Buying a Menstrual Cup? Jul 5, 2010 0:37:05 GMT -5
Post by emilykate on Jul 5, 2010 0:37:05 GMT -5
Buying Menstrual Cups
It is true, buying menstrual cups will probably require a touch more research than buying tampons, and you won’t find them on a supermarket shelf or at 7 Eleven, but I hope that this post minimizes the effort you have to go through to select the product that’s right for you.
I have become a firm believer in alternative options and menstrual cups in particular, having now been using the Lunette for about a year. I was lucky enough to go in with a group of women to buy my Lunette, bring the cost down to $AU40. As my Lunette has a life expectancy of 10 years (with proper care) – averaged out, that means in the long run I pay less than 34c per month over the 10 years I use my Lunette!
I have come to love my Lunette, and find it much more convenient than tampons (for example, if I’m visiting a friend and have to empty my cup – that’s it! Much less awkward than changing a tampon) and am reassured that it is not made from little bits of bleached cotton and there is no known associated link between Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) and menstrual cups.
According to the Australian Lunette website, “No dampness, no outbreaks of vaginal candidiasis, cystitis or toxic shock syndrome have been linked to the use of menstrual cups”. According to the Keeper website, “ THE KEEPER has not been linked to TSS. It has been laboratory tested, and results have indicated that it is very unlikely to amplify the bacteria responsible for TSS. It is known that most of the cases of TSS that were tied to menstrual products occurred because tampons absorb menstrual fluid. The Keeper is non-absorbent.”
Here are some things the MPower brand had to say when comparing its brand to tampons and pads: “Fragrances used in some tampons can cause irritation, allergic reactions and may upset the vagina’s natural microbial balance.
Many tampons are not inert; chemicals such as pesticides used to produce the cotton, deodorants, absorbency enhancers, and chlorine compounds used in bleaching processes can be found.
Dioxin, a carcinogen, may be formed in the bleaching process itself.
Fibre loss and damage done to vaginal tissue by fibres are also concerns, for example the use of rayon, a manufactured fibre consisting of tiny strands of plastic and often used in tampons. Some speculate that the rayon strands can cause micro tears of the vaginal wall when a tampon is inserted or removed, leaving the vagina more susceptible to infection.
Tampons are individually wrapped to keep them clean but are not sterile.
Tampon companies are not required by any law to list their ingredients.
Tampons and pads can cause an increased risk of bacterial infection.
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is associated with the high absorbency of tampons and with their prolonged use.
Tampons absorb more than 25% of natural and necessary vaginal secretions.
Vaginal dryness, peeling of the mucous membrane, ulcers and lesions are caused by the absorption of vaginal secretions and the use of absorbency enhancers.
Pads cause a form of skin reaction called contact dermatitis.
Menstrual cups form a seal with your vaginal walls – thus they are more reliable than tampons when properly inserted – no more leaks! ”
This coupled with menstrual cups being both more environmentally friendly and much cheaper in the long run than disposable pads and tampons mean that menstrual cups are an option well worth investigating.
I have tried to contact all brands in order to answer my questions – some replied with incredible detail (MeLuna the standout here!) whilst others failed to reply at all. I’ll keep trying to make contact in order to keep this post as fully updated as possible.
Please note that prices may change, especially since with cups bough from overseas, currency fluctuations mean the price will rise and fall. Please note also that I certainly haven’t tried all of these brands – but there are people who have tried multiple brands and reviewed them, one of the best comparative reviews I’ve come across can be found at: www.ecomenses.com/
So essentially, this post is on different brands of menstrual cup, where to order them and their differences.
Please feel free to hit reply and share with us any nformation/thoughts/experiences with these various brands!
Material: 100% medical-grade silicone
Products: The Lunette comes in two sizes – which size is best for you can be determined by your flow, whether you have been pregnant, given birth vaginally, etc. Traditionally, the cup is a clear colour, but there is also the Selene (a blue cup – looks so cool, I’ll be getting one of these when the time comes to replace mine) and the Diana (a light green coloured cup). Lunette brand also makes cloths pads and offers starter and deluxe pads with a cup, pad/s and cleaning product/s.
Cleaning products: Lunette manufactures pump pack safe Washing Liquid ($16 approx) and handy Disinfecting Wipes ($6 approx).
How often to empty: the reality is, this depends on your flow, as well as whether or not you have chosen a size appropriate for you. Maybe 3 times a day? According to the website, 2-4 times a day. Of course, you can empty as often as you wish – you don’t have to wait until you ‘need’ to.
Life expectancy: 5-10 years, if used with care according to instructions
Benefits: The flat stem means that the stem is both very flexible – and thus doesn’t poke you as the tubular stems tend to!- and easy to trim neatly if you are finding its length to cause any discomfort. The cup has measures so you can easily calculate how much you’ve ‘bled’ – useful, if you have health concerns, are interested or just plain want some reassurance that you fall within ‘normal’. Unlike many other cups, the Lunette can be sterilized by boiling it in water – see instructions or contact the manufacturer. No ridges makes it comfortable and easy to clean.
Concerns: If any Lunette users have had concerns about this product, message me your concerns and I will modify this post to include them here – thanks! Otherwise, the only thing I can note is that unlike with some other cups, the Lunette stem is so flexible, you can’t turn the cup by twisting the stem – thus, if you are used to doing this to open your current cup, you will have to find other ways to help the cup open once inserting it (I find it usually opens perfectly from a c-fold – see diagrams on folding menstrual cups).
Approx cost: $AU40-$AU60. If there is enough interest, I will look into getting a bulk order which, hopefully, will work out to be at the cheaper end of the scale. This is how I got mine, and it ended up costing $AU40. To register your interest, email Emilykate.Cowan@adm.monash.edu.au
Who can I ask?: If you have any questions about menstrual cups, Lunette products or which size might be best for you, simply email email@example.com
If you have questions about what the Lunette is like – feel free to ask ME! No, I haven’t tried all the cups out there – far from it – but the Lunette is my cup of choice, and I feel quite comfortable speaking about my experience, no matter how ‘silly’ or ‘awkward’ it may seem. You can post it here, or else private message me
Conveniently enough for Monash Clayton students – Wholefoods does stock the Lunette, from time to time! If you feel shy about talking to Wholefoods staff or want any info, I’m happy to make enquiries and pick up your products on your behalf, should you wish to grab them from the women’s office rather than in front of all of Wholefoods – just send me an email Emilykate.Cowan@adm.monash.edu.au
Wholefoods Grocery Monash Student Association. Campus Centre, Building 11, Monash University, VIC 3800. Tel: (03) 9905 4156 E: firstname.lastname@example.org. W: www.wholefoods.org.au
Friends of the Earth Co-op 312 Smith Street, Collingwood T: (03) 9419 8700 www.foe.org.au
Going Green Solutions 946 Main Rd, Hurstbridge VIC 3099 T: (03) 9718 0126 www.goinggreensolutions.com.au
Organic Wholefoods 277 Smith Street, Fitzroy. Tel: (03) 9419 5347
Organic Wholefoods 483 Lygon Street, East Brunswick. Tel : (03) 7384 0188
Threads of Nature Shop 8/30 McAdam Square, Croydon 3136 Tel: (03) 97239242 E: email@example.com
My advice is, call up first to make sure they have exactly what you want in stock. Alternatively, you can buy online
Note: The Keeper “Mooncup” is not necessarily the same as the original brand of Mooncup from the United Kingdom - the USA company that produces/markets the Keeper has trademarked the name Mooncup in the USA, thus Mooncup state on their website that they cannot sell their product to people in USA.
Material: soft natural gum rubber (i.e., latex)
Country: United States of America
Products: The Keeper cup– two sizes, i.e. “style A” and “style B”. The Natural Company (www.keeper.com.a) also stock Moonpads and Zappy Nappies.
Cleaning products: So far as I know, this brand does not manufacture any specialist cleaning products for use with their menstrual cups.
How often to empty: Every 8 to 12 hours. As long as you stay within that timefame, you can empty as often as you wish. You may want to empty more than once every 8 hours, particularly if you are Up to 10 years, if cared for properly in accordance with instructionsexperiencing a heavy flow.
Life expectancy:Up to 10 years, if cared for properly in accordance with instructions.
Benefits: According to the website, “The manufacturer has a generous "3-month (but not one day more), no-questions-asked" return policy. Just return it to your place of purchase. All distributors of THE KEEPER or MOON CUP are required to honor this return policy”, according to the American site (www.keeper.com). Good to know! Listed with the Theraputic Goods Administration in Australia.
Concerns: This may not be much of a concern, but the colour is a rather unappealing brown. Made with latex rubber, this is one you may wish to avoid if you have allergy concerns. You may wish to speak to a doctor or healthcare professional, if you have any concerns. I am also concerned that the rubber is much stiffer than the silicone of my Lunette. The Keeper’s stem is I believe the longest I’ve seen and isn’t as flexible as I’d like – thus a comfort concern – and as it is hollow and tubuler, I feel hestitant about the Keeper in terms of cleaning – how am I to clean inside the stem, or to see that the inside is clean, given its colour? It has ridges and a rather thick edge.
Approx cost: $AU45 - depends on who you buy from.
Who can I ask?: firstname.lastname@example.org or FREECALL 1800-18-18-15 within Australia.
Red Tent Woman
(03) 9399 2897 or 0412 483 813
1 Severn St Newport 3015
0447 432 816
Lucky Lady Earth and Soul
The MSA Women’s Room has plenty of brochures, and if you’re interested in seeing a sample of the actual product, there is one currently hanging up by the art wall. (If you wish to see an unpunctured one, just talk to one of your Women’s Officers Emilykate.Cowan@adm.monash.edu.au or Erica.Chan@adm.monash.edu.au so you can see a product in sale condition – you can even fill it up with water to get an idea of how the 4 little holes around the rim behave, not letting any liquid out).
Other stockists in Australia:
When it comes to Australian sellers, I have spoken to these guys from South Australia – they were wonderfully helpful and provided the MSA Women’s Department with a sample of the Keeper, which you are welcome to inspect – just ask a Women’s Officer!
Talyala Products Pty. Ltd.) (?also trading as Talyala Emu Farm and Health Products Pty Ltd
Freecall 1800-18-18-15 E:email@example.com
PO Box 344 (Mt Charles Road, Keith) Keith SA 5267 (for Health Products Pty Ltd) Fax:(08) 8755 3065
PO Box 2058 Murray Bridge Road South Australia 5253 (for Talyala) Fax: 8531-0337
Also, I’ve spoken to these guys – a Tasmanian business selling Lunettes, Keepers and reusable pads. They gave the MSA Women’s Department a sample Keeper (punctured and tied to a ribbon for display) and the attached pad which is hanging by the art wall in the Women’s Room, as well as a sample washable nappy! They also stock Moon Pads, bamboo fabric baby clothes and other sustainable lifestyle ‘stuff’.
Sustainable Families www.greenfamilies.com.au E: firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: (03) 6223-5151 P.O Box 118, Sandy Bay, Tasmania, 7006
And then there’s
Moon Pads: www.moonpads.com.au E: email@example.com Mail: PO Box 395, Lenah Valley, Tasmania, P: 7008 Phone: 1300-399-005
Products: The Alicia cup comes in four sizes – extra small (very small women and teenagers), small (women under 30 who have not had children), medium (for women who have had children – by vaginal birth or C-section – and women over 30) and large (for larger-built women who have had children).
Cleaning products: to my knowledge, the Alicia brand doed not manufacture specific cleaning products for their menstrual cup.
How often to empty: The website recommends 2 to 4 times a day, depending on flow. The Alicia can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time before being emptied and cleaned. The website states that the Alicia “holds one full ounce (30 ml). Since the entire cycle is an average of 3-4 ounces (90-120 ml), most women find that The Alicia™. is not even half full after 8 hours.”
Life expectancy: ??
Benefits: This product comes with a generous 2 year guarantee. From the website: “The Alicia™ is guaranteed for two (2) years from purchase date. Please register your details online or return the bottom section with all details so that you will be registered with us. Once registering you will receive a monthly e-news letter on Health & Lifestyle. This guarantee does not include damages caused by accidents, failure to follow directions, natural product discolouration, loss or misuse of the product.”
Concerns: from the website, “if you have ever suffered from TSS or Endometriosis it is advised not to use The Alicia™ without seeking medical advice.”
Who can I ask?: Questions about which size is right for you and so forth can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org - I am still waiting for replies to my questions in order to complete this profile.
Victorian stockists: none that I know of.
I have contacted the makers of Alicia and am awaiting their reply – I’ll keep you all updated!
Material: for those of us with a strong sense of curiosity and/or a love of science, I have good news: DivaCup probably gives more detail on the manufacture than any other producer (unfortunately, I am still not 100% clear what type of silicone is used). Here’s the info: “The DivaCup is made of a high quality, soft healthcare grade silicone that starts as a liquid. Then the molecules are bound together (or vulcanized) with very high heat to form a solid stable piece of silicone (similar to the feel of soft rubber). The DivaCup is cured after production in an oven at a very high temperature to make sure all the molecules are bound and “chain linked” together. Since the end product is a solid material yet flexible and durable, there is no possibility for anything to leak into the body (no leaching).
This form of silicone is odorless, latex-free, plastic-free and BPA-free. It has been used safely in healthcare applications for over 50 years. Our silicone is approved for use in The DivaCup as feminine hygiene protection by the FDA and Health Canada.
The FDA has cleared The DivaCup for use by the FDA for use as feminine hygiene protection. It also holds a current Health Canada medical device license… No other materials/ingredients are used in the production of The DivaCup... We chose the clear silicone cup because the skin, including the sensitive skin of the vaginal walls, should not be exposed to dyes, chemicals, etc.”
Country: Canada/United States of America
Products: The DivaCup comes in two sizes – 1 (for women under 30 who have never given birth or had a C-Section) and 2 (for women who have had children or are over 30).
Cleaning products: DivaWash! The DivaCup website says this product is pH balanced, ideal for sensitive skin, concentrated formula (reduces the eco-footprint), 100% plant-based ingredients, no animal testing or animal ingredients, no parabens, sulfates or petrochemicals. Divawash can also be used as a face cleanser or bath/shower gel – which is kinda nifty!
How often to change: As the website says, “The DivaCup can be worn for up to 12 hours before emptying, washing and reinserting for use for another 12 hours. It can be used for light or moderate flows and is emptied more often to accommodate heavy flows. Perfect for overnight use.”
Life expectancy: DivaCup recommends their cup be replaced comparatively often – at least once a year, depending on one or two variables.
Benefits: From Carinne and Francine Chambers – a mother and daughter owned company. Like the Lunette (also a silicone product), the DivaCup can be boiled to sterilize.
Concerns: The DivaCup has to be replaced more regularly than other brands – most other brands will last up to 10 times longer. I did read one blogger www.ecomenses.com/ state some concerns with comfort and cleaning, especially in regard to cleaning the little holes around the edge that help achieve a seal.
Approx cost: $US32.50-$US40
Who can I ask?: email@example.com.
Unfortunately, there are NO Australian stockists.
You could contact stockists in New Zeland or they can be bought online from rugstore.com or Lunapads.com
In New Zealand…
Crombie and Price Ltd
Tel: +64 3 434 8311
Fax: +64 3 434 9688
Contact: John Crombie
Material: “Femmecup is made from medical grade silicone, this is a solid stable piece of silicone (with the feel of soft rubber) that cannot leak or release molecules into the body. The same silicone used to make Femmecup is also widely used in the medical industry for internal valves and tubing as well as baby bottle teats and breast pumps.” Femmecup are kindly donating a sample cup and some literature, so I’ll put them in the Women’s Room once they’re in so that you can compare it with the other menstrual cup brands we have.
Country: United Kingdom
Products: First, there’s the Femmecup. Then, there’s the twinpack (Contains two Femmecups; one for home and one for the office or why not split a twin pack with a friend?) at around £30 (very roughly, that’s something like $AU60). And, as the carry bags menstrual cups comes in generates so much conversation, you can even buy a Femmecup carry bag in the shape of underwear – “Handmade cotton storage bag in the shape of knickers; store your Femmecup in style” (although, perhaps a little indiscreet, should that be a concern!) £3 approx (something like $AU6, but I recommend you double-check that figure as economies rise and fall).
Cleaning products: Femmecup do not produce any special cleaning products.
How often to empty: Like with other models, you can go for up to 12 hours without emptying. According to the website, a Femmecup will hold 30mL - three times the amount that a tampon will.
Life expectancy: Around 5 years; possibly up to 10.
Benefits: The Femmecup can be sterilised either by boiling in water for 2-4 minutes or rinsing with sterilising fluid.
Concerns: none that I know of.
Approx cost: £16.99 for the one, or £29.99 for a twin pack (one for you, one for a friend)! Plus there’s the “Buy one, Give one” option (“Help a needy woman in the third World to benefit from Femmecup whilst you purchase and receive your own cup to use”) for £33.98 – I haven’t calculated these prices in Australian dollars as prices will differ as currencies rise and fall.
Who can I ask?:Well, I asked, and they replied:”customers may contact the Femmecup team almost 24 hours by telephone:+44 (0)20 8532 9455” or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Victorian stockists:I asked them about this too, as I could find no Victorian or Australian stockists. Their reply: “Our award winning brand is not currently registered with the Australian Government (along with most other brands available throughout the World) so we are not sold in Australian high street stores yet but we are available mail order from www.femmecup.com (and many other outlets including
http://www.babycuddles.co.nz) with free delivery to any country in the World.”
(Free delivery? I think that’s pretty cool.)
Material: “The Fleurcup menstrual cup is made 100% out of hypoallergenic medical silicone. The colours used are also used in the medical sector.” Colours: red, purple, grey, orange, black, a pinky colour, blue, green as well as uncoloured.
Products: 2 sizes of menstrual cup – Small (for adolescents, young ladies and for light flow periods) and Large (women who have already given birth or who have heavy-flow periods) - available in 8 colours plus non-coloured option. There is also an ‘optional’ black satin drawstring travel bag.
Cleaning products: Fleurcup do not manufacture any special cleaning products.
How often to empty: it is recommended that the Fleurcup be removed and cleaned at least twice a day (every 12 hours).
Life expectancy: I couldn’t find this info on the website – so I emailed. The response: “Several years. You will find this answer on our website.” I have had another look and still not found this information.
Benefits: Available in a number of colours as well as in a colourless, clear option. Also, the stem is flat – similar to the Lunette.
Other: When it comes to advertising their product, Fleurcup take an approach I’ve not seen from any other brand – sensuality… “thanks to the Fleurcup menstrual cup even during your period you can wear your finest lingerie, sleep naked at night, wear light coloured clothes… in short, remain as comfortable or seductive as you please! No need to hide the little tampon string or wear large underclothes to hold a pad in place ! All for your personal pleasure… and your partner’s.” How very French. Also, “The Adventures of Mrs. Fleurcup” comic is a bit of a laugh. The internet site has pictures from various angles and a small slide-by-slide explanation of how to use the menstrual cup, as well as how to do some of the various ‘folds’ for insertion - see fleurcup.com/questions-answers-en.html
Concerns: Having to order directly from the maker may be somewhat inconvenient. I emailed through with a few enquiries (especially regarding how to purchase and life expectancy of the cup) and unfortunately I found return communication to be not give a good, with unclear and indirect response to these enquiries. In addition, their website (whilst being infinitely better to that of Green Donna) is somewhat lacking in detail – hence my need to approach them with so many questions in the first place!
Approx cost: ??
Who can I ask?: email@example.com
Victorian stockists: Unfortunately, I know of none in Victoria, Australia or New Zealeand. Best bet is to order online and have to shipped to you from France.
Material: made of 100% medical grade, hypoallergenic, FDA certified silicone.
Country: possibly Brazil. Possibly.
Products: I am guessing there is only one product – a menstrual cup in clear/colourless, possible in two sizes. I gathered that much from the only picture on the website.
Cleaning products: None that I know of.
How often to empty: ??
Life expectancy: ??
Concerns: Green Donna unfortunately wins the prize for the website with the least information about its product. When it come sot marketing, this is a bit of an epic fail. Each time I clicked the ‘Contact Us’ tab, I got the ‘Forbidden’ page that tells you you’re not permitted to access it. Great. All in all, I really tried my best to get you the information – and will keep trying.
Approx cost: ??
Who can I ask?: ??
Victorian stockists: As far as I know, none in Victoria, Australia, New Zealand or anywhere except Brazil at this stage.
I’ll keep on eye on this page to see if it improves!
www.iriscup.com (for English: www.iriscup.com/en/index.html)
Material: Medical Silicone (100% Platinum Silicone). “Platinum Silicone guarantees a level of hygiene superior to Peroxide Silicone, and it is ideal for products that need high resistance and a long life, together with an absence of reactivity to body fluids and skin”.
Products: menstrual cups available in two colours and two sizes - smaller (capacity: 15mL) for women under 25 who have not had kids or have had a c-section birth and larger (capacity: 20mL) for women over 25 and/or women who have given birth vaginally).
Cleaning products: IrisCup does not manufacture specific cleaning products for menstrual cups.
How often to empty: A minimus of once every 12 hours.
Life expectancy: Well, the website says it can be used for MORE than 10 years.
Benefits: Massive life expectancy. Can be sterilized by boiling water. No writing on the outside of the cup – better for comfort and cleaning.
Concerns: none, except that you can't buy it in Australia and thus need to use the website.
Who can I ask?: firstname.lastname@example.org
Victorian stockists: none - order via website.
Material: The material used is Liquid Silicone Rubber from the German company.
Products: The LadyCup comes in two sizes – Small=21.2mL (women up to the age of 25 who haven’t given birth) and Large=34.3mL (women who have given birth and/or are over 25). LadyCup are p[retty approachable and happy to answer questions you may have about size and in addition… “Should you choose the wrong size, we will replace the LadyCup you purchased with another size. Please, return the LadyCup in the original packaging”. They are available in colourless as well as the following 6 colour options: pink, blue, purple, yellow, orange and green.
Cleaning products: LadyCup provide a number of specific cleaning products and lubricants, including LadyWipes, AQUAglide lubrication gel, MILTON sterilization tablets, LADYGEL and LADYSANITIZER. For more info see www.ladycup.eu/LadyGelSanitizerWipe/tabid/583/Default.aspx
How often to empty: 2-5 times daily (every twelve hours, minimum).
Life expectancy: Up to 15 years (pretty impressive!) with proper care.
Benefits: Extremely long life expectancy. Can be sterilized by boiling water. Stem can be trimmed to suit you and hasn’t got any mark on its outside and inside surfaces – no little embossed bumps! Carry bag is cotton – not a synthetic material – and thus biodegradable and greener: “organic cotton bags coloured with herbs are made from 100% organic cotton dyed in a purely natural way using herbs as colour. This traditional dying method is inspired by ayurvedic healing methods and allows the cotton to retain its natural properties – its softness, long life and breathability. The organic cotton material has not had any synthetic chemical treatments or finishings”. The menstrual cups are available in colour as well as colourless options.
Other: The website allows you a “3D” look at the cup – use your mouse to tip and tilt the image so you can get an idea of its shape.
Concerns: none in particular.
Approx cost: about €30 (very roughly speaking, around $AU60).
Who can I ask?: email@example.com it’s good to know that they “provide specialist support in cooperation with gynecologists.”
I do not know of any Australian stockists, however, they are available in New Zealand from Tweedle – www.tweedle.co.nz– and Mother’s Instinct – www.mothersinstinct.co.nz who can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org with any enquiries. You can also but online directly at www.ladycup.eu/ORDERONLINE/tabid/58/List/1/CategoryID/1/Level/1/Default.aspx?SortField=ProductNumber,UnitCost
www.meluna.eu (for English: www.meluna.eu/index.php/?___store=english&___from_store=deutsch)
Material: “made from high-quality, antiallergen, medical allowed thermoplastic elastomer (TPE)… free of PVC, silicone, latex, proteins.” (TPE has been used for baby bottle teats.) The website describes TPE as having a different feels to silicone – I myself have no complaints with my silicone cup (a Lunette) and have not found it to feel ‘sticky’, as the website implies it will.
Products: MeLuna cups are not only available in 3 different sizes (Small=15mL, Medium=21mL, Large=32mL) and 6 colours (red, green, orange, blue, purple, black) and non-coloured options, they are also available in four different styles! This mainly effects the type of stem the cup has for removal – besides the traditional stick-like stem, there is also the round, bobble-like stem and the loop stem as well as stemless option. By the way, “other colors may be produced depending on demand or as a special edition” – exciting! Interested in how it’s made? “Every part of the process is being controlled and documented, starting with the arrival of the goods (meaning the delivery of TPE granules from global market leader Kraiburg GmbH) and ending with packing of MeLuna, ready for despatch. These documents can, of course, be inspected. The quality is German TÜV (Technical Inspection Association) and DIN ISO 9001:2000 certified. The plastic material is being processed free of emissions and gentle on resources.” When it comes to the carry-pouch” The microfibre pouch is made from dark blue fabric with a silver MeLuna logo print. Every MeLuna is delivered with such a pouch. The pouch is also available independently from the purchase of a MeLuna menstrual cup. The dimensions of 14 x 8 cm also allow safekeeping of glasses, jewelry and other treasures. Please wash the microfibre pouch separately, the colors might bleed at the beginning.” (I love the amount of detail this website has on their menstrual cups!) This company also offers ‘soft tampons’, a range of reusable sanitary pads, heatable soft toys and heatpacks for period pain, gift wrapping for the MeLuna cup, cleaning products (see below) and bizarrely for menstrual hygiene specialists, glass dildos. Yes, very odd.
Frank Krueger of MeLuna has agreed to donate some samples to the MSA Women’s Department; I will let you know when they are in so you can have a look at them and compare them with our other sample menstrual cups!
Cleaning products: 300mL polypropylene microwave cups for sterilization, MILTON sterilizing tablets.
How often to empty: the MeLuna can remain inside the body for 8-10 hours without needing to be removed and cleaned. How often to empty depends on the size you select as well as your flow.
Life expectancy: 5 to 10 years.
Benefits: Choice of stem shape sets MeLuna apart, and the stem can also be trimmed. (If anyone has tried either the gripping ball or ring style stem, it would be really interesting to know whether that seems easier or preferable in comparison to the traditional stem.) Can be sterilized by boiling water (1 to 2 minutes), or hot salt water – the website even provides info on how to do this using microwave, rather than stove (better than having to have a special separate saucepan, you can have a comparatively cheap microwave-safe container – 300mL polypropylene microwave cups for this purpose can be purchased online through MeLuna).
Concerns: (I know this paragraph seems long, but really, I now have few if any concerns. This paragraph is to let you know the details for why I feel reassured about initial worries.)I did have some concerns about the use of colouring in the cups and how this might react to the body, given how companies producing only non-coloured cups often state this as their reason for not offering coloured cups. This was Frank Krueger’s response: “The raw material is considered of toxicological and medical. In the attachment are the test certificates.” I will post these attachments for you to make your own judgments; I feel reassured by the amount of detail Krueger was happy to give me about these coloured menstrual cups.
Approx cost: I have been in contact with Frank Krueger of MeLuna, and he has given me the following information on the costs. Please not that these costs are correct for the time at which Frank Krueger calculated them – 28/06/1020 – and they may have varied due to the rise and fall of our economy. “costs for 1 MeLuna are: 13,00€ / 18,3027 AUD + shipping costs 6,25€ / 8,8031 AUD. The costs for 2 MeLuna are: 26,00€ / 36,6054 AUD + shipping costs 6,25€ / 8,8031 AUD.” – Frank Krueger.
Based on these figures, this seems to be the most affordable option, and if there is enough interest, I would be happy to organize a bulk purchase of MeLuna through the MSA Wome’s Department to reduce the shipping costs. Naturally, if there is another brand that people prefer, I’m more than happy to organize a bulk order of them instead. (Last year the MSA Environment and Social Justice Dpet organized a bulk order of Lunette, and so far as I know the women who participated tend to be happy with their Lunettes, myself included!)
Who can I ask?: email@example.com – I must say, although staff have apologized profusely to me for not having good English – I’ve found their English pretty hard to fault! Upon making enquiries, they have always provided me with heaps of detail – I’ll attach some of the detail they gave me on the scientifics of the material they use to make their menstrual cup. I’m very impressed by their customer service and attention to detail.
Victorian stockists: There are no official stockists in Australia or New Zealand and I don’t know of any in Australia or New Zealand either. Buy directly from the website.
Material: medical-grade, latex-free silicone rubber – “100% hypoallergenic and suitable for women with sensitive skin, thrush, eczema and allergies (including latex allergies)”.
Country: South Africa
Products: Miacup comes in a drawstring bag (like most menstrual cups). There are two sizes: model 1 for women under 30 who have never given birth vaginally and model 2 for women whi have given birth vaginally and/or are over 30.
Cleaning products: Miacup does not produce special cleaning products for menstrual cups.
How often to empty: minimum of once every 12 hours.
Life expectancy: ??
Benefits: Can be sterilized by boiling water. Also, the site lets you buy the product in Australian dollars – just use the drop-down menu to select your preferred currency.
Other: website includes great details on the comparison between its product and disposable pads and tampons. Their advertisement (downloadable) is a mind blowing number crunching exercise.
Concerns: mainly, the fact that I am still awaiting a reply from my enquiry about life expectancy (this is over a week at the time that I post this!)
Approx cost: Depending on the rise and fall of the Australian dollar, around $AU60
Who can I ask?: firstname.lastname@example.org
Victorian stockists: Unfortunately, Miacup is another brand that has no stockists in Australia or New Zealand, but you can order online from www.miacup.co.za/eng/store/where.php#status
(note: one word, no space)
Mooncup profile updated 06/07/2010
Note: in the USA another company (i.e. Keepr) has trademarked the name Mooncup. I haven’t info on this American brand Mooncup, but if you do note that it is not the same as the original brand of Mooncup from the United Kingdom.
"Every year, in Britain alone, we would need to dig a hole 300 feet wide and 300 feet deep to bury the used sanitary pads and tampons that women throw away"
Material: soft medical grade silicone
Products: The Mooncup comes in two sizes – the larger size A (for women who are over 30 years of have had a vaginal birth) and smaller size B (for women under 30 who have had no children, or have had children by c-section).
Cleaning products:To my knowledge, Mooncup do not produce any special cleaning products.
How often to empty: every 4 -8 hours (you can use it overnight so long as you empty before going to bed and immediately upon waking up, if you sleep for no more than 8 hours at a time).
Life expectancy: According to Kath Clements (Campaigns and Marketing, Mooncup Ltd.), "With proper care and attention, one Mooncup will last for years and years. We would only recommend replacing a Mooncup if the user notices a change in its texture/pliability, or if a user experiences a change in the Mooncup’s performance resulting from a change in pelvic floor tone: caused by age/vaginal child birth. (This may result in needing to change to a Mooncup size A from size B)."
Benefits: You can trim the stem.
Concerns: the tubular stem is hollow, similar to that of the Keeper. I have found stems such as these tend to be less flexible than the flat stem of the Lunette; not to mention the hollowness means cleaning and sterilizing inside the stem may be more difficult. Also, the lip around the rim of the cup appears to be quite thick to me (this may mean that the origami fold will be easier insertion-wise than the c-fold). They need to be emptied more than most other menstrual cups. Then, there’s the name. If you’re looking to buy a ‘Moon Cup’ make sure firstly that you know which moon cup you want – the original UK brand Moon Cup, or the Moon Cup which is the silicione equivalent of the American Keeper, manufactured by the same brand. Secondly, make sure you are buying from a provider who provides the exact product from the exact company you are looking to buy from. Ask questions, and steer away from anyone who does not seem to know the difference between the two providers of these two products which both have the same name.
Note: in the USA another company (i.e. Keeper) has trademarked the name Moon Cup. It is not the same as the original brand of Mooncup from the United Kingdom.
Approx cost: £19.99 – check online for Australian dollar conversion.
Who can I ask?: Mooncup advice centre Nurse Cathy Marchand – go to www.mooncup.co.uk/advice-centre/ask-a-question.html to send her an email.
For PR, contact Kathy Clements at email@example.com
Victorian stockists: None yet! But you can still buy yourself a Mooncup online, buy international money order (IMO) or in Australian dollars from one of two stockists in New Zealand.
"As you have noticed, the Mooncup® is not currently available to buy within Australia. As a result, we are also, unfortunately unable to send promotional materials at this time. However, if you or the women from the Victorian Cross-Campus Women's Network Online Forum want to order directly from us you can do so at www.mooncup.co.uk/menstrual_cup_orderonline.html
If you don’t have a credit card, you can print an order form from our website www.mooncup.co.uk/menstrual_cup_of.html and post it to us with an international money order/sterling draft for the value of 21.99GBP which includes international postage. You can get an IMO from your bank.
Alternatively, two of our NZ stockists accept payment in Australian dollars
www.redrag.co.nz" - Kath Clements (Campaigns and Marketing, Mooncup Ltd).
Moon Cup (US)
(note – two words, not one as with the UK Mooncup)
Note: The Keeper “Mooncup” is not necessarily the same as the original brand of Mooncup from the United Kingdom - the USA company that produces/markets the Keeper has trademarked the name Mooncup in the USA, thus Mooncup state on their website that they cannot sell their product to people in USA.
Material: “medical-grade silicone (non-latex)”
Country: United States f America – manufactured in Ohio.
Products: a silicone menstrual cup “identical to our original Keeper menstrual cup, but made from medical-grade silicone (non-latex), is manufactured in America. The Moon Cup is for all women, but especially for those with allergies to latex rubber” the American ‘Moon Cup’ comes in two sizes (A is smaller, B is larger), just like it’s sister cup, the Keeper.
Cleaning products: none.
How often to empty: Moon Cup should be emptied and rinsed at least every 8 to 12 hours. Empty it more often if you are experiencing a heavy menstrual flow.
Life expectancy: ?? I am still awaiting a reply from the Keeper company.
Benefits: "3-month (but not one day more), no-questions-asked return policy."
Concerns: The name. If you’re looking to buy a ‘Moon Cup’ make sure firstly that you know which moon cup you want – the original UK brand Moon Cup, or the Moon Cup which is the silicione equivalent of the American Keeper, manufactured by the same brand. Secondly, make sure you are buying from a provider who provides the exact product from the exact company you are looking to buy from. Ask questions, and steer away from anyone who does not seem to know the difference between the two providers of these two products which both have the same name. In terms of the product itself, being much the same as the Keeper, I have some similar concerns – the hollow, tubular for one. I have found stems such as these tend to be less flexible than the flat stem of the Lunette plus the hollowness means cleaning and sterilizing inside the stem may be more difficult. Also, the lip around the rim of the cup feels thicker than other brands - this may mean that the origami fold will be easier insertion-wise than the c-fold.
Approx cost: This depends on who in Australia you buy from!
Who can I ask?: For the Australia distributer freecall 1800-18-18-15 or email firstname.lastname@example.org ; to contact the American manufacturer email email@example.com
Victorian stockists: I don’t know of any; however, you can order online from the Keeper company at www.keeper.com/ordering.html
Material: In the words of the website: “It is 100% medical grade silicone and is post-cured. This post-curing process makes it non- porous and non-absorbant. It absorbs nothing from your body and gives nothing off into your body. It is bio-compatible.”
On the carry bag: “My storage bags are made by a community-based project I have started in Ottery. The original denim material has been replaced by locally produced cotton twill. The cotton twill is donated by a home-run business called Diapro. The money I am saving on material enables me to pay my machinists a better per bag rate; these new bags are paying the sparkle forward and putting some sparkly cash into my machinists pockets.”
Country: Made in Cape Town, South Africa.
Products: A single size menstrual cup in a cotton bag. The MPower cup has two holes at the rim, rather than four, as with most brands.
Cleaning products: none.
Life expectancy: Up to 5 years with proper care.
Benefits: the tab or stem is flat for easy cleaning and greater flexibility (and hence greater comfort) than tubular tabs.
Concerns: Unfortunately at the time I was doing this research, their website is a little difficult to navigate, with the occasional link that leads to nowhere. Hopefully, this is no longer the case!
Approx cost: ?? awaiting response.
Who can I ask?:Unfortunately I have no email address (yet), but you can use this link www.mpowercup.co.za/index.php/index.php/contactus to send Glenda Tutt a message/enquiry.
Victorian stockists: I don’t know of any, and am awaiting a response on the easiest way for women in Australia to purchase an Mpower cup.
At this stage the website does not have an English translation (despite the English flag link) and I am yet to hear back from them. In the meantime, I’ll attempt to translate the page (not a language I speak or learnt formally!) so bare with me, I’m doing my best!
Life expectancy: ??
Concerns: Website is not yet translated to English, which may present some difficulty, if you wish to find out more but speak no Spanish! Here are sm e translations which may prove useful if you want to use the ‘contact’ page: contactar = contact us, Escriba su nombre y apellidos = write your name and surmane, Dirección de e-mail=(simple, write your email), Tema del mensaje=message subject, Escriba su mensaje=write your message, Enviar una copia de este mensaje a su propio E-mail=have a copy of your email sent to your provided email address, Enviar=send.
Who can I ask?:You could try the contact page www.naturcup.com/index.php?option=com_contact&view=contact&id=1:naturcup&catid=1:naturcup - I did, but still haven’t heard back.
Victorian stockists: None that I know of!
Material: “Non-Toxic Non-Allergic Silicone”
Country: Shecup have gotten back to me with the following: "Shecup is an 100% Indian product i.e. developed and manufactured in India after a thorough research and trial work of over 2 years".
Products: The Shecup comes in only one size in pale pink and – from the look of the picture – clear/colourless. Total capacity of 28mL. Note that the Shecup does not have a stem as most menstrual cups do but a ‘knob’ or ball-like end, similar to the MeLuna grip-ball model but not quite as prominent.
Cleaning products: “Shecup Wipes are Specially developed soap strips to Sanitize the Shecup before and after use.” Convenient. Each packet contains 20 strips.
How often to empty: at least every 8 to 12 hours; more often with a heavier flow.
Life expectancy: Shecup's reply to this question was pretty amazing: "Since we use good quality silicone and if taken proper care then Shecup may last a women through her menstrual life cycle which is about 35 - 40 years."
Benefits: Shecups come in a pack containing the cup, eco-friendly pouch and instructions and - here’s the exciting bit – a packet of Shecup Wipes! I’m pretty sure that Shecup is the only brand to include cleaning products as a part of the basic cup purchase.Can be boiled to sterilize. Check out this ection of the website www.shecup.com/facts_lk1.html for a comparison between Shecup/menstrual cups with disposable pads/tampons.
Concerns: I feel that perhaps a stem option would be easier for removal.
Approx cost: ?? I am awaiting more information on this one!
Who can I ask?: If you go to this page www.shecup.com/contact.html and scroll down, you can send a message.
"Anybody can logon to our website and write in their queries. We get queries from all over the world and have responded staisfactorily with the help of our medical advisory team" - Shecup Team.
Victorian stockists: Unfortunately, there are none that I know of! Shecup can be bought online; as Shecup say: "Shecup can be ordered from our website or from ebay, amazon, rediff etc the details of pricing and shipping costs are given on each website. As of now we do not have any reseller in Australia but we would definitely like to have, we have had dialouge with a couple of interested parties. We do get a lot of orders from Australia though."
Country: Czech Repblic
Products: Menstrual cup in two sizes. Here’s how the website explains it: “Size one is smaller one designed for girls and women before childbirth. The cup two (bigger one) is designed for all women after childbirth. For women having a regular sex life and for women older 28 years.Size is marked at the top of each cup (opposite the inscription yuuki) by number 1 or 2. Accurately determine the size of the cup for every woman needs is impossible. Values are only orientational and depends on several factors. If you are unsure, we recommend that you buy a large cup. When the cup is too large you can save it for later use and buy the smaller cup.” Cup size 1 is 13mL capacity as compared with 25mL capacity for size 2.
Yuuki also make unisex tie-dyed Tshirts.
Cleaning products: ??
How often to empty:??
Life expectancy: ??
Benefits: Certificates for biological tests etc are available on the website.
Concerns: It is unfortunate that the website contains very little information. I have contacted them requesting further information to complete this profile – I am awaiting updates.
Who can I ask?: firstname.lastname@example.org
Victorian stockists: None that I know of! You can buy online with PayPal.
I’ll attempt to keep this post up-to-date, and would appreciate your opinions/stories.feedback on any of these menstrual cups – just hit reply! If you are looking to buy any of these menstrual cups, I recommend a visit to their website t check this information is still current.
Here is one fantastic account about the differences in squishiness (an important factor when it comes to menstrual cups!), as well as side by side images of the different cups menstrualcups.wordpress.com/category/comparisons/
If anyone has questions about what the Lunette is like – feel free to ask me! It’s my cup of choice, and I feel quite comfortable speaking about my experience, no matter how ‘silly’ or ‘awkward’ it may seem. You can post it here, or else private message me
When it comes to information on all alternatives to disposable menstrual pads and tampons, one of the best websites out there is www.labyrinth.net.au/~obsidian/clothpads/index.html