If you have read my previous post on my journey into reusable menstrual products (http://earthfriendlylife.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/my-resuable-menstrual-product-journey/) you will know that several years ago I started with a Mooncup UK which simply did not work for me. In December this year I began researching different menstrual cups and found out about a German brand called Meluna (http://www.meluna.org/epages/63898218.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/63898218/Categories/MeLuna_Menstruationstassen) which offered a wide variety of cups in different sizes, colours, stem options and degrees of firmness. I was sold on the sheer variety available and ordered the starter pack with a small clear cup and a medium purple cup with ring stems. The cups come in a plastic packet with an instruction leaflet and a purple storage bag which is generously sized. I was a bit disappointed to only get one pouch with the two cups but they both fit inside it so it’s no big deal.
The small cup is incredibly tiny. It is the smallest menstrual cup on the market as far as I’m aware. It has a diameter of 38mm and a length of 45mm (not including the stem). In many ways I think this makes it a good beginners cup as it is not intimidating in size. It was certainly good for me to get me over my Mooncup issues and get me actually inserting and removing a cup successfully. Meluna say the cup has a capacity of 23ml to the rim, but the capacity to the holes is a much smaller 15ml. This is where the cup falls down for me. I have a heavy flow so it is far too small to use for the majority of my period. I like to think of it as my ‘gateway cup’ as getting familiar with using it then allowed me to move on to bigger capacity cups.
The medium has a diameter of 41mm and is 48mm long. The capacity to the holes is 20ml and is overall a more practical size.
I got both of my cups in the ring stem style because I thought this would be very easy to use to get the cups out and it was the style recommended by Meluna for beginners. The rings did make removal easy but they add quite a lot of length on to the cups. I found the stems to be very uncomfortable as they would stick out due to my low cervix. The small cup actually stuck out more than the medium as it is so narrow in diameter that the tip of my cervix could not fit inside the cup to allow it to move further in. In the end I cut the rings off both of my cups to make them more comfortable. This was fine for me as I was able to reach the bottom of the cups very easily and in improving the comfort I was able to use them a bit more to find out whether I actually liked them! If you are thinking about buying a Meluna cup I would recommend that you go for the traditional stem as it would be easier to trim to the length you require without having to cut the whole thing off. However, if you have a very high cervix the ring may be useful for you as it provides a good grip to aid removal.
Rims, Grip Rings and Air Holes
The Meluna cups have a distinct rim but one that is not too pronounced. They only have one rim right at the top as opposed to a higher and lower first and second rims like the Mooncup and Femmecup have. The rim is smooth and not too stiff and does not cause me a problem during insertion or removal. The cups have four grip rings on the base. They are solid lines. They are raised enough to aid removal but not so much that they are uncomfortable during insertion and removal like the ones on the Fleurcup can be. The cups have two air holes near the rim, one on either side of the cup. They are fairly large so they are easy to clean. I think adding two more holes would be useful and sometimes it is difficult to break the seal if you don’t grab the cup where the holes are.
Meluna make their cups from plastic polymer called thermoplastic elastomer or TPE for short. This is different from most cups which are usually made of medical grade silicone. TPE is used in medical devices and baby bottle nipples so they say that it is completely safe for making menstrual cups out of. I don’t doubt this, but I do notice some differences in characteristics between TPE and silicone cups. The TPE is firmer in a way than my silicone Fleurcup but yet it is less springy so it is harder to get it to pop open inside. The material has a frosted surface which seems to create a lot of friction against itself when folded, making it hard to open. TPE also gets more flexible when warm and less flexible when cold. This is good and bad. It moulds to your shape inside which is nice as you get a sort of ‘custom’ fit around your particular curves, but it gets warm as soon as it’s in, and the increased flexibility makes popping open even harder. You can run it under cold water prior to insertion to help with this. I just found that the cups took so much coaxing to get them to open that I couldn’t really be bothered with the hassle of spending 10 minutes in the bathroom each time the cup needed emptied.
Overall, I do not particularly like the Meluna cups and I don’t use mine at all now that I have my Fleurcup. I appreciate that fact that the small cup led to me being able to use a better sized cup and it was nice to have that tiny cup to work up from. However, the difficulties I have with getting the cup to open make it a no-go for me. I would still recommend that you have a look at the website if you are thinking of buying a cup as they may just have the perfect one for you, considering they make four sizes, three levels of firmness, four stem styles and countless different colours!