Most people reading this will have a period, and most of them will opt to use tampons or pads but the Mooncup is a reusable form of sanitary protection.
Firstly what is so bad about tampons and pads?
Tampons (most tampons, regular brands like Tampax) are made from a mixture of non-organic cotton and rayon. Rayon is a synthetic material of chemically treated wood pulp fibre. Additionally certain additives and plastics are used to increase absorbency. It can be difficult to know exactly what is in tampons as companies are not actually required to tell you. So if chemically wood fibres weren’t enough to put you off listen to this.
Tampons aren’t actually white so they get bleached, because God forbid we put anything that looks imperfect near our bodies. One of the by-products of the bleaching process is a chemical called dioxin. This chemical has been proved harmful to humans and have been found, in small amounts, in tampons. If you look up dioxin you’ll see that it has been linked to cancer, reproductive issues and immune system suppression. Also the non-organic cotton used in tampons can contain pesticides.
As the tissue inside the vagina is permeable, it allows liquids or gases to pass through it, it is very easy for your body to absorb all these nasty chemicals. Whilst one or two encounters with these harmful chemicals probably wouldn’t cause too much harm, it is more likely that you’ll use tampons for a week, every month, for around forty years. That’s around 80640 hours of your life that you’ll be exposed to these chemicals. Moreover tampons are made of fibres that if left in your body too long can feed the bacteria in your vagina and cause infections.
Tampons work by absorbing your menstrual flow (gross word I’m sorry). But they absorb the natural moisture that you need in your vagina, and can cause dryness. They can also trap bad bacteria your body is trying to expel.
Pads are the same story but instead of being inside your vagina they are just very close to it.
That’s the health side of the situation, now look at the environmental and economic issues.
The average woman uses 11,000 sanitary products in a life time. the average tampon cost 18p, so multiply that by 11,000 and that is a LOT of money. £1980 to be exact.
11,000 sanitary products per woman, and 50% of the population is female. That is A LOT of sanitary products. These products will get put in a landfill where they take 500-800 years to decompose (pads), or, 6 months – a year (tampons).
Right, now onto the good stuff. A moon cup is made from soft medical grade silicone therefore it won’t leave nasty chemicals or fibres inside you. Also it is latex-free, and contains no bleaches or toxins. That means it won’t irritate your skin, so if you have sensitive skin it may be a lot better for you.
You only need 1 Mooncup for 8-15 years, they are reusable and so they won’t cause piles of waste in landfills. Also although they are a little bit pricey (£20 from boots) you only need to buy one.
So that’s why they’re amazing, but how do you use them?
So I have to admit they can look quite intimidating at first. How do you expect me to fit something that large up there. There are a couple of folds you can use and you can find tutorials on how to do that on YouTube. From my personal experience of trying to insert one of these is the C-fold is impossible. I spent around 15 minutes trying to get it in before giving up and trying a V-fold. I found this MUCH easier and it was so much simpler to get it in. Also I recommend rinsing it in water first so it is easier to insert.
Once you have it in it will pop open into its original cup shape. So after it’s in and you’ve trimmed the stem so it doesn’t stick out of your vagina, you’re sorted. You can leave it in for 4-8 hours depending on your flow, or if you’re sleeping with it in you can wait the whole night as again, no chemicals, no fibres, no bad things for your body to absorb.
Taking it out can be just as daunting as putting it in, and if you worry about it you’ll tense the muscles that hold it in your vagina. So firstly try to relax. Secondly squatting down shortens the vaginal canal (OMG these words are gross but scientific) so that will help you reach it. To release the vacuum pinch the bottom of the cup with your thumb and forefinger, then pull it out. If you can’t pinch it, pull on the stem a little bit then pinch it. The cup has grips at the bottom to help you pinch and pull it out. If you are still struggling, don’t panic. It helps to stick a finger up there and push the cup around a bit so you can break the vacuum that way.
Keeping the cup clean
Once you take it out you should empty the contents of it into the toilet. Then you can either wipe it if you’re in a public bathroom or rinse it in the sink. You should rinse it out 2-3 times a day and occasionally boil it in water for 5-7 minutes to sterilise it. But you shouldn’t need to do that very often maybe at the end of your period.
Downsides of the cup
The only noticeable downside I can see is that you have to be in touch with your body. By that I mean you have to get personal with yourself to put it in and you may get a bit of blood on you when removing it as it can be a little messy. For many people that don’t care about that it won’t be an issue. But it surprises me how many people hate touching/looking at their parts. It is a part of your body and you should embrace it. Many people don’t even use tampons because they don’t want to put their hands anywhere near there. Unfortunately these people will have more issues with their vaginas because they won’t know their body as well as people that have had a look around, so it is worth it.
To conclude, I’ve put a lot of information in here about the negatives of tampons and pads. Feel free to do your own research and find out for yourselves what the problems are and what’s in them. I’m not trying to scare anyone but it is important to know what things we put inside our bodies are doing to them. Because until very recently I was uninformed and didn’t know. I hope I have changed a couple of opinions, and I hope more people will try the cup.
Here is a link to the Mooncup website, buying directly from them is the cheapest way to do it, and you can have a look around their website if you require more information. Although I feel I have covered all of the topics on there.
Have a great day! Xx