image via http://www.curlyandwordy.co.uk
On average, one woman will use over 11,000 tampons or pads in their lifetime, which will end up in landfill or in the sea. Ha. Wondered if you expected a story about a cute sensual toy for between the sheets? Well. Close. But not in that way. In my – sometimes daunting – pursuit to eliminate waste, I finally decided to purchase a Mooncup. It’s a silicone, re-usable menstrual cup which provides an eco-friendly and safe alternative to sanitary pads and tampons.
// saved from my previous English blog
Sorry guys if I scare you away right now, but if you love your girl, you might want to read on, just to be informed. Ok. Here goes. Not really used to blogging about my menses or such haha, but this is such an underground miracle I just have to spread the word.
I read about it in travel blogs, so my initial interest was because of travel. Having your period when traveling can be nasty, and sometimes even dangerous when wild animals are around. (on safari? animals smelling blood? jikes! RUN!) So, I started reading about mooncups. Some users where exhilarated and some where grossed out. About to be expected.
There are various reasons to consider a Mooncup. These were mine:
- Tampons are itchy and can’t hold much.
- Sanitary pads are also itchy, they can get smelly and not really that comfortable.
- Both solutions create enormous waste when you consider how much you use per month. And then there’s the wrappings. The carton they come in.
- Not really an issue for me, but above products are quite expensive in the long run.
- Risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome: there are known cases of women who went ill and even died because of Toxic Shock Syndrome caused by bacteria that can virtually be found anywhere. The problem with tampons and sanitary pads is there absorbency: the more they absorb, the bigger the change the bacteria could be included and multiply. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it can be deadly. Read more here.
When I found out they were also available here in The Netherlands, I thought to give it a shot. To be honest, what concerned me most about tampons and pads is the amount of waste it creates. So. When I read about the mooncup, I thought it would be a worthwhile experiment.
SO WHAT IS A MOONCUP?
The Mooncup is a reusable menstrual cup, around two inches long and made from soft medical grade silicone. It is worn internally a lot lower than a tampon but, while tampons and pads absorb menstrual fluid, the Mooncup collects it. This means it doesn’t cause dryness or irritation, and also that it collects far more (three times as much as a tampon!). Because the Mooncup is reusable, you only need one so it saves you money and helps the environment, too.
The Mooncup is designed to be folded and inserted into the vagina, then removed, rinsed and reinserted up to every 8 hours. A light seal is formed with your vaginal walls, allowing menstrual fluid to pass into the Mooncup without leakage or odour. This seal is released for removal, allowing you to empty the contents, rinse or wipe and reinsert. Comfortable, convenient and safe: the Mooncup can be used overnight and when travelling, swimming or exercising.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
First off, you should not be afraid to get to know your body in order to use one. Personally, I think it’s important. Knowing your body well can save your from a lot of (health) trouble later in life. As explained above, you have to insert the mooncup so you don’t feel it sitting there. When done well, it’s actually so non-existing that you should remind yourself to take it out! How to insert it is explained in this video .
When you do take it out, it’s basically a cup filled with your own flow. Some people might think that’s scary. In many testimonials I read that girls and women actually weren’t troubled by it anymore after getting used to it, because they felt kinder and more appreciative of their bodies. So it might be scary to see your own blood going down the drain and being more aware of this.. but on the other hand. It happens anyway.
The mooncup is very safe to use (as said before, it’s FDA approved, no worries), but as with all things medical: clean well. When menstruating, just toss the contents down the drain and rinse the cup with water. When in a public toilet, you are advised to take a bottle of water with you in order to do this. If you forgot, just use a bit of toilet paper and rinse it when you have the occasion. Before first time use, you are advised to cook the mooncup for 15 minutes to sterilize. You can repeat this in between menses or use a sterilized solution or non-perfumed soap.
Never store it in a sealed jar or box. It has to breathe. So use the cotton bag that is supplied with the cup or buy a special cupholder.
Below explains perfectly what the mooncup is and how to use it. MY EXPERIENCEI have ordered my mooncup (from this brand) at this online Dutch webshop. A mooncup costs around 30 euro’s. There are cheaper one’s, but those might be made from cheaper material that might get ruined with long time use. Also, some contain dangerous chemicals that you don’t want to invade your body down there. I read something about cheaper mooncups that got ruined and dented. So that made me decide to buy the original.
If you think a mooncup is expensive, remind yourself that you can use a mooncup for years. I read about a woman who used it for 10 years and lost it on her travels. That was the only reason why she had to replace it. Wow. 10 years. The Mooncup is FDA approved, so no worries there!
Alright, but back to my experience. I bought the mooncup and the cupholder. There actually two versions of mooncups, the A and B. It’s actually dependent on the.. well.. size of your body down there. If you are over 30 or have given birth vaginally, you are advised to take the A. If not, the B. I was doubting between the two but went for A in the end and it fits perfectly.
It takes a little practice to insert it, but it was easy to get used to. The stem can be trimmed to size. I should still do this although I don’t find the longer stem a hindrance. Only once I forgot it should go low, and I pushed it higher, like a tampon, and I felt it wasn’t brought in properly. Whoops. I haven’t used it in a public restroom yet, and I will probably only do so in times of need, but that’s still an experience I have to encounter.
It feels much safer and fresher then the use of tampons or pads. Somehow it feels cleaner, friendlier and more care-fee. There’s no need to carry stuff around, as your body will store it and you can reuse it. Also, it saves me having to run to the bathroom while trying to hide a tampon or some pads in the back pocket of my jeans at work.
IF IT’S SO WONDERFUL, HOW COME I’VE NEVER HEARD OF IT?
That’s anyhow what I asked myself. Mooncups are made by a small company that hasn’t got a huge marketing budget in comparison to bigger pharmaceutical companies who produce tampons and sanitary pads. I guess it hasn’t been made available in supermarkets yet because they might assume people would never want to be so intimate with their bodies. Could be. No clue. I hope it will get more mainstream this way, so that’s why I take the time to blog about it.
By the way, there are multiple good brands. I read about a couple and decided to use the Mooncup. But there’s also the DivaCup, Lamazuma, Lunette.. there are others. Just read the description and see what feels best for you.
You can find some more info below if you are interested:
- mooncup.uk – the original mooncup website
- katoenenko – for Dutch readers, that’s where I ordered mine (and the cup holderLastly, this is
the most hilarious blog I ever read about using a mooncup. A must-read if you aren’t convinced yet. She had me rolling over the floor.
More experiences with menstrual/mooncups here:
- gladrags also has a big list of testimonials on their website
- Mooncup Review | Kiera Rose
What are your thoughts? Would you try it? What would hold you back?