Every Australian has experienced the feeling of watching the rest of the world get into a movement, while we get left in the dust. (Examples throughout my life include – watching a band I love tour the world without visiting Oz, waiting three months longer for a particular movie to hit our cinemas, watching Rupert Murdoch take the monopoly over Game of Thrones, amongst many other often enduring disappointments).
Yet, thanks to two lovely ladies, we did not have to wait long for menstrual cup madness to hit our shores. Elizabeth and Carol are the Oz-based representatives of Lunette, a Finnish brand that make the most delightfully colourful cups, out of medical grade silicone.
I’m personally a big supporter of Lunette, having had [easyazon_link identifier=”B00NB3SMOY” locale=”US” tag=”birdgehls10-20″]my menstrual cup[/easyazon_link] for close to three years now. It has revolutionised my life in so many ways – saving me money and space in my suitcase, all in one hit. I can’t quite imagine life without it.
There are many reasons why menstrual cups seem like a good move forward for Australian women, particular as we are still required to pay a tampon tax on feminine hygiene products.
So in order to clear up any lingering myths or doubts about menstrual cups, I went straight to Carol. Here’s what she has to say about Lunette, menstrual cups and sticking it to the man, through the power of conscious consumerism.
How did you first find out about menstrual cups and what inspired you to give them a go?
In 2007 Elizabeth received an email from a friend entitled ‘I’ve got a secret that I want to share’. The email had a link to, and she’d discovered this revolutionary solution to pads and tampons and wanted to let her friends know.
Elizabeth sent the email to me and we looked into it and found that we couldn’t get these medical silicone cups in Australia. After trying them ourselves we felt so inspired by the potential of menstrual cups that we decided to go through the Australian medical approval process and bring them to Australian women.
Menstrual cups are only growing in popularity and there are many different kinds now populating the market – why did you choose Lunette?
Back in 2007 there were a few brands on the market but we kept coming back to Lunette. It has a lovely smooth shape, consistently ranked highly on consumer forums and being owned and manufactured in Finland it has incredibly high standards.
We figured we only want the best for Aussie women, not cheap or nasty cups with no history of quality behind them. A cup lasts a good 10yrs, so we definitely didn’t want customers coming back to us with broken stems or cracked rims from a poor quality product!
What do you think is the best benefit of using a menstrual cup?
For me personally it is the convenience of not being chained to the bathroom because of having to change pads and tampons. I have hours of freedom between emptying my cup! For others it is an environmental thing with tonnes less waste ending up in landfill and waterways. Also to cost savings are huge, was an average saving of up to $8000 over your menstruating years by switching to a cup. Now that is quite a few holidays…
How long can you use a cup for before it needs to be replaced?
The good quality cups will last up to 10yrs with proper care. Some cups discolour slightly over time so women replace it, but this is really not essential. You also only need one cup, but again some choose to buy one in each size, or have a few of the colours just to shake things up a bit!
Do the cups leak or smell odd?
The cups will leak if full, or if it has not made a proper seal. We recommend you give yourself a good three cycles to become a menstrual cup pro. During this time you’ll master insertion and removal, and also learn how often to empty it. Surprisingly the menstrual fluid in the cup doesn’t have an odour. We’ve had an email or two in the past about the actual cup developing a smell, but this is usually sorted out by giving it a thorough clean!
What’s the best way to clean the cup after use?
During your cycle we recommend just rinsing it with water. But at the end of your cycle you need to give it a good clean before putting it back in its bag. I give mine a thorough scrub all over with the Lunette Cupwash and clean the holes with dental pick. Then I rinse it off and boil it in a pan of water for 5-10 mins (set the timer so you don’t forget!). Then I sit it on a tissue on a windowsill that gets sun for a few hours and let it dry completely there. This is called ‘sunning’ and seems to help with staining and any smells. Then I pop it back in its bag until next month.
Can you wear them when you’re exercising or indulging in naughty activities? (I have to ask because I saw another blogger write about this awhile back and was both horrified and curious!)
You can absolutely wear the cup when exercising and for pretty much all sports including weight lifting, bike riding and swimming. It’s so nice to exercise without a sweating smelly pad or strings hanging out! And yes, you can certainly wear the cup for a bit of intimate fun, but not for intercourse. We’ve had a few cup users let us know that they’ve had fun with their partners and even oral sex without the partner knowing they were on their period! It may not be for everyone though but the option is there
How would you recommend inserting the cup for first time users?
First time users should read the instructions carefully, and try using the cup for the first time when they are NOT on their period…it’s much less messy!
Choose some private time when you are not going to be interrupted or barged in on. Fold and gently insert the cup rim first, a little water or personal lubricant can help with this. Then when its about half way in let it open slowly. This releases any suction. Then push the cup the rest of the way in, aiming towards your tailbone. You’ll need a few practice goes to get it right but once youve got insertion perfected your 95% on your way to becoming a pro!
Are there any women who shouldn’t use a menstrual cup?
Women with a high grade prolapse may not be able to use a cup, and also it should not be used after giving birth until your GP gives you the all-clear (you shouldn’t use tampons or any internal menstrual option during this time, just pads). Apart from that most women should be able to use a menstrual cup. Check with your doctor or gynecologist if you have any concerns.
Do you feel a special sort of delight in sticking it to the man, regarding Australia’s tampon tax?
It certainly does feel good knowing that I won’t be contributing over $1000 of GST over my menstruating life for my ‘luxury items’! GST is charged on menstrual cups but it is only $4-8 and this covers you for 10yrs.
If you put all the days together, women will be having their ‘luxurious’ period for about 6.5years, spending an average of $12-18,000 on menstruation related products – pads, tampons, panty shields, ruined undies, cancelled outing/events, pain meds, chocolate…and one little menstrual cup can put a massive dent in this spending.
We encourage women to embrace this and finally get some freedom from strings and wings!
And one last curious question – how do you dispose of a Lunette Cup at the end of its lifespan?
We usually recommend burning it as it gives off hardly any smoke and only a little ash that can then be used by plants. If you just bin it then it would take a long time to break down and small parts may be ingested by sea life or animals.
Visit Lunette’s Australian website for more information.
Are you a fan of menstrual cups?
This post may contain affiliate links to products I use myself.