Mooncups

I feel the need to provide a more objective resource about Mooncups (also applies to related menstrual cups produced by other companies, but I don't have personal experience with them).

Most of the resources you find online dealing with this subject seem to go something like this:

"I was miserable and hated myself and hated being a woman, and then I got a Mooncup and it was the OMG BEST THING I EVER DID. Now I LOVE my body. I love my menses. I love my periods. I love my blood. I feel it's so wasteful pouring all that beautiful, pure, feminine magic down the toilet, so I've started using it as plant fertiliser. I'm going to try using it in artwork as well. I feel so FREE!"

I'm not saying I'm not happy for women like the above. I mean, it's great they're so...happy...

But let's be honest, period blood. Artwork. Come on. That's just ICKY.

The purpose of this page is to talk about Mooncups without getting carried away, to be objective, realistic, and sceptical, because most women who've never tried a M are going to be sceptical and cautious.

So...

Appearance of a Mooncup
The Dry Run
Folding it
Taking it out
Verdict
Testimonial
Useful resources

Appearance of a Mooncup

There's a lovely picture here which shows the different sizes of the various brands - they're all largely the same, a couple of inches long, a couple of inches wide, with a cup bit and a stem bit.

Still, when you get your first one out of the packet, it's fairly normal to look at it and think, "How the HELL is THAT going up THERE?"

It's much wider than a tampon, has a whopping great big rim which initially seems very stiff (but seems to soften with use). It has a stem sticking out of one end. It's scary, basically.

This is why they suggest a "dry run", where you practice putting it in and taking it out in between periods.

The Dry Run

WARNING:

Vajayjays between periods and vajayjays during periods are totally different entities and putting a Mooncup inside one is likewise a different experience. If it hurts like a thousand hells going in on your dry run, don't give up.

Once you try it actually on your period, I suggest doing the first emptying in the shower if possible - easier to clean up potential mess until you get the hang of keeping it upright as you take it out!

Folding it

They suggest two types of fold, one where you kind of fold it in half, and one where you sort of fold it into itself.

There are multiple other folds. Some photos are here.

There are two things to balance out: 1. Size of end product and 2. Ease of re-opening. Honestly, though, even when the thing refuses to pop open on its own, a bit of a poke and squeeze should sort it out!

Taking it out

One thing they simply don't stress loudly enough in the user manual:

BREAK THE SEAL BEFORE TRYING TO PULL IT OUT!

If you don't do this, it will hurt. Like...imagine trying to give birth to a vaccuum cleaner that is turned on and sucking up inside you. That kind of pain. Not to be recommended.

There are two ways to break the seal: 1. Squeeze it and 2. Hook a finger over the rim. The second is more effective if you can manage it.

You may need some help from your pelvic floors to get it up and down. Once you've got the hang of it, this much easier than yanking on the stem all the time.

Verdict

Good things about the Mooncup

  1. No or minimal leaks (mostly the "leaks" seem to be small amounts of blood that trickle out whilst you're emptying the Mooncup).
  2. No chance of being caught short mid-period - once it's in, that's all you need.
  3. Sometimes moves around and sits on your G-spot. (YMMV...)
  4. No landfill!
  5. No odour.
  6. No TSS.
  7. You can leave it longer than tampons.
  8. No "nappy rash".
  9. Suitable for swimming.

Bad things about the Mooncup

  1. Fiddly to get the hang of.
  2. If you bollocks up removing/inserting it once during your period, you end up sore and then for the rest of your period it's a bit uncomfortable.
  3. You get to see a lot of your blood.
  4. A bit awkward to deal with in public, perhaps. YMMV.
  5. Makes funny sucking gloopy noises when you put it in and take it out, which may make the person in the cubicle next to you think you're a bit odd.
  6. If you live with men, sterilising it at the start and end of each period may get some funny looks.

Testimonial

I got it. I dry-run tried it. I hated it and felt bad, but was determined to try 2 periods before I gave up. So I read lots of online messageboards, and realised I wasn't breaking the seal properly. And I got in some KY just in case.

When period came, I didn't need the KY. Never have. No leaks, no accidents. Took a bit of experimentation to get the stem shorter and may ultimately trim off all of it, except that it keeps brushing against an erogenous zone so I really rather like it.

I like it a lot. I like the lack of rubbish produced, I like the lack of odour, I like the lack of stained pants, I like not having to count the hours to make sure I don't overrun. I like being able to forget completely that I'm having a period. I like the not being sore and sticky for a few days every month.

It hasn't made any appreciable difference to the amount of cramping I get (which was extremely minimal before then anyway, so I'm not complaining - I sometimes took a couple of paracetamol on the first day when I used tampons, and haven't taken anything since I started with the Mooncup, but I haven't done enough periods with the Mooncup to be able to say for certain if that's just chance) or to the amount of flow/duration of flow.

It hasn't made me fall in love with my period blood. It's blood. Blood is intrinsically kind of interesting - I'm a Biologist - but I still want to put it down the loo and nowhere else. I have no urge to pour it on my plants or make artwork with it. I don't see my periods as some essential part of my femininity.

I would recommend that everyone should try the Mooncup once or twice, just as an experiment. It won't work for everyone. Of course it won't. But I suspect even some sceptics will be pleasantly suprised.

In general: Don't diss it till you've tried it. But it's not just for freaks who want to embrace their blood as the essence of their womanhood.

Useful resources

Official Mooncup site.

My favourite is this: The Menstrual Cup LJ Community. This can also be accessed at http://menstrualcups.org/.

Wikipedia article. NB This article seems to undergo quite a lot of fiddling, and has come under fire for being non-neutral and not citing sources.

Absolutely fantastic site comparing most of the main brands, with lots of information and photos.

And on this site: A summary of the menstrual cups out there. Includes notes on availability, size details, prices, etc.