Sunday, 4 December 2005

Mooncup Review

All the reviews I have read about these items usually preface their article with a warning about icky contents or perhaps to warn blokes they might be reading something about "womens stuff". Well, tosh. If you are reading this you are reading it! I love to get the low-down on all sorts and don't see why this shouldn't be any different.

A Mooncup and the like (Diva Cup, Keeper) are billed to be an eco-friendly alternative to sanitary towels and tampons. Saves the environment and saves money. The Mooncup makers reckons the £17.99 cost amounts to six months worth of sanitary supplies and last 10 years. They talk about how it keeps tampons out of the oceans (after they have been flushed down the toilet).

However, I am not sure if I read anywhere about how fabulous I would feel as a woman using the Mooncup and it is only my first cycle of using it. I have never known a menstrual cycle where I have felt so physically clean and fresh, and yet when I first anticipated using the Mooncup I focused on the actual mechanics of inserting and using the thing instead of the rest of the time when, apart from the usual cramp, there is no sign of having a period. It is almost a case of naturism here I come because I could walk round naked and no-one would ever know!

Down to the basics. I read quite a few online reviews before even trying out my Mooncup. Notably, this review with its numerous comments and questions. Having read that, I then put it all aside and waited until I was ready to try it out.

I am extremely fortunate in working at home and having a particularly nice bathroom with a bidet. I'll say now that once I had gotten past this stage and on the second day of my period I purposefully didn't use the bidet nor any of the facilities to mimic a public lavatory situation, but more on that later!

The reviews I read mainly seemed to suggest it best to wait until you are into your period before trying this out. The leaflet suggests trying it out before your period and possibly use something like KY jelly for lubrication. I reckon you have to go with your gut feeling. Personally, I didn't fancy the idea of messing around with something brand new when I would not be in the best of form during a period, but as it happened, although I had the Mooncup for several days a moment came on Friday lunchtime when I had just finished a piece of work and I reckoned this was the right time to try it out for the first time.

I told Mr Doris and he wished me well and I headed off to the bathroom like an adventurer with Mooncup, leaflet, scissors and KY jelly. I put the radio on in the background and locked the bathroom door. I don't normally lock the door but I wanted to feel completely at ease and take it easy. The instructions say that one should boil the Mooncup for ten minutes before using it. Since I can't remember the last time I boiled a penis for ten minutes before inserting it I reckoned a good wash with soap and water would do.

The thing about me is that I can be quite a fragile flower at times and extremely dry. I made myself comfortable on the bidet and with my washed hands and washed Mooncup I thought I would try with just the Mooncup wet. This is how the makers recommend it should normally be inserted - wet. They say to aim the Mooncup towards your lower back so just to be sure I had my angles right I inserted a wet finger to make sure I was going the right way for the position I was in. The Mooncup is simply folded in on itself twice so it is a tight wad. With a surprising minimal amount of manouvering I had managed to shove this thing inside myself. Without the assistance of any KY or actually being on a period. Once it was inside, it was easy enough to reach up inside and to run a finger around to make sure that the Mooncup had completely opened up.

At this stage I hadn't cut the tail off or trimmed it. I have read so many horror stories about this tail causing such pain as it poked back down so I felt a bit of a freak and an old wellington boot when it didn't really cause me any bother. Maybe because I had the Mooncup inserted high up first time. I cautiously stood up to make sure everything felt OK and it was. I washed my hands and dressed and came downstairs and did a ta-daa for Mr Doris who didn't notice anything different about me!

Nothing on this earth would have possessed me try to remove the Mooncup straight away. It might have gone in easily but I knew it wasn't going to be easy to take out. I've read horror stories of women who have fiddled around with their Mooncup and had it in and out like a yo-yo and then ended up sore. So I waited a couple of hours. In that time, the tail of the Mooncup started to give me twinges and I reckon if I had left it in much longer I might have gotten sore.

Repeating the process of using the bidet, I first washed my hands and got my delicate bits wet. It was then a case of reaching in and grabbing the base of the bowl of the Mooncup. I had read horror stories of women who had used the tail to pull and thus created a suction effect with nothing wanting to move unless it brought out half your guts with it. But by grasping the base of the Mooncup bowl, it slightly folds the cup and breaks the seal and lets in the air. Then it is a case of tweaking the cup from side to side, or backwards and forwards, each time pulling down gently. Meanwhile, you are alternately bearing down and somehow holding tight somewhere deep inside. It is extremely bizarre and hard to explain. The first time you remove it is the worst. It feels like you have just pulled out a solid egg cup from down below. I found my eyes bulging and my breath being taken away but otherwise it wasn't too bad.

I washed the Mooncup with soap and water and put it away. I tried it again two days later and left it in a few hours. But first I cut the tail off. See my pic above - it shows where I cut the tail. It was better without the tail as I could then use the base of the Mooncup more for pushing up. I tried it again the next day too. Each time was much easier to remove it and was not a discomfort. Two days later my period started - this was the day after I had another major tooth extraction under anaesthetic. I was not feeling too fabulous but was like an excited kid to realise I finally got to use my Mooncup for real.

It is incredible, but it was actually clean to use. Even with inserting a finger after the Mooncup had been inserted I think I had less mess than using a tampon applicator. Not that I had that much but it was not unusual for a finger nail to be a bit blood stained. Once I started using the Mooncup then the period blood did not come down below a certain point in my body as it landed in the cup. Removing the cup was easy enough - I thought it might be like a slippery object and could possibly be dropped, or I thought the contents would overflow and tip out the side. Nope. None of that. A couple of times there was a gelatinous string of goo that stretched from the cup to inside me but it was very minor and easy to wipe away.

Reaching up and removing the cup was clean, then it was a case of emptying the matter inside the cup. I have marked with an arrow (the top arrow) the maximum I have had in my cup - that was over a 5 hour time span one evening but I had less overnight which was in for about 7 hours. The lower arrow shows the general amount I had in my cup but it went right down to near nothing towards the end.

Using the bidet was fantastic. I was able to sit comfortably, wash out my cup and give myself a little rinse although I didn't need it. Knowing that there are times when I won't be at home I went for the "mock public loo facilities test". On the second day of my period I used just the toilet and toilet paper. Removing the Mooncup and wiping out with toilet paper was easy enough. Only took a few sheets and was OK. Re-inserting the Mooncup without the assistance of water was a definite no-no for me. I had no lubrication and no period blood low-down to help. I tried but really, life is too short to go through that pain. Although I continued the day with just emptying and inserting whilst sitting on the toilet I did have to reach over and run the Mooncup under the tap to get it wet. The manufacturers suggest you take a bottle of water into the toilet with you. Personally, I don't see how you can manipulate a bottle of water and put it somewhere I'd consider clean in a public loo whilst sorting out your Mooncup. I think I'd rather wait until I could use a toilet with basin en suite.

There are air holes at the top (see pic). Each time you wash your Mooncup (usually at the end of each day - unless you have a bidet!) you make sure the air holes are clear. This is easy - when your cup is full of warm water simply put your palm over the top and gently squeeze the base. Or invert and squeeze. This forces the water out the air holes and hey presto, nice and clean.

I'm now done for this month. I've washed my Mooncup with soap and water but will likely give it a boil to keep it fresh. I think, because I was very calm and took it slowly, that I was able to get on really well with my Mooncup in my very first period. They say it normally takes at least two cycles to get comfortable but I reckon I'd never look back. Like I said at the beginning, I really felt noticeably cleaner during this cycle. Tampons have their bits of string that get mucky and suck the life out of you, and pads just suck the life out of your entire nether regions whilst spinning around and sticking where they ought not to stick and then have the audacity to not do the job they are supposed to do. This is the first period where everything was where it should be and not a single item of underwear was marked. Or beds! I could sleep as I normally do, au naturale, without having to wear precautionary knickers.

And then of course, there are the fascinating contents of the Mooncup! Watching the changing colours and textures. I had no idea. That's not entirely true, I had some idea but to see what it is undiluted by bleached and sanitising chemicals and fibres is an incredible adventure. I'm in my early forties and I'm only just finding out. Only just experiencing that there is a far better alternative to the tampons and pads that not only saves me money and saves the environment but is much cleaner and makes me feel wonderful. If I could afford it I'd buy every woman I know a Mooncup.

Addendum #1: I didn't mention how the Mooncup felt when it was inside. Nothing. Couldn't feel it, it was so comfortable. Again, this could be because I managed to insert it high up. Nearly twenty years ago I used to have a contraceptive cap but gave up using it because I found it such a pain. I could feel the heavy duty ring forcing itself against my insides. The Mooncup is different as it is gentle and soft with no internal wiring.

Addendum #2: Menstrual Cups have been around at least since the 1930s.

Different brands made of different materials:

Addendum #3: Previous post on mother and daughter mooncups!

Addendum #4: It is now May 2006 and I have not used any other form of sanitary protection since.

Addendum #5: It is now November 2012 and I have used the same Mooncup since December 2005 which is seven years, and nothing else! Initial cost £17.99 / 7 years = £2.57 per year for sanitary protection. As I continue to use it through to peri-menopause and menopause it will have cost even less for sanitary protection. It is something I would definitely recommend to any woman, especially younger women who have many menstruating years ahead. Though it is not just about the cost - the cleanliness one feels can not be matched. I see that in 2012 it now costs £19.99 which is a lot of money for a little bit silicone but if mine is anything to go by it is invaluable.

Any questions post below?

Original Comments:

Cheryl said...
Gosh Doris

Precautionary knickers - I can relate! And they are never your nice ones - pointless ruining those - more like good, solid, double-crotched and sensible school knickers of old - a double deterrent!

I guess one bonus of habitually wearing nighties is unless you get cozy, no-one knows whats under them. Me, I only wear nighties in hospital.

Glad it worked.

Question - My kids are slightly allergic to kiwi fruit. Hospital takes that seriously, however, as it can mean a corresponding allergy to some forms of latex. That cup looks like pure latex - is it?
Are there any warnings about possible allergic reactions? It would be a lot of money to pay out to find out the thing gave you an unbearable itch, up there.

(I'd honestly like to know as I am tempted)
Sunday, December 04, 2005 10:55:00 PM
Sarah said...
This is the most honest and direct review I have read on the subject. I have ordered a Mooncup, and am slightly nervously awaiting it's arrival. Whether I will have the guts to talk about it on my website is another thing, but I am extremely impressed by your review! Thank you so much.

And Cheryl - the cup is made of surgical-grade silicon. Take a look at
Sunday, December 04, 2005 11:24:00 PM
MrsDoF said...
This is an exact review! Have you had a course in taking Nurse's Notes?
I totally relate to the precautionary knickers, but then I already wrote about that on my own blog.
I'm glad you had a bit of a distraction from the tooth problems.
Hope you are feeling better.
Sunday, December 04, 2005 11:37:00 PM
doris said...
Such an exhaustive review I had to go off and sleep a while ;-)

Cheryl Sarah has answered about it being made of silicon. Think of those clear Avent teats for feeding bottles - that is what it is like. But best to consult with the manufacturers. Anyway, you're the scientist and if you un-earth anything then let me know.

LOL - glad you identified with the precautionary knicks!

Sarah You are in for a treat! Even if you don't go in for a full blown review do tell me how you get on. In any case, I dare you to keep it to yourself and not tell a single soul about your Mooncup. I've found myself slipping it into conversations as if I have some flash Jaguar sitting out the front of my house and then on reflection I think I must be mad!

MrsDoF Indeed I have had a course in taking Nurse's notes!!!! ;-) Thank you especially to you because you gave me the kick up the backside to get on and get one of these things. Thank you
Monday, December 05, 2005 12:02:00 AM
Rain said...
Thanks for such the info on Mooncups. I never knew anything about them, I had only vaguely heard of them
Monday, December 05, 2005 1:42:00 AM
Jo said...
Well Doris. I can really only echo Cheryl's opening remark.


The whole review reads like a night at the theatre :-)

Particularly enjoyed (no...wait...not sure that's the right word, erm...was affected by,) the reference to not boiling a penis for ten minutes (how long should they be boiled for actually - or are they better grilled?) and (ouch!) the 'suction' image.

Gosh. Again.

But glad it worked out for you. Mrs Jo has used a keeper for several years and swears by it.

I do think you should get in touch with the manufacturers and send them this review! They might even offer you a job writing copy (though they may not want to use the boiled willy thing!)
Monday, December 05, 2005 3:37:00 PM
Ally said...
Another hand up in relating to 'precautionary knickers'! And I also particularly enjoyed the reference to the correct amount of time to boil a penis, too :).

Also interested about Cheryl's comment re kiwi and latex; I am allergic to both and never knew there was a connection.

What a fantastic review - I will definitely get one before next month comes around.
Monday, December 05, 2005 5:52:00 PM
Cheryl said...
OMG I just misread Ally's first sentence - completely overlooked the word 'relating' and had to do a complete double take.

Monday, December 05, 2005 6:43:00 PM
doris said...
Rain I am glad to have shared if it has brought these things to the attention of someone new :-)

Jo You can uncross your legs - but I did have fun thinking of what herbs and spices might complement!!! I'm sure Mooncup has plenty of rave reviews out there. It is great to hear about others who also swear by these things - I feel like a bit of a zealot at the moment.

Ally As long as you follow your instincts and take it slowly and carefully I promise you won't be sorry. I am sorry I didn't get one sooner. Let me know if you do!

Cheryl LOL And I don't know why I should be surprised but I am. We should start the PK Cult!
Monday, December 05, 2005 7:29:00 PM
Astryngia said...
What a wonderful account - you are a gem. But I laughed out loud at this point : "The first time you remove it is the worst..I found my eyes bulging and my breath being taken away but otherwise it wasn't too bad." What a woman!!
Monday, December 05, 2005 7:55:00 PM
doris said...
Astryngia: "What a woman!!" You better believe it :-D LOL
Monday, December 05, 2005 8:54:00 PM
Minerva said...
Doris, you never cease to surprise! You could indeed write copy for the manufacturer with this one - I am impressed...
And I haven't even HEARD of am off to do a bit of research..

Monday, December 05, 2005 10:13:00 PM
mrshellonheels said...
Doris What an excellent review! I should get one for my daughter in laws. Thank you
Tuesday, December 06, 2005 5:57:00 AM
Red Mum said...
Wow what a post!!!! You managed to be graphic enough to explain everything you need to know (I think without having used one) without being too graphic.They sound very intriging and definitely better than sanitary towels and the like...
Tuesday, December 06, 2005 11:13:00 AM
Helen said...
Well Doris, I don't need this sort of thing anymore but if I did, I would be more than tempted to try it. Good for you for bringing it to light. I, like many other commenters I've read, have heard nothing of it. Then again, I'm not really in the market and pass that isle!
Tuesday, December 06, 2005 1:43:00 PM
doris said...
Minerva I hope it doesn't read like one long advertisement for this product but I can see that it probably does. I'm sure there will be repros and anyway there are other makes such as Diva Cup and The Keeper

And oh my goodness - apparently they have been going since the 1930s! There are links from that page to further discussion.

MrsHellonheels if you do get them any, I hope they appreciate what it really it is about. I am going to have to handle it carefully when I give my daughter hers.

Red Mum Worth looking into these things.

Helen Naturally I am curious but I shall have to mind my own business!!! :-)
Wednesday, December 07, 2005 12:14:00 PM
Badaunt said...
Oh, dear. I've been putting off trying (something new? I'm a coward!) - but you've convinced me I've got to try it.

And I will. Soonish. When semester is over. (I'm imagining the university loos and wondering how I'd cope there...)
Wednesday, December 07, 2005 1:40:00 PM
Anji said...
Doris I think you should have a Nobel peace prize. I hope lots of women get to read your review. I'd love to try it out but it's too late for me.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005 1:49:00 PM
Milt Bogs said...
It's not unlike a tuba mouthpiece Doris.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005 2:50:00 PM
doris said...
Badaunt I kind of knew about these things for a few years before I finally took the plunge. Wish I had done so sooner. You are right to wait - or else, to try it out on weekends only and maybe mix with the use of whatever on work days until you are comfortable with the college loos. You will become evangelical sooner that that!

Anji LOL about the Nobel Peace Prize :-)

Milt Bogs Trust you to lower the tone! (Geddit? Tuba ..... lower the tone... oh never mind!!!) ;-)
Very interesting actually - could be funny (in an immature and adolescent way) to stick one of these on the end of a tuba but not funny the other way round. Ouch.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005 3:22:00 PM
jane said...
Gosh, this sounds more & more like something I should consider. You piqued my interest in the Mooncup with your first post, before you actually tried it.
I've been worried about the chemicals used in tampons & this sure seems like a practical solution.
You definately answered any questions I might have, thanks for providing details I'd be afraid to ask.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005 8:35:00 PM
Le laquet said...
Wow! I too am tempted - and can also relate to the precautionary knickers thing! I might have to give it a go!
Thursday, December 08, 2005 6:53:00 AM
DaFFy said...
WOw> What a review! I've never heard of them. Maybe I move in the wrong circles, or maybe we don't have them over here? However, I feel after your review I must investigate futher!
Thursday, December 08, 2005 11:26:00 AM
Pookie65 said...
And all I wanted to do was come by and wish my friend Doris and her family a warm and lovely holiday season....

Happy Holidays to you and yours filled with love, joy, peace, laughter that you so richly deserve!

I leave a very educated man.
Thursday, December 08, 2005 12:02:00 PM
doris said...
Pookie Oh Pookie.... enlightenment is wonderful. Remember that and keep saying it to yourself! :-) Lovely to hear from you (and Daffy and Z) who have all been too busy elsewhere to blog of late. Nice to hear from you and I'm sure I shall be whizzing over sometime with my Christmas cheer! Thank you for your warmest of wishes.

Daffy You've been to busy with your new house no doubt.. I'll be over soon. I think there is now a Aussie brand of these things but in any case these can be posted internationally. If you felt inclined you would not look back.

Le Lacquet Another for the precautionary nix club!!!!

Jane Glad your interest has been piqued :-) (((Hugs)))
Thursday, December 08, 2005 12:54:00 PM
Karen said...
I have never even heard of a mooncup - you know I think I'm going to give it a go - Thanks Doris.
Thursday, December 08, 2005 3:19:00 PM
Sarah said...
Well, you asked for feedback and here it is. My mooncup arrived on wednesday, 3 days after my period on sunday, so i got stuck in and gave it a go. The first hour was pretty uncomfortable as I'd not trimmed the stem at all. After that I had to go out, and decided to try later rather than risk soreness (or abject fear of leakage) during my sign language lesson. I tried it again in the evening, and managed to pluck up the courage to cut the stem first in half, and then, almost on impulse, completely off. This did make the mooncup a Lot more comfortable! A couple of hours later I had a go at getting it out, which was difficult at first but I'm getting the hang of it. I am a convert, although I'm still at the stage of wearing liners as well in case of leakage (which has happened once or twice). I think this was in one case due to bad positioning, and in the other residual fluid which made it's way down while I was taking a shower. I decided to give myself a break from the mooncup during the shower, so this is quite likely.
Right, I think that's enough detail from me! I don't think I've ever been in such intimate contact with myself on such a regular basis! It is quite nice being so "in touch" though. And I do feel free. Indeed, I was dancing around my room yesterday with Very Little On yesterday getting ready to go out, singing "Freee, freee!"
Friday, December 09, 2005 2:38:00 PM
Sarah said...
It was one of my less restrained moments...
Friday, December 09, 2005 2:40:00 PM
doris said...
Oh Sarah - I am grinning like mad and so happy for you :-)

"Indeed, I was dancing around my room yesterday with Very Little On yesterday getting ready to go out, singing "Freee, freee!""

I just shared this with my hubby who immediately requested photographic evidence! Cheeky so and so.

As for the shower thing... I kept mine in and delighted in getting dry knowing that I wouldn't get any of that flow on the towel. (I tell you, sometimes I am impressed with the bloodbath I can create on the floor!!!) There, now I have given some really icky info.

Best of all I think is your getting in touch with yourself - literally. It sounds like you have done well too and are likely to become quite proficient.

We are freeeeeeeeee :-)

PS. Are you going to blog it?
Friday, December 09, 2005 2:57:00 PM
Steve said...
Well you learn something new every day.Not being a bloke who cringes or runs away when womens things are discussed, I found it very interesting.You do have a way of describing things in the greatest detail without being too graphic.
Now can everyone stop talking about boiling penis's please
Friday, December 09, 2005 3:58:00 PM
Thumper said...
Not quite the topic I was expecting with my breakfast ;) I am glad, however, that I will never have to even think about trying one of these...they may be wonderful but it gives me the skeeves! :)

Here via Michele's today!
Friday, December 09, 2005 4:20:00 PM
Sarah said...
Hee hee. I don't think I will blog, directly, but I will put up a post with a link in it to the mooncup site. Then people will ask me questions, no doubt! I might blog if lots of people ask me questions.
Friday, December 09, 2005 5:21:00 PM
Sarah said...
And I think I shall also put a permanent link to you, because I enjoy reading your blog. *nod*
Friday, December 09, 2005 5:22:00 PM
Sarah said...
Is it just me (and my friends) or is the mooncup site down? What have we done? Did we generate that much traffic?
Saturday, December 10, 2005 2:58:00 AM
doris said...
Looks like the Moncup site is down at the moment - or else you broke it!

And ahem, Sarah.... I may have thought you were a different Sarah so once I have sorted out my confusion and checked I didn't put my foot in it anywhere I'll be a little less confused :-)
Saturday, December 10, 2005 11:26:00 AM
doris said...
Karen Ooo, another person corrupted ;-)

Steve I'm tempted to make up a facetious recipe for Boiled Penis Stew but I just ain't creative enough. So I won't mention it anyore ;-) (Apart from that once!)
Saturday, December 10, 2005 11:29:00 AM
Z said...
Yeah that was so detailed, I had to clench a few times. ;)
Tuesday, December 13, 2005 3:48:00 PM
Max said...
Aaargh! ->
Sunday, December 18, 2005 8:26:00 PM


Anonymous said...

RUBBISH the only place I would stick it is the bin.

Doris said...

Dear Anonymous of April 2010 - That's a shame because it is now the end of 2012 and I have been using the same cup for seven years now. Certainly worth the £17.99 investment at the time, and 19 times out of 20 is still as clean as ever to use. I might horrify by blogging again about maintenance of said item!