The first time I ever came across a moon cup, I was in university. They weren’t very well known then at all, and were seen by a bit weird and only used by the super-hippy types by most people.
Two reps were handing out free moon cups outside the SU. I decided to try it out. I took it home, sat on my bed, and looked at it for a VERY long time. I was supposed to put that inside me? and leave it in there?
How was I meant to get it in? How would it not be uncomfortable? And most worryingly and importantly – how the fuck would I take it out?
i made a very half hearted attempt to try out the moon-cup, and gave up. At this point in my life I was very much a hypochondriac, and the thought of ending up in a&e because i couldn’t get this little silicone half egg out of me was too much.
Fast forward 5 years – it’s my 24th birthday, and my friend has bought me a moon-cup as a birthday gift. I had been meaning to give it another go for a while, and now I had no excuse.
Despite my ‘no excuse’, I still put it off for about 6 months. I knew tampons were bad for the environment and not as healthy for me, but using something like a moon-cup for the first time can be scary and daunting – you’re diving in to the unknown and it all very weird. Using a brand new sanitary product can make us feel like we’ve gone back in time to being a teenager and we’ve just started our periods and are trying to figure it all out.
Plus, despite it being 2018, it’s still a topic that a lot of women struggle to properly talk about with the people in their lives and determine what is normal and what isn’t. So it can feel hard to make that change.
However, it’s important we do. I knew tampons and sanitary towels were ‘bad’, but I didn’t really consider the true nature of this when I was putting off the switch. An article by Slate estimates that the average woman will contribute 62,415 pounds of sanitary waste in their menstruating lifetime. This is an incredible amount of waste and unfortunately, the majority of this won’t bio-degrade. All major sanitary products contain plastic, and sanitary towels are 90% made up of plastic! This doesn’t even consider the environmental impact of packaging (both the boxes products come in, and the plastic wrapping, and the plastic applicators for applicator-tampons), production, and transport.
Sanitary products are not only bad for the planet, but it’s questionable if they are even ok for our health. Many of us will already be aware that tampons can cause the rare but fatal TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), but in addition to this, most brands will also bleach tampons so they are a nice white colour – this creates a chemical called dioxin, which has been linked to immune suppression, reproductive issues, and cancer – scary stuff. Plus, tampons have been known to be drying which can cause issues like rashes, discomfort and infection.
This is when the moon cup steps in. Whilst there are other sustainable options out there, the moon cup is definitely the most talked about, and for me, the best option.
After my initial apprehension, I finally decided it was time to give it a go. I became sick of using tampons and was excited to try an alternative. Of course, it did take some getting used to – especially with inserting and removing the moon-cup. To overcome this fear, I decided in the first couple of months I would continue using tampons overnight. It’s not the best solution but this helped me get used to the moon cup in the daytime and adjust, until I felt comfortable enough to pop it in and sleep with it in.
The first time I used it, I was in awe of how comfortable it was. I remember doing yoga and feeling so light and elated – I didn’t have that usual icky, gross feeling of being on my period. I wasn’t conscious of it being there at all. After this feeling, I became a convert. I absolutely loved it and after a couple of months I ditched the tampons completely.
There are so many pro’s to using a moon-cup on both an environmental and a personal level. If you are looking to not only help the environment but also live your BEST life even when you’re menstruating, then this is the best change you can make.
Using a moon cup is, of course, better for the environment and your health. But it’s also so much more comfortable and hygienic. And of course, your bank balance ends up a lot healthier too! My moon cup was a gift which is a bonus, but they only cost about £25 and are available from high street stores like Boots. Whilst this can seem a lot initially to spend on a period, this one product will be used over and over and over again. It’s a worthwhile investment that will save you ALL the money you usually spend on sanitary products each month.
I know that for many women, it’s not just the fear of trying something new, but many are also grossed out by the idea of seeing your own blood in the cup and washing this out. I say – this is a thing to be embraced! This idea of our periods being gross and shameful is a whole other topic that I could get in to, but then this would turn in to an extremely long winded post! bottom line is, this shame was placed on us by a patriarchal society, the same society that have made us feel shame around discussing our periods in the first place. We need to get back in touch with our bodies, be comfortable with our own periods and empower ourselves in this way. Cleaning out a moon cup and seeing your period blood can help to understand your own body and how it works, and to minimise the shame and stigma. I personally find it quite fascinating, and has made me reconnect with my body in a whole new way. This was something I did not expect to happen through using a moon cup, but I’m glad it did.
I hope that this post inspires you to change the way you manage your periods and to think about how you can make that time of the month healthier for the planet and yourself!
I’d love to know your own journey with sustainability and/or using a moon cup! Do you have any funny stories about your first time using one? Or any questions you’d like answered? Let me know in the comments!