Jul 22, 2013

GCB Tests: The Ruby Cup

The Ruby Cup

tldr: Eco-friendly, cheap, convenient. Absolute recommendation! 

Not too long ago, I received an email asking me whether I'd like to test Ruby Cup, a re-usable menstrual hygiene product developed by a female-run social business. According to the email, Ruby Cup was a healthy, safe, convenient, cost-saving and environmentally friendly way of dealing with your monthly business (or, as coined by Stan, "shark week"): You insert it, leave it alone for four to twelve hours depending on your flow, take it out to empty it, and put it back in. Every month, after your period is done, you boil it in hot water and put it away until next month. Sounded easy as pie.

Originally designed for women in developing countries, the advantages of the cup are obvious for women anywhere: Less tampon waste, less money spent every month, no need to run to the bathroom every couple of hours, no drying out of your vagina's natural balance. And since the Ruby Cup is made of non-allergenic medical grade silicone, it can be used up to ten years. A totally novel concept for me - I had only ever used disposable tampons. Admittedly, I was a little worried about whether I really would be able to do "everything", as the product's 'You can do everything!' slogan indicates. "Everything" to me includes lots of Yoga, upside down poses on the later days of my period, and being generally active just as I would be using tampons.

With the Ruby Cup in hand, I was prepared for a long session in the bathroom to figure out how to place it right. Turns out, inserting it took only about two seconds longer than a tampon would have. The idea is to create a leak-proof vacuum by putting the cup right up the cervix. Depending on your anatomy and preferences, you can then shorten the little knob at the lower and of the cup that you would use to pull it back out (I just left it). If all goes well, just like with tampons, you won't feel a thing of the cup. For me, in the very beginning, I did feel a little more pressure on my bladder, but that went away as soon as I moved around a little; one of the advantages of silicone is that it warms up with your body and becomes flexible. So flexible, in fact, that it wanders right up to where it needs to sit almost by itself. 

Taking the Ruby Cup out was a bit of a dance the first couple of times, similar to when you start using contacts. And I do have to say that even with practice, it is not the most comfortable of feelings. I really had to activate my lower abs and pelvic floor, because it does sit a little higher up than an ordinary tampon would. Working against the vacuum still feels unusual and, frankly, can be quite hard work. But you get used to it quickly and I'd rather spend half a minute longer in the bathroom than keep on spending money for tampons or worrying about tampon strings. I'm so happy those strings are gone! So don't get disheartened if working the cup needs a little practice - I found it was totally worth it.

How to use the Ruby Cup. (Source)
Once the Ruby Cup's out, the bloody cup is a bit of mess, but you get used to that, too. There was just one incident when it leaked due to my mistake (I got that fixed by taking it out and re-inserting it).

By the end of my period, I had gotten used to working the cup with similar ease like I would have tampons. I found the Ruby Cup especially great during the last couple of days of my period. Because you can let it sit for up to 12 hours, I only had to remove it once in the morning and once at night - ideal for travelling (but do watch out for bathrooms where the sink is located outside of the toilet booth - you might not want to wash your used cup for everyone to see.)

The Ruby cup comes at 27,95€ a piece or 45,95€ for a double pack - just order with a friend or give the other one away. You can find the online shop here. They also have an FAQ section.

Have you made your own experiences with (other) menstrual cups? Would love to hear about them in the comment section! 

* Full disclosure: I have not received any money to write this positive review, just a product sample. *

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