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to ask for practical advice/info on menstrual cups?

57 replies

soupforbrains · 08/11/2017 09:46

Hi everyone, I'm considering switching to using a menstrual cup instead of other sanitary products. I'm well aware of the environmental and economic value of them and am very tempted but am unsure how I would manage on a practical level.

I've looked a few things up and know that TSS is still a risk with menstrual cups (in fact recent research suggest it is a higher risk with menstrual cups than with tampons), and so you still have to change it every 8 hours minimum. Which would mean I would have to empty it during the work day. I'm not sure I would feel entirely comfortable doing this. Can anyone who uses one and works tell me how they go about emptying and cleaning in the workplace?

The other question i have is how the brands compare, what are the real differences between them and why did people choose the brand that they did? and also any advice about the sizing? I'm not sure where to stat on that.

Any advice, practical information and experiences/recommendations welcome. I've read the FAQs on some of the manufacturer websites but they are very clinical and don't really seem to answer the practicalities. Apologies if anyone thinks it IS unreasonable to ask for personal accounts, but I'm not sure how else to get the information I need.


Hello. This thread is a little old now. Take a look at our round-up of Mumsnetters’ favourite menstrual cups - with a handy guide to finding and using the right cup for you - for more up-to-date advice. MNHQ.

OP posts:
BertieBotts · 08/11/2017 12:28

I have a meluna now. I used to have a mooncup but I lost it Blush and I ended up choosing a smaller meluna of the medium/normal softness. It's softer than the mooncup but not soft enough to cause issues. I have it in purple. I did find the clear mooncup discoloured eventually, which was a bit gross. I have the ring stem. I found it hard to cut the stem of the mooncup completely smooth so it always pinched a little bit.

I agree that sizing is not THAT important and don't overthink it. I was very happy with the mooncup for several years even though I do prefer the meluna now.

I'm not aware of the new research about TSS - should look that up really - I try not to wear mine for longer than 12 hours, but I do find it okay to empty in public if need be. You do sometimes get a bit of blood on your fingers, but I wipe this off with loo roll and then if there's any stuck in fingernails etc just close my fist on that hand. It always washes off immediately and it's not noticeable. The only times I don't like to empty it is when I'm in a toilet which isn't very clean - I just don't feel comfortable in that situation.

I don't wear pantyliners with mine. I also like that I can wear it any time of my cycle which cuts down on the need for pantyliners at other times.

My main issue with timing is that it's so comfortable I can forget I have it in, and it's always a bit worrying if you leave it for more than 24 hours because obviously the blood starts to decompose. I haven't done that very often but I am a forgetful person and it has happened more than once.

The most important thing about choosing one is to get one from a recognised brand. You can get some really cheap ones on ebay or amazon at the moment which are imported from China, and I wouldn't trust that the materials are safe. Menstrual cups are not popular enough to have any legislation or testing required so it's really down to how much you trust the brand. There isn't much written about this but if you want to read more about the topic, there is quite a bit written about low quality/untested sex toys, which I believe is relevant, as they are made from silicon as well.

MarmiteAndPB · 08/11/2017 12:36

Bertie My MeLuna is also purple Grin The clear Mooncup (which discoloured over time) was a bit clinical, wasn't it?

Babieseverywhere · 08/11/2017 12:38

I love my mooncup. I bought both sizes at Boots, one size for before I had given birth and the other one after.

My hints are as follows :-

Try folding it in different ways before you insert it. Once inside you twist the bottom of the cup to unfold it and to make sure it seals properly. I find the c fold works well for me but ymmv.

When removing it, I usually put one foot on the toilet seat, bear down and gently squeeze and twist cup to break seal before carefully removing keeping upright !

If in a toilet with no sink, I empty cup into toilet. Wipe cup with toilet roll and reinsert.

I tend to empty every three hours.

I have a plastic denure soaking box with lid and Milton tablets. Before using my cup every month. I soak it in the box with a quarter of a Milton tablet and water for a minimum of 15 minutes before use. Then rinse in tap water before use.

In reality I soak the cup the day I expect my period to show and change water and tablet every day until it does.

After my period finishes. I clean cup in tap water. Soak for 24 hours in water and Milton tablet and then dry cup and store for next month.

I find this loads easier than boiling my mooncup.


hibbledobble · 08/11/2017 12:38

If you are conscientious about the environment but menstrual cups aren't for you then you could try cloth pads.

RandomUsernameHere · 08/11/2017 13:04

I use a femmecup and absolutely love it. I just wish someone had recommended it sooner, I'm annoyed at myself for all those years I used tampons!

May50 · 08/11/2017 13:25

Mooncup big size for me. I've cut the stem right down so just a few millimetres left.
I use at work and just empty then wipe with some toilet tissue then re-insert. Always wear a pantyliner for safety but I don't recall it leaking much as such.

soupforbrains · 08/11/2017 14:40

Thank you everyone this is all SO helpful you are marvels. Grin

hibble thank you for the suggestion but I cannot stand pads at all in any way, I hate the way they feel to wear and all the 'external mess' and find myself just wanting to shower all the time to feel clean.

I hadn't realised before today the 'empty and wipe' would be a viable method and has assumed a good clean was necessary every time.

Re: the TSS I personally wouldn't risk it, so will take the advice and change every 8 hours minimum. For me this means I would have to change at work as it is usually between 12 and 14 hours that I am out of the house/day

@WhatALoadOfOldBollocks I do generally take care with sources when I find these things out but I understand your caution. However in this instance it was an independent study by a University hospital in France. The study was commenced following some confirmed cases of TSS from use of menstrual cups and the study confirmed and potentially higher relation between menstrual cups and TSS than tampons. I understand that the original belief that menstrual cups wouldn't cause it came from the difference in materials and non drying affect compared to tampons, however it is now believe that all 'alien' object in the vagina for a prolonged period pose a risk and the repeated use nature of menstrual cups may be what makes them actually higher risk than tampons.

As with all medical research though additional studies will need to be conducted in other locations to consolidate the findings.

OP posts:
ArcheryAnnie · 08/11/2017 14:52

There's a young woman on youtube who does exhaustive reviews of both menstrual cups and of cloth pads. She can be found here:

stopfuckingshoutingatme · 08/11/2017 15:37

I take a mineral bottle of warm water to the loo with me, and I empty it, rinse it with the warm water then rinse myself too

I bloody love it and wish I started earlier

and yes I also sometimes use the disabled Loo work too sometimes

brogueish · 08/11/2017 15:52

I used to use a mooncup before my periods got so light that it was no longer worth it. My periods were never really heavy, but I would generally pop it in before leaving the house in the morning, and remove/empty when I got home at the end of the day. First day of the period I might visit the disabled loo at lunchtime and remove/empty/wash. You will get to know your flow much better when you use one.

It only leaked if I hadn't inserted it correctly, and this aspect can be a bit hit and miss to be fair. Best to use a panty liner until you get the hang of it. Overall I would recommend one.

Keeping it in for 5 hour max as mentioned above is silly though, what would you do at night?

DontBuyANewMumCashmere · 08/11/2017 16:32

I bought one this weekend after being incensed that tampon tax money was going to fund an anti-abortion charity.

(I've heard lots about them here and the only thing putting me off so far was this year I've been ttc and with 2x MCs and odd periods I thought I'd wait til after having baby. Then I just thought fuck it.)

So this is the first time I've been actively looking forward to my period...

I haven't trimmed down the stem yet - should I? Is this a must or a guide? If you cut it off is it just bearing down and a finger up the side to get it out?
How low should it be worn? Lower than tampon, is that right?

Thanks for all the info here so far.

berliozwooler · 08/11/2017 16:35

I only tried a mooncup but found it uncomfortable. They are expensive things though so it's not easy to keep trying different ones to see what suits.

NeedMoreSleepOrSugar · 08/11/2017 17:14

I've used the mooncup for years and its been incredibly easy and fuss free. Emptying takes a little getting used to, but after perhaps the first two periods I could do it easily and quickly. As others have said, a small bottle of water or loo roll is fine if you don't have a sink in the cubicle.

I've noticed that the tulip cup now comes in a version that can be emptied without removing it (by squeezing the stem) I haven't used it yet but that might be worth looking at?

Branleuse · 08/11/2017 17:24

You can get really cheap ones on amazon or ebay that are about £4, if you want to try one without it breaking the bank. I replaced my more expensive mooncup with a cheaper version and i cant tell any difference tbh

LivingInMidnight · 08/11/2017 17:28

I use the bigger fleurcup but the last few months I've had some really heavy days so I've just bought the silja XL. Silja is the same as meluna but silicone so hopefully easier to pop open (I struggled with classic and sport meluna). Same options for ball/ring/stem/basic but no different colours. The mooncup was great but just too low capacity for me.

I wouldn't want to go back to tampons ever!

LivingInMidnight · 08/11/2017 17:30

need I've read that the cups with valves only work if there are no clots etc.

SuperDandy · 08/11/2017 17:43

My experience with Diva cup is thumbs up if sink nearby, not so much in a cubicle with no sink, or just no room to manoeuvre.

To be fair, I'm mostly at home so don't get much practise in cubicles, but I frequently have to clean the loo, floor, walls and basin due to splashes. Messy bugger, my womb.

Branleuse · 08/11/2017 17:52

if im out and about id only change it if i felt i absolutely had to. Usually can wait till i get home.

The times i have needed to change in public loos, I just empty and then either just put back in as it is, or wipe it round with tissue and put back in. I dont find it particularly bothersome or messy

spareusername · 08/11/2017 18:24

Is it feasible to use a cup with short fingers? I have a long vagina and can't use non-applicator tampons, so bit worried a cup would have the same problem.

LivingInMidnight · 08/11/2017 19:37

spare my fingers are short and it's fine!

TheKitchenWitch · 08/11/2017 19:47

I used to use one and was quite happy with it, though it did leak quite a bit until I got the positioning exactly right - but since my periods have got heavier it's just not possible to use one any more. They fill up so fast (have to change AT LEAST once an hour) and are so messy and disgusting to remove and empty, I just gave up. I got sick of blood everywhere, I could never get it off my fingernails properly (it stains like fuck and who carries a nail brush round with them?), it splattered everywhere which was a bugger at home but a nightmare when out anywhere.
So if you have light to normal periods then yes, absolutely fine. But anything really heavy and it's just not suitable.
Also - I tried the cloth pads as recommended on here and honestly, it was like wearing a nappy, even worse than the disposable ones.
So I've gone back to tampons. Still have to change them frequently, especially in the first couple of days, but at least there's no mess.

SorenLorensonsInvisibleFriend · 08/11/2017 20:03

Every period I have, I think to myself how grateful I am to have bought my Mooncup! I hated the physical mess, and the inconvenience of going to the loo even for a quick wee, and the environmental waste, and the cost... and now I just use one thing that I spent something like £20 on a few years ago. I love it.

I did, however, almost give up a few times at the start and it was purely down to the Mumsnetters here who I read posting similar things - that it can be tricky to get used to but keep on going as it is so worth it in the end - that I carried on. That, and the fact that I truly hated my heavy, yucky periods and the constant weight of them!! It took about three periods before I felt truly confident and I’ve never looked back.

My advice is fairly simple, and echoes most others. Find a fold that works for you, I kept trying one and then eventually tried another that a Mumsnetter recommended - perfect for me. Bear down for release, helps you reach up inside you a little to grab it - I snipped the end off completely as I hated the idea of something poking out of me. And when I release it, I always have a little bit of tissue ready to receive, just in case there’s some messy bits that need a little wipe up from the cup to you. TMI, possibly, but it was one of those things I hadn’t read about and took me a while to get the hang of. You can then either tip the contents straight into the loo, or into that bit of tissue which will flush without leaving the red trace. Another bit of tissue to wipe around, if you don’t have access to clean water, and you’re good to go until you can clean it out at a sink.

Good luck! I hope you do find one that works for you, because it’s honestly changed my life to the point where sometimes I forget I’m even menstruating. Which is a huge deal, given that I have menorraghia!

SorenLorensonsInvisibleFriend · 08/11/2017 20:04

Also, I’ve never experienced leaking, and only use the odd pantyliner at night time just in case 👌

SorenLorensonsInvisibleFriend · 08/11/2017 20:06

Also I can’t spell menorrhagia... Blush

FrogInASock · 08/11/2017 21:16

I had a mooncup but lost it when I was pregnant and wasn’t using it and moved house. I have since bought whatever replacement was on the shelf at the pharmacy and have been entirely happy with both. Nothing of note springs to mind between the two brands.

I hadn’t paid attention to the more frequent change requirement so I’ve been consistently emptying it only twice in 24 hours. I empty it in the shower (and I shower morning and evening when on a period). It means I can get a good squat going, bear down to push it out that bit like others have recommended, and empty it carefully down the plug hole. You can get a good rinse in your hot water for both cup and hands and pop it back in and finish your shower.

Was recommended to me as a beginners strategy but it’s my preferred way now. I still can empty in a cubicle if needed and have done variations of all the suggestions of PPs.

Just don’t ever try to tip a full cup out from waist height though in a steaming hot shower. It’s bloody carnage!

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