It arrived in the post in a cute little bag tied with a ribbon. However, when I pulled it out, my first thought was, ‘How an earth am I going to fit that in there?’
I’m all for saving the planet, but my quest so far has been unsuccessful. My unquenchable addiction to Peri Peri chicken means veganism is off the cards, so I thought I’d do my bit in a different way.
The average woman uses over 11,000 disposable sanitary products in her life, resulting in 200,000 tonnes of waste from tampons, pads and panty liners every year.
Just one menstrual cup can do the job of 1,625 tampons and pads.
I have to admit, when I first heard about the Mooncup I immediately turned my nose up to the idea. It sounded like an unhygienic sanitary product that only deranged hippies would ever use.
But think of all that plastic pollution one girl and her Mooncup can prevent? That’s got to be better than remembering to take your plastic bags to the supermarket now and again.
What is a Mooncup and how does it work?
The Mooncup is a reusable, medical grade silicone menstrual cup designed to be inserted into your vagina to collect menstrual blood.
Different to tampons, once inside the vagina, the Mooncup opens up and collects blood rather than absorbing it.
Sitting significantly lower down in the vagina than a normal tampon, it is held in by your vagina muscle.
The Mooncup can be used for a recommended time of four to eight hours. After use it is emptied, rinsed and can be reinserted immediately.
I was also attracted by the money-saving aspect. It’s a reusable product, meaning once you’ve handed over your £22, you won’t have to pay a thing again.
Given we spent roughly £1,400 on tampons over our lifetime, that’s an enticing prospect.
So I decided to give it a go.
When it comes to inserting the Mooncup, you’ve got to find the “fold” that suits you.
Every woman is different, so everybody has their preferred method. I went for the curled fold (known as the c-fold) as I felt this made it the easiest and most comfortable size to go in.
My first attempt was a little traumatic. After gently inserting it I was startled by the sudden popping open of the cup and the unusual feeling of suction that came with it.
I swiftly yanked the cup back out, horrified. However, I knew I couldn’t let this put me off.
My mind flashed back to the first time I used a tampon, aged 14, lying down on a bathroom floor in a hotel room in Greece, sweating and scared at the prospect of this weird cotton stick getting lost in me forever, then crying when the cardboard applicator fell out as I stood up (yes I thought that was meant to stay in there).
Like most things, inserting of a Mooncup requires practice. Now, if Mooncup insertion was an Olympic sport, I’d be gunning for gold.
On its first day, I decided to really put it to the test. I started the morning with a spin class followed by a body pump class. I thought 30 minutes on a hard, uncomfortable bike seat and a load of squats and lunges would prove to me whether the Mooncup was the real deal.
And I can confidently say, it was! Throughout the classes I didn’t feel a thing, nor did I have a single leak.
Following my work out I had a long, hard library session and actually left the cup in slightly longer than recommended maximum time of eight hours.
However, this was not a problem – no leaks, and I couldn’t feel it at all.
Naturally, the first “removal” was similarly traumatic to the first insertion – but funnier.
I got home after a long day, ready for the big reveal. I was really intrigued about this part, as the cup has measurements on the side so you can find out how much you bleed. Granted, this sounds a little odd, but it’s useful to know about your own body, right?
But when I reached for the cup, I couldn’t find it. ARGH – it had gone missing!
In a blur of panic with horrific images of me with my legs cocked up in A and E going round my head, I read the instructions that came with the Mooncup and discovering that actually, this is normal.
My stressing out had caused the vaginal muscles that were holding the cup to tense up more. After a few light pelvic squeezes, I managed to gently pull the cup out with no bother.
A lot of people who are put off by the cup find this part the most disgusting, but it wasn’t actually that messy and I felt more hygienic and fresh wearing it.
It’s worth getting used to the insertion and removal process in the comfort of your own home. I didn’t have that luxury though, as I then worked at a festival for a month and had no choice but to get over my fear and do it in public.
Now, if I can remove my Mooncup in a portaloo in the dark, then you can do it in your work office bathroom easy peasy.
I made sure I had a water bottle on hand to give my cup a rinse after removal, and hand sanitiser to make sure everything was kept hygienic.
However, these are necessities most of us carry with us day to day anyway, so it wasn’t an issue.
One really important benefit of the Mooncup is how friendly it is for your vagina.
Our lady bits go through a lot in our day-to-day lives; spending hours in uncomfortable lace underwear, tight jeans and sometimes around some seriously questionable partners.
The Mooncup comes with no chemicals, making it a safer and more hygienic option and enabling you to comfortably keep the cups in for a longer period of time regardless of how heavy or light your flow is.
I’m now such an advocate I’ve even set up a “period pot” now, vowing every month to put away what I would have spent on tampons so that it can go towards a nice holiday.
Me and my Mooncup are now best friends. With it being comfier, cheaper, healthier and more environmentally friendly, I can’t see myself going back to using tampons or pads again.
Menstrual cups are available from a range of retailers, in a range of colours with varied prices.
The Mooncup is available in two different sizes; size A for the over 30s and/or women who have vaginally given birth, and size B for the under 30s who have not vaginally given birth.
I decided to stick to the original Mooncup retailer. My cup cost £21.99 – and it was worth every penny.
We previously told how period pants are the invention we never asked for but secretly want in our knicker drawer.
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