Friday, 30 January 2015

Save Your Vagina! Down Under

A couple of weeks ago I gave all the homosexual men a pass on reading my blog when I wrote "Save your vagina" - a post about menstrual cups. If you're a man and only interested in other men, then you don't need to know about this, nobody else has an excuse. Stop being grossed out and get familiar with your bodies!

When I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I was talking specifically about Mooncups -  the brand I know and love. However I know a lot of people like to support local, and the Mooncup is from the UK. Introducing Juju cup! The down-under, locally sourced, Australian solution to all your monthly woes.

Last time I posted, I had an affiliate link from Mooncup, but no exciting deals with Juju. I emailed them asking if I could get some kind of kickback from referring people, and they went one step further - they sent me 2 free cups and some promo material PLUS a discount code for your guys PLUS they'll pay me for any sales using that code in the next six months. Pretty sweet deal for making peoples lives better.

I"ll be honest, opening the package from Juju was pretty exciting.

In the first layer we get a few bits of promotional material, a spare shiny silky bag, and two well packaged Juju cups. Practical, but a little boring. Promo material got a skim read before I tossed it, and I claimed the bag since I lost the one for my Mooncup.

Oh Look! Inside the boring postage packing for Juju is some nice pretty boxes you'd expect to see in a store. And they are very clearly marked as Model 1 (for under 30's) and Model 2 (for over 30's or anyone who has had a child). But wait... it gets better

You don't just open a Juju box and pull out the cup, no no that would be too pedestrian. A Juju box unfolds, and presents you with your new cup in it's glorious silky bag. Honestly it might seem like a little thing, but it just magnifies the joy of opening a new thing. Comparatively, a Mooncup is sent in a padded bag, with the instructions loose, and the Mooncup in it's cotton bag. Efficient, but not exciting.

Okay, the cups themselves, here we go.

Side by side we have the Model 1 Juju (for the young folks) and my size B Mooncup (with the same Under-30-never-had-kids caveat). Forgive the Mooncup bag for looking a little scrappy, it has been serving me well for almost a year.

Before I start I need to say that I will NOT be using the Juju. It seems incredibly wasteful for me to have four cups, when they should last for about ten years each. I have a couple of deserving and in need friends who will be getting these cups for free.  So I will eventually be able to report back on whether or not they were successful and comfortable, but I need to wait for nature. But I can tell you the differences I can see and feel.

The first obvious thing you'll notice is that the Mooncup is a semi-opaque silicon, whilst the Juju is clear. As far as I can tell this will be a purely aesthetic thing. I've never had any trouble seeing how much fluid is in the Mooncup. I think long-term the Juju is going to get a bit stained anyway, so being so clear might not be a bonus. But hey, it's going inside you, visuals aren't that important.

Next, the stem. This is hugely important, the stem is what you need to be able to grab hold of to get the cup out again. Most companies recommend pinching the base a little to release the seal, but the most of your grab-and-pull action depends on the stem.

On the left we have the Juju. In the middle is my older Mooncup that I carefully trimmed the stem to the correct length. On the right, my new cup that I got over-zealous and cut the stem down too far. The cup on the right is a little tricky to get out, so I'm glad I had it down to a fine art before dealing with such a short stem. When a Mooncup is delivered to you the stem is almost double the length of the middle cup, making them customisable. Cups are designed to sit just below your cervix, so if you have a high cervix, you need a longer stem. According to a bit of poking around (online and offline) I'm a bit higher than average, so the Juju would probably be the right length for me.

When a cup is properly inserted it should sit lower than your cervix, with none of the stem protruding. As you can see with the Mooncup, there are grip rings on the stem, so whatever length you trim it down to there is always something to grip. The Juju has a little bobble on the end you can hook your nails around, but you don't really want to be gripping with your nails. You might accidentally pinch yourself and this is NOT fun. Juju does say that you can trim the stem down, but I'd be wary of losing your ability to grip it if you snip the end off. Using the stem isn't the only way to get a cup out, but it is the least messy. If you can't grip the stem you can always pinch the base, but you're more likely to spill.

Click to embiggen
See those teeny tiny holes around the rim? They are a good thing. It allows the cup to form a seal inside you, and then allows you to break that seal to remove the cup. The only problem is trying to keep them clean. The mooncup has a wider rim and vertical air-holes. The Juju has the holes going horizontally around the cup. They are very small holes, hence the terrible photos. Once I first got my cup I was convinced that I would leak through these holes, but after a crazy busy day where I didn't change my cup for 8 hours and didn't leak at all I'm not worried about it.

I'm just not sure how it works, maybe the pressure of your pelvic muscles squeezes the cup enough to close these holes? I don't understand the science, but they don't leak. What they do is get dirty. The holes in the Mooncup are a pain to clean, and I'm usually left squeezing each hole to clean it out. Less than fun. From looking at the Juju, it appears it will be easier to clean those holes out, but I'm not able to report that until my testers tell me about it.

A quick water test tells me neither of the cups leak when filled above the holes. They also fit exactly the same amount of fluid. The difference is that the Mooncup has markers up the side, just like a measuring jug. It marks out 6ml and 12ml. While the 12ml mark is about a centimeter from the top of the cup, you're never actually going to pull out a cup that's full to the brim since the cup is crushed slightly while inside you. If you're looking to track how much fluid you're losing each day to report to a doctor the Mooncup is a clear winner. However if you just want to be able to see "Oh, it's about half a cup today" then the Juju is just as effective.

Different cups are made slightly differently, so they have a tendancy to have a different firmness. After 5 minutes of poking and squeezing my cups I think that the Juju is slightly firmer. It's barely noticeable when you squeeze them, but the Juju does pop open with a little more vigor. This is great, because it means it's more likely to open properly inside you and form a seal.

Finally, at it's widest point the Mooncup is 46mm across, whilst the Juju is only 43mm. It's only a little difference, but since the number 2 complaint about menstrual cups (after 'Eww Gross') is getting it in, that 3mm might make a difference. However, both Mooncup and Juju recommend going up to the larger size if you find you are leaking. So while the smaller size of the Juju might be easier to get into place, it might not form the necessary seal. The difference between a Juju Model 1 and a Juju Model 2 is 5mm, which looks a lot scarier than it sounds. Just remember, you fold them in half when you are inserting.

Model 1 on the left, Model 2 on the right

As a slight side note - you should be doing pelvic floor exercises. There is no reason for a little pee to sneak out when you cough or sneeze, some women and doctors say that's old age or child-birth. It is a little bit but it's largely a weak lazy pelvic floor. A strong pelvic floor will keep the pee where you want it, help stop your cup from leaking and you'll enjoy sex more. You're welcome.

So in summary, Juju or Mooncup? I don't know. They both have merits, Juju is a lot nicer to unpack and I think it will create a strong seal inside you because of the firmer silicon. However I've used a Mooncup without incident (apart from leaving the darn thing at home) for a year now. The Mooncup is 100% comfortable when inserted properly, and I'd be willing to bet the Juju is just as comfortable. They hold the same amount of fluid. The Mooncup stem seems a lot more reliable because you will have grip on it at any length whereas the Juju may be hard to grip if you try and shorten it and take the bobble off the end.

You can buy a Mooncup here for £20.00 + £5.95 Shipping (Roughly $50AUD at today's conversion rates)

You can buy a Juju here for $55AUD, but you get free shipping and this nifty discount code for 15% off, which is roughly $46.75. Shipping is $7.20, but if you spend over $100 you get free shipping, so talk a friend or two into piggy backing your order.
Discount Code: reviewsramblings15

And if you already have a cup and want to share the love, you can donate a menstrual cup to women living in East Africa for $12 Canadian. The cost of a packet of tampons in East Africa is equivalent to half the daily average wage for an unskilled worker. To avoid this exorbitant cost women will use newspaper, rags, mud and twigs to try and hold the flow, leading to horrible infections and long-lasting damage. Young girls miss almost one quarter of their schooling because they are ashamed to go to school during their period. If a cup is going to change your life, imagine how much it will change theirs.

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