I’ve been testing out the Mooncup menstrual cup and wanted to share with you my honest review of this product that promises to help you bin tampons and pads for good!
There has been lots written about menstrual cups and the benefits they can bring to both you and the environment.
However I was extremely nervous about trying the menstrual cup. I had my doubts about whether it could actually work without producing any leaks.
I also worried about how comfortable it would feel, as the size of a menstrual cup is wider than your average tampon.
My other concern was using it in public. Would it be easy to get out and empty, then reinsert when in a public toilet?
I had also seen a couple of anecdotes from people saying they had to visit the hospital to get their menstrual cup removed.
But I read dozens of positive reviews about the Mooncup and other menstrual cups so decided I needed to give it a go.
My first challenge was choosing a brand to try out! There are a lot of menstrual cups on the market. Some look fairly similar to each other while others have a slightly different design.
If you are struggling a lot with choosing your menstrual cup, there is a Facebook community with advice and chat about the best size/shape for your body.
In the end I had read so much about the Mooncup and the name kept cropping up again and again, so I went with the brand that seemed to be more popular.
My Mooncup cost around £20 from Amazon. This is not a gifted item or a sponsored post and so all opinions here are completely independent and free from any influence of the manufacturer.
What size sanitary cup do you need?
The first struggle I had with the menstrual cup was choosing a size! Did you know there are different sizes? I had no idea.
I went for the Size A Mooncup, as this is recommended for either ladies over 30 or ladies who have had a vaginal birth (I’ve had two!).
Size B is for ladies under 30 or those who have not had a vaginal birth.
The size is larger than a tampon, which is probably about a third of the diameter of the Mooncup.
This may seem a little intimidating at first but it never caused me any discomfort inside.
How does the Mooncup work?
The Mooncup is shaped like a small cone cup, with a stem at the end.
The cup sits in your vagina, just inside the entrance, and as your menstrual blood flows the cup collects the blood.
Because the cup is round and flexible, but a snug fit in your vagina, it creates a seal that prevents leaks spilling out around the cup.
The key selling point about the menstrual cup is that it is reusable. You insert the cup, leave it in for eight hours, and then empty, rinse (but don’t wash with soap) and reinsert.
When you period is over, you then sterilise the cup by boiling in water and leave it in your bathroom ready for your next cycle.
The Mooncup holds up to three times more blood than a regular tampon. This means its fine for heavy and light flows.
How do you insert the Mooncup?
So how do you actually go about putting in the Mooncup menstrual cup?
It takes a bit of getting used to in my experience!
The Mooncup needs to be folded in half once, and then folding in half again. If you happen to let it go, it springs right back out to its original shape.
This makes it a bit tricky to insert the first few times, as you cannot let it go until it is high enough inside your vagina to be pushed into place.
You insert using your fingers, so it is much more hands-on than when you insert a tampon which comes with an applicator that does the messy work for you.
When the Mooncup is in the correct position, it should be full inside your vagina and no part of it should be sticking out.
This is where I made a mistake, as the stem was poking out and caused me some discomfort as it poked me “down there”.
I re-read the instructions and saw that you trim the stem depending on your own body. Some people have a longer vagina I suppose!
I took the cup out, trimmed the stem with scissors and since then there has been no discomfort once it is inserted.
It also does not hurt when I do insert it, which was something I had concerns about.
How do you take the Mooncup out?
In order to remove the Mooncup you grasp the base and pinch it gently, then move your finger up alongside the Mooncup. This breaks the seal the Mooncup will have formed inside you.
This seal is important as it prevents leaks!
You can then take the stem, which should be fully inside your vagina but easy to grasp just at the entrance.
Then you give it a tug. Some times it needs a bit of wriggling side to side to get the cup out.
After a few tries it was easy to remove the Mooncup
The trickiest bit is removing it without the Mooncup popping out in a rush and menstrual blood getting on my hands and awkward parts of the toilet.
Once you get the hang of it, you know what angle the Mooncup needs to be removed at.
Each time I removed the Mooncup, I rinsed it under the tap and then put it back in.
Is using the Mooncup messy?
Yes it is. I tried to see if there was a way of doing it that was less messy, but whatever I did, my hands got a little messy during the removal of the Mooncup and rinsing it off.
My biggest worry was being out and about with the Mooncup. At home, I could simply take one step from the toilet to rinse out the Mooncup before putting it back in.
In most public loos, you get privacy in the cubicle but then need to step out to use the shared sinks.
Mooncup suggest taking a bowl of water into the toilet with you. Sorry guys, I just don’t think this is practical!
My solution was to wipe the Mooncup down with toilet paper, and clean it later when I got home. For my hands, I had wipes in my bag to give them a quick wipe down, before leaving the toilet cubicle to wash my hands properly in the sink.
Can the Mooncup get stuck?
There have been some instances of people saying their menstrual cup, of various brands, have got stuck. The thing is, the Mooncup cannot get “lost” inside you. There’s nowhere for it to go.
I found mine needed a little pulling and wriggling side to side to loosen it, but it came out with minimal effort every single time. I was never worried it was stuck.
The Mooncup does kind of form a bit of suction hold when it is inside of you. For this reason you may need to pinch it and wriggle it to get it out.
But because the Mooncup does not go as far up the vagina as a tampon does, it’s easy to reach and grasp hold of.
How do you clean the Mooncup?
The Mooncup needs to be cleaned in a pan on the hob with boiling water. You boil it for a few minutes before removing it, leaving to cool and then it’s ready to reuse again.
This needs to be done regularly.
There was a study about menstrual cups a couple of years ago where someone suggested you should have two menstrual cups and you wash one immediately after use, and use the other in the mean time.
For now I just have the one and am disinfecting it once a week. After emptying, I always rinse the Mooncup out in the sink to give it a quick clean.
You could also use a cold water sterilising method to clean it, similar to what you do for baby bottles! You can buy cold water sterilising tablets in most supermarkets. Follow the instructions on the box, and use this to sterilise your cup.
Do not wash your cup with soap, as this can be bad for the PH levels in your vagina and can cause infection.
Can I get Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) from a menstrual cup?
The short answer is yes.
Anything you insert and use for a period of time in your vagina carries a risk of causing Toxic Shock Syndrome. But, the risk of getting TSS from a tampon is extremely low, even if you use it for longer than the packaging instructs you to. The same follows for a cup. The risk is very low. Follow the instructions, and if you do at any point feel feverish, unwell or have pain, stop using the cup immediately and see your doctor.
Studies have shown the cup is no more of a risk of causing TSS than tampons. Of course, they are still a relatively new product to the market so do be aware that new studies may come out all of the time.
It’s worth checking out this paper published in The Lancet which says that menstrual cups are a safe option to use during your period. Hopefully this will allay any of your fears. The reading I have done has made me feel that they are certainly no more dangerous than tampons, which carry an extremely low risk of causing TSS.
Benefits of using a Mooncup
- Saves you money. The Mooncup costs £20 and can last for years and years! If your Mooncup splits it will need to replaced, but in theory if you look after for it, you may save hundreds of pounds on tampons and pads over the course of your life.
- Better for the environment. Think about how many tampons or pads, or both, you use during your average cycle. No imagine you don’t need these at all any more. That’s a lot of waste you bin every month. This is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and be more green!
- No more bathroom clutter. My bathroom shelves were always cluttered with half-full boxes of tampons, open packs of pads and these don’t look particularly attractive. Having just one small cup reduces the amount of stuff you need to store in your bathroom.
- Needs changing less. You may find that a menstrual cup needs emptying fewer times than you would need to swap a tampon over, because it holds more.
Downsides of using a Mooncup
- It is messier. There’s no two ways about it. The Mooncup is a much messier option that tampons or pads. You need to put your fingers slightly inside your vagina in order to insert and remove the Mooncup. When you do remove it, you have a plastic cup you need to empty and clean then reinsert. Your fingers do get blood on them, it’s kind of unavoidable.
- Its tricky getting used to it. The first few times I tried putting the Mooncup in, it kept popping back out to its full size as my fingers slipped. There’s a knack to getting it in, and you won’t immediately get it right.
- Using it in public is not ideal. Trying to remove, empty and replace a Mooncup in most public toilets is not great. You need to take some wipes for your hands with you. Do not wipe down the Mooncup, as you will be reinserting it and you don’t want any chemicals or soap from the wipes on the Mooncup when putting it in your vagina.
- There is still a risk of TSS. There was information suggesting that menstrual cups may not carry quite so much of a risk of causing toxic shock syndrome. But the fact is that anything that is inserted into your vagina such as tampons, contraceptive devices and menstrual cups can cause toxic shock syndrome. The important thing is to sterilise the cup frequently (weekly if possible) and to empty it often too as per the instructions that come with the cup.
Mooncup menstrual cup verdict
There are some quite tricky downsides to using a Mooncup, or any menstrual cup for that matter.
But overall, I’m a convert! I need a few more cycles to get used to it and feel confident in the use, but that’s what it all boils down to. Confidence in using a brand new thing!
I believe the menstrual cup is a bit of a game changer. Once I knew how to put it in, I didn’t feel it inside me. I slept fine with it in, and went about my day as usual.
There were no leaks from the Mooncup. However when I emptied it I often found this to be quite a messy task.
I often have one day of my period when the flow is extremely heavy. The Mooncup was able to cope with this no problem at all. I never had any mess, apart from when I went to remove it in the toilet.
Overall, my review of the Mooncup is a positive one. I would definitely recommend trying it. It could save you a lot of money, and most importantly it’s so much better for the environment.
There’s lots more information over on the Mooncup website. As I said above, I chose the Mooncup after my own research. There may be another menstrual cup out there that’s better, or specifically better for you!
Do your reading and find out what works best for you!