Something I have found whilst researching for this blog post is that surprisingly, in 2018 the topic of menstruation is still a taboo subject. Period talk is definitely met with mixed reactions, particularly from males, and my husband is no exception. All talk of periods are pretty much banned in our house as it makes him extremely queasy and uncomfortable. You can only imagine his disgust when I broached the subject of menstrual cups with him. I think I remember him saying “we don’t need to save money that badly” and “I’ll buy you tampons if you can’t afford them” from my sister. I found both highly amusing and if I’m honest it only spurred me on to want to try them even more. So here I am, five cycles in and about to tell you exactly how I made the switch from tampons to the Mooncup and why I’ll never switch back again.
What the hell is a Mooncup?
For those of you who haven’t come across a Mooncup before I’ll explain a little bit about what it is. It is a replacement for other disposable sanitary products and is a silicone, reusable menstrual cup, it is inserted, rinsed, sterilised and reused as necessary. Yes, a reusable cup that you empty, rinse and reuse.
When I first heard about the Mooncup I have to admit I was just as grossed out as I imagine you are right now, but bear with me for a moment.
Reasons I wanted to try the Mooncup
First and foremost the most important reason for me to want to try the Mooncup was is that it claimed to be a safer alternative to tampons, with a very small risk of toxic shock syndrome which is associated with tampon use.
Recently there has been a new study published which states otherwise (Read here) the long and short of it is to avoid the risk of potentially fatal Toxic Shock Syndrome menstrual cups should be sterilised at the end of a cycle (in boiling water or as you would baby bottle teats and pacifiers) and changed more often than stated to be safe.
I wanted to save money
Once I calculated how much money I spend in a year using tampons (around £100!) it definitely prompted me to consider it more!
I also wanted to be a part of the solution not the environmental problem and if I’d known about the impact sanitary towels and tampons have on the environment I would have considered switching a long time ago.
“A Life Cycle Assessment of tampons conducted by the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, found that the largest impact on global warming was caused by the processing of LDPE (low-density polyethylene, a thermoplastic made from the monomer ethylene) used in tampon applicators as well as in the plastic back-strip of a sanitary napkin requiring high amounts of fossil fuel generated energy. A year’s worth of a typical feminine hygiene product leaves a carbon footprint of 5.3 kg CO2 equivalents. (https://rctom.hbs.org/submission/the-ecological-impact-of-feminine-hygiene-products/)
DID YOU KNOW? Tampons actually draw away natural moisture leaving you susceptible to infections!
So here it goes, I bought one, which cost £21.99 from Mooncup.co.uk.
They come in two sizes, one for women under 30 who haven’t given birth vaginally and one for women over 30 who have, it’s that simple.
The next thing I had to contend with was how to use it. The instructions are pretty self explanatory, you just fold it in half and insert. I recommend rinsing with water first to lubricate it slightly. They are made of a soft pliable silicone so bend easily. They have a coil effect handle which means you can easily take it out when you want to empty it.
The next bit was the bit that put me off the most and I think the people that I had mentioned the Mooncup to, “what do you do with the blood?” So basically, you have to take it out and empty it, rinse or wipe, then reinsert. Sounds gross and if you are a squeamish person it would probably be a bit weird and uncomfortable for you at first, cos let’s be honest no one really wants to have to see what comes out on their monthly cycle. As gross as it seems, all you have to do is pour it out into the toilet and rinse the cup out afterwards. For me this was completely fuss-free at home as I could rinse it out and spray my sink with bleach afterwards but I don’t think I’d be very comfortable doing this out in a public toilet or at anyone’s house so I could advise carrying wipes instead. I can’t imagine anyone would be that comfortable rinsing a cup out in front of other people in a public loo but if that’s your bag then fair play! Otherwise, definitely wipes are the way, or else I would change it just before I went out and I rarely needed to empty it whilst out. It also safely lasts 5 hours anyway but obviously for heavier periods then you would want to change sooner. You’ll soon get used to knowing how often to change and what works best for you.
So, I’ve talked about the good points, it’s better for the environment, cheaper and potentially safer but there must be a downside and there is.
It can be uncomfortable, if you don’t position it right the coil you use to pull it out pinches slightly, I shouldn’t really put this down as a negative as I’ve only recently realised you can trim the coil if it doesn’t fit comfortably so I think this is where I went wrong! Don’t forget to trim after testing it!
The only other negative for me was that it wasn’t completely leak-free, particularly on the first couple of days of my period which are relatively heavy. I had to use pads in addition, which defeats the object. This didn’t happen every time so it must have been something I was doing wrong with positioning.
Despite the negatives I haven’t used a tampon in over 5 cycles and I don’t plan on using them again anytime soon,
Do I recommend Mooncup? Definitely, and I think if you make the switch then there’s a very high chance you’ll never use another tampon again.
Have tried a menstrual cup? I would love to hear your thoughts, or if you have any questions please share in the comments 😊
Come and join my army of eco warriors on the Thrifty Green Life Facebook group. I would love to see you there 😊