Gabrielle on the Menstrual CupWritten by The Young Women's Movement
Today, I would like to talk about a little contraption that has changed my life forever: the menstrual cup.
The menstrual cup is a silicon cup, basically shaped like a funnel, and I use the brand Mooncup. You fold it in two, pop it up your snatch and forget about it for a bit. While you potter around your day, the cup fills up with your menstrual blood. When it’s full, you pop it out, empty it, give it a rinse, and pop it back in again. Lather, rinse, and repeat as needed. At the end of your cycle, give it a 5-minute boil to sterilise it, and voila, that’s you done for the month.
I’m not gonna lie, the first time I tried it was not pretty. I remember my first attempt at getting it out of me as a long lonely half hour in the bathroom, bent in half, crouching in the bath tub, my fingers rummaging around my cervix, desperately trying to get a hold of the slippery little suction cup that was gleefully escaping my grip. I was sobbing at the thought of living my life with a piece of plastic forever wedged up my privates, as there was clearly no way this thing was ever budging. However I eventually got it out, and gave it another shot. The same scene was repeated pretty much every time I had to empty the cup for the duration of my cycle. It was great fun. But, now that I’ve got the hang of it, it takes me seconds. Pop in, pop out. It slips right in.
I had my first Mooncup for 4 years and have only just replaced it. At 25 pound per cup, that’s a mere 50 pounds over 5 years. I’ll let you do the math on how much you’d spend in the equivalent time on tampons/pads.
For me, other benefits include:
- Never having to worry about bringing tampons around with me in my bag when I go out (I never did remember – I definitely overused the technique of the rolled up toilet paper used as a proxy for a pad)
- Not having to worry about the environmental impact of my hygiene products
- No worries about the potential impact of tampons and pads on my health
- Have I mentioned no leakage in 5 years??
All in all, it’s been awesome, and I’ve hardly had to worry about my period since I started using these. Bliss.
Now, I understand that the menstrual cup is not for everyone. Depending on your flow, even the larger sizes might not be enough to last you the whole day, meaning you having to empty and wash the cup once or twice during the day, which could be a real hassle. Similarly, some people might find it uncomfortable, but personally, I literally cannot feel it once it’s in and just completely forget about it until I need to empty it. Lastly, it means you have to become comfortable with being up close and personal with bodily fluids you’ve never had to interact with so closely before: “Oooh so that’s what detached womb lining looks like! Cool!” is not necessarily everyone’s reaction when confronted with gloopy browny-red blubber that’s just come out of them. But, I personally enjoyed developing a healthy understanding of how my body functions, and becoming comfortable with it.
For me, the Mooncup is amazing. While, as anything, it is not a one size fits all solution to the hassle that are periods, I do think it is an excellent option that is not advertised well enough. Order one, try it out, give it a cycle to get used to it, and see if it could work for you. If you are anything like me, you will never go back to anything else.
Gabrielle Blackburn is one of our fantastic blogging network members. As a cognitive scientist and a feminist activist, she is interested in exploring the roots and consequences of prejudice and bias, especially those relating to gender. She also enjoys good beer, pole dancing, and confusing people with her unidentifiable accent.