Mooncup Experience & First Impressions

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Flashback to a few years ago, and I would’ve cringed at the thought of a menstrual cup. The very thought of having to empty it and having to, you know, actually deal with your bodily fluids was repulsive to me and I didn’t understand why anyone would choose to do it. More recently though, as I’ve grown more mature and better acquainted with my body and as I’ve started to think more about the environment and the impact my diet and spending habits and so on might be having on it, menstrual cups began to sound much more appealing.

If you don’t already know, a menstrual cup is a small (usually silicone) cup that’s inserted into the vagina and sits inside you, collecting the blood inside it rather than absorbing it like a tampon. Unlike your standard tampons and sanitary pads, they’re reusable and just need to be emptied, regularly rinsed, and popped back in or put away until your next cycle. What appealed to me wasn’t just the money saved by reusing it (you only need to replace them after 10 years!), but the fact that they’re way more environmentally friendly and way safer to use than their more widely used counterparts. Just think about the amount of pads and tampons produced and thrown away each year – that’s an obscene amount of rubbish – and the safety side? Tampons put you at a higher risk of toxic shock syndrome, but although brands will still warn users just in case, the risk is far lower with menstrual cups and they can be worn overnight and for up to 8 hours with no need to worry.

The cup I chose to buy was the Mooncup. I’d seen it reviewed a few times and seen some Youtubers swearing by it and, to be perfectly honest, I am a loser and thought the name and packaging was better than some of the others on the market (priorities, Steph). I bought mine for about £16 off Amazon, but you can also find them in Boots stores.


It comes with the menstrual cup, instructions and what looks to be a little recycled bag for storing it in. When you receive the cup, the stem is pretty long, but you need to test it out and trim it down so that no part of the cup is sticking out of your body. I don’t know why I thought it would be smaller, but I must admit the size and thickness of it was a bit intimidating at first compared to a tampon (not that I haven’t used anything with a wider girth down there, ohoho). There are two different ways to fold the cup to insert it, and I personally prefer the second folding technique now that I’ve got the hang of it. The first one involves simply folding it in half so that the thickest point is the rim, but with the second one you push part of the rim down inside it and fold the sides in slightly which (the way I do it now, at least) means that it starts thinner and tapers outwards.
My preferred method of folding; image from Mooncup.co.uk.
It took time to figure this out though – inserting it was a bit tricky and a tiny bit uncomfortable at first, and I did debate whether or not to use some lubricant with it just in case.  It gets easier with practice though, and by the end of my period I was much more confident with it.  Once it was in and I trimmed it down to my preferred size, it didn’t feel too bad - in fact, I could barely feel it! From my research into it though, it sounds as though my cervix might sit a bit low, as I wasn’t quite able to get the Mooncup high up enough that I couldn’t feel it at all, and after a bit of time it did move down a little bit and I did become more aware of it (but without any leakage).

Removing it for the first time was also a bit tricky, but you just need to stay calm, take it slow and not panic and feel like you’re never going to get it out again. Once inserted, the Mooncup unfolds (sometimes ‘popping’ open which is a super weird sensation) and creates a vacuum that holds it in place, and when removing it you just have to push or squeeze the base to release the seal and then gently pull it out, being careful not to spill it. You do need to be very comfortable with your own body to use one of these and it’s good for getting better acquainted with yourself; you can’t just pull a string and yank it out, you have to actually use your fingers inside your vagina to coax it out. That might sound like a gruesome thing to do when you’re on your period, but as long as your cup is properly inserted, it won’t leak and you won’t end up with any blood on your hands at all (except for the blood of all of your past mistakes).

When it was in, it was about 90% a great period experience. What really surprised me was that my period seemed to be lighter, shorter and I had basically no pain – as it turns out, this seems to happen for a lot of women, but I haven’t really found a proper explanation for it! I suppose the chemicals that they must put in tampons and the fact that it’s designed to absorb probably doesn’t help ease your bleeding, but what about pads? In any case, I’m pretty pleased with that and it’s by far one of the easiest periods I’ve had in a while. I tested it at the gym too, and it was perfectly comfortable and I didn’t feel a thing.

One issue I have experienced though, even after getting used to inserting it and making sure it’s in properly, is that I really struggle to pee while I have it in. If I try to force it out, well, the pushing action inadvertently moves the already low-resting cup and then I might as well just take it out anyway. This is apparently not uncommon, but honestly I had similar issues with tampons and often always ended up having to re-arrange or remove them when I went to the loo anyway (but without the bonus of being able to just clean them and reuse them). I’m going to see how it is next time, but it’s something that I’ll need to consider for certain scenarios and it does sadly mean I probably won’t wear it much while I sleep since I almost always need to get up and pee in the night and don’t want to be faffing about with it then. Luckily, the Mooncup seemed to make my period so light I don’t actually need to wear it while I’m asleep!

So, here are some of the pros and cons of my first experience with the Mooncup…
CONS
♥ Takes practice to learn to insert and remove
♥ Makes it difficult (for me) to pee
♥ May not be the best option (for me) for long days out with no access to a clean loo
♥ Can sometimes feel it
PROS
♥ Lighter, shorter periods
♥ Comfortable during exercise
♥ Environmentally friendly
♥ Safer to use than tampons
♥ No gross, dirty feeling like using pads
♥ No need to always have pads/tampons in
♥ Cheaper in the long term than other products
♥ Easy to use once you get the hang of it

Will I be using it again? Yes!

Perhaps the biggest downside to menstrual cups is that your own anatomy will likely decide how comfortable and easy to use these are for you.  Some women have had more issues with placement than I had just because of how they’re built, and others who experience the problems peeing that I did may find it’s not the option for them.  Still, if you’re not sure you want to commit, there are single-use or less reusable menstrual cups you could consider looking into if you wanted to try one out.  If you’re a tampon user and looking to save a bit of money and help the planet and your body, I definitely recommend giving one of these a go, whether it's the Mooncup or another brand. If you struggle with tampons it may not be the best choice for you, but I know that there are also reusable pad and panty options out there for you too that are still a way better option than what we’ve all been trained to wear since we first start bleeding. All in all, I’m very happy with it and I’m annoyed with myself for not trying it out sooner. I could’ve been saving myself so much money, discomfort and hassle!

I’ll be writing again in a few months to touch base on how I’m getting on with it after a bit of practice and some more experience, but if you have any questions about menstrual cups or Mooncups in particular that you’d like me to answer or cover in my next post on the topic, go for it! In the mean time, Tara of Cattitude & Co is a period positive, menstrual cup queen with much more experience than me so you should totally check her out or hit her up on Twitter if you want to be converted too.

Talking about periods and how we all deal with them is still considered taboo by so many people, but it’s just another natural part of life and we all have a right to share our experiences and tips and learn from each other.  So, got menstrual cup or period experiences of your own to share?  Let me know in the comments!

17 comments

  1. This post was so insightful, I have been curious at the idea of using a cup for the longest time so it was nice to read an honest opinion!

    Emily - www.positivelystupendous.co.uk

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    1. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it and I hope it helped!

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  2. I've seen things about the Mooncup here and there on Twitter and wondered what it was all about so thank you for writing such an honest and informative post! I'm glad you and Tara are talking so openly about it :) xx

    Toasty

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    1. Thank you, I'm glad you liked it! :)

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  4. There's so much conflicting information on cups that I often get overwhelmed! Seeing reviews from real people always helps :) Thanks for such an informative post!xo

    www.studentpaperie.wordpress.com

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    1. I agree, that was part of why I wanted to just put my own experiences out there! It really helped me to make up my own mind so I hope sharing my own info might help someone else. Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

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  5. That's interesting what you said about peeing, I suppose it's the way it sits inside you. Actually now that I think about it, my pee does come out differently too haha but it's not difficult or uncomfortable. I just think the product is amazing. I bought one but didn't use it for ages until I randomly had the nerve one day!


    Sally ~ DiagonSally

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    1. I hadn't really expected it but I was pretty relieved to read that it wasn't just me! I agree, I think this one is gonna be a real game changer for me. ♥

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  6. I've been using one for 8+ years and it's one of the best things I ever did! A fantastic invention which improves the time of the month for many women tremendously.

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    1. Definitely - I'm actually looking forward to getting to try mine out again which would've been unheard of before!

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  7. I've been using mine for nearly 10 years and love it. Did want to mention that I had to cut the stem entirely off on mine in order for it to not be uncomfortable, but once I did that, I couldn't feel it at all. I do have to kind of pinch the bottom of the cup in order to pull it out, and, like you said, be comfortable with my body, but I've never had a problem getting it out or using it easily. Glad you discovered this product!

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    1. That's awesome! Thankfully I think I got the hang of mine at the end of my last cycle but we'll see how it goes this month, haha.

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  8. This was such a thorough review Steph. I've been using my Mooncup for just over a year now and have the very same experience with peeing! I guess its positioning can add pressure or something? I also struggle with changing it at work which can lead to leakage; if I'm particularly heavy I'll use tampons to start with. On the whole though it has made my periods a lot better. I'm looking forward to reading your update in the coming months!

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    1. Relieved it's definitely not just me having that problem! I'm really lucky at work because it's easy for me to slip off to the bathroom and our loos are proper bathrooms with a single toilet and sink right next to it (rather than a room with sinks and stalls) so I'm not sure how I'll cope if that situation ever changes. :/ Glad to hear it's still improved your periods though!

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