The idea of using a menstrual cup has always made me squeal a little bit and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. However, in an effort to try and be more sustainable, I thought I would give it a go and share my experience and hopefully encourage others to try it.
Now I’d just like to say that as I am on the Pill, and have been for a while now, my period tends to be extremely short and only every 3 months. Depending on what Pill you go on, your Doctor may tell you that you don’t need a break between each month. I thought this would be important as it does affect my period and may affect yours too, but we’ll all experience this slightly differently.
Okay now that’s out the way lets crack on. If you are anything like me money can sometimes be really tight so spending around £15 on period products each month can be a real pain … I mean £15 is a few bottles of wine or takeaway for one. So for a one off payment to last me ten years, moving on to a cup seemed like a wise choice. When I first set eyes on the £20 price tag I was taken aback, for this experiment I wanted to try the averaged priced cup and then a cheaper cup that was only £8.90 to see if there was a difference.
For the cups themselves, the difference was quite obvious. The more expensive Mooncup (pictured below right) is a thicker silicone and has measurements on the side and a sturdy lip, all in a very cute cotton bag to keep it in with the added bonus of eco-friendly packaging. The cheaper MaxMedix (pictured below left) one was a noticeably thinner silicone and had no measurements or sturdy lip but I was surprised to see that it is slightly curved to help with the removal process. The packaging was mostly recyclable and although the bag was cute, it was definitely not a washable cotton.
Another difference right out of the box is the information that you get. The Mooncup has a huge amount of information in a leaflet that talks you through what to do when things go wrong, things to keep an eye out for and multiple options for cleaning and sterilising. Whereas the MaxMedix cup covered the basics of how to sterilise in boiling water and to insert and remove. The most confusing part for me was that MaxMedix said you could leave it in for 12 hours and only boil for 3-4 mins and Mooncup say to only leave it in for a maximum of 8 hours and boil for 5-15 mins. I went with the more expensive instructions just to be safe.
Now on to the prep and basically cook the cups in boiling water before I use them. For me, this was probably the worst bit of the whole process. Due to lockdown I am at home, personal space is limited and with an 18 year old brother in the house, well, the idea of boiling my period products and him spotting me was a daunting one. But you only need to do this for 5-12 mins and I managed to do it on the sly.
First question now it’s out of the box, how in the hell is that going to fit up there? Both cups came with detailed instructions that I found easy to follow and I had a little practice with how to fold the cup. Once I’d got the folding down, I found the most important thing is to relax and not get to stressed out about it as that makes it more difficult. I would also give it a go before you start your period so that when it comes to needing it to go up there, you’ll know what to do with no worries.
Throughout the time I was using it I felt no discomfort, whether this is because I am used to using tampons or I was just way too busy to think about it, I don’t know. One of the biggest perks is that I didn’t have to take it out or change it anywhere near as often as my regular tampons, which for me is a big plus. As I mentioned earlier, I’m fortunate enough to have a rather light and short period so I didn’t have any leaks with the cup.
Now the bit where we dread turning our bathrooms into a murder scene, the removal. I did find this a tad awkward and I reckon it does take a little time and practice. I eventually got the hang of it but the first couple of times, it was a little uncomfortable. I would also say because I was in the safe space of my own home, I knew I could take my time and use all the space I needed which I think is super important when you’re making a big swap like this you don’t want to be rushed or disturbed. The cup was easy to rinse out between uses, just tip the contents down the loo and then a quick rinse under the cold tap before popping it back in. In a public setting I would possibly struggle a little especially with the cleaning but again this would just take some time and getting used to.
So my overall verdict? I’m sold. I’m all for saving a few pennies but I would highly recommend splashing the cash on a more expensive cup. The quality and the amount of helpful information you get is so important. I also found that the more expensive was more comfortable and easier to put in. I would highly recommend giving it a go, not only will you save a huge amount of money throughout the year but you are also massively helping the environment. I was nervous at first but now feel really comfortable making the change.
President, Tamsin Grainger