I went from tampons (non-applicator, in case you're wondering) to a Mooncup – and I'd never go back. Here's why...
First things first, let’s clarify: periods are not glam. They’re never going to be glam, no matter how much you try to make tampons look like sweets, or how hilarious you make your advertisements. But y’know when they’re even less glam? When you live in an early 20th-century house where you can’t flush tampons because they block up the drain, and then you have to have a really awkward conversation with the guys from Dynorod about how your pipes are full of dirty tampons (yes that actually happened).
So it’s fair to say I put a lot of thought into commencing my Mooncup journey. You what now? Yep, a Mooncup – essentially, a silicone yoke that looks a little like an egg cup (and is around that size, which is disconcerting) that you insert on day one of your period, empty every three to four hours (I do it every time I pee cos I can’t get used to peeing with it in there) and rinse with water before reinserting. No muss, very little fuss.
My fella’s reaction to all this Mooncup talk. Pic credit: Becky Says Things
What can I say? I was desperate to get away from wrapping up my tampons and disposing of them in the bathroom bin (ick), not to mention forking out tonnes of euros annually – while simultaneously being nervous of turning into a total hippy and of, y’know, leaks. Also ick.
The skinny? This mooncup lark is seriously simple. It looks massive, but fits like, well, the opposite of a glove. I’ll admit, the fact that it sits comfortably inside my vaginal canal is slightly offensive (I know, I know – “she doesn’t even go here!”). There are instructions on the packaging (I bought mine in Boots) detailing how you get it in, but the fold’n’slide is my favourite (you’ll see…).
This mooncup lark is seriously simple. It looks massive, but fits like, well, the opposite of a glove.
Once it’s in there, you feel nothing. I went on a 64km cycle with mine in, during the first cycle I used my Mooncup. I’m so brave! The only sensation is – bear with me here – immediately after insertion where, due to its suctioning properties, you might feel a few little air pockets releasing. Yup, it’s a bit like fanny farting. Okay, it’s a lot like it but it’s over in seconds.
Removing it to empty, rinse and replace is slightly more complicated. With time, it can kind of move further up the canal, and I initially panicked a little about how I was going to reach the damn thing. Then I remembered my oft-neglected kegels, and a few little pushes and it was out. You need to squeeze it together to release the suction seal, then remove it. (If you don’t release the seal you’ll end up pulling it, rather painfully, out – you won’t hurt yourself but it feels incredibly weird.)
Next, you empty it down the loo – I, personally, was surprised by just how liquidy it was, like dark red milk – and then rinse it under the tap. If you’re in a public toilet, you don’t rinse – just reinsert and remember to rinse next time. People are put off by this part (ugh, blood!) but I don’t care at all; there’s blood on a tampon or pad, y’know, and at least this stuff goes straight down the loo and not into landfill!
I’m done with forking out on tampons or pads on a monthly basis, done tucking them up my sleeve en route to the bathroom at work.
After your menstrual cycle, you boil your Mooncup (when your housemate’s out, obvs) in water for about five mins, then store in your handy little cloth bag and await your next visit from Aunt Flo. Simple!
There are so many pluses to this Mooncup that I can’t really imagine ever going back. I’m done with forking out on tampons or pads on a monthly basis, done tucking them up my sleeve en route to the bathroom at work (totes awks) and I am so over waking up with my period and having not a tampon in sight!
Negatives? It’s not (super) cheap – mine cost me €29.99 – and I’ll accept that some people find this all a little hard to, y’know, stomach. Blood an’ all that. But guess what? The blood, it is a-coming. It’s up to you how you deal with it.
Oh, and in case you’re considering joining me on my Mooncup journey, there are two sizes – one for women over 30 or women who have given birth vaginally, and one for the other women, with the small vaginas and no frown lines. I went for the former. Sob.