Sunday, 14 May 2017

i got a moon cup??

I bloody love the planet. (Lol unintentional menstrual pun but we'll roll with it). I'm not quite the eco warrior I'd like to be, but I always try to recycle (I've been known to take people's stuff out of the main bin in our uni kitchen if it can be recycled.. and given the state of our kitchen have probably risked contracting all kinds of tropical illnesses in the process), and I generally try to look after the world as much as I can, whether it be by using a reusable water bottle, taking my own bags shopping (when I remember..) ya know, the usual, not revolutionary but might prevent the ice caps melting for a fraction of a second longer kinda things. And I hate landfill sites. It's so depressing to think that we just fill hills with our rubbish and hope for the best. Because that shit ain't gonna decompose so dunno what we're hoping to happen. And every month amidst the pain and suffering that comes with menstruation, I will pretty sad every time I place a tampon into a sanitary waste bin, knowing that it's inevitably fucking the planet up a little bit more.

For a very long time (I mean I've been having periods for nearly half my life now) I saw this as an inevitable thing. I didn't feel like there was an alternative other than just bleeding out onto my clothes, chairs, yanno. But then I found out menstrual cups are a thing. I know, a lot of people are freaked out by the idea. To be fair, a lot of my friends are freaked out even by tampons, which is kind of strange to me because if you don't find sex weird why would a functional thing going in there be weird?? But hey. And more than that, literally EVERYONE I know hates non-applicator tampons. Maybe I'm some kind of vagina warrior, idk. I've just never been that fussed at the idea of putting a tampon in. And again, I'm always fuelled by the idea of saving the planet, so I think that also stops me freaking out. So yeah, prior to this revelation I was always more than happy to use a tampon without an applicator, which i guess is probably a good first step to take if you think a menstrual cup might be cool.

I've found that a lot of people don't 'get' menstrual cups. I expect it's just because they're a bit out of the ordinary, but there very much seems to be a kind of 'but what's the point' attitude, so planet aside, I have my reasons. I hate sanitary towels with a passion. Like I just don't get it. I used them for a couple of years when i was 11 and then never looked back from tampons. It feels like you're wearing a nappy!! The sound they make is magnified by my brain so that i become certain everyone around me knows that I'm wearing one. It ALWAYS feels like I've bled onto my clothes, the chair I'm sat on, probably even created a little river on the floor. They are the worst!! And I know some people love them, and I mean it's all about what you like, what's right for you, but wow, I hate them. Tampons were definitely a step in the right direction. They're not perfect by any means. I find that I can never tell at all if they need changing, I find that if there not like fully saturated they're uncomfortable to remove, and idek what happens when you have a bath with one in, swear they inflate. But I do massively prefer them to pads.

So one day I was scrolling through instagram and spotted a post about a moon cup. I was aware that they were a thing, but that was pretty much it. My period was due in about 2 days so I jst thought 'fuck it' and the next day in boots I became the proud owner of a moon cup. At £21.99 this was obviously a lot more than a packet of tampons, but they can last for years. I opened the box and was slightly concerned by the size. Now, when I originally imagined them, for some reason I pictured a literal mug sized cup enter the vaginal region. No, no, nothing like that. It's silicon, about the length (in total) of my index finger, and maybe 2cm wide??

So my period arrived and I thought i'd whack it in. I didn't do a lot of research, but it had a drawing of how to fold it for insertion, and essentially, you just kinda fold the top then fold again??(((I've inserted a video below made my a girl who is literally queen of reusable sanitary stuff, would definitely recommend a watch if you're interested!))) oh and so you wet the cup first (will mention more in a sec). I did it in the shower and adapted a kind of squat position and was amazed that it was neither painful or uncomfortable. In fact, as I went about my day I realised i'd completely forgotten that I was even on my period.

So, the only issue I encountered was discomfort taking it out. So once you insert it, it opens out insider you, you bleed into it, and then you remove it by squeezing it back into the fold and lowering it out of you. They have a little stem on the end which you can use initially to locate it in ya vag, but because they sit much lower in your vagina than a tampon it's not the case of trying hard to track it down, and even if it is too high you can baso squeeze it out of you (cute). I cut the stem off mine about 2 days in bc it was a bit annoying. Anyway, I didn't think this removal process through and didn't try and fold it up to take it out, so the first few times of removal were a bit painful. It wasn't too bad, I kind of angled it to reduce the pain, but when I realised that you're literally just supposed to fold it and take it out pain-free I was very relieved.

A big concern I, and a lot of people seem to have about menstrual cups is that they'll leak or overflow.. now I have one i'm like what?? firstly, I can't believe how little we bleed! The moon cup was always so empty, literally didn't get more than a third full on my heaviest days (and I was leaving it in for 6 hours ish- recommended is 4-8). I think because we only see absorbed blood in sanitary towels/tampons it looks like loads. When you see it in liquid form it's so odd! But also, you're only going to be changing it in the toilet or maybe the shower, so even if you somehow poured the blood out, it's only going to land there. It's not a case of balancing an overflowing cup of blood out of you, it's not scary at all. So to change it you simply wash your hands, remove the cup, pour the blood away down the toilet, rinse the cup to clean it and whack it back in. Not really sure of the science but the cup being wet after washing also makes it much easier to re-insert.

An issue is public toilets. This didn't massively affect me as my shared bathroom at uni was relatively unoccupied and I never got caught in the cleaning process. I even managed it drunk in a pub! but if you are in a situation where there's a lot of people around a sink, like a public bathroom with a queue, well hopefully you won't urgently need to change it as unless your flow is very heavy you can safely keep it in for as long as you need (no risk of TSS!) you can just clean it using a bottle of water or wipe it with a tissue or wipe, and just clean it properly when you next get the chance. Super easy!!

Between cycles you can clean it more thoroughly in boiling water, and I even read about someone bleaching it. Honestly had the most chill period of my life with this cup, completely forgot I was on my period, and had no issues whatsoever so didn't even use a pad or pantyliner back up. would 10/10 recommend if you wanna help the planet or don't get on well with tampons/sanitary towels. There is SO much info online, videos, FAQs, just everything, but thought I would share my experience as it may help someone!

Happy menstruating!
Laura x

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