My last post of the year is not hair related. I am known to rave about products that I love and this is no exception, however, if you are of a squeamish disposition......walk away now!
We are talking periods and menstrual cups.
Having read a blog post over at Milan's fab blog, I began to look into these cup things. Here in the UK, the product is known as mooncup (but depending on where you are in the world, there are different names for it).
Here is a video to show you how exactly they work.
1. How difficult are they to wear?
It took me the better part of a year to finally gather the courage to buy one. The whole idea for some reason was somehow odd and unsettling. However with purchase finally in hand, I can say it was actually quite easy to use. It does take some fiddling but once you get the principle, it is straightforward.
2. How messy are they?
Not at all. You do get to see all the blood in the cup but that is about it. The cup is totally non-leaky. It comes in two sizes and if you find that your cup leaks, it is likely that you may require a larger size (note that the difference between the two is only 3mm anyway, but it could be important).
3. How often do you empty the cup?
It depends on your flow. The manufacturer recommends every 4 to 8 hrs. Personally, I changed every 2-3 hours on the heavier days (day 1 and 2) and then went every 5-8 hrs later. You can absolutely sleep with no leaks but be prepared for the cup to runeth over when removed (at least it did for me on day 1 and 2).
4. What is so great about them?
They are comfortable, non leaky and actually the whole procedure of using them somehow feels better, cleaner, normal.
5. Are they good for the environment?
They are widely marketed like this but I actually would dispute this. The truth is you have to wash your hands twice before and after insertion, with plenty of rinsing to avoid putting soap into your vagina (yes I said vagina). I also found that often I had to flush the toilet twice (I did warn that this was not for squeamish!). Cleaning out the cup requires water too and my preference is to use hot water.
Repeat all this every 2-3 hours and there is a lot of water and heating that goes into the procedure. Sure you save on putting tampons in landfills or chemicals in high absorbency towels but I often think that water is a forgotten resource.
6. Can you give up the sanitary towels and tampons?
Tampons are gone but I personally prefer to be a little more careful and wear a sanitary towel even if there are no leaks. Better safe than sorry! The manufacturer suggests washable pads.......... now, initially I found the idea of the mooncup to be revolting and I got over that, however I do NOT NEVER EVER foresee a time when the idea, just the very idea of washable pads would be even mildly palatable to me (to me I emphasise)
7. Is there less pain, do periods last a shorter time?
Not in my experience.I had 'normal' pain and a normal length.
8. Do we really bleed just two to four tablespoons of blood during a period?
I always knew this was absolute rubbish. 189 ml (7ish oz) was my total. The cup is brilliant for measuring quantities as it has markings indicating the quantities.
I totally recommend this product, it did something that no tampon or towel or paracetamol could do. It gave me a connection to my body during my period. This is the first time ever (having cursed every single period, every single month since I was 14) , that I actually liked........yes, no need to clean out your ears.......liked my period.