Mooncup 101: Leaks, Cleaning And What To Do When It Gets Stuck
There will be blood.
I had been wondering about experimenting with a menstrual cup for a while, tempted by not only) the potential long term cost saving but also enticed by the health and environment benefits too.
The Mooncup is, for those not familiar, a small squidgy rubber cup which collects blood inside you for up to 8 hours. The website highlights how much waste they save, how using them contributes to cleaner beaches and how they are also animal friendly for all those vegan menstruators out there. I was ready for this.
Meeting The Mooncup
After taking out my current contraception, the Nuvaring, I realised I was literally swapping one rubbery vaginal item for another. So no big deal right? After folding it as per the instructions, I crammed it in.
I’m a fan of applicator tampons but was concerned that this would be a bit trickier, but actually after some poking and prodding in an upwards direction, up it went. You do basically have to faff around in your vag but once it was in, it felt secure and comfortable.
Given for the next few days this small rubber contraption would be living inside me, I decided to give her a name, and so Lunar was born.
It soon dawned on me how much of a secure little thing Lunar was. When it came to my first removal, Lunar clung to the inside of my vag like a limpet to a rock. You literally have to try and pull the short rubbery teet which whilst it is slippery with bodily juice.
When you finally break the suction (complete with comedy vacuum release noise) you have to drag the now unfolded rubber cup from inside you which is semi uncomfortable given she gets wider as she gets further out.
However this whole fiasco was actually a lot less painful than dragging a dry-ish tampon out, which as we all know, is pretty grim.
I would also like to highlight that I adopted a seriously unglamorous, undignified squat position for this process and unfortunately throughout the four days, I never managed to remove the cup in anything other than this crouched angle.
After a thorough rinse under the tap and a short soak in boiling water, I shoved her back up and went to bed, reassured that she would not leak given I now knew how clingy she was. A real benefit of using a cup was being able to be freely naked around my boyfriend while on my period which I had never done before.
Removal two of Lunar was uneventful as overnight she had not filled as expected. It would not be until later that day that I was to first experience Lunar in all her bloody glory…
All day at work she was inside me and it was as if she wasn’t there, in the same way you can’t feel a tampon when it sits in the correct position. So far, so good.
I returned home from work, knowing that by this stage, my flow would be heavier and Lunar would be fuller. She did not disappoint. With my pants and jeans half way down my legs, I crouched and fumbled inside to grab her, noticing already that the bottom half was filled with blood. As I gripped her enough to get her out, releasing the suction to allow downwards movement, I realised this was a lot messier than a tampon.
Period blood, I had almost forgotten is a really unique texture, more sticky, gluey almost, and given there was no absorbency like with a tampon, there were long strands of gooey period attached at one end to Lunar and the other end to somewhere inside me. My womb?! Who knows.
In the sink she went, with a thorough rinse necessary and a kettle full of boiling water in an empty container. This was when I realised that I would not want to repeat this process in anywhere other than the comfort and privacy of my own bathroom – there’s no way you would want to risk cleaning a Mooncup in a row of sinks with people casually washing their hands.
Living with Lunar
For the next couple of days everything went ok. I would clean her morning and night and in between she just sat inside me, doing her thing.
There were only a couple of other issues. One was dealing with Lunar in my friend’s bathroom before a night out. After bathing her in the basin, there was a feeling of alarm and slight panic when I realised his basin drained a lot slower than mine. Slow to the point that the water glugged down eventually, leaving bloody period blobs half way up the sink (which obviously needed an extremely thorough rinse).
My final lowlight of life with Lunar would be removing her after said night out. In a state where taking your eye makeup off and getting into bed is a struggle, scooping a slippery object filled with period gloop out of your body should not be underestimated.
Well, would I use Lunar again? Despite the challenges, I actually would.
If one month it was just going to be too much of a palaver I would revert to tampons for all or at least some of my period days. But honestly, not having to buy tampons, carry tampons, remember to change them and so on is great. Plus, you do feel you’re doing your bit for the planet, so yeah, that’s pretty cool too.
Ok, you've read about Mooncups. Now how about watching some guys and gals play sexy Would You Rather?...