The Mooncup is overrated: My week with the feminine hygiene ‘life changer’
It was a bloody nightmare
Periods are normally taboo – but this week, they were a talking point. Step forward: the Mooncup.
Coexist, a company in Bristol, announced it would be permitting “period leave” for suffering female employees; some men and women railed against it, others were supportive of the policy. Then Bodyform presented a collection of “femojis” to “break the taboo of periods” and some women accused them of “body-shaming”.
Meanwhile, all the other women around the world continued to get on with the messy business of working out which sanitary products they should be using.
Tampons are expensive, and last week a girl was left close to death after leaving her tampon one in for nine days. Sanitary towels are messy and inconvenient, especially if you come on the same day you are road-testing that new G-string. Enter the Mooncup.
The Mooncup is the original silicone menstrual cup. It is basically a plastic cup that sits further down in your vagina than a tampon and catches blood. You pour it out and reinsert it every eight hours. And I tried one out, to see if it could change my life.
Day One with the Mooncup
I followed the instructions on the box – which were to fold the plastic rim in half, and then in half again, and then insert it. I attempted to insert it – but each attempt was dashed by the cup unfolding before I’d managed to get it up. It took all five fingers on the third go to finally manoeuvre it into its resting place.
I felt aware of an alien object inside me and tried to rearrange myself in my room while no one was in. I was unsuccessful. I feared the moment of “emptying”, though luckily this came in my own home, so I had the relative luxury of a private room and my own tap with which to rinse out the cup after disposing of its ‘contents’.
Obviously, I wasn’t looking forward to doing this in a public toilet.
It’s day two and going to the loo has became a probing fiddly exercise. I feel like I am enduring daily vaginal examinations, which is as grim as it sounds. There I said it: I miss my tampons.
As soon as I left the house I knew I hadn’t put it up ‘there’ correctly, as every time I took a step the plastic bit jabbed the inside of my vagina. I assumed that sitting on the bus would relieve the pain, but I was wrong – it just made it considerably worse. I writhed around like I was giving the seat a lap dance. I confided in my friend Steve, who was disgusted by the whole concept.
I’ve learnt two things today: Mooncups hurt your vagina and they will lose you friends.
I was back at work and nervously pre-empting using a public toilet. I regretted Googling Mooncup images (obviously): I saw pictures of bloody, overflowing cups. Imagine if I dropped it on the floor in a public cubicle? What if I got blood all over my hands and I had to wash it off in front of a queue of colleagues? Or worse still, what if I dropped it down the toilet and had to fish it out of the bloody water? At this point, even pads seemed like a preferable option.
Coming to the end of my run, I had started to see the few rays of hope that the Mooncup offers. I did not have to send a desperate email around the female segment of my office to plead for a spare tampon, and I enjoyed spending the extra fiver that would normally be destined for ‘practical’ means. In fact, a one-off investment of £20 amounts to the same as what I’d usually spend on sanitary wear over a four month period, and it will last me years. But the tri-daily fistings had traumatised me.
I really hoped I’d be blown away by this simple invention. A revolutionary idea that claims to be healthier, cheaper and more convenient than other methods already on the market. But broadly, the experience left me a little sore and pretty grossed out. Menstruation isn’t glamorous at the best of times – though I’d hazard it’s not until you pull out a cup of your own blood from up inside yourself that you realise just how gross it can be.