purpose of travelling with it. This is not a one time use cup, but a reusable one that is expected to last for years. It is medical grade silicon, so supposed to be allergy free, it is completely latex free. The company recommends changing it every 12 hours, but if needed they say you can go for longer. As it is medical grade silicon, if you are following the rules of cleanliness associated with the cup, there should be no chance of infection from the cup.

For cleaning they say you should have clean hands before inserting or removing the cup. Maybe some hand sanitizer would do where there are no toilet facilities. You should also only clean the cup with water that is safe to drink. In a pinch they say it is perfectly fine to just empty the cup without cleaning it before inserting it again, but they recommend giving it a proper clean at the next chance. You can boil the medical grade silicon cups, so this might be something you can do nightly at camp?

If needed you can use a very very tiny daub of silicone safe lube (water soluble) but I doubt that is something you will want to carry around with you. Also, as Isa says it is harder to wash off, so not something you want to use if you won't be able to clean the cup well afterwards. They also have to be removed before intercourse. As for drying, they seem to dry extremely quick. A quick dab with a towel or what-have-you and pop it in it's little bag and it should be fine.

I was considering OB tampons for their packable size......but then I thought; If I'm really going to be travelling places with no toilets, how am I going to dispose of anything......or wash my hand after inserting one (ewww, TMI I know!). Plus, you should have clean hands before using them as well, so you're not making that part any easier. Besides that, I feel a bit greener for using something that is reusable!

16. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 8y

Thanks for some of the clarifications, ashschu!! And no need to apologize! It's great information to know and now Sara has a comment from someone who is actually using the product. ;)

17. Posted by saragrayce (Budding Member 7 posts) 8y

;)Thank you all for responding and offering advice and experience.;)

But I still have to ask one more question.

My problem is that I'll be living in villages at times with no running water, no electricity, that type of thing. When I get my period, i will have access to soap, pumped well water, a hole in the ground for a toilet and no toilet paper. I like the cup idea because I don't have to leave tampons in the hole in the ground. But im a bit worried about cleaning my cup with the well water. i got dysentery and geardia the last two times i was in Nepal and i expect to get it all again. and I can't imagine asking my host family to let me boil my cup before they eat dinner. all we had was one fire pit that was occupied all day by the cook who cooked for the family all day long.

i know this is a really specific situation, but if isadora or anyone has any suggestions for this specifically, i'd greatly appreciate it.

I'm guessing the best thing to do is bring ob's, use them in tough situations and fall back on the cup when im in the city with toilet paper and boiling water to clean it.

my main concern is getting something like geardia in my vaginal tract or something crazy like that just from washing the cup in infected water and reusing it. kinda freaks me out.

thanks again for the help.
-sara

18. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 8y

Quoting saragrayce

I'm guessing the best thing to do is bring ob's, use them in tough situations and fall back on the cup when im in the city with toilet paper and boiling water to clean it.

my main concern is getting something like geardia in my vaginal tract or something crazy like that just from washing the cup in infected water and reusing it. kinda freaks me out.

Hey Sara - no need to freak out.

As for leaving tampons in the ground - you might want to consider looking into these - Natracare Organic Cotton Tampons. I have no experience with them and they may be quite expensive but they may be an alternative to the non-biodegradable versions. I also think you are on the right track with using tampons while with the host famiy and the cup while in areas with better sanitation. Again, that's just my personal opinion.

To address the other concerns...

Giardia is contracted by ingestion. I have yet to see any scientific papers or information suggesting that giardia can be transmitted vaginally. (I also haven't read every paper out there...) But, it is highly unlikely that giardia crosses the mucous membranes and the vaginal "eco-system" will be a very hostile one. Giardia does not like hostile environments and dies.

Bacterial vaginosis will be of a bigger concern but still requires a number of factors to occur. BV develops when several different types of bacteria are in the same place at the same time. Stress, douches, and unsanitary practices all contribute. Considering your statements about the probable living conditions, the well water could be a source for the varying bacterial strains which could lead to an infection. (Notice I used the word "could" twice as it's not a given by any means.)

As ashschu commented - maybe cleaning the cup at night (after dinner) may be possible. Consider having two cups - one in use and one in reserve. That would allow you to change out and clean when it is more convenient (later in the day).

19. Posted by saragrayce (Budding Member 7 posts) 8y

wow. that's a great idea: having two cups...
and thanks for clearing up the bacteria vaginal conundrum.

this forum is great. thank you all for helping and contributing.
makes my travel easier.

-sara

20. Posted by Falukozi (Budding Member 56 posts) 8y

Wow this is all really good information. I have been looking at the deva cup and other things like it.

this far my only real experiences that would be helpful is that I was traveling this summer and took the pill for 4 months strait. my doctor said it was fine and that the pills were designed on the 28 day cycle just because the man that designed them thought it was a good idea.
your doctor may think otherwise but mine said go for it so I would ask before you start playing that game. it was very convenient. I probably wouldn't do it a lot longer than 4 or 5 months personally. The only thing is that you have to be carefull to take them at the same time every day because after the first month I noticed if I didn't take them consistently I would bleed a little bit.

have fun

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