Photographed while wearing a menstrual cup in the Maldives.

Isolation Periods: Now is the time to try a menstrual cup

It had all the makings of an adventure or romance novel- left with your lover on a nearly deserted island surrounded by turquoise clear waters.

And then it had all the makings of a horror novel- uncontrollable blood.

Fast forward to the frontline of the Ukraine conflict, I was behind lines without any access to my usual menstrual supplies-about 2 years ago I switched to THINX and didn’t think of using anything else until the menstrual cup came along. Armed with it, I had no choice but to use the lessons I had filmed several months earlier and give it a go. Initial thoughts were:

More comfortable and reliable than any other option out there. I was converted! Until of course, I had to remove it.

After filming and editing the training sessions over and over again, where did I go wrong? Confused and admittedly a bit afraid I asked someone I bumped into at a film festival who was a Cupper, how did I spectacularly fail to use it properly? Or is that how it always is?

“Remember what it was like the first time you used a tampon?”

She said don’t worry, you’ll adjust to using it usually after 3 times.

The second time was unexpected but fitting, I had already had my period that month but since it was irregular and probably destiny that I should get it a second time in July while filming my documentary on menstruation WOMENstruate in South Africa.

Still just as comfortable, just as reliable and I kept myself a bit calmer this time to change it. The process still took me half an hour in the shower, but that was half the time than before without the heightened stress. I still preferred my THINX whenever I could just because they worked well for me.

I’ve just turned 35, not filming on location for once but in a once in a lifetime location-the Maldives.

I began to panic slightly that I would have to be cooped up in our beach hut for my own comfort in my THINX. Being marooned on a desert island suddenly had a whole new meaning for me-until I remembered I had my menstrual cup, and it was lucky number 3 for me this time.

As with the last two times, comfortable, reliable but this time easily removable! It turned my birthday back around all because it didn’t leave me on land for the rest of it! It was even easier to use in a beach setting because of the additional water sprayers in the bathrooms, I didn’t have to bring clean water into the toilet with me to rinse it.

I felt so relieved, like I could finally be in that circle with the girl guides jumping and singing my way into 35!

It’s the most useful thing I packed that I did not plan on needing.

Lauren Anders Brown is usually a traveling self-shooting documentary filmmaker currently grounded in Bermuda, but thankfully with her menstrual cup. Her latest documentary shot in 6 days shares the stories of 7 African women from different decades and countries and their experiences with menstruation. WOMENstruate is currently being internationally distributed for broadcast but if you’d like to screen it at a festival or a private screening you can complete a license here. Follow the WOMENstruate accounts on Twitter and Instagram and Lauren on Twitter and Instagram @LABCollaborate.



I am an independent documentary director writing about global health, migration, human rights, humanitarian issues, travel, coffee, and filmmaking.

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Lauren Anders Brown

I am an independent documentary director writing about global health, migration, human rights, humanitarian issues, travel, coffee, and filmmaking.