Using a Mooncup – thrifty period protection

Yeah, we’re getting intimate….periods. Ohh look here I am on the internet talking about my vaginal produce. I’ll gloss over anything that might make you wibble too much, don’t worry.

Let’s face it, having periods can be an expensive business no matter what kind of sanitary protection you’re using. Pads, tampons and what have you can all set you back a pretty penny over the years and they’re not fantastic for the planet either.
In 2008 I bought a Mooncup and my friends nearly threw up in their mouths as a result. I was suffering from terrible, terrible periods and my doctor suggested trying something which is less likely to deliberately draw moisture out. Many people believe because pads and tampons are so absorbent they soak up natural moisture, moisture which should normally help provide a less painful period. I was worried, a bit grossed out and scared I was in for a Carrie-esque scene in my bathroom but anything was worth a go.

The first time is weird, it’s alien to anything you’ve ever done before and it takes a degree of contortion but do you remember that day after the school nurse did the chat in the assembly hall and she gave you the bag of tampons which had a leaflet of a line drawn girl with her foot up on the side of the bath? Yeah, easier than that.
Let’s dive on in to some Mooncup pros and cons.

Mooncup review

Mooncup Pros

– My periods last 2-3 days less and my pains generally only last for the day before and the first day and they’re about 75% less painful, rather than 3-4 full days of crippling, eye water cramps I’d gone through since the age of 12.
–  Less than a year in and my periods started to cost me nothing. Not one penny. Sure the initial outlay might sting a little but it is a worthwhile investment.
– There’s no smell from the bin. Alright, we all know about that smell, we all know about it but no one talks about. A used pad in a bin can be a bit, erm….over-ripe, right? I once went into a McDonalds toilet which smelt like 9 of those bins hadn’t been emptied since Thatcher had been Prime Minister, I contemplated calling in sick to work on the grounds of emotional anguish/seasickness. That smell? Yeah that’s the blood mixing with the chemicals in the pad, along with the air. That isn’t how your period actually smells (eau de menstruation anyone?) You will not be confronted with any such smell from the Mooncup, just chuck whatever is in there down the loo and be on your merry way.
– You’re not likely to get blood on you. Sure the first few times you might do but c’mon that’s happened at least once in your life with a tampon. And meh, it’s blood – YOUR blood, get over it you big flange.
– I’m not going to get down the the nitty gritty on inserting the thing (this video is pretty good at explaining) but it’s fine. It takes a bit of getting used to but no more so than the first few times you used a tampon or tried to figure out those sticky, little wings.
– There are no synthetics, additives or bleaches used, so they’re incredibly hygienic and allow (and yes I’m really going to type this) your vagina to do its job of self cleaning and they don’t rob you of any natural properties that tampons may. Yeah went there.
– You’re not throwing things away. Apparently a women uses on average 11,000 tampons in her lifetime which have to go somewhere and the earth only has so much space.
– No itching or irritation from the bleach in tampons or pads.

Mooncup Cons

– Yeah if you’re squeamish it might not be for you straight away, if you have a fear of blood then no…just no. One of my friends nearly threw up at the thought and called me an ‘old hippy’ but eventually after a series of terrible periods she buckled and gave it a go and has never looked back. You will be confronted with your period but in the long run that’s no bad thing and it definitely makes you more aware of your body and you’ll be surprised at how relatively little there is.
– Cleaning it at the sink public toilets could be a ball ache but hey, you can wear them for up to 12 hours so there will generally be a point where you’ll be able to do that in private or you can use a tissue or a bottle of water. They can be washed with just soap and water so cleaning it in the shower is a great option – they can also be sterilised too.
– They come in two sizes. The first is pre-baby/under 30 and the second over 30/had a baby. I’ll leave you to cry over that. Never has turning 30 been so bruising.
– The stem (designed to pull it out) can be a bit long for a lot of women but feel free to cut it down.

– The is an audible suction ‘pop’ noise upon removal. Easily disguised with a cough. Ahem.

Verdict

In short using a mooncup has changed things for me. No I’m not going to go rollerblading in white jeans any time soon (mainly because I have a box set of Gilmore Girls which needs re-watching) and I don’t actively enjoy my period or write it love letters but things are better. I don’t spend a 25 days dreading those 5 days later in the month and I don’t feel grim, grubby or in too much pain like I previously did. And, and, and it’s saving me a small fortune. I’m so glad I took the plunge and I’ll never look back.
You can buy Mooncups (yeah I know there are other brands blah, blah but using the phrase menstrual cup for a whole post was too much, even for an ‘old hippy’ like me, plus I don’t have any experience of others) online from the Mooncup site and from Boots (ooh look size A and size B – fun!) Many branches of Boots stock them too but if your local Boots store doesn’t have them in stock you can ask them to order one in for you, or many independent health food shops stock them too.
Images: Mooncup

TTFN,

thrifty_blog
P.S. It feels incredibly odd to declare what kind of sanitary protection you use to the internet. Stop looking down there, you can’t see anything!

P.P.S. The Mooncup website must have been flung a million and one questions in their time because they seem to have a pretty impressive FAQ section.

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Comments

  1. It’s not my fault I have a wide set vagina and a heavy flow!

    Seriously though, I really appreciate the straight to the facts review, I’ve been considering using these for a while but I keep backing out ha. xx

    LISA // MISSLISA.CO.UK

  2. What a great review. I’ve been using one of these for about 4 years and can’t imagine going back to pads or tampons.

  3. I used to use a Mooncup (I no longer have periods as I have the implant..) and it was the best change I ever made. It really isn’t that bad once you get used to it and the whole idea of it! Really recommend it to any readers who are on the fence about it.

    Great post though, really informative and not as graphic as I expected! :)
    xx

  4. I love my Mooncup and have written in pretty graphic detail on my blog about why I can no longer live without it!

  5. My friend pointed me in this direction around the same time as you. Life changing

  6. So good to see this being written about! Been using mine for nearly 10 years and I haven’t looked back. Have converted a fair few friends as well wh have all been really grateful!

    Amy

  7. I have genuinely been thinking of trying this I suffer with a lot of pain with Tampons and cannot stand sanitary towels! Thanks for this ! Also I think you are a ledge for posting this!!!! x

  8. Why can’t everyone be as honest as you, its so refreshing !!!

  9. I’ve been using one for a few years now and I’ve never looked back! Other than all the benefits you mentioned above I now have more room in bags, cupboards and all the other places I used to stash tampons/towels!!

  10. Im quite disappointed to say I’ve never really heard of these! I hope it can be spoken about more freely and brought to peoples attention so that it doesn’t have to be an awkward or embarrassing topic xxx

    • In that case I am really pleased to have posted about it.
      I agree it shouldn’t be a shameful topic, we all have to go through this at some point and we should be open to help each other out.

  11. I’ve recently been looking into alternatives to disposable ‘sanitary products’ (cause that’s not a strange and mysterious catch all phrase) and discovered a whole little section of the internet devoted to blogs just like this about pros/cons/and options. So your post fits right in with everything else I’ve been reading the last two days! I really liked the straightforward nature of your post.

  12. This! I have had mine for over a year now and wish it had been around the last 17 years of my life!!

  13. I’m actually really glad you posted this, i’ve never heard of them before but they could definitely be of use!

  14. I have had one for a few years and love using the Mooncup. The bit I find difficult is the sterilising. Tricky when other people are in the kitchen and asking what have you got in the pot bubbling away. Anyone got any tips? Share the Mooncup love <3

    • Apparently you can do it with baby sterilising liquid and boiling water in a bowl but I have never tried it.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can get milton tablets for baby bottles, they are great and you don’t have to worry about the pan boiling dry etc :)

    • You can get microwave dummy sterilisers from which are pretty small. Mine was from mothercare and has a measure line on it so you know how much water to put in, then it’s two mins in the microwave and done. I can also use it to store my mooncup for the rest of the month. Very quick and discreet!

  15. Thanks for posting this – I’ve heard of the Mooncup but never really considered using one, but this post might just change my mind. I have one question – does the Mooncup work ok overnight? Any leakage or discomfort?

    • I’ve never had leakage and it has been fine overnight without any discomfort whatsoever. I’ve worn mine for 11-12hour stretches a number of times without any issues.

    • Thanks for that. Sounds good!

    • Thank you!

    • Mine gets full during the night when my flow is heaviest, but I usually wake up before it leaks because I can tell (even in my sleep) that it’s about to happen. I think at worst/heaviest flow, I need to empty it every 5 or 6 hours, but most of the time it’s 10-12 hours.

      I love my mooncup, I’ve had the same one since 2004 so it’s saved me SO much money and disposal of so many tampons etc, oh and despite being over 40, I still use the under 30/pre-pregnancy mooncup with no problems. It’s also shortened my periods and made cramps less and I don’t get thrush every month as well! A miracle product, I wish it had been available when I was younger.

  16. I’ve used a mooncup for some years now too. Love it! Apparently (according to the doctor at my family planning clinic) there is virtually zero risk of toxic shock syndrome with them too.
    I find the idea of creating bloody towels and tampons to end up in land fill or possibly being washed out into the environment (if you flush, there is always a possibility of this where victorian sewerage systems still exist, particularly when there is a sudden downpour which overwhelms normal storm drainage) really disgusting now!

  17. Thank you for doing this post. I have heard about mooncups before but the hush hush about them made me skeptical – which is silly, really. I really would like to give one a go and I think I will now. Just need to take the plunge and buy one! xo

  18. I’ve been using one since 2006 and they’re awesome. Recently had to move up to the larger size, more traumatic than my grey hairs appearing!! Re sterilizing, I have variously boiled in saucepan, put in mug of water in microwave and let it boil for a minute (slightly more discrete), used sterilising tablets overnight – the denture box from boots fits it perfectly. I know it’s not for everyone but these days, I just wash / scrub it with antibacterial hand wash and an old toothbrush at the end of my period and when the next one starts, and only properly sterilise it every few months. It gets kept in the denture box in between cycles. Oh and husband likes to sing “moon cup dot com” to the tune of the moonpig advert… Everyone’s a winner!

  19. 11,000 tampons? I find that hard to believe :/ it works out on average 18 per period! Unless that’s how many people use and it’s just me that doesn’t? *ponders whether my life has been a lie*

    I think Boots do a disposable version of this, which kind of defeats the point, non?

    But yeah, this has been on my “considering” list for ages!
    xx

    • Hmmm I suppose it is different for others but I used 3-4 a day over 5 or 6 days so it works out about right but everyone is different which is why averages usually sound mental.

    • I use probably 3 tampons per day plus a towel at night, so that’s four ‘products’ a day, over the course of four days = 16. I guess some people have periods lasting 5-6 days, so 18 tampons and/or towels is quite feasible. Scary really, isn’t it?!

    • Some peoples periods are even longer. Mine can be up to 8 days though 3 of those days tends to be VERY light but still needing some form of protection. My menstrual cup saves me so much money it’s unreal.

  20. Great review,thanks.I’ve considered trying one for ages as I’m VERY sensitive to chemicals,fibres etc in towels and tampons.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hi Thrifty, great post! I have been using a Moon Cup for years and it is a great way to save money and storage space in a small bathroom. You might like to share this link with your readers (http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/) it answers all the questions you may have about it and if you are having a particular issue with them then there are always so many people to answer any other questions :)

  22. I’ve been using a mooncup for the last year after coming off the pill & being reunited with my monthly ‘gift’! I have found it fantastic- especially at the end of your period when it gets a bit stop- start. My friends’ responses have varied from grossed out to really interested. But the best response was my boyfriends- he has never seen it (or wants to) but knows I use it… and its equally intrigued and repulsed. He turned to me in bed one night in all seriousness & asked- ‘you know what I don’t get about the moon cup?’, ‘No?’ I said. ‘well… where do the batteries go? You know to power the pump to suck out all of the moon blood?’ ha ha ha!!!

  23. “get over it you big flange” haha brilliant. I’ve been thinking about getting a mooncup for over a year, mainly because the thought of my used tampons festering away somewhere is far more disgusting than the thought of using a mooncup but also tampons make me quite sore and I hate pads, it’s just the initial hurdle of actually using it for the first time that stops me (as well as buying the thing). Maybe I should just say that phrase to myself and get on with it.

  24. Thank you so much for posting this! I have so much trouble with my period that my doctor told me to stop taking the placebos in my contraceptive so that I won’t get it anymore. I don’t like skipping it though – it just feels unnatural not to get it, so I might give a mooncup a go. I also have an aversion to pads and my flow is too heavy for tampons to really be a viable option as well as them both being terrible for the environment. This has given me a lot to consider. Thank you.

  25. I was about to get one, I have seriously bad periods, including fever, diarrhea, so much pain I faint and vomit, and such sexy stuff that is part of a BIG TABOO ! Doctors say I maybe have endomethriosis, hard to tell. Oh thanks. I also have an incredible pressure in my belly like my ovaries are about to burst (hurts) , and this stopped me from buying it in the end. Girls with this simptom have had bad experience with the cup, since it’s “locked up”. I now use eco cotton pads. Sorry planet. I will find a better solution once I stop Dying, promise.
    Oh, acupuncture helps for the pain and even more with pms “depression” simptoms, in case someone has tried it all and is looking for something else. Painkillers do NOT help for me, they make it worse ;(

  26. SO glad you posted this. I bought one a few months ago but I’ve been too much of a wimp to get round to using it. Next time, I will. Definitely. I’m kinda worried as I’m a bit squeamish – I passed out the first time I ever changed my sanitary pad (!!!) – but I got over that pretty quickly and I’m sure I’ll get used to the mooncup. Thanks for this kick up the arse :)

  27. great review, I’m gonna share on fb. I have a friend who swears by hers. I have contracted fingers due to disability so couldn’t even manage a tampon! So due to that and having a 2 week cycle, I am on the depo jab so no periods, period!

  28. Great post! (Hello, long time reader here, but only recently got a Blogger account).
    Been using the German version of a mooncup for a few months now and it really has changed things… it’s a lot cheaper than the Mooncup, too (14€ – about 12 pounds): http://www.meluna.org

  29. I LOVE MY MOONCUP. Like seriously, its the best £20 I have EVER spent!! I actually look forward to my periods now and that sounds crazy but I really love to be in tune with my body, its so cool to get up close with my menses and I kind of like keeping track of how much I lose with the measurements on the side of the cup, since using it my periods are short and pain free. Its just a really nice empowering experience. I wrote about buying one sometime last year on my blog too.http://www.gladragsandthehandbags.com/2012/12/mooncup-review.html

  30. What a great review! Didn’t think I’d say that about sanitary stuff…us girls are all the same, we have periods, we know about what goes on down there, I wish people would just relax and talk about it…yes really! Maybe then we’d all find the support were looking for when it comes down to periods..I looked at these a few years ago but got put off it and used tampons instead, maybe in the future ill be braver and ill probably thank this review!

    LOL to the mean girls comment haha x

  31. So glad you had the balls to write this post, so many people avoid the subject even though it is something EVERY woman goes through. I have wanted to try a moon cup for a while but wasn’t sure but with such an honest and frank review I will definitely be giving it a go! :)

  32. Anonymous says:

    Uhmm, I still think it’s not for me. Or rather, I don’t particularly need to switch to it. My flow is never too heavy, I’ve never had “spills” nor irritations by the pad.
    Great post anyway :-)
    Raf

  33. Really great post. Have been considering one for a while. I always champion them if anyone brings it up as I love the idea. In my opinion, people are way too prude if they cannot talk about this! So much better than the impact that tampons etc have on the environment. I never knew tampons actually make your period worse! Only problem now is telling my 30 year old housemate about the sizes……

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I haven’t got on with them, I found it difficult to insert and painful when in. Was disappointed as its a great idea…

  36. great post! I have been using mine for over 12 years and besides similar benefits as you described – less painful periods and so on. I am quite a traveler and wild and less developed places are my destinations. Fancy running out of tampons/sanitary towels while on tour across parts of Sahara or trying to gingerly dispose of the used stuff (and there is NOTHING to wrap it in!) in the waste basket that is placed at the feet of an old man in a djellaba/the toilets guard :D. I have also learned that wet wipes and a squirt of hand disinfectant will save me from the need of having to rinse it in public toilets, which could also mean going back in that long queue. I actually think it is much more practical overall, it will fit into a tiny pouch – mine is purple velvet – and I am never caught out unprepared or run out.

  37. I love mine. Between the irritation pads and tampons caused me, and the having to constantly think about it, my periods really got me down. I can now work a long shift at work on my feet, worry free, with no irritation and cramps so infrequent and feeble they may as well not bother. Yay!

  38. My friend bought one of these recently and has used it over two periods. She said she had a bit of leakage every now and again, so she’s still trying to get the hang of it. Seriously thinking about getting one..I’m all for paying the money now and saving for the rest of my life haha. Thanks for the post!

  39. I’ve never really thought about this before but being quite environmentally aware it feels like something I should try. I do wonder about leakage though… Hannah x

  40. Sarah Cant says:

    I have read this in bed whilst suffering from my period so this is timely! Will be doing research, not thought about how the towels might be making me feel worse. Well done Mrs T. !

  41. It’s so refreshing to see someone who isn’t scared of posting about real life stuff. This seems like such a great idea – I really need to get around to buying one. The waste and cost of sanitary pads/tampons makes me cringe every month. Thanks!

  42. Anonymous says:

    Thank so much for posting this- I’ve never heard of mooncup before but I am definitely going to buy one before my next period now. I’ve been reading all the reviews about them and they sound like the answer to my problems :)

  43. I love how honest this article is, even if I can imagine you cringing while writing lol. And ANOTHER benefit is that awkward ‘trying to hide the rustling noise in the toilet’ if you were the first teenager to start your periods, to ‘oh I’m just taking my huge handbag to the toilet for no obvious reason at all’ now we’re adults. It’s just in there all day!

  44. I really must try one. Great review, definitely will see if I can find one in a local pharmacy

  45. Great review, thank you. I thought the lack of pain was just in my head, but this month is my first time, and i’m thrilled never to have to sleep in a pad again!!!!

  46. Anonymous says:

    i bought a mooncup after reading this article and i’m using it for the first time. I had read about them several years ago and loved the idea of them but never took the plunge and bought one.
    i bought mine direct from mooncup and it was cheaper than Boots and P&P was included in the price. it arrived in a discreet brown envelope so i didn’t get any queries from my family lol!!
    so far so good – love not having to remember to take extra tampons with me and the risk of them falling out of my pocket lol!
    thanks for the honest review and i will definitely be discussing it with my friends – if only to see their reactions!! hehehe
    xx

  47. I’ve always thought these were a little weird, but after reading your blog post I am genuinely considering it, the pains are the worst, anything to make them less is a bonus! I love the idea that I won’t be creating waste too, pads and tampons are so wasteful and bad for the environment! xx

  48. Whoop! Go Thrifty! This is a freaking awesome post. Hoorah for honest straight-talking about a very fundamental part of most women’s lives.

  49. It’s really good to read about this but I’m still crossing my legs at the concept. 😛
    The Student Blog x

  50. Emma Sheard says:

    Thanks for writing about this- I had never heard of them before but having been using mine for about 5 months now and it is life changing. Wish I’d known about it before I went travelling a few years ago.

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