Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fresh reviews - Lunette Menstrual Cup

Warning to the men... you definitely don't want (or need) to read the following post. 

It's been a while since I've had to think about periods, having been pregnant for the last nine months, but I wanted to let you know that there are alternatives to using disposable pads and tampons. And really, unless someone does tell you about these options, you're not likely hear about them as they're not for sale in the supermarket or advertised on TV.

I was 18 when I first heard about reusable menstrual cups. At the time I was thinking about helping some missionaries in Africa, and read that these cups were a great option. In the end I didn't go to Africa, and for years I just thought of menstrual cups as being unique to travellers in out-of-the-way places, not something practical for normal life.

Then my sister-in-law told me that she uses a menstrual cup and cloth pads all the time, so I looked into them some more.

What is a menstrual cup?
It's a silicone cup that you insert instead of a tampon to collect menstrual blood. It can be worn all the time, even at night, and just needs to be rinsed and re-inserted at least every 8 hours during your period.

In between periods, the menstrual cup can be boiled in water for 2-5 minutes to sterilise it. Then it is stored in a cloth bag (which comes with the cup) until your next period.

Benefits of a menstrual cup

1. Save money
At the time I researched menstrual cups, I was looking through our budget and trying to work out ways to cut spending. I liked the idea of paying for a menstrual cup once, and then never having to buy tampons again. I used to spend about $8 every month or two on a new box of tampons, plus another $5 or so on pads, and it was appealing to cut that spending out for good. The menstrual cup I ended up buying cost $68 and, with care, will last up to 10 years.

2. Ecologically friendly
I really like the environmental benefits of menstrual cups. Instead of throwing tampons down the toilet or into the rubbish, so they can cause havoc in sewerage plants or landfills elsewhere, you just need to rinse the menstrual cup and reuse it.

3. No disposal problems
Having single-handedly blocked the toilet at our bach by flushing one too many tampons down there (and witnessing my father-in-law unblock the sewerage with a stick), I was keen for something that would keep everything neat and tidy without needing to be thrown out afterwards.

4. Healthier
We've all read of the (rare) risk of toxic shock syndrome, where bacteria from the menstrual cycle grows on the tampon and is reabsorbed into a woman's system, causing serious illness and sometimes death. Also, it doesn't sit well with me that tampons are bleached, and that bleach sits right inside inside you.

5. Comfortable
If inserted the right way (which does take a small learning curve), you don't even notice the menstrual cup once it's in.

6. No need to carry around spare tampons and pads
It's nice not having to carry a little box of tampons around in my handbag any more.

7. Better than a pad at night-time
Where pads tend to bunch and move around, the menstrual cup stays put. Just to be safe, I use it along with a cloth pad to catch any minor spills.

Downsides to the menstrual cup

1. Rinsing can be challenging
In our last house the bathroom sink was in a separate room from the toilet, so I would have to tip the contents of the menstrual cup into the toilet, then wipe up the menstrual cup and take it to the bathroom to rinse and re-insert, and then head back to the toilet for a final wipe up of myself. It was a little bit of a hassle.

When out and about, I try to head for toilets with wheelchair access, as these have sinks with faucets in them so I can tip the contents of the menstrual cup into the toilet, and then reach over to rinse the cup in the sink. I've heard of others who carry a designated water bottle with them to public toilets, which they use to rinse the menstrual cup when there's no faucet in the toilet cubicle.

2. Can't be used immediately after having a baby
Things are too inflamed and messy 'down there' for the menstrual cup to be an option after childbirth. That's when pads really hold there own. I know some woman use cloth pads for this stage, but I only started that a couple of weeks after giving birth to Sophie.

3. Not entirely leak-proof
Although it's mostly leak-proof, I still like to wear a cloth pad or cloth panty liner when I'm wearing the menstrual cup. There have been times when I've been glad of the extra back up, especially at night-time. Because the pads are just there for back-up, they don't get very dirty so I'm able to chuck them in a regular clothes wash. Otherwise you might want to soak them first.

4. You've got to remember to take it with you on holiday
I'm terrible at remembering when my period is due, which is possibly how we've ended up with two "surprise" pregnancies. So it's no wonder I got caught out on holiday last year with a period and no menstrual cup to catch the flow. Sister-in-law to the rescue, with tampons!

Specific features of the Lunette Menstrual Cup

I liked the sound of the Lunette Menstrual Cup, so ordered one online from EcoMoon a few months after having Lily. It's the only one I've tried, so I can't compare it to the other brands out there, but I've found it great. It:
  • Is made from 100% medical grade silicone
  • Is hypoallergic, latex-free, odourless and safe 
  • Is economic and ecologically-friendly; used with care, one Lunette menstrual cup lasts for about 5-10 years 
  • Is a sanitary and healthy alternative to disposable tampons and sanitary napkins 
  • Is easy-to-use and comfortable, needs emptying only 2-4 times a day. Can be used during the night 
  • Has a smooth lining and flat tab, so cleaning is extremely easy 
  • Has measuring lines of 7.5ml and 15ml inside the cup for monitoring the amount of your flow 
  • Can be sterilised by placing in boiling water for 2-5 minutes 
  • Can be used by all women 
  • Can be used before first sexual intercourse and also with an IUD and contraceptive ring. 
  • Is not to be used during post-natal bleeding due to the vagina being inflamed from childbirth 
  • Does not disrupt the natural lubricating ability of the vagina, nor does it dry the vaginal mucous membrane 
  • Does not cause dampness
  • Has not been linked with outbreaks of vaginal candidiasis, cystitis or toxic shock syndrome (no menstrual cups have been linked with these dangers)
  • Can be used during sports 
  • Has not been tested on animals
  • Comes in two sizes - Size 1/Small for virgins/pre-child-birth/lighter flow and Size 2/Large for everyone else.
EcoMoon provided me with several free cloth panty-liners and pads when I bought the Lunette, and these have been a fantastic complement to the menstrual cup. 

All in all, I'm pleased I got the Lunette and plan to use it for the rest of my menstrual future. No going back to tampons for me!

Do you have any questions I haven't answered in this post?


  1. I use a Moon cup,
    love it. Definitely not going back on this one!

  2. Awesome, Emma! I use a mooncup and it's brilliant, for the environment, bank balance, and vaginal health...Kx

  3. Interesting. I have been thinking of making some cloth pads, but was wondering what to do about tampons and alternatives to them. So thanks for posting this Emma.

  4. Thanks Emma, great details for the uninitiated! I've been using the moon cup for about 5 years and wouldn't go back to tampons for all the reasons you stated. Thanks for the water bottle tip, that is the only tricky part I've found, also the toilets at my work don't have an individual basin, which is inconvenient. But you can just tip and wipe if you're desperate (and I'm only at work for 8 hours, so its not too bad!).

  5. What a great post! I t makes me wish I was still menstruating!

  6. I use a diva cup and it's great too. I think they're all pretty much identical ;o)

  7. Thanks for your feedback ladies. For those of you who have already discovered the menstrual cup, I'm glad it's working out for you. And for those of you who have just learned about it - good luck!

  8. Great post Emma. I use mama pads and love them. I'm sure the cup would be more convenient than the pads but for now they work so we'll see maybe one day I'll try one. I love and totally agree with all the reasons that you have listed. Check out my mama pads post:


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