Monday 12 April 2021 / Norwich, UK

Sustainable Period Products - ‘Intimina Lily cup’

Something I’ve had interest in trying for a while now, is sustainable period products. On average, an individual can use as many as 10,000 tampons through their lifetime, which is a huge amount of waste, that I don’t particularly want to contribute to if I can help it. Especially when you consider that figure is ‘average’ and there will no doubt be those who far exceed this number.


A quick warning before you read on; this post is about period cups and my experience in using them. Therefore if the subject of periods, blood or menstruation bother you in any way, please feel free to stop reading here.


The idea of ‘period pants’ in place of a pad is off-putting for me, as someone who doesn’t really like using pads. Therefore it made more sense that I search for a substitute for what I typically use, which is tampons. This of course led me to menstrual cups, so when I spotted some while doing my food shop I decided to grab one and give it a try.


I went for the ‘Intimina Lily cup’ which retails for £19.99 and comes with a small plastic case to store your cup when you aren’t using it. Having trialled for the duration of my most recent two periods, as well as a little research into them, here is what I have found;


The Cons


For me, the whole process of emptying, cleaning and reinserting the cup take longer than changing a tampon or pad would. However, you can wear it for up to 12 hours, so you only need to do this twice a day – although this is dependent on flow, a heavier flow may require more regular empting of the cup. I would imagine it’s one of those things where the more you do it, the quicker and easier it gets.


Removal is messy, and I would say that having a sink in close proximity to your toilet is essential. I would certainly avoid emptying at work or while out in public somewhere. I’m personally not squeamish, especially not when it comes to my own blood, but those that are will probably dislike the process.


I’ve read that these can interfere with IUDs which makes no difference to me personally as my chosen method of contraception is an implant in my arm, but those with an IUD will want to bear this in mind.


Younger people or those with intact hymens should be aware that using a cup has the potential to rupture the hymen. They may also find a cup uncomfortable.


Ensuring the cup is inserted correctly takes some practice, and it took me a day or so to work out a method that worked for me and was comfortable. The same can be said for removal.



The Pro’s


Once in correctly, the claims that it is comfortable are true; you can’t even feel it. Unlike a tampon if you get it wrong you can try again as many times as you need to, rather than having to bin it and move on to the next one.


As the cups are made of medical grade silicone, you are not inserting chemicals into your body. A lot of tampons are bleached to achieve their white colouring, and due to their absorbent nature can cause dryness and irritation. Tampons can also leave behind small fibres which again, can cause irritation.


Depending on your cup, some can apparently last up to 10 years with proper cleaning and storage, which is pretty impressive if you ask me. It would seem the majority of cups have a lifespan of around 2 years (again with proper cleaning and storage), which is still pretty impressive, and makes the price worth it when you consider the use you can get out of them.


It is very easy to clean by rinsing under the tap. It is recommended that you sterilise your cup at the beginning and end of each cycle, which again, is easy to do. I have purchased two, as my periods sometimes last up to two weeks and I want the ability to be able to properly sterilise the cups as they'll be used for a longer period than normal.


I went for the smallest cup available (in Sainsbury’s), which is a good fit for me personally, but I can see trying to find a size that works for you could be a bit of a pain for some, especially as you obviously can’t exchange them once used.


It’s better for the environment! One cup every few years vs a few hundred tampons a year is a massive difference, and vastly reduces the waste generated by disposable sanitary products.  


They are cheaper in the long run. Sure, a cup typically costs more than a box of tampons, but given how long they last you should only need to purchase one every few years.


Some possibilities


There is some speculation that using a cup instead of say, a tampon, can shorten your period and help reduce cramps. However, there has been no clinical research into this, and so it remains speculation.


I will say however, that during the two periods I trialled my cup, my menstrual cramps were less painful than usual, and the second period was a little shorter. This could be a fluke however, or simply be that that particular period was less painful than they normally are, and that the other one just happened to end a little faster. It will be interesting to see if this remains the case with continued use.


My verdict


Having trialled my cup I have to say, I would highly recommend trying them. They take a little while to get used to, so I’m glad I decided to trial it while I’m working from home, but once you’ve worked it out they are really easy to use.

If they are something you have been debating, I would certainly recommend giving them a go. You haven't got anything to lose, aside from some cash.

Have you tried a period cup before? What was your experience?                                              




  1. 10 years, wow that is amazing! Truly a sustainable period product. Like you, I'm not a fan of pads or period pants, I always go for tampons, Lil-lets in particular. I've not considered a cup before though, but this sounds like a really good one to try - thank you for such a great review! x

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment Lisa :)

      Absolutely! Very cost effective as well! They are something I've been thinking of trying for ages, but really didn't want to while working in the office. I would recommend if you do ever try them, you do so in the comfort of your own home. At first at least!

      Em x


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