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What it’s like, and our verdict
By Jenny Ringland
If you have been feeling guilty about not making the switch to more eco friendly periodware, don’t despair, we’re here to tell you it is confronting for the uninitiated, but as it turns out, it’s not as bad as one might think, and in many cases, life changing.
Take lunar – or menstrual cups – for example, I had been thinking about trying one for about four years before I finally put my big girl pants on and gave it a go. Each month I thought about it, made myself feel a little guilty for not acting on my thoughts and then stuck to my regular tampon / period undies combo. To be fair, I had been using organic and biodegradable products since forever, however I knew in my sustainable living heart-of-hearts that menstrual cups, along with my new found love of period underwear (which is a story for another day) were the way to go.
When I unpacked my chosen period cup (I went with Tom Organic’s new cup that comes in two different sizes) the first thing I discovered was a 47-page user guide urging me to carefully read every page and highlighting the importance of using the cup correctly. Presumably this is meant to make me feel prepared, however all it does is make me want to pack it all up and put it off again till next month. But then I remember, deadline, so I persevere.
I learn that there are two different ‘folds’ to try when inserting – the C fold, which is where you fold the cup into a C shape before inserting, or the punch down fold (] still not feeling reassured) where you press down on the rim towards the base of the cup creating a triangle shape. Instantly I’m back to those awkward teenage years remembering how flustered I felt learning to insert a tampon. I’m beginning to wonder how difficult this is going to be.
All I have to do before inserting is sterilise the cup, another mental barrier that would normally have motivated me to put the whole thing off for another month, but here we are, back at the deadline, so I take the next step. You can sterilise either in boiling water, or in Tom Organic’s case, the steriliser provided. I go with the boiling water option as it seems less intimidating somehow.
Next, insertion. I lock myself in the bathroom, fold the cup into the aforementioned C shape, while willing myself to relax (the instruction booklet recommends taking a few deep breaths, gently push it up, then twist it (slowly) 360 degrees to make sure it expands, and I’m done.
It’s actually not that bad, in fact, I can’t feel it more than you would a tampon, which surely means success, right?
According to the box, you can wear this particular period cup for the length of time you’d normally take to go through three super tampons. Since it’s my first time, and I have no clue how long this might last me, I’m also wearing period undies as a backup.
After about five hours I take it out, more out of curiosity than any urge to change it over.
To be honest it’s a little confronting and a bit icky, but it’s easy to discard into the toilet, and to be fair, not any more gross than changing a tampon. You can either reinsert immediately, or if you prefer, sterilise again, the instructions say either option is fine. You just need to sterilise once your period has finished for the month.
I actually feel quite empowered, like I’ve had a little eco win. I continue to use the cup during the day for the rest of my period and feel like I am converted. I’m now officially a cup girl.
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