Monday, May 08, 2006

Every girl knows about the punctual blues

This may be considered a LADIES ONLY post which I am consciously tucking out of the way. This is going to be a bit explicit and gory in places, so also unsuitable for those who have just eaten or are just about to.

I am not in the habit of blogging about menstruation and the like, but I am really rather enthused about this and if it can make a difference to other women and the environment, it is worth grossing out anyone who didn't heed my warning.

All environmentally-conscious women of child-bearing age should be made aware of the Mooncup. It can also be bought as the Keeper (here's a US site). However, it was the Mooncup I have tried so the Mooncup I am talking about.

The Mooncup is a sort of sanitary device for dealing with your period. It is soft silicone cup that you fold up and insert. It opens out and fully blocks off the canal – a bit like a diaphragm (I imagine, never used one), but not nearly so far up. Blood then collects in the cup. Every now and again you remove it, rinse it out and pop it back in. In between periods you sterilise the thing by boiling it for five minutes.

  • The major advantage of the mooncup is that it is extremely effective. I tried it because of the environmental issue, but I have heavy periods which have always been difficult to deal with and this really works. It doesn't leak at all even overnight.

  • It is of course, completely environmentally friendly. No waste whatsoever.

  • Greatly reduced expense. £17.99 is a lot to pay for a bit of silicone, but that’s about six months of Tampax and it is supposed to last for several years. You don’t need to worry about keep tampons or towels in stock or carrying them around with you.

  • It is healthy. The cup is non-absorbent so it doesn’t do you any harm when your period is light. It hasn't been bleached. It is also a much more hostile environment for things like thrush than a blood-soaked tampon or towel.

  • It is comfortable and discrete. You could prance around naked if you so chose and nobody would know that you had the painters in. And whilst you’re not usually conscious of tampons or towels, there’s nothing involved with the mooncup with even the potential to irritate.

  • The whole thing seems more hygienic to me. The only blood that gets on the outside is a dot or two that escapes in the process of removing the cup (which you do sat on the loo anyway). All the blood goes straight down the drain, but not accompanied by anything that’s going to block it up.

  • The major disadvantage of the mooncup is the necessity for hands-on application. Apparently menstrual cups became available at the same time tampons did, only tampons were produced with cardboard applicators (yet more waste). When I told a close friend about the Mooncup, she thought the idea disgusting because of the amount of contact one would have to have with one’s own genital area. All sorts of things can be said about this, but the Mooncup is probably not the place to start to try and change such a point of view. If you were so revolted, you’d never get it inside you.

  • In fairness, it is a little trickier than using tampons, especially to begin with. There’s a bit of a knack and it can take a few moments to remove and re-insert.

  • It does require some co-ordination, the ability to reach down there, etc.. Long fingernails are not recommended.

  • If you had to use it in a crowded public bathroom, you’d probably need to carry a bottle of water and rinse the thing out down the loo. So perhaps not altogether practical in all circumstances.

  • Some people may find it more gruesome to see their partially coagulated blood as liquid in a cup than to see it absorbed into bleached white wadding. Personally, I found the opposite.

Strikes me that the only reason we're not all using these things is that this method of sanitary protection does not make great commercial sense; why encourage women to buy something as a one-off purchase when you can persuade them to buy stuff every month?

And if you think I'm a bit odd for enthusing so much about such a product, check out the Testimonials Page on the Mooncup website which includes the suggestion, "the actual moncup itself looks kind of scary and medical and we think they should come in different colours and maybe with sparkles." Hmm...


Katie said...


Living in the bohemian paradise that is the City if Brighton and Hove, I can barely step outside the front door without someone offering to sell me a Mooncup. If this is an exaggaration, it is only slight.

Every time I see the buggers, the word ACCESS flashes across my mind in bright neon... I like the idea but I am yet to be convinced they were designed with spaccy girls in mind. Your notes are therefore much appreciated (honestly) but I fail to be convinced that it would work *for me*. I think of it in the same way as I think of putting contact lenses in, and I value my sight to much to attempt that.

Before this comment becomes unwholesome, that is where I shall stop.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Goldfish, you are becoming the source of all ... Green men and mooncups. What about Sheila-Na-Gigs (probably not the right spelling) would go with the mooncups perfectly !
I changed my HRT patches a couple of moons ago as I could not cope with still menstruating after 40 years !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This has got to go in anonymously.

The Goldfish said...

Well, it isn't going to work for everyone, but personally, I would say you don't have to have A1 co-ordination - not as much as you'd need to safely put in contact lenses. I have sporadically poor co-ordination and wouldn't take that risk. Of course there's no way of knowing how that compares to your CP.

However, so long as you don't have really long nails, I'm not sure how much harm you could do to yourself. After all, other things happen in that vicinity in circumstances where concentration and precision are not at the forefront of the minds of those involved. So to speak.

Would be a pricey experiment though, if you found that you just couldn't get it where you wanted it to go... not the sort of thing you could resell on eBay. ;-)

The Goldfish said...

Sheila-Na-Gigs are cute, but my mother being a rather conservative lady, I'm not sure she'd like one peering out from her garden wall...

Katie said...

Seeing as how I am a writer (probably more accurately described as a typer) I have no nails to speak of.

The worry I have is that I'm fairly sure I'd be OK with getting it in. I'm not convinced I'd get it out. I mean, presumably you have to have a relatively steady hand, kinda like carrying a full cup of tea...

I'm sorry, this may be too much information, but I am seriously interested...

Shall we talk about something more tasteful now. Sheila-na-Gighs are pretty, aren't they?

The Goldfish said...

I see what you mean, but that's not really the case.

The Mooncup holds 30ml of liquid. Now your average monthly bleed is only supposed to total about 35ml. I personally have much heavier periods, but even so, so long as you see it to regularly, it doesn't fill up to the brim. What's more, this isn't liquid like tea, if you know what I mean.

If there's anything you'd like to ask that you don't want to publish on the World Wide Web Katie, do feel free to e-mail me. ;-)

Sage said...

I use a Keeper, and I love it. That being said, I have no problems getting my hand right up there to adjust the thing. Anyone who's used a diaphram will also have no problems.

The only time I ever had a leak was one night, biking off to class in university, I just missed hitting a dog on a path and slid my bike sideways on the ground. My groin hit the bar of the bike pretty hard. But I was late for class, so I just jumped back on the bike and hurried along.

Sitting in class, I looked down and saw blood seeping into my jeans down to about three inches from my crotch. My keeper had gotten turned sideways and dumped out! I sat quietly all class, then, as people we about to leave, tied my sweatshirt around my waste and got out the door while everyone was still packing up.

So, as long as you're not in an accident, it works perfectly!

midwesterntransport said...

the idea of sparkles in my cunt is frankly terrifying. what a terrible, terrible idea. :)

however, the mooncup! yay! i used to use the throw-away version, they're called instead. they took a little adjusting but for the most part were great for me. well, except for the one time that i put one in correctly and it began to slip out while i was on the treadmill. unpleasant, friend. un. pleasant.

that said, i've been meaning to buy a divacup for AGES, but just keep not getting around to it. (the divacup is a silicone option as well; the keeper has rubber in it and is therefore not so great for folks like myself who have latex sensitivities.)

i've never understood the squeamishness of some women about their own blood, or about their own genitals. for heaven's sake, do they not have sex? do they not masturbate? anyone who has masturbated should be able to put a keeper or mooncup in. and if they're still squeamish, they should be bashed over the head until they stop that nonsense.

ahem. just kidding.

Anonymous said...

Can't help thinking the address of this blog is somehow appropiate for this post :-).

Glad it works for you :-)

Anonymous said...

I love my DivaCup!! Should have been using this years ago. The best price I found is at South Coast Shopping for only $17.99 and arrived in only 2 days! Model 1 and Model 2

alphaross58 said...

did anyone experience thrush after using the menstrual cup? i also fear that i'm scraping my vaginal wall so much when putting it in. i really want it to work but i'm scared of getting thrush again. wouldn't it be nice if they could invent a device which can push mooncup up your vagina rather than using your fingers?