Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mooncup Menstrual Cup- A Cheap Green Tampon Alternative- A Review

 photo 100_6864_zpsbdb483e4.jpgSo most of the people who read this blog are women, but I do know there are men who read this blog. Men, this post is not for you. This is strictly girl talk, about girly stuff, you know, periods, blood, women parts, etc... so you can just pass on by now.
Kay?

And now that I've got everyone's attention, ladies (hey men, why are you still reading this?), lets talk about periods.

Bleeding.
Cramps.
Skin irritation.
Needing to keep well stocked in feminine hygiene products.
Trying to figure out with your used feminine products when using the bathroom at someone's house and they have no garbage can.
Carrying your purse to the bathroom with you or keeping your feminine products rolled up inside your shirt so no one can see that you're bringing pads or tampons to the bathroom with you.

Those are the things that probably come to mind when thinking about periods. Periods aren't fun, they're annoying, despite the fact that they mean that your body is working properly.

But imagine if you could make your period be just the shedding of the uterine lining, with no other of the annoying aspects, no cramping, no needing to buy pads or tampons regularly, figure out a way to unobtrusively bring them with you to the bathroom and then to dispose of them afterward.

It's possible.

Seriously.


I started using cloth pads a few years ago, after Ike was born and my skin was getting irritated by the prolonged use of disposable pads.
Not only did the switch to cloth pads mean that I had less skin irritation, the surprising new benefit was that I had much less painful periods than I did before. The chemicals in both pads and tampons somehow cause more painful (and generally heavier) periods. Not just theory- it worked 100% for me. On the few occasions that I didn't have cloth pads with me and I used disposable pads, I had such bad cramping that I was writing in pain, and as soon as I switched to cloth, the pain instantly stopped.
I refuse to put anything chemically based near my private parts, not pads, not tampons, no sirree. Not worth the discomfort.

So I made my own homemade cloth pads, and all was well.

And then someone recommended that I try out a menstrual cup, a green tampon alternative.

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Quite frankly, I saw no point. I had a stash of pads, they worked just fine for me, so why spend more money on a product that I may or may not like.

But then I heard about the Mooncup, a cheaper alternative to the Diva Cup and Keeper, costing only 27 dollars. I bit the bullet and ordered it through Iherb.com. There were 2 sizes, A and B, one for those over thirty or who've had a vaginal birth, and one for those under thirty or those who haven't had a vaginal birth. I bought size B, stupidly thinking that it was the larger size, meant for someone post childbirth.
Nope.
Size A is what I needed.
And my size B one that arrived in the mail just wouldn't fit.
Ugh.
So I sterilized that and sold it to a friend.
And then ordered size A.

Size A fortunately fit me much better, and now I am in love.

The Mooncup basically is a silicon cup that goes beneath the cervix and catches the menstrual flow instead of absorbing it. When it gets full, you dump it out into the toilet, rinse (or wipe) it out, and put it back in. That's it!

No need to make sure the cloth pads are all washed and dried, or that you haven't used up your disposable pads. No need to sneak your pads or tampons into the bathroom under your shirt or in your pocketbook, nor do you need to find a trash can after using the bathroom if there isn't one there (seriously people, why are there some bathrooms with no garbage cans???) nor do you need to hide the used feminine products beneath toilet paper or other trash if its an open can.

Nope.
With the Mooncup, you just reuse the same one over and over again, for years and years, so no embarrassing garbage anymore.

To be honest, I never liked tampons because I always, somehow, had a leak with them. The only time I had a leak with the Mooncup is when I went too long without emptying it when I was first learning how to use it, and it got overfull.

How do you use the Mooncup?

You just fold it in half, insert it up your private parts as far as it can go, and let go. It will open up on its own. I've found that I prefer to use 2 fingers, one on either side of it, to push it up even further after inserting it.

To take it out, just grab the bottom of it and pull out. If you can't reach it, bear down a little bit, and then you can.

The Mooncup has a long stem at the bottom that is supposedly to make it easier to take out, but I find it is too long. I just cut the whole stem off.

Not only that, I also flip my Mooncup inside out (yes, you're allowed to do that) to give me a better fit.

 photo 100_6868_zps7f801b98.jpg
Mooncup inside out.
When the Mooncup is full and it's time to empty it out, you'll start feeling like the Mooncup is "falling out". If properly inserted, you shouldn't feel the Mooncup at all. Once you start feeling it again, it usually is a sign that the weight of its contents have pushed it down, and it needs to be emptied.

If you're in a public restroom and need to empty it, try to find a handicapped stall containing a sink, or just wipe out with some toilet paper and then reinsert.

There is no risk of toxic shock syndrome with the Mooncup, so you can wear it for hours and hours with no concern as to safety. There's absolutely no problem wearing the Mooncup overnight, or even to insert it when you are expecting your period, and wearing it for a few days straight.

At the end of your period, boil it for 5 minutes to sterilize it, and then put it away until next period.

My favorite part about the Mooncup is that its easy to forget that you have your period when wearing it, since you can't feel anything. I also love that I don't have to keep up on laundry in order to have what to use.
And of course, I love that there is no cramping, but I also get that with cloth pads.

My biggest criticisms about the Mooncup:
It comes with this fabric carrying bag. The bags are really ugly and faded (the one that came with my size B one is even uglier) and look stained. If I hadn't seen them come new in the box, I would have assumed the bag was used. Seriously, prettier packaging, please!

 photo 100_6865_zpse47369b1.jpg

The sizing makes no sense to me. I think its obvious that A is smaller, and B is bigger, but its the other way around.
And the stem is too long.

So, should you get the Mooncup? Is it worth the money?

Absolutely. Every cent. Especially since its only a one time expense.
My only regret is that it took me this long until I tried it out.

P.S. No, I didn't get paid to review this, nor did I get a free Mooncup. I wish. I am just posting this as a service because I think y'all should know about it because I love it so much.

What type of feminine products do you use generally? How do you feel about them? Love em? Hate em? Would you consider changing?
If you currently use cloth pads, would you switch over to the Mooncup? Why or why not?
If you use the Mooncup or some other menstrual cup, what do you think of it? Worth the money or no?

42 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this! I've been thinking about getting one, and this post convinced me.

    I read somewhere that you need a pot "just for boiling" the mooncup. Is that true? (Seemed kind of silly to me, but figured I'd ask anyway.

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    Replies
    1. To be honest, seems kinda silly to me. Boiling kills bacteria.

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  2. Just ordered from Amazon for under $25 including shipping.

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  3. if you get it in the UK it comes with a natural coloured bag, much more discreet. and you can sterilise it with sterilising tablets (like for baby bottles) so no need for a pot.

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  4. Hey Penny! Thanks for posting this! I had NEVER heard of anything like this back when I was still "using" :) I am definitely telling all of my my young friends! And I'll even tell all of their friends too!
    Thanks again!

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  5. I am a loyal Diva cup lover!!! I buy it on luckyvitamin.com for like $29 - cheaper than anywhere else I've found. I have been using a Diva cup since 2005. A few things I would add:

    1. When inserting it, tug a bit at the tip to make sure you feel resistance. That way you know it has fully opened and is suctioned.

    2. When taking it out, I find it helpful to squeeze the bottom of the cup a little to break the suction. If you just pull at the tip, you'l feel the suction resistance and it isn't comfortable to just pull at it til that breaks.

    3. Mine doesn't feel heavy or lower or anything when it's full, but I can just tell it's full. I'll forget I'm on my period because it's so comfortable, and then suddenly I'll feel like I have my period. It won't even be leaking yet, but it must be doing something for me to start feeling it. I think as it fills, since the cub is sitting sort of sideways in your vagina rather than being vertical, it will start to fill the holes that help create suction, and that will make the cup start to lose its suction and slip a little. I think that must be what I'm feeling, though I don't feel actual movement.

    4. Make sure to keep the holes clear. When I was a new Diva user, it seemed to suddenly start leaking even when it wasn't full, and I soon realized it's because the holes were becoming clogged so the cup wasn't fully suctioning. Just the tip of a toothpick is enough to clear out any buildup that might be forming. I do realize as I'm typing this, though, that I haven't had to clear them in years. I did get a new cup in 2010 (I allow myself a new one every 5 years just to get one that is totally odorless and unstained) and maybe there was a slight improvement in the manufacturing. But it's something to pay attention to.

    5. YES, THE MONEY SAVING!!! Imagine how much I could have spent in pads and tampons since 2005?? And how much packaging would have been used and now be filling landfills!

    6. It's great for travel!!! I LOVE that I don't have to waste suitcase space with boxes of tampons or pads "just in case" I start my period while I'm away. The cup is so small and discreet and can just be tucked in one corner of the bag. This seems like a little thing, but it is soooo appreciated by me still.

    7. The Diva bags are quite pretty! Purple with daisies. The prints in my two cups were slightly different but just as tasteful. The first one was more tie-dye looking purple, which was cool.

    8. This sounds kind of hippy-dippy (and I'm ok with that!) but I also enjoy being so in touch with my cycle. I like being able to see and even sort of measure what I produce. It fascinates me to see when it is heavier or lighter, more visible than when it is absorbed in a tampon or pad.

    I swear by my Diva. Eight years later, I am still smitten.

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    Replies
    1. Awesome! I appreciate the tips! And yes, it really is so much more convenient for so many ways!

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    2. I have had my Diva cup for years now too and love it. At tiem got kit with some washable liners too which I love also (just need to work on creating some more due to age)
      For cleaning, And a little rubbing alchohol is what they suggest to clean it after gets stained which works for me.
      Only thing I have noticed.. I find get kind of 'puffy' feeling inside after a couple days of wearing (cleaning at night & morning)that I dont like as much so have tried to limit it to my heavy days just since dont feel as clean when get 'puffy' feeling.

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  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  7. I have the lunette cup, the smaller one, and I am a mom of three, but had only one vaginal birth. I love the concept and was excited but the cup leaks,i still have to put some pad to make sure not to get dirty. i am afraid to try other cups and spending money again thinking that i will have the same problem with them

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    Replies
    1. Maybe the problem is that you're using a cup that's too small?

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  8. I have a Diva cup, love it! Want to try and figure out a way to teach my teens to use one. The only thing I have is trying to wash it in a public bathroom. Idea for overnight use!

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    Replies
    1. When my daughter is a teen, I'll definitely be teaching her all about that!

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  9. I NEVER boil or sterilize my cup, just wash with water during my cycle and vinegar at the end of it.

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    Replies
    1. Good to know. Someone told me that boiling it shortens its life. I may reconsider.

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    2. I never boil either. Warm water and Dr. Bronner's at the end/beginning of each cycle. It is not as pristine looking as when I bought it, but that's ok with me.

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  10. I tried using one for a couple of months, but I kept getting leaks no matter what I tried. So I made some homemade pads, which work well. I remembered reading about a sea sponge, which was advertized for $13 dollars, but I just went to an art supply store, and bought a bag of 3 NATURAL SEA SPONGES, not the synthetic ones you find in the cosmetics department, for $5, and tried it. I LOVE IT!!!! It was perfect for me, after I trimmed it down a couple of times. I read that you should boil it in the microwave, or on the stove, for 5 minutes, after your cycle is over and allow to dry, before you put it up for storage. However, do your own research to see if it's right for you. Also, they are supposed to be replaced every 6 months, I'm right at my 6 month mark, and I see/smell no real difference- I'm going to keep going, and re-evaluate in 3 months.

    PS, Penny, I commented on your facebook page that my mother and I both get a virus after we visit your site, my virus protection just blocked another as I got on here this time. Are your trying to fix this issue?

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    Replies
    1. I heard that sea sponges have just as much of a risk of TSS as tampons, if not more, so I'm skeptical. I don't know why your virus protection doesn't like my site, and I don't know where to even start looking into it...

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  11. I used a diva cup for a long time but it accidentally pulled out my IUD. Not painful, just annoying. I got an new IUD and haven't used it since but that will need to come out soon so I'll be using it again in a few months. I swore by it before.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry about that. I heard that a menstrual cup needs to be removed very carefully if you have an IUD, releasing the seal first, etc... Did that help with you or not make a difference?

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  12. I adore my DivaCup:) I do have trouble keeping it stainfree, I guess it's normal, but I'm looking for ways to get it looking like your picture Penny. I've had it for a few years now, and I do still use tiny panty liners from time to time.Joanna

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    1. I soak mine in peroxide at the end of my cycle to get it clean and the stains off. It may shorten the "life" of my diva cup but I like it to look clean the next time around. :-)

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  13. So I've been working on switching over to cloth pads (I never really liked tampons anyway). They're kind of expensive so I've been buying a few at a time. However, I'm currently expecting, and I know after birth you don't use tampons-could you use a menstrual cup for the postpartum flow?

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    Replies
    1. You can't use any internal device postpartum because of the risk of infection. Anyway, after giving birth vaginally, your muscles will be temporarily stretched such that you might not be able to keep the cup in place.

      I used cloth pads postpartum. They were great! My mother-out-law was staying with us and doing the laundry, but she didn't mind at all because I rinsed out the pads and then put them in a zippered mesh bag so she didn't have to handle them until they were clean.

      In the hospital immediately after giving birth, I just used their washcloths and dropped them in the Soiled Linens bin. Hospitals are accustomed to getting blood out of laundry, so no problem there.

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    2. Thanks, that more or less what I thought. I should start buying now so I get a good stash!

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  14. I've used a small sized Lunette since 2007 and love love love it. I still use the exact same size, even though I've had a vaginal birth.

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  15. You don't want 'chemicals near your private parts' yet you eat from dumpsters??

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    Replies
    1. Don't be a jerk. People throw away perfectly good things/food/whatever all of the time. If you don't like the information your reading, sod off to another site. No one needs your snarky attitude ruining what is other wise a perfectly decent exchange of ideas.

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    2. I'm not sure I ever mentioned eating from dumpsters. I've never gotten food out of a dumpster fyi. I do salvage produce that I get BEFORE it reaches the dumpster, and thats because our bodies have many means of defending themselves against bacteria and microbes, etc, like the immune system, if the food is even remotely spoiled (but most of the time the food I "rescue" isn't even on the way it, its just food that people don't want (bones, skin, parts of veggies people consider unusable)), but our body doesn't have a defense system against chemicals, which end up sitting in our body for a long time, if not forever, causing long term damage. And thanks Simone.

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  16. Unfortunately these days I have to rely on pads for the first days of my cycle, but I am always eager to make the switch back to my beloved Diva Cup. I bought it in 2008, didn't use it the first year, and now love it to pieces. It seems to worsen my cramps at the outset of my bleeding because my cervix is hypersensitive, but once I make the switch, in it goes and I feel GLORIOUS. No icky diaper feeling, no gushing, and yeah I've literally forgotten about it before ;).

    I'm still on my original cup which means it's more than paid for itself (I think I paid around $30). If you haven't checked out the menstrual cup community on LiveJournal, do. It's a tremendous resource.

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    1. That stinks about more cramping with it. And yes, i hear you on the no icky diaper feeling! And yes, I hear about it more than paying for itself- thats why I wasn't rushing to get it, because of my life circumstances, but it's been awesome.

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  17. I'm not someone who typically posts, but I had to THANK YOU for the tip to turn the Mooncup inside out. I have been using it since 2010 and have always had a little leakage. I tried many, many, many different ways of positioning and inserting but nothing helped. It wasn't too annoying, so I started wearing pads as a backup. After trying the inside out method, not only is the cup more comfortable, but it DOES NOT LEAK! Amazing. Thanks so much!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I got that tip from a freind and its more comfortable for me that way. :-D

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  18. Let me add my own enthusiastic support of reusable cups and cloth pads. I've been a Mooncup user now for nearly a decade. I also made my own cloth pads from cotton scraps, inexpensive cloth fabric I found at a local store, and a pattern I downloaded from the Internet. Yes, there was the initial cash outlay, but now feminine hygiene costs me nothing each month -- all I need is right there when I need it. Convenient, discreet, frugal and healthy -- a win all around!

    About cleaning the cup at the end of the cycle -- I wash my cup with soap and warm water, scrub it with a nail brush, rinse it well and then put it into a small ceramic cup I bought for the purpose. I pour boiling water into the cup, allow it to cool, pour it out and allow the cup to air-dry. And that's that!

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  19. Trimming the stem off the end of the Diva Cup really helped it be comfortable. Before trimming, it would poke me and make my lady parts tender and sore. I was worried I would have trouble with removal without the stem, but it has not been a problem at all.

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  20. Would it make more sense to get the bigger size just to be safe against potential leaks? Or is it really that big of a difference?

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  21. If you just rinse and reinsert you let bacteria grow on the plastic. I do not have one of these however I am thinking of getting it. I however was a lab teck who's fun job was to grow bacteria on disks and in flasks... In the posts I have seen ladies say they have had fullness or cramps. I would suggest sterilizing the cup more often. You would not keep a tampon in for a week I would not suggest just rinse and reinsert. No offence meant to anyone.

    One of the things I am thinking of doing when I get mine is priming it with probiotics has anyone else done that?

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  22. I just want to say thank you! When I read your post, I decided to try the Moon Cup. Until then, I was spending a fortune on tampons, worrying about leakage, whether to buy "regular" or "super", etc. I was a skeptic but figured that this was worth it. And, indeed, it was! Amazing product that I've used for a few months now. Does not give off a foul odor that smells "bloody" like tampons did. Also, does not get panties stained like leaking tampons. & leaves me feeling very hygenic & clean. Best of all -- I'm saving a bundle! Can't tell you how much I appreciate this one!

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