If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you are curious about alternatives to traditional sanitary protection. If, however, the very thought is making you squirm, this might not be the post for you. Even my husband looked away quickly when he realised what I was writing about. Come back again soon! 🙂
I’m amazed that the Mooncup is such a well-kept secret. It can’t be down to British prudishness as we all seem to cope with the knowledge that other sanitary products exist. Say Bodyform to anyone, for example, and they will no doubt let out the hearty “wooooooooooooooah” from the adverts and see mental images of a rollerskating woman.
But there’s no gutsy wail for the Mooncup, a medical grade silicone cup which catches menstrual blood; no bucking broncos or rollercoasters; no bowls of brightly-wrapped sweeties confusing hapless boyfriends.
No, the might of the advertising industry has not risen up behind the Mooncup. Could it be because there’s not much repeat business? One woman will use over 11,000 disposable sanitary products in a lifetime, but once you have bought a Mooncup (about £20), you can use the same one for years.
Publicity photo from Mooncup website
I love my Mooncup
now but our relationship did get off to a rocky start. I tried a few years back with the smaller Size B cup, but I never really got the hang of it. It was uncomfortable and leaked, and I couldn’t be bothered to persevere. And so it languished, unused and unloved, in my underwear drawer while I carried on with tampons, panty liners and pads. I felt uncomfortable with the amount of waste this was creating (women use on average 22 tampons or towels each period) and while I switched to washable panty liners and pads for nighttime I didn’t want to investigate the alternatives to tampons.I got quite used to not having periods while pregnant and for several months after my son was born, but once Aunt Flo returned I decided to give the Mooncup
another go. I bought a new one – the larger Size A (for women over 30 and those who have given birth) – boiled it in a saucepan to get it ready for use and eagerly awaited the next month’s arrival.
Few women can claim to be happy when that time of the month rolls around, but I was pretty excited to try out my new bit of eco-friendly kit. I’d already trimmed the stem down (the Mooncup sits much lower in your vagina than a tampon and the stem can rub if it is too long) and decided on “folding method A” from the detailed usage (with “A” you just fold the rim in half – “B” looked way too complicated with origami-like twists).
I crouched down and popped it in. Just like that! I heard a satisfying squelch as the seal was formed and gave my muscles a squeeze (good old pelvic floor exercises!) to make sure the Mooncup had fully opened out, and the job was done. I couldn’t feel a thing.
You can leave the Mooncup in for four to eight hours but in the early days of using it I was so sure that my cup would runneth over that I removed it more frequently than that. But even when I’ve left it in longer it never seems to be more than half full. Apparently they can hold at least three times as much as the most super-absorbent tampon, and because they don’t absorb moisture there’s no dryness on lighter days.
To remove it you just carefully grasp the Mooncup, break the seal and gently pull it, tipping it slightly to one side to ease it out. Then tip the blood into the toilet, give the Mooncup a rinse in the sink (I use a couple of drops of Dr Bronner’s Baby Mild castile soap) and reinsert. If you’re in a public toilet or without access to a sink just give it a good wipe with toilet roll and wash it properly at home. I have occasionally had to use my muscles to encourage it downwards after using it overnight (took ages first time, but am now a dab hand at it) and only once have I spilled the contents – practice makes perfect! And my top tip? Put some toilet roll into the toilet before you empty the Mooncup to stop the blood sticking to the toilet bowl.
You must be wondering whether emptying it is disgusting. I am fairly squeamish – I used to feel very faint during blood tests until I got all too used to them during pregnancy – but I actually find it fascinating. It’s definitely a good way to become more in tune with your body, as you can see the ebb and flow of your cycle, and how the colour and consistency of the blood changes. It’s not awful; it’s completely normal.
It’s not just good for those some-might-say “hippy dippy” reasons though. A further benefit is that I barely suffer from period pains now, whereas in the past I would be curled up with a hot water bottle for several days a month. And there’s no longer any need to hide a tampon oh-so-subtley up my sleeve when heading for the loo at work.
I just wish more people knew about the Mooncup – hence this post – as I am a complete convert and can’t imagine using anything else now. It’s good for the environment, your bank balance and your lifestyle – what’s not to like?
** Full disclosure: the Mooncup links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you click through from here and buy a Mooncup from the official website, I will get a percentage of the sale. They’ve even got 10 per cent off until 31 December 2012 (using code XMAS2012). Why not give it a try? 🙂 **