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'I've used a menstrual cup for 11 years and I'm never, ever going back.'

Bushwalking is great fun, but add brothers to the equation and it becomes a whole other ball game. Needing a quick wee becomes a fight for survival under a barrage of airborne missiles while desperately trying to take cover by making yourself as skinny as the tree you are sheltering behind.

Oh, and then you need to change a pad or tampon. Forget it!

Then 11 years ago my sister, a nurse and midwife, discovered menstrual cups through a friend. Hearing my woes she told me to get some silicone, so I did. And I haven’t looked back since.

Ladies, the fact of the matter is this: Menstrual cups are the most practical solution to managing your period.

But menstrual cups, like double denim and the bearded hipster, aren’t new at all. Invented in its modern form in 1932 they were made of latex. Best of all they were designed by a woman, for women, whereas tampons were designed by a, ahem… man, for women. War-time rubber demand for more important things like military boots, protective gear and tyres cause material shortages and production stopped.

Fast forward to the 80s and latex menstrual cups resurfaced properly again. The first medical silicone cup was produced due to an increasing number of people having latex allergies. But users were still seen as being part of some sort of underground hippy movement.

So, here it is.

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Whoooaaa! That’s huge! You’re supposed to wear that internally…and re-use it! Oh the blood – that’s so gross! What a weird concept!

OK, I hear you loud and clear. These are fairly common first reactions and thoughts and pretty normal. After all we’ve been programmed to using disposables all our lives – anything else is just too out there.

So let’s detach these emotions for a few moments and I’ll give you the low down on what you need to know about menstrual cups.

Its’ much easier than your other cup size

Menstrual cups are a reusable alternative to pads and tampons and come in just two sizes depending on flow and pre or post childbirth making it easy to pick what you need.

Once inserted correctly it shouldn’t be felt at all. No light, regular, super, with or without wings, ultra-thin or thick here! Just silky smooth silicone.

You’ll be going green when you see red

When using disposables, we throw out about one shopping bag of rubbish per cycle, and these take up to 500 years to decompose. One menstrual cup will last for up to 10 years.

Listen: On the topic of things you’ve always wondered about but would never ask, former high class escort Samantha X, explains what sex workers when they’re on their period. (Post continues after audio…)

Buy one, next month buy something else

Did you hear me say that one lasts for up to 10 years?! That’s hundreds – possibly thousands – of dollars saved on disposables.

“I love wearing my ginormous night pad” said no woman ever.

You can leave the cup inserted for up to 12 hours without emptying. No sweating and sneaky butt crack leaks here. And that means more zzzzzzs for everyone.

You won’t become a menstrual cup pro overnight

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Except for around one per cent who are ready to wear white jeans after the first use, using a menstrual cup takes practice as it’s not like inserting a tampon. You need to fold it, insert, release any suction and wriggle it into position.

Then you’ll need to learn how often to empty it. Give yourself at least three cycles to master it. But even if you’re still getting teething problems, using you cup at home or to bed is still saving money and a lot of waste in landfill.

There will be blood

Yep, you will see your own blood. Just like you do when changing a pad or changing a tampon. And emptying it when out at work, school, public toilets? No sweat. Just do the same as you would for a tampon – wash hands, remove, empty, wipe with clean toilet paper, re-insert. Easy.

Which brand should I use?

With so many brands on the web it’s hard to know whether to buy a cheapie on ebay or the real deal from a leading brand. In Australia, only four brands have taken the effort to be medically tested and get TGA listed – Lunette, Diva, Mooncup and Juju. This means they are made from 100 per cent medical silicone and do what they are meant to. No weird additives, fillers, leaching colours, snapping stems or cracking rims here. You have been warned!

Now menstrual cups don’t sound so scary now do they? The environmental, cost and conveniences factors are phenomenal and I’d love everyone to become a total convert like me.  BUT…. If you’re still not sure if menstrual cups are for you, at least try to use something sustainable. Period positivity is what it’s all about.

Fast forward being at a family BBQ and one of my brothers comes out of the bathroom holding my (clean) menstrual cup and proceeds to put it in his eye socket like a pirate patch… “aye matey, what is this used for?”.

Karma, how sweet thou art…

Carol Morris is the founder of Lunette. Have you ever tried a menstrual cup? Do you prefer them to pads and tampons?

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