At the Big Green Gathering… (yeah, savour that – hooray for being able to start my posts with “at the BGG” again) I finally bought myself a mooncup!
(For the uninitiated, this is a cup that you use to catch menstrual blood: it is inserted into your vagina – a bit like a tampon except that it doesn’t absorb the blood, only catches it, and you can reuse it, and it doesn’t muck up your innards.)
I completely forgot that they came in different sizes – a big one for older women (30+) or those who have delivered a child, and a little one for young’uns with no vaginal deliveries behind them. Luckily, the woman evidently guessed from the presence of Ariel and my ancient appearance that I wanted the larger size, but you’d think she would actually ask wouldn’t you, instead of assuming?
So anyway, they recommend you practice before you are actually having your period, and I’ve had a go tonight. I had to trim a little bit off the stem to stop it poking into my tender parts, and it took a few attempts to find the best insertion / removal position (squatting with knees wide apart, leaning slightly backwards – mmm, attractive!) but it was pretty easy and comfortable once I’d got over that. Yay!
The new moon cometh, too.
(Not that I have it, you understand, but I know people who do and wanted to know more.)
If you google “mooncup endometriosis” you get several hits suggesting that the mooncup and other menstrual cups are significant risk factors in developing or aggravating endometriosis – which is a nasty condition caused by having endometrial tissue outside the womb, although nobody is quite sure how it gets there).
Yet there was no mention of endometriosis in anything I had read before about the mooncup. Indeed, when I looked at the manufacturers’ information some even specifically stated that there was no association between menstrual cups and endo. Eh? I decided to investigate further.
It turns out that the criticism of the mooncup and its alleged endo risk comes entirely from a single source, one Armand Lione, Ph.D. Lione has unsuccessfully petitioned the US Food and Drug Administration to have the menstrual cup licences withdrawn and seems to be running pretty much a one man campaign to have menstrual cups withdrawn from the market and/or labelled with endo warnings.
Here is the FDA’s reponse (on the fabulous MUM menstruation website)
And here is the website of the Associated Pharmocologists and Toxicologists, of which Lione is president – which sounds dead impressive until you realise that it is almost certainly a one-man band with, it seems, only three interests – the dangers of menstrual cups, the dangers of contraceptive sponges, and the dangers or aluminium.
Here is the evidence on which Lione bases his one man campaign against the menstrual cup:
- Endo is caused by endometrial tissue outside the womb which MAY be caused, triggered or exacerbated by unusually large amounts of menstrual blood flowing up through the fallopian tubes instead of out through the cervix (“reflux”).
- The menstrual cup MAY restrict menstrual blood flowing out through the cervix because it is usually kept in for several hours – longer than a tampon. – Never mind that the whole point of a cup is that it is big enough to CATCH the blood and is emptied before it is full, so there is actually no real possibility of it causing menstrual blood to back up (into the womb and up over the top??) even if that was actually a cause of endo, which is unknown.
- There is ONE recorded case where a woman developed endo and had been using a menstrual cup, which was listed as one of several possible factors.
Yup. That’s it. That’s all he has. One physiologically dubious theoretical mechanism by which something that might cause endo could happen; and one case where a menstrual cup was used and the woman subsequently (but probably not consequently) developed endo.
This is the basis on which he has made statements such as: “there is a high likelihood that the use of these devices as directed will endanger a woman’s reproductive health by inducing endometriosis.” A high likelihood?
There’s a word for people like him.