En Route Beauty - Period Cups, Excuse Me, What!?
enroute lucy alcorn lunette period cup header

Period Cups, Excuse Me, What!?

It was a bloody experience.

It’s huge! Won’t it spill blood everywhere? Can you feel it? Oh god, how would you clean it?  

These were just some of the first thoughts crossing my mind when period cups were the topic of conversation. I first encountered the ominous ‘period cup’ years ago and after seeing a series of ‘how-to’ YouTube clips, I’d decided then and there they were a firm NO from me. 

But, ask me today and I’ll tell you period cups are quite a revelation.  

Now hear me out…you know the morning jolt when you wake up thinking it’s a blood bath?  How about the damp, sweaty feeling you get after wearing a pad for only a couple of hours? Or even the thought of having to insert a tampon in a public toilet?  Yuck, right?

Well, you don’t have to suffer the effects of disposable tampons and pads any longer.  Trust me, 2020 is your year to be tampon and pad free. Not only do we go through at least a bag of disposables every cycle but it takes up to 500 years for our disposables to decompose.  

To help me get through my first cycle, I sought out some advice from Carol Morris, Director of Lunette Australia and a veteran user since 2007. Carol and Elizabeth, the sisters who brought Lunette to Australia, were amazed at the ease and convenience of menstrual cups and wanted to convert everyone, so naturally, I had to find out more!

The first time I held the cup ready for insertion I was pretty nervous. It looked so big!!
EN - How did you find your first time? Was it uncomfortable?

The first time I held the cup ready for insertion I was pretty nervous. I’d been warned to practice when you don’t have your period (less mess and stress), and use a little water on it as a lubricant – take notes here ladies!

I folded it as per the instructions, guided it in carefully and slowly let it go. It was a little uncomfortable because I hadn’t guided the whole rim in but a few more practices and it was in and comfortable!

EN - Can you feel the cup when you’re using it?

When the cup is inserted properly you can’t feel it at all. The stem isn’t a tampon string, it’s more of a ‘reach stick’. Everything is inside the vagina and behind the pelvic floor muscles where it can’t be felt.

Sometimes when you wee the cup comes down a little because your muscles are relaxing, but just push it back up. It can be left in when having a bowel motion but most users remove it as all the pushing makes it come down and half hang out – just like when we use a tampon.

The cup only needs to be removed when full or every 8-12 hours
EN - How long did it take you to get used to using Lunette?

I was a bit of a fast learner so it only took me two cycles before I stopped using a backup pad and constantly checking to see if I was leaking. It took Elizabeth 3-4 cycles before she had ‘white jean confidence!’

I was a long term tampon user, so the main challenge was getting my head around not having to change/pull every 2 hours and no strings to move out of the way when I wee-ed!  It really was a revolution and a life changer for me. 

EN - What is Lunette made from? And is there still the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)?

Lunette is made from 100% medical grade silicone, similar to what is used in hospital implants and internal medical equipment. That means it is hypoallergenic. 

Yes, like all sanitary internal products, there is a small risk of TSS.

EN - Is Lunette hygienic compared to tampons?

It is definitely more hygienic. It doesn’t absorb your natural lubricants in the vagina as a tampon does

(No wonder it felt so dry when I use to insert tampons at the tail end of my period)

These (lubricants) are meant to be there to act as a barrier to thrush, bacteria and other nasties.  

Many users who had recurrent thrush report that it goes once they switch to a cup. Also, as the cup sits internally and catches everything, there are no sweaty smells like you get with a pad.

EN - What is the life span of a cup?

A high-quality TGA listed cup, like Lunette, lasts over 10 years or longer. 

Over time the cup starts looking a little discoloured and the silicone can be slightly firmer but it is still perfectly fine to use.

Other cheaper or poorer quality cups last from 1-5 years as they are made from poor quality and un-regulated silicone with additives in them.

Many users who had recurrent thrush reports that it goes once they switch to a cup
EN - How do you store and keep your cup clean between periods?

To keep the cup clean during your cycle, wipe with toilet paper or our Lunette Cup Wipes in between emptying if you are not near a basin and then reinsert. 

If you’re at home or near a basin, simply rinse in cold water or wash with Lunette Cup Wash. Don’t use any other soaps or chemicals on it as this damages the silicone and you may get soap residues in your vagina which can give you a rash!

At the end of your cycle, just boil it in a pan of water for 10-15 mins, then let it air dry and store it in the cloth bag it comes with.

EN - Would it be worth having two cups to alternate each day of my cycle?

No. Remember that you don’t ‘change’ a cup, you ‘empty’ it, rinse/wipe and reinsert.

You only need to boil it at the very start of your period and at the end.  You can also boil it and carry it around in the little bag until your period comes. 

(Note to self; do not insert right after you boil it.  It’s hot. ?)

Tip: Most users boil it a day before they are due then start using the cup in anticipation of their period coming so they don’t get caught out!

THE PRODUCT

Lunette Menstrual Cup $55 

Click to buy here

THE REVIEW (May contain TMI, you have been warned.)

Day 1:  A nerve-wracking experience as I folded it and pushed it right in.  It almost felt like I was violating my self, unsure if the cup unfolded correctly, I wore a thin pad for extra protection in case I didn’t insert it right.  

I felt slightly uncomfortable because Lunette’s cup comes with a slightly longer stick, so I cut it shorter at the first line and it felt much better. Later that evening as I reached to pull the stick, my heart skipped a beat as I couldn’t feel anything, phew, it was just resting to the side. Why? No idea. 

Day 2:  I woke up with zero leakage, quite proud of my self and feeling cocky I decided not to put a liner on today. I should have put a liner on. 

The second day is usually the heaviest for me. As I went to empty the cup mid-afternoon, I thought shit here we go, let’s do this slow and steady to not splatter blood everywhere. I wriggled the cup back and forth, pulling by the stick and pushing at the same time, as I got to the base of the stick and pinched, I could feel the suction release, I pulled it out gently, looked down and was surprised to see how much I actually bled.

It’s really quite a confronting experience if I must say, but also a learned experience as I realise I don’t actually bleed bucket loads but more a shot glass amount. (I know, TMI)

I went to bed thinking to myself, if I had Kylie Jenner nails, I’d never been able to use Menstrual cups.

Day 3:  I went to the gym this morning, really testing the limits here.  As I bent down for my first squat, I felt nothing. Hooray, I think I got the insertion right now!  No leakage, nothing.

The rest of my cycle was a breeze, I did, however, feel relieved that my first cycle was over.  Will I use the cup again, yes I would, not because it’s easy to get used to, but because I also felt a sense of pride that I was doing a small part for the environment.

THE VERDICT

A BARGAIN!  A one time cost of $55 for a product that can last you 10 years VS at least $20 for pads and tampons every cycle we can save $240 a year which is $2400 10 years.

Not only are you helping to create a more sustainable future but your also helping your wallet out. 

 

Photography: Lucy Alcorn

Styling: Vira Anekboonyapirom

enroute lunette menstrual cup
Lunette

Menstrual Cup

$55
enroute lunette cup wipes
Lunette

Cup Wipes

$7.50
enroute lunette menstrual cup cleanser
Lunette

Feel Better Cleanser

$16.50

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