Yeah, we’re getting intimate. periods. Oh 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 I bought a 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.
– 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 z 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.
– 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.
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 x and from (ooh look and – 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. 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.