Menstrual cups

Guys should probably turn back now unless you plan on advising your loved ones about this.

For those who’ve been following my Plurk last month, you might have known or guessed that I was trying out a menstrual cup. Specifically, the brand I was using was the Mooncup UK, which was the first brand I came across quite some time ago.

A menstrual cup is basically a bell-shaped silicone cup used to collect menstrual blood. It functions much the same way as a tampon in that it collects your menstrual blood and tissues inside your body, but that’s where the similarities end.

While a tampon absorbs EVERYTHING in its cottony state, a cup does not. Because it sits just below your cervix, it doesn’t affect the vaginal walls, which means you don’t ruin the natural pH of your vagina and the surrounding areas.

The biggest risk associated with a tampon is TSS, or Toxic Shock Syndrome. TSS is a known risk with tampon usage as it can breed bacteria within the body. It is however, a low risk, but it’s generally caused because the tampon has been left too long within your body.

There is no such risk with a menstrual cup.

It’s actually also far more comfortable than a tampon, regardless of applicator or not. This is a personal preference for me though, because with a menstrual cup I don’t worry about TSS, whereas a tampon did. When you consider that most tampons were made of either cotton or rayon or both, you have to wonder and worry about whether you’re leaving any of the strands behind when you pull it out of your body.

My first attempt, as I mentioned earlier, was a Mooncup UK. It was an enlightening experience, even though I counted it as mainly failed due to popping issues. The Mooncup is pretty stiff, and you really need a firm grip upon insertion. Removal though, is slightly easier, because its stiffness meant that it’s easier to get a grip on the cup.

The Mooncup though, was painful to insert and remove. There was even a time when I wore it and it popped open about 10 minutes after I inserted it, even though I thought it was in before that. That HURT. I roughly can tell what it feels like for a guy to be kicked in the balls, because I had a pop in my cervix/vagina.

OW OW OW.

However, I ended up returning the Mooncup anyway because I found there was an odd thin layer of powder covering it after sterilising. When Li, the person whom I’d been communicating over with at TinyTapir got it back, she told me it was a limescale deposit. I suspect that it could be due to the pot I used after doing some research.

As Li was nice enough to offer me either a new Mooncup or a change to the new LadyCup brand they had just brought in, I decided to try the LadyCup instead, having read rave reviews about it on the LJ Menstrual Cups community.

WOW.

The difference was…

Wow.

First off, the cup is MUCH, MUCH softer than the Mooncup. While the MCUK (as they call it on the community, because there’s an American Mooncup that’s made by a different manufacturer from the MCUK) was stiff, the LC was noticeably NOT stiff. It was actually quite squish, almost like a stress ball.

Insertion was also much easier (the triangle fold seemed to be my best bet, and was actually not painful as I thought it would be, because the LC was so soft) but removal was a pain. Here, have the summary I wrote for the Menstrual Cups community yesterday:

– LC is MUCH softer than the MCUK. Less “springier” too.
– Insertion is much less painful with LC than with MCUK (In fact, no matter the fold I use EXCEPT the C fold, it went in easily!)
– MCUK pops better once in vagina, LC… needs encouragement
– Removal is far less painful with LC
– Removal takes MUCH longer than MCUK (due to lack of grip with the LC)
– If you break the seal of the LC and pull it out hard in one go like I did because I was impatient, it doesn’t hurt when leaving the vagina unlike the MCUK

Overall, the LC is for those with more patience while the MCUK is for those want a firm base for insertion and removal (reworded slightly as a commenter suggested). I say this mainly because with both cups, I’ve had issues of the cup popping open after I’d thought it open naturally already. With the LC, I just stopped a moment to digest the fact, kegel’ed a little to make sure it was still there, and went over my merry way. With the MCUK, I was bent nearly double with pain and had to remove it almost immediately. The pain was quite bad.

If I’d started off with the LC instead of the MCUK, I think I would have been completely spoiled, because using the LC is almost like a dream.

I’d write more, but I’m exhausted from work, so I’ll leave it like this for now. Oh, before I forget, I doubt you’ll get “loose” from using a menstrual cup, especially one as soft as the LC. Virgins WILL want to see a gynae before getting one though.

And now… Nites!

4 Responses

  1. jolene December 14, 2008 / 1:00 AM

    i would still prefer to use pads

    Geminianeyes: Then that would be your choice. Might I recommend cloth pads if you’re into being green?

  2. Kerryanne March 30, 2009 / 12:50 AM

    Thank you for talking about menstrual cups! I am working on getting all my friends to make the switch! I, personally, have a Diva Cup and absolutely LOVE it. I found it comfortable from the get-go, and, honestly, I was a little nervous to try a cup! I became a little addicted to their website because they have answers to questions of almost any possible scenario. Phew! Thanks again for getting out the info!!!

    Geminianeyes: Welcome!

  3. vivienne April 19, 2010 / 12:08 PM

    Thanks for posting on the mooncup. I bought one last week, but haven’t had the chance to use it yet… You mentioned that using the mooncup was painful (cos of the popping?)..now I am kinda worried… should I have bought the LadyCup instead? Does Tiny Tapir allow returns? It seemed like so in your case.

    • Naoko Kensaku April 19, 2010 / 12:13 PM

      I would recommend you give it a try first. Check out http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com to see if you’ve got any probs first before giving up on the MCUK. The community there is quite helpful, and I think only if you can’t get it to work after 3 tries then maybe you should consider switching to the LadyCup.

      I returned mine for the LC because of the white film on the MCUK, not so much because of the popping issue.

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