Before you read on, I need you to ask yourself: ‘am I really ready to hear about Carly’s uterus shedding into a silicon cup and all the imagery associated with that?’ If you work with me, are related to me or if you are a friend/relative of the country boy… enter at your own risk.
Okay, now that I got that out of the way… periods. Us go-getting gals all get ‘em.
I was recently reading Waste Not by Erin Rhodes and was shocked to read that we throw away 45 billion (used) feminine products. I was also horrified to read that just one conventional pad contains the equivalent of 5 plastic bags. Sorry, what?!?! Here I was proudly taking my canvas bags to the shops to avoid ONE plastic bag.
If you are like me, and like your money, your jaw will DROP when you read this…. According to the team at Sustainable You Podcast, the average Australian woman uses 10,000-12,000 disposable menstrual products in their lifetime which means you will spend $15,000 of your hard-earned money on a product that will end up in landfill. Read that again: you will literally bleed on and then throw away $15,000 in your lifetime.
We are going to experience periods (and we are lucky to do so). But if each of us is going to have 456 periods over 38 years, which is roughly 2,280 days or 6.25 years of our life (Mamamia did the math, not me) there has to be a more sustainable and cost-effective way to do it.
Enter the menstrual cup
I had been tossing up trying a menstrual cup for ages but Aunt Flo would roll around and I would say “next time”. After reading all the scary facts, I swear I have never opened up my phone so fast in my life. I went straight to Banish and ordered a Lunette menstrual cup.
My order: the specifics
I was a reusable menstrual product virgin. Up until now, I had been a Wasteful Wendy, relying on tampons and panty liners.
The Lunette Starter Pack is the bomb! Two reusable pads, one menstrual cup and one very helpful instruction manual. The set is actually on sale right now for $69 (usually $79). The menstrual cup is $55 on its own. If you are like “eh, a little expensive for me”, do I need to remind you of the $15,000 price tag you are destined to pay? A menstrual pad has a lifespan of 5 years and a menstrual cup, if cared for, will last 10 glorious years. Do the math, reusables are the cost-effective choice.
But what size do I get?
I can’t speak for other brands but Lunette has two sizes/models. Model 1 is recommended for light to medium flow or for ladies who have never had sexual intercourse. The volume of the cup is 25 ml. Model 1 is made from softer silicone than model 2.
Whereas, Model 2, is recommended for medium to heavy flow. The volume of the cup is 30 ml and its made from a firmer silicone than model 1.
As someone that has:
a) had sex
b) used tampons before and,
c) didn’t want to upgrade if I ‘outgrew’ Model 1
I chose to buy Model 2. And no regrets.
Day 1 of my menstrual cup life: The False Start
After reading the facts I shared with you earlier in this article, I immediately ordered my menstrual cup. Only problem? My period was due any day. It was a race between Australia Post and my uterus. My uterus won and I used disposables for the first 3 days. Day 3 of period, my delivery arrived. I couldn’t use the menstrual cup until I sterilised but I was determined to go zero waste ASAP and turned to the reusable pads.
Day 3 of my period is no joke, it is probably one of the heaviest days (if not, the heaviest). I put all my trust into a reusable pad and it did not let me down. I actually found that the reusable pad was more absorbent than disposable pads I had been using. If you are a pad-only kind of girl, I definitely recommend giving reusables a go. You may be pleasantly surprised, I know I was.
Day 2 of my menstrual cup life
Day 2, the menstrual cup was inside me for a total of 11 hours. No leakages, no pain, no ‘I can feel it in there,’ nothing!
Insertion was easy. According to my trusty instructions, you fold it flat and than fold it in on itself to make a C shape. Then insert like a tampon and Bob’s your uncle. Although, in the name of honest, I am not 100% I did it right (lol) . How far do you push until it is in? Who knows! I am trying to remember back to the days when I started using tampons, that took some practice and getting used to and so will this.
But, what goes in must come out. The curious (okay, nasty) side of me was excited to go home and see how much blood was in the cup. And let’s be real here, you would be interested to. When was the last time you measured out your period? Never? Me neither.
Anyway, I got home and felt like a pro after such a successful first day. Amidst my excitement and inflated state of expertise, I didn’t read the ‘Remove/Empty’ instructions. Take it from me, you want to read the instructions, specifically the part that says “To break seal, squeeze the bottom ridged part of the cup, until you feel the suction release.” I didn’t read that part. I just pulled like I would a tampon. And there was resistance. I did not break the suction. Have you heard about cupping? The weird back massage thing. Yeah, well I did that… to myself… with my menstrual cup… in my own vagina. Lesson here? Read the instructions.
Speaking of instructions – be sure to visit Lunette’s Cup Basics webpage. It has heaps of helpful information to help you get started and avoid accidentally suctioning the walls of your vagina.
Despite the less than graceful cup removal process (my own fault), my relationship with my Lunette menstrual cup has had a strong start. I am excited to save money, save the planet and never have that ‘oh no, I am out of tampons’ moment again.
Happy menstrual cupping,