As a woman who has been visited by Aunt Flow every month for the last decade or so, I would say that I have been very patient with my monthly visitor. But that doesn't mean that I don't try to find ways on making my "womanhood" easier and more convenient.
See I'm one of those women who have always considered their period as heavy. I would need to change ever so often which leaves me even crankier. (Don't ever mess with a woman who's PMSing or on their period.) I spend so much money buying pads because I use them like crazy when I have my period. I also feel that I get really dry down there when I'm on my red days. I also get itchy because of my pad. It's just an awful experience everytime AF visits me. And I'm sure a lot of women feel the same.
Fast forward to me being a mom who uses cloth diaper on her kid. I have said over and over again that cloth diapers save us from buying expensive disposable diapers and have also prevented Robyn from getting rashes. So when I learned that there's such a thing as reusable pads and menstrual cups, it definitely caught my attention.
MeLuna Menstrual Cup
P1000 from MamaBabyLove
I was never really squeamish about these stuff. It's my body so my blood is not exactly foreign to me. And so research began. And I found MamaBabyLove who sells menstrual cups online in the Philippines.
It took me almost 2 years to finally purchase my own menstrual cup. Why? Because it was alien to me and just like you, I had so many questions and apprehensions too. And so I took my time educating myself about the cup and also my anatomy. Indeed, you'll get more upclose and personal with your body parts when you use a menstrual cup.
Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia of what a menstrual cup is:
A menstrual cup is a type of feminine hygiene product which is usually made of medical grade silicone, shaped like a bell and is flexible. It is worn inside the vagina during menstruation to catch menstrual fluid (blood). About every 4-12 hours (depending on the amount of flow), the menstruating woman removes the menstrual cup from her vagina, empties the collected menstrual blood into a toilet or sink, washes the cup under running water and inserts it again. At the end of the monthly period, the cup can be sterilized, usually by boiling in water. Unlike tampons and pads, the cup collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it.Manufacturers have different recommendations for when to replace the cups, but in general they can be reused for five years or so. Disposable menstrual cups are also available – these work in a similar way to regular menstrual cups except they are disposed of after every use or (for some brands) after every cycle.
So I wanted to share my experience and answer some FAQ and concerns here on my blog. I know that this is not for everyone. (I've talked about menstrual cups with my friends and not all of them were on the same boat as me.) However, I just like to let all of you know that there are other options and alternatives to pads and tampons. Final decision on what to use is obviously still with you.
1. Is it difficult to use?
First time I used it wasn't as hard as I thought. Maybe because I've already equipped myself with knowledge so using the cup wasn't that difficult. Research about it, watch videos and you'll definitely gain confidence in using it.
2. Does it hurt?
I remember the first time that I wore it, it felt quite uncomfortable. It was the first day and I even kept it inside me for 5 hours and I was thinking "Why am I feeling cramps and why do they say you're not supposed to feel it, but I do?" And so I messaged Jenny right away (owner of Mamababylove) and asked her about it. She sent me articles to read and I learned that I inserted my cup too far up. It was hitting my cervix! Oops! So when I adjusted it, then that's when I began to feel more comfortable and that's when I realized that indeed you're not supposed to feel it. It was like magic!
3. How do you insert it?
Inserting it was a little tricky for a newbie like me. I recommend using a water lubricant to make it easier to insert. I just put a little on the rim and I tell you, it goes inside much much easier. Always wash your hands before handling your cup. There are several folds to choose from in order to insert the cup. My favorite is the 7 fold. The cup opens up inside the vaginal canal and creates a suction to trap the blood and for it to be collected by the cup. It can be a little tricky at first and may take a few attempts but you'll master it in no time.
4. Is it uncomfortable? How does it feel?
Honestly, I love that I can do almost anything without needing to worry about leaking. When the cup is inside you, you shouldn't feel it that much. If you're very conscious about it, you'd just know that there's something inside. But there should be no pain whatsoever. In fact, I only experienced leaking once. And it was because I totally forgot that I had my period and I forgot to empty and dump the blood. I kept the cup inside me for 9 hours on my first day which is my heaviest (normally I should dump it 6-7 hours daytime). It filled the cup and leaked. When I finally emptied it, cleaned it and inserted back in, I was good for another round. Other than that instance, no leaking whatsoever. I only wear a pantyliner because there may be a little bit of residue or marks.
5. Is it messy?
It's cleaner than you think. This was one of my apprehensions before buying a cup. What if I'm out of the house and I need to empty my cup? Let me share with you that this actually happened to me my 1st cycle. It was my 2nd day and I had to go to a wedding. It was honestly no biggie. Wipes and toilet paper are your best friends. I already have a system on how to do it so it was quite easy. Remove the cup, dump the blood, wipe it clean with wipes, clean myself and insert it back in. You don't really get your hands bloody, if that's what you're scared of. There's a way on how to properly remove the cup to avoid spilling.
6. How to remove?
I personally have never had a hard time removing it. See those suction holes? I simply insert a finger to break the suction and I pull the cup gently using the grips (those lines at the end of the cup) and slowly crawl the cup out. And voila, no spills whatsoever! No murder scene!
Other things that I really liked about this is that there's no chance of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), no more dry and itchy feeling caused by pads. Less waste since it's reusable. There's no bloody smell or anything because the blood doesn't go out of you and hit oxygen. I'm saving so much money as I don't need to buy pads every month.
I also noticed that it lessened my menstrual day by a day. Before, my period lasts for 5 days. On the 5th day is when it's very light. But now, I noticed that on my 4th day, it's already very light and in fact I can just wear a pantyliner. I don't know how this happens, but that's based on my experience.
There's also no gush. You know that for sure! When you move, immediately stand up or even sneeze then you feel a big gush of blood coming out? None of that when you use a cup! I can definitely sleep better and do more without worrying about my period. As I said before, I even forgot that I had my period!
- Find your correct size. Meluna, which is the brand that I'm using, carries a lot of sizes so finding the correct one is key. If it's too big, you won't get a proper suction and it will leak. If it's too small, you won't get it to open. Here's the size calculator that can guide you in finding your size.
- There are also different handle options for Meluna so choose which you think you like most. I actually just chose the regular stem and it worked well for me.
- Wash your hands properly before and after dumping and emptying your cup. It is very important to keep yourself clean.
- Wash your cup with mild soap or feminine wash.
- Sterilize your cup every beginning of your cycle. I dump mine in boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Use a lubricant if you're just starting. Trust me, I tried with and without and it's so much faster when you use a lub. It makes life easier!
- Normally a cup is good for 8-12 hours but observe your body as well. I find that on my 1st day, I have to empty my cup after 6-7 hours day time and 12 hours night time. 2nd day 8-10 hours day time and 12 hours night time. 3rd day onwards 12 hours which means I only need to empty it twice a day!
I can honestly say that my menstrual period has become more comfortable ever since switching to a menstrual cup. I don't think I'll ever go back to wearing pads. As I said, it's life changing. It really is. I highly recommend it, however, I do suggest that you do your research too and educate yourself so you know what to expect. If there's anything else you want me to cover and talk about or go more into details, let me know. I'd be happy to help! I've actually recorded a Taglish video about menstrual cups and will post it soon. :) Hope this helps ladies!!!
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