If you’re of a squeamish disposition, there is a strong chance that you won’t want to read this tale – of a battle between mooncup and copper coil, in which only one can be the victor – although, given the title, I’m surprised you clicked through to begin with.
Why use a mooncup?
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? I started using the mooncup (you can buy ’em online here*) in May of 2015 (I even wrote about it for stellar.ie). I wanted the option of not filling my bathroom bin full of, essentially, blood-soaked paper that would eventually end up in landfill (FYI: you’re not supposed to flush tampons and, even if you do, they get filtered out and end up in landfill anyway) – and I liked the idea of using something that was environmentally friendly, reusable, sustainable and wouldn’t give me TSS. So, the mooncup was it.
We got along really well – sure, using a mooncup can be a bit messy, and your toilet bowl can get a little horror scene-y at times, but I’m a grown-up and a little bit of blood never hurt anyone (except Bella, that time she cut her hand and Jasper went mental). I had a few dodgy moments where I pushed it too far up, and ended up leaking (the mooncup is designed to sit right at the entrance to the vagina, not towards the cervix, like a tampon), but I figured out the error of my ways pretty swiftly and all was well.
Life continued apace.
Then, less than a year ago, I decided to have the copper coil inserted. I detail the whys and wherefores in this blog post, and why I had decided to have said copper coil removed, because I felt it was affecting my moods and motivation.
In the meantime, I spoke to my GP about it and she suggested giving it a few more months. The body needs time to get used to any changes wrought on it (poor body, we put it through so much) and she had found very few patients experienced side effects from having the copper coil. So I left it in and, sure enough, three months later, I realised that I wasn’t hating it any more.
Yes, my periods were still heavier, and I got some light cramping – but my moods were normal (well, as normal as a depressed person’s moods can be) and I rediscovered my mojo. More or less. I was happy to continue with my coil, and to use my mooncup, as I had been doing all along.
Mooncup vs coil – the final showdown
This account isn’t going to be hugely graphic, because nothing hugely graphic occurred; I went to the bathroom and, before I peed, I removed my mooncup to empty it. (I do this every time I pee, even with tampons; I just can’t “go” while they’re in there. I’m not sure why.)
It felt slightly more stuck than usual, and I had to pull it with a little force – nothing major, mind you – for it to come out. (The mooncup works using suction, and you’re supposed to squeeze it at the tip to release the suction before removing, but I found that sometimes that didn’t work and a teeny bit of brute force was required.)
I immediately felt a strong sense of discomfort, like the feeling I got when the coil had been inserted and my cervix was dilated. If you’ve never experienced it, it’s like a strong period pain. It’s not unbearable, and it won’t make you cry, but it’s pretty darn uncomfortable. When I went to wipe myself (front to back, obvs), there it was: the coil, peeking out from my vagina.
Honestly, my first reaction was to be totally and utterly freaked out. I jumped up and down, as if I’d found a mouse in the bath. I started crying. I cradled my stomach and I gasped and ogled the coil, as if it was somehow going to jump back inside me and we could forget this whole sorry incident. (Then, obviously, I told Snapchat, because does anything even happen if you don’t tell Snapchat?!)
According to Google, it can happen. (Thanks, Google.) There’s a chance that my coil was sitting quite low, or in my cervix, or that it had started to expel all on its own. (That can happen too.) Also according to Google, it’s inadvisable to use a mooncup while you have a coil, or even to use tampons (which makes the heavy periods even more grim).
This, of course, is all incredibly useful information after the fact – but I’m hoping that it might help some of you, who have the coil and are considering the mooncup, or have the mooncup and are considering the coil. Don’t introduce them; they won’t get along.
Behold my copper coil, straight from the womb
Well, this is the million euro question. I called the Well Woman Clinic to tell them about what had happened, thinking they’d order me into A&E immediately, but the nurse seemed nonplussed. She told me to make an appointment to come back in this week – “I presume you want to have the coil reinserted?”
I told her I wasn’t sure; I was a bit freaked out and not sure I wanted to go through the whole ordeal again. I’m still not.
As for the mooncup, while I would 100% recommend it for all of the reasons I already outlined in my post for Stellar, and above (good for the planet, no landfill, no need to carry tampons up your sleeves), I’m not sure I’ll ever use it again. The feeling of it sucking out the coil… Well, it gives me chills to think about it even now.
As for contraception, I’m seriously considering trying natural family planning – although my boyfriend is less convinced. It seems high-risk (didn’t magazines always tell us that this is foolish, foolish talk and you’re bound to get pregnant eventually?) but I don’t want to take hormonal contraception because of my depression and medication and, if I thought tampons were bad for the environment, well, condoms are even worse.
I may or may not update you on the next step of my contraception journey, but for now, let this serve as a warning to you all. (You’re welcome.)
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