Using a menstrual cup for the first time – An honest reviewOctober 29, 2018
As women, we can find many things to talk about but rarely do we want to spend that precious time going over the ins and outs of our periods. Each month, for me at least, is filled with anxiety, severe hormones and dashes to the bathroom with a fist clenched around a sanitary towel or tampon squeezed into a trouser pocket.
These days, there is a different way to do periods and it comes in the form of the menstrual cup. While the first was patented in 1937, in recent years, the menstrual cup has become more popular, with brands like Mooncup leading the curious woman by the hand and away from her stash of disposable sanitary products. The menstrual cup is reusable, perfect for long-wear and can last up to 10 years.
It got me curious for sure. No waste, only having to buy one cup every 10 years and 12 hours, no leakage? What was I waiting for? The menstrual cup seemed like a great idea and though I looked at the £18 hole that had burned in my bank account as I bought my first, I kept telling myself: this will be worth it!
When my package arrived, I was excited. It seemed so ‘cool’ to be part of this new clan taking control of their periods and looking after the environment as they did so.
This is how I found the experience…
When I opened the packet, I couldn’t help but look at the size of it. It was big! And also rather sturdy. I flipped through the one page instruction sheet many times, trying to mould the cup in my hands. It seemed simple enough; just a little fold and up it went.
But, in practicality, it proved a little bit more difficult.
Where tampons slip in relatively normally, the menstrual cup was more of a struggle. It took a few tries and re-folds before I eventually managed to wear it. And surprisingly, despite the large amount of silicone that was now sitting inside of me, it was comfortable!
My next thought was: how do I know this isn’t going to leak?
The truth was, I didn’t. But I put all my trust in the positive reviews I had heard. (I still went to the toilet about five times unnecessarily on that first day just to check that everything was in order).
12 hours later it was as though I wasn’t even on my period. I couldn’t feel a thing and I was still as clean as I had been that morning after my shower.
Here’s what I loved…
Unlike regular tampons which can dry out your natural balance and of course, carry the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, the menstrual cup was like a breath of fresh air. It didn’t irritate me and moulded perfectly well to my body. I found that no matter what I did, so long as the tail was trimmed to suit me, it was comfortable; sitting all day at work, running and walking – no pain and no leakage.
What I also found pretty appealing was the fact that when my period started, I didn’t have to worry about whether I was stocked on products. I had everything I needed right with me!
Another great thing is that most menstrual cups come with their own sterilising kit, which is a foldable pot that you fill with boiling water and microwave with the menstrual cup inside. It’s the easiest way to ensure you’ve got rid of all the bacteria and it literally takes five minutes.
But what wasn’t so great…
I think one of the most difficult things about using menstrual cups over regular sanitary products is the removal. You really can’t change it in public unless you find yourself in a bathroom with a sink and lots and lots of tissues! Whenever I changed my cup, I had to take myself for a shower. Two showers a day feels amazing, but I’m also very conscious that it’s not very good for the planet or for my water bill.
I also found that it was a little tender to remove after 12 hours. The suction on the cup is so great that it means you won’t ever find yourself leaking, however that comes with the problem of it getting a little bit stuck as you try to remove it.
So would I recommend it?
It’s probably pretty obvious that apart from the minor issues of removing the menstrual cup, I am a huge fan! In the long run, it’s cheaper and more eco-friendly. It’s simple to use and comfortable when you wear it. I would recommend this to anyone looking for an eco-friendly way to manage their period, so long as you’re already fairly comfortable with the process of inserting a tampon.
Top tip: Shop around.
We’re all different and what works for one person isn’t going to be what’s best for the next.
I would advise on trying a few brands until you find a good fit. I chose the SPEQUIX menstrual cup from Amazon, which I found more comfortable than my Feminesse one, although the tail was longer. I now alternate between them both.
Other brands include:
- Pixie Cup
- Body Bay
- Intimina Ziggy Cup
- Super Jennie
So you can see there are loads of different brands available, it’s just a case of finding the right menstrual cup for you.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5.
If you have a vegan product or service that you’d like to have reviewed on BarefootVegan, please email Laura directly at laura(@)barefootvegan.com.
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