The Mooncup is a medical standard silicone menstrual cup, which doesn’t absorb, but collects your monthly lady dregs. After purchasing one quite some time ago, and glancing at it fearfully before hiding it away in its cosy cloth bag in a draw (have you seen how wide it is?!), I decided to ‘bite the bullet’, combat my fears and give it a go. For the good of the planet primarily, as I had become well aware of the consequences of using single use sanitary products (or any single use item for that matter) on the environment.
- Did you know that on average, women use well over 10,000 disposable sanitary products in their lifetime(1). All of which end up in landfill or wreaking havoc in the sea, taking several hundred years to decompose(1). A fact which quite literally made me swear out loud upon reading. Every disposable sanitary item I ever used still exists somewhere. Shit. In fact, I had the privilege of swimming with some ‘disposable’ tampons and sanitary towels recently whilst on holiday, and I think you will all agree with me on this, they do not make for great swimming companions.
- Disposable sanitary items are also usually full of nasty chemicals, including bleach (to whiten them) and even plastic, so they aren’t even great for our lady bits either (1). There is a risk of toxic shock syndrome with tampons, for example.
- The Mooncup is reusable, and lasts for years. And although it costs £19.99 at time of writing, it pays for itself in approximately 6 periods, saving you money in the long run. Couldn’t find any health risks like TSS associated with the cup, either. Everyones a winner!
- The majority of the most common brands found on the high street of disposable sanitary items are sadly tested on animals (2), and are therefore not vegan. How are they tested, you might ask? By literally sticking a tampon inside an animal. Yes, you read correctly. You can check if your chosen brand is ethical and cruelty free here http://www.thegoodshoppingguide.com/ethical-feminine-care/
For more information on the Mooncup itself, including which size to buy, or to order one, please click here https://www.mooncup.co.uk/
Now for the fun part, my first hand experience of using the magical Mooncup. Enjoy.
Pre-period prep: Practice makes perfect:
My practice started a day or so before I thought my period was due. I highly recommend doing this, as it’s not an easy process to begin with, and you really don’t want to be battling with a heavy blood flow whilst trying to get the cup in, or out, for the first time.
Following the instructions, I boiled my cup before using. I have a designated pan for cup boiling now, although that’s probably not necessary. I let the cup cool down, as I didn’t want to burn my lady bits, then started to try out the different folding suggestions which you can find in the instruction leaflet, but also on the Mooncup website.
There are loads of folding options, and I had to try a few before finding the first suggested method was better for me, the C fold (see pic below). Please don’t give up with this, it was a bit of a crazy 20 minutes or so of putting it in and out trying to figure out what’s best, and was a workout in the squat position (I still can’t insert mine sitting on the toilet). I was sweating. Also, make sure you wet the cup first, it really is not going to be a pleasant experience, or get too far if it’s dry.
It was during this practice that I could also get a feel for whether I wanted to keep the stem on the cup, trim it down, or totally remove it. My stem is totally removed (see pic above), as it was irritating with any stem on for me. This will vary depending on each lady. If you have to totally remove the stem like I did, don’t worry, removing the cup without the stem is so easy, just collapse the cup with two fingers, pull and empty. I can do this bit on the toilet thankfully.
Day 1 of period: My period kicked in the following day after my practice. I would love to say I got the cup in first attempt, but it was still a battle, and took several shots before it was in. I flicked blood on the floor in the process too, and was rather thankful my floor was tiled. Perhaps avoid carpeted areas when trying this out. Once it was in though it was smooth sailing from there. I couldn’t feel it at all. What was really odd was that throughout the day I also didn’t have any cramps. I usually have crippling cramps the first day or so. Weird coincidence I thought at first, and that perhaps they would kick in a bit later on.
The first whole night sleeping in this magical creation went so well. No big bulky nappy on. No leaks. I took it out with that delightful de-suctioning sound in my morning shower and then cleaned it with soap and water (and myself) before re-inserting it ready for my day. It’s actually great doing it in the shower, as even if you splatter the wall when taking it in or out, you can shower yourself and the wall straight away.
Day 2: It was still taking me several attempts to get it in, which can be a bit tiring and annoying, but I kept going, and am glad I did. Also, still had no cramps. None. I was utterly gobsmacked, but was scared to tell anyone at first, in case it was just a hoax. Now I can’t stop telling everyone- even my dad. Utter disbelief.
Day 3: First experience wearing it to work on a night shift. I felt it shift a bit on my walk to work, and panicked as I thought it had un-suctioned. I think perhaps I didn’t put it in further enough because I could now feel it too. I really didn’t have the time to get it in and out again, as although it has got slightly easier, it was still taking me a while!
As I saw some leaking in my underwear I decided to use a ‘disposable’ pad I had left in my bag for emergency use while getting used to the cup. Sigh. I kept the cup in too and was planning to re-position it on one of my rare breaks (I’m a nurse). I actually recommend having a few emergency pads whilst learning to use it for at work or a special occasion, as I was so thankful to have one on this shift.
Day 4: Took it in and out successfully on my entire night shift tonight, total success. Yay. Spoke to colleagues about it too. Seemed interested.
Day 5: Nothing much to say about today. Sometimes I am now getting it in first time, but its still taking a few attempts most of the time.
Day 6: Whilst talking about my experience with the Mooncup at work, I was told it is disgusting. Thought that was perhaps a strong response, and personally think filling landfills with 1000’s of sanitary products is rather more disgusting. But that’s just my opinion. Sigh. I’m putting it down to fear of the unknown. Still not going to stop talking about it either.
Day 7: Another uneventful day. Wa hey!!
Day 8: My period is basically over now, but I have kept the cup in because sometimes it likes to surprise me with some brown sludge, delightfully.
Overall this has been such a positive experience. It does take some effort, for sure, and I am not 100% there with the insertion part yet, but I already doubt that I will ever go back to using nasty toxic tampons and pads. Also absolutely zero cramps. I’m still not entirely sure whether it’s coincidence and just a fluke. I will try again next month and see if the same happens again.
Period 2 with the cup:
I used the Mooncup again, but also a reusable sanitary cloth pad by SillyPandaCo on etsy. There were some cramps on the first day, but seemingly less severe than usual. So that’s still good. I also experienced a leakage on the first night, as my flow was really heavy and the cup didn’t hold up over night. So on the second night I used a reusable pad, which was great, just in case. In future, I might combine both on my first couple of nights, as it can be the heaviest for me. I ordered my reusable pad from here http://sillypanda.co.uk/, and they are honestly amazing. Soft and comfortable, and easy to clean. Plus they have pretty patterns, even unicorn ones.
Also, my period was shorter in length than usual, by two days.
Period 3 with the cup:
Finally a Magical Mooncup Queen. I still had a wall splashing incident, but it was a shower wall so not so bad. Used the cup on holiday too, and it was my best holiday period ever. No string a ling a ling dangling risk, swimming was a dream with it in (besides the floating ‘disposable’ sanitary product incidences), as was going out dancing all night. No leaks. No trouble finding clean water to wash it with, as I just refilled a bottle with filtered water and took it in the shower or toilet with me. You can’t use tap water in many countries to clean the cup, so just double check where you are going. Its also great not having to worry about carry pads and tampons around with me everywhere.
I will definitely not be going back to tampons and single use pads. I feel healthier period wise, and so much happier knowing that I am not contributing to more landfill waste problems. Plus I will be saving money!
As for the messiness side, it really wasn’t bad for me. The cup doesn’t smell foul like a sanitary pad can, and is not so different to taking a tampon out. It’s your own bodily fluids, and I found myself connecting more to my body using this method. My periods have shortened in length too. What more can a girl want.
I am hoping sharing my personal account will encourage you, and any others reading this who may be a bit hesitant or afraid to try it, as I was, to give it a go, and save the world one period at a time. This is definitely one of my favourite zero waste changes I have made so far! I honestly didn’t realise how much this magical creation would save me blood (literally), sweat and tears (from cramps). Please share your experience below if you give it a go, or any tips you have for others trying it out.
Overall rating- it’s bloody good. No pun intended.
The Dirty V Word x