Sick of tampons, pads and period pants and want to try a menstrual cup? Here is everything you need to know about these elusive moon cups — including the trauma I went through trying to get mine out of me when I road-tested them for Cosmo. Warning: Things do get rather graphic.
But firstly, let’s get you familiar with what the fuck these things actually are…
What is a moon cup?
The official name is a ‘menstrual cup’, and ‘moon cup’ is actually a brand name, but it sounds more fun, so has been adopted by most people!
Buuut a menstrual cup is a feminine hygiene product made out of silicone that you insert into your vagina, in place of a tampon or pad, to collect period blood inside and stop it from leaking onto your clothes. They are just a little smaller than a shot glass, but shaped like a teeny, tiny plunger.
Why are moon cups good?
They save you $$$
Moon cups are completely reusable, so you can keep using the same one for each and every period. They tend to cost between $45 and $65 — which may seem steep, but if you think about it, a box of tampons is around $5 a pop, so if you’re in it for the long haul, it’s a bloody good investment. Excuse the pun…
They’re good for the environment
They’re reusable, so you can remain loyal to the one cup and handwash it after each use — which sure trumps chucking tampons and pads in the sanitary bin when it comes to going green.
Moon cups are good for your vagina
Because they’re made out of medical-grade silicone, and are super ~natural~, they don’t soak up any of your vagina’s natural juices or leave any fibres behind. BOOYAH.
What moon cup size should you get?
There are only two sizes available for menstrual cups – A or B. Size A is 46mm in diameter and is designed for ladies who have pushed a baby out of their vag and for all ladies over 30 (because apparently your vag slackens slightly at that age). Size B is for anyone under 30 who hasn’t had a baby.
…So, I went for size B, which was frankly still a little large looking, but don’t worry — it moulds to you.
Inserting a moon cup
Getting a menstrual cup inside of you is no mean feat. Real talk: It’s larger than a tampon, but (hopefully) smaller than a penis, so it’s doable, but daunting.
The best thing to do before you put it inside, is to practise outside of your vagina. You need to fold it in half, insert and then kind of let it pop, so go through that process externally so you know what’s going to happen.
Once you think you’ve got your routine down-pat, it’s go time. Fold and insert, just like this:
Now, this for me involved a lot of ‘adjusting’. I folded, I inserted and I waited for the pop. But there was no pop! I waddled around the bathroom for a bit, squatting and gyrating to see if I could get it to pop, but no luck.
Honestly, this made me extremely anxious. The only thing I can compare it to is Buddy waiting for the jack in the box to burst out. I was on edge and afraid.
I had a bit of a rummage around to see whether it had in fact popped and I hadn’t realised (because my vag is a vacuum of uncertainty), and I found that it was filling the space, but just wasn’t in that perfect round circle. This is because, Captain Obvious, your vaginal canal is not a perfect circle.
Basically, it was in and doing its thing, but I was not confident at all.
Wearing a moon cup
Once it’s in, you really can’t feel it. It’s much like a tampon — you know, mentally, that’s it’s there, but you really can only feel it if you’re doing this move:
You can keep your menstrual cup up in there for around eight hours, so you can keep it up there all day take it out and rinse it, then pop it back in to wear overnight.
Removing a moon cup
Now this is the bit that nearly ruined me.
I was super satisfied with my moon cup day. There was no leakage or uncomfortableness. But when it came to whipping it out, there was a lot of drama.
My friend — who uses menstrual cups regularly — suggested that I should just take them out in the shower, and that I should avoid removing my moon cup in any kind of public bathroom. This is because if you drop a cup full of blood in the shower, no biggie. If you drop a cup full of blood in a public loo, you’re a psychopath.
So, as instructed, I waited until my evening shower to remove my menstrual cup. I did all my usual washing things, had a bit of a sing-song and then it was go-time.
I squatted slightly and reached for the dangly bit of the moon cup (like a shorter, silicone version of a tampon string, with little ribbed bits so you can tug on it with your fingernails). I gave a little yank. No movement. I gave a bigger yank. No movement.
This was the point where I thought that the moon cup and I were going to be one unified entity for the rest of my days. Or that I was going to need some horrifically intense surgery to cut this thing out of me.
It was then that I decided I needed to give it one last go, before I allowed myself to have a full blown meltdown. I lowered myself into a sumo squat-like position at the end of the bath, and tugged on that damn dangly silicone string with all my might, mimicking this kind of movement.
It was then that the moon cup whipped out of my vagina and into the air, splattering blood all up my bathroom wall. Honestly, it was just like that scene from Psycho. I had recreated a crime scene in my shower.
After a not-so-low-key scream, I cleaned the walls of my bathroom, naked and afraid. I instantly regretted using my moon cup and felt like it had betrayed me, just when I was starting to like it. Post-mopping up my disastrous trauma, I returned back to the safe space of my tampons, pads and period pants — knowing that they wouldn’t turn on me like this.
Post-overly-dramatic-breakup with my moon cup
Look, I may have been a little traumatised from my extraction fail, but I did return to my moon cup to give it another go. Once I tackled the menstrual cup with experience, it actually served me well. I knew not to expect the pop, I knew I had to remove it with slightly less Olympic-level strength I had attacked it with before — and, it worked beautifully. It was comfortable, it was easier to get in and out, and there was zero leakage throughout my whole period. WIN.
In conclusion, I would definitely use the moon cup again.
…But yes, in case you’re wondering, I do still get occasional flashbacks when I’m in the shower of that shocking scene. I am considering therapy, but I’m hoping it will become one of those ‘funny to look back on’ stories, rather than a seriously jarring ‘I can’t believe that fucking happened to me’ one.