The Mooncup – the cheaper, greener alternative to the tampon

The Mooncup has changed the way millions of women manage their periods, and transformed many of their lives.

I first heard about the Mooncup from a friend’s sister, whilst telling her about our imminent travels to Tanzania and Zanzibar two summers ago. She had used one whilst travelling and couldn’t praise it enough: easy to use, convenient, and cheap. I was intrigued. Finally, after all these years of dishing out pound after pound, throwing away thousands of tampons, and lugging inconvenient boxes around the world, somebody had given me an alternative. A brilliant alternative.

I cannot believe that the Mooncup isn’t more widely publicised in sex education classes, when we’re first taught about the dreaded monthly cycle. I cannot believe that more mothers don’t provide this as the first option for controlling the “red wave” and I cannot believe that this hasn’t been named the ultimate solution to “having the painters in” by nurses and health clinics. The Mooncup has revolutionised periods, and I’ll tell you how.

For just £21.99 at Boots (or cheaper at Amazon) you can buy a Mooncup, and these things last for at least 10 years. That’s as much as you’d spend in three months, using tampons and pads… what a bargain. And just think, never having to go shopping for tampons again. That’s it, for £21.99, you’re sorted.

But wait, there’s more. One woman will use over 12,000 disposable sanitary products in a lifetime and on average, 22 tampons or towels are used each period. In the UK alone, 4.3 billion disposable sanitary products are used every year: that’s 40,000 tonnes of products, and Beachwatch still reports finding an average of 14 sanitary items per kilometre of water – how gross is that?

Just think of all that packaging, and all those tampons that are going to waste every year. And the energy used to produce them – huge. And just think of all that money that you spend every year, catering to the needs of your uterus. I’ll put it another way.

A normal box of regular tampons costs about £2.99 (for about 20). For every period, you need about a box, so a in a year, you’re already spending £35.88. Usually, women get their periods at about 13, and stop around 52, so that’s 39 years of the bloody things, and, get this, a whopping £1,399.32 spent on – yes that’s right – tampons. Unbelievable.

The Mooncup is easy to use, healthier, more convenient, cheaper and is much more environmentally friendly – go on girls!

Now, if I’ve not already convinced you, read on. Tampons, they say, need to be changed every four hours (more if you’re heavy), which can be very annoying and extremely inconvenient. And what if you forget to take a new one with you… you’re completely stuck! But fear not, the Mooncup only needs to be changed every 8, and (as with tampons) that’s a conservative guestimate. Emptying it just twice a day will suffice. Morning and evening. That’s it! No more fannying about in public bathrooms, remembering to take one every time you go to the loo, running out yet again half way through your cycle.

“Emptying?!” I hear you say, well, yes. Contrary to the lowly tampon, this Mooncup is a silicon, reusable cup that is folded up, inserted and sits just inside the vagina, much lower than a tampon. This allows the blood to flow more naturally and can be less painful than using tampons. It creates a seal, which then collects… well, you know. It carries three times more than super-absorbent tampons and doesn’t smell or leak and, as a bonus, you can measure how much blood you lose each month. No more ruining your favourite knickers, no more having to whip out the “granny knickers” for “that time of the month” again. Also, nothing hangs out with the Mooncup, so you can be sure that you’ll never again have to worry that your string is hanging out of your bikini.

Now, and don’t overreact, when it’s full, you need to take it out, empty it, rinse it and reinsert it. And for those who are disgusted by that, I’ll advise you that you really need to embrace your femininity and your bodily functions. Woman up and get over it. We bleed. So what? Accepting your menstruation is a great way of getting in touch with your body.

For this, it’s handy if there’s a loo with a sink inside the cubicle, but don’t worry if you can’t find one every time you go to the loo: remember, it only needs to be emptied twice a day. Then, after every period, you need to boil it for ten minutes to sterilise it, then put it away for the next time. Housemates may appreciate it if you bought your own “Mooncup pan”, even though the whole point of boiling is to kill all bacteria…

Millions of tampons and pads find their way into lakes and seas, or are just put in landfill. By changing to the Mooncup, you can divert tonnes of rubbish away from the environment – and make your life easier and healthier.

Yet another bonus – yes, another – is the health aspect. They don’t cause dryness, irritation and haven’t been associated with TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome, a fatal infection) or thrush. Tampons absorb the protective secretions that prevent thrush and TSS, but the Mooncup doesn’t, so is actually much healthier for your vagina.

So, have I convinced you to switch? Just remember the first time you used tampons… it was a bit scary, but has it not made your life infinitely better than having to waddle around in nappies? Trust me, this has revolutionised my period and I strongly encourage you to liberate yourselves from those pesky painters. Join the millions of other women who have started using the Mooncup and save time, hassle, money and, most importantly, the environment.

Here are just a few interesting articles and campaigns. Please comment on the article if you are a Mooncup lover, or if you have been converted let others know how wonderful it is.

http://www.loveyourvagina.com/ – A fantastic campaign encouraging women to literally love their vaginas. Brilliant for encouraging women to embrace their bodies.

http://www.mooncup.co.uk/ – All the information you need, including testimonials from just some of the women who use Mooncups. There is also a video if you’re unsure of how to use it!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/green-living-blog/2010/apr/13/mooncup-marketing – An article about the Mooncup and its links with the environment. Ladies, do your bit for the environment!

http://www.wen.org.uk/ – Women’s Environmental Network

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/ethicallivingblog/2009/aug/17/eco-friendly-periods-mooncup – A review from a journalist who praises the Mooncup. See, it’s not just me!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/aug/22/g2.ethicalliving – Is it OK to use tampons?

If you’re converted, get your Mooncup here, cheaper than at Boots from the incredible price of just £12.00

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=mooncup&x=0&y=0

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