During her life a woman menstruates up to 2500 days. And all of these periods combined add up to about 10.000 tampons or pads. I think it’s safe to say the majority of us girls start out grabbing one of the four most popular brands from the supermarket, the ones our mothers or girlfriends use as well. We don’t question the safety of these products. We don’t wonder what these products are made from. And we don’t ponder how much we, and these disposables, are contributing to the ever-increasing amount of waste our planet is burdened with.
A few years back I watched Mariah Mansvelt Beck give her impressive TEDx talk. In it she explains, in a very clear and profound way, why we need to keep chemicals away from vaginas, globally. I had already switched to organic pads and tampons but her story hit home.
Conventional female hygiene products are often made from a synthetic – cotton blend. These synthetic materials can vary from rayon to different kinds of plastics. They have one thing in common: these synthetics all contain chemicals. Conventional hygiene products are bleached white using chlorine. Chlorine is a carcinogenic, a substance known to cause cancer. The cotton used in conventional hygiene products is non-organic and has been sprayed with large amounts of poisonous pesticides.
Knowing this, it’s nothing less than absurd that we put such dangerous products close to or even in one of the most absorbent parts of our body: our vaginas. I started supporting Mariah’s cause, and my own health, by buying and using her 100% organic cotton and biodegradable pads and tampons called YONI.
Biodegradable waste is great but, of course, no waste is better. Hence my idea to try the MOONCUP, a reusable menstrual cup made from medical grade silicon. No chemicals, no waste: best of both worlds!
Below you’ll find my personal review and, what I feel are, the pros and cons of using this product. Katoen & Ko has been so kind to gift me a MOONCUP and offer you an exclusive discount.
If you like this post, you might also be interested in let’s talk period: an interview with Iris from Cycle Seeds about menstruation, the importance of living according to your cycle and how to turn your period from nuisance to asset.
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I found many positives to using a MOONCUP. It is free from toxins that regular conventional products do contain. Since it is made from medical grade silicon it is also anti-allergenic, which is great for women who know they struggle with irritation and skin rashes caused by parfums etc in conventional products. Your MOONCUP will last you many years, which means you will save money by using it. I’ve done some calculations and if you spend about 5 euro’s on disposable products per period, you will break even after using your MOONCUP for 6 months and start saving 5 euro’s per month after. Say you’ll use your MOONCUP for 3 years. In this case you’ll save about 150 euro’s in total. A MOONCUP is relatively waste-free. It is extremely durable and you will own one for many many years. Your MOONCUP is not biodegradable, but it is recyclable. It sits perfectly and feels comfortable to wear. Although it looks fairly big, you won’t feel it at all. The cup comes with a guide and all of the information you need to use it well and safe.
I had to rethink some of my practical routines whilst trying out my MOONCUP. The first couple of days of menstruation are often the ‘heaviest’ plus your vagina might feel a little sensitive. To make sure the MOONCUP try out leaves you feeling positive, comfortable and secure, start using your cup at day 2 or 3. Use an extra pad for safety, until you get the positioning right, just to be sure it won’t leak. For me this took about 1 day. After that first try out week, and after you’ve gotten ‘the hang of it’ you may use your MOONCUP from the very moment your menses start. Inserting and taking your MOONCUP out requires ‘hands on’ work. You might get some blood on your hands. This might be strange at first but no problem at all when you have a hygienic bathroom, warm water and soap. You wash your hands, take your MOONCUP out, empty it, rinse it with drinking water (in The Netherlands you can use tap water), reinsert and again wash your hands. As you can see the routine differs a little from using disposables, but as long as you have a well-fitted bathroom present you’ll be perfectly okay. When I’m on the road and I don’t have excess to my standards of hygiene, I may decide to temporarily switch back to organic disposables from YONI.
-takes a bit of time to get used to
-more ‘hands on’
-requires hygienic circumstances
TIPS & VERDICT
Read the manual well, follow the guidelines given, be open to this new experience and don’t give up. If you do all of that and you’ll give yourself the chance to become familiar with the use of the MOONCUP, I’m pretty sure your verdict will be as positive as mine. I am continuing my use of the MOONCUP and would recommend to others both the cup as well as the high standard organic and biodegradable disposables offered by YONI.
I’ve been using my mooncup for about four months now and I thought it nice to share my updated experiences. It still takes a bit of extra time for me to insert the mooncup properly so it won’t leak. It’s al about proper positioning and technique and after a few tries it’s good to go. Just to be sure all is well I use an additional washable organic cotton pad with it during the first day of my menses. Like many of you mentioned in the comment section, I too have found the mooncup to be particularly handy whilst traveling and being on the road. My fears about it being impractical or not hygienic proved to be unfounded. You can wear your mooncup during the whole of the day without having to empty or clean it, which makes it even more convenient than regular (disposable) products. I leave my mooncup inserted during the night and even use my moon cup whilst practicing hot yoga. So for those interested in knowing about sports and mooncups: they’re a match!
During my period I simply clean my mooncup with hot water and perhaps a little of dr Bronners soap. After my period I clean my mooncup by boiling it, to sterilize. I then store it dry and airtight for the period to come and boil it out just before my first use. All in all my experience with the mooncup has been beyond great. All I need is a little more practice with inserting.
Not that there are many other menstrual cup brands on the market. Most are made from medical grade silicone. Others are made from natural rubber, like the keeper cup. Find your personal favorite, by recommendations or local availability.
Photos and text (c) (copyright) kyra. at kyra’s kitchen.