Menstrual Cups - Merula Story
This is going to be a long one so maybe make yourself a tea (or pour a glass of wine) and get comfy before you start reading. Also, if you don’t like the idea of menstrual cups/ reusable period products or easily get offended by period talk you won’t enjoy this blog and I urge you to just scroll past.
Me and menstrual cups go way back, I found out about their existence on a sticker in a festival loo almost 10 years ago: ‘Get a Mooncup!’ and so I did, as soon as I was back home. Never got on with disposable pads, hated the feeling and my super sensitive skin reacted to them, tampons were uncomfortable but used them anyway, because what else can you do?! I had nothing to lose, I thought let’s try this mysterious cup. It was amazing right away, learnt to use it pretty quickly, no more discomfort, no more nipping to the loo every few hours due to fear of leaking, back then it wasn’t even about the environment, I just wanted to end dreading that time of the month. For many years we were in a happy relationship… until I had a baby!
After my first baby the Mooncup just didn’t work anymore. Fit issues, leaks, I thought no problem let’s just get the ‘post-baby size’ and we’ll be all fine again right?! WRONG! At the time I didn’t realise but there’s a bit more to choosing a menstrual cup than buying the first one you like the look of. When I bought mine there was no science behind my decision, the Glastonbury sticker told me to buy the Mooncup so I did, and I was very lucky that it worked so well for many years. When I had fitting issues and leaks with the new sized cup but also issues with the old one I started to read up on some advice and discovered that I had a low cervix. Couple this with a weakened pelvic floor due to the baby and heavier cycles than before, it explained a lot of the issues I was having and I realised that I needed to find a cup that’s better suited to my anatomy.
Two further babies later and finally I was browsing for a new cup, The Period Lady (The Nappy Lady’s sister site) stocks a few great options for low cervix and I’ve chosen the Merula cup. (Gosh finally this review is getting somewhere, right?!) Now before you’d accuse me of choosing based on colour or design options you’re absolutely wrong! Who cares that it’s a beautiful deep purple colour that comes in a gorgeous little Galaxy print pouch that looks like one of your favourite cloth nappy prints?! Not me!!! Anyway, after a very scientific decision making process full of logical reasoning this is the cup I’ve purchased.
One glorious morning when my baby was 13 months the time has come to put the cup to the test. I was secretly excited for this moment, eagerly went to the loo expecting a beautiful fit and no issues whatsoever. After all, I’ve done my research this time and I’m an experienced menstrual cup user, what can go wrong?! Well… For starters I could not fit the cup however hard I tried!!
I tried two of the folds I’ve often used before and no luck, this cup doesn’t have little suction holes on the sides like the Mooncup and some others and would not pop open at all! Even when it did the cup just wouldn’t stay where it’s supposed to stay and it wasn’t a comfortable experience. I put it aside and thought I’ll get back to it later when I’ve got over my initial frustration. I tried again and again with more or less success, 1 out of 3 attempts I could get it in the right place with the cup open! I thought maybe I should read the instructions in case I’m doing something wrong here, except that I threw it straight in the bin because ‘who needs instructions when you’re a cup pro’?! A particularly low moment was when I wore the Merula for my weekly tennis lesson and after the first few moments of light jogging I could feel the cup slowly but surely leaving my lady parts!!! No joke, I’ve never in my life sprinted to the toilets as fast as that evening!!
When I got back home I decided to read the product description on the website for any pointers and the reviews in case anyone mentioned something useful to try and resolve my problems before I throw my wonderful new cup in the bin out of sheer embarrassment and frustration (I’d probably have kept the Galaxy print pouch, fine, call me shallow). Product info says ‘It does not matter if you have weak or strong pelvic floor muscles the Merula cup stays where it belongs.’ You’re having a laugh… Then I’ve stumbled across Emma’s review, no idea who you are Emma but thank you so much for sharing your experience! She recommended a ‘twist and push’ approach once the cup is inserted in an opened position. Another few reviews on the internet strongly recommended using the ‘punch down fold’ (apparently this is recommended on the product leaflet…) had to quickly Google this fold and we were good to go. Punch down fold insertion, popped the cup open whilst it was still very low, then push and twist like Emma says, boom, perfection! Every. Single. Time.
After this whole bloody ordeal (literally), the Merula and I are actually a perfect match. It’s an amazing fit even with a low cervix, holds a high volume so you don’t need to empty it often, due to the lack of the suction holes (I assume) it really stays leak free, even when it’s quite full. It’s a bulb shape rather than bell like most others but still doesn’t put any pressure on my urethra which I was initially concerned about after 3 babies and it is completely comfortable. Once inserted correctly it absolutely stays put even during rigorous exercise (thank goodness!). The only downside I can mention is that it’s a little tricky to master insertion and takes some practice, once you get used to it and figure out a method that works for you it’s an incredible cup!
So do I recommend that you rush off to buy a Merula?!
No I don’t. I recommend that if you’d like to try a menstrual cup or if you’d like to switch to a different one due to problems, do your research. Consider your cervix height, the strength of your pelvic floor, the capacity you need and take a look at your options, ask for advice if you get confused about anything. (And then choose the pretty one! Just joking… but if you choose a pretty one that also fits all your other requirements that’s absolutely a bonus right?!) Also once you have a new cup give it a fair chance, it can take a few cycles to get used to it especially if you’ve never used one before. I did feel like chucking the thing away on several occasions but I’m glad I didn’t!
I hope some of you found this review useful and may have even got inspired to try a cup yourself if you haven’t yet! (Or discouraged for life?!)
Nappy Lady Ambassador Kristina Doggett - Use Code krisztina10 to receive a 10% discount off your order.