Filipinas are admittedly conservative, so I assume this particular post may not appeal to some ladies. Today, it's a discussion about the elusive menstrual cup.I know some might already cringe with the thought of sticking in a tampon down there, so what more a bell-shaped contraption? o_o Tampons and menstrual cups aren't widely sold here in the Philippines, since majority still prefer disposable sanitary napkins. But I'll just share with you this information, in case you're curious but scared to give it a try. If you're not comfortable with this topic or your own body, you may move on to my other blog posts.
Did you know that the menstrual cup was invented in the 1930s? :O Have you ever wondered why we are hearing about it just now? Menstrual cups are not widely advertised because commercially speaking, companies would rather sell products that women would need to buy every single month (such as pads and tampons). There's huge money in it! While a single menstrual cup can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. So why bother promoting something that sells only once in that span of time? This is the very reason that pushed me to do this post.
I'm a pad user for 15 years. I've actually tried using tampons 3 years ago when my trip to Boracay coincided with the first day of my period. It was more of a "no choice" option for me then. I tried wearing a napkin under my bikini (plus board shorts to conceal it), but once the waves hit me, the napkin was instantly full and heavy, and the adhesive started to weaken. Yikes! >.< I wanted to enjoy my stay there and make the most out of the activities, so I went on and bought a box of tampons. They did work, but with a bit of inconvenience such as minor leaks and a potential health risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Tampons must be replaced every 4 hours, so I had to time my washroom visits. My companions found my "timed" CR visits strange, but of course I didn't want to reveal the reason why. Tampons contain chemicals that affects the vagina's naturally moist environment, and bleached cotton and other materials absorb blood and moisture. When you remove the tampon, the vaginal canal is dry (so it may hurt), but the real threat is the possibility of the small fibers of cotton or bits of material being left behind inside your body, which bacteria feeds on - resulting to TSS. TSS is deadly when not attended to immediately.
What's different between the tampon vs. the menstrual cup is that the menstrual cup simply collects blood from the inside. It's made from soft medical grade silicone, and silicone (when properly cleaned) doesn't harbor or serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. The only challenge would probably the learning curve of trying to put it in and removing it.
Just recently, my fellow blogger friends Char and Gellie did reviews about menstrual cups which got me curious, too. I didn't know they were sold here in the Philippines, and it's my first time to hear about them. The more research I did, the more convinced I became. I've read testimonials saying that they even forgot they were on their period with the cup on. WOW. I found Anytime Menstrual Cups on Facebook and PMed them to ask for the price, and since their cups were more affordable than other brands, I decided to go for it. I wanted an affordable one, since I'm not even sure if I can really successfully put it to use. Just in case I didn't, it won't hurt my wallet as much. When I placed my order, the Anytime Menstrual Cup seller decided to send me their Squeaky Cup Package for review. The seller is super nice, friendly, and approachable. She answered ALL my questions honestly. And trust, me I had a lot. Haha!
Let's unbox! :D
My order came with pretty stickers with inspiring messages.
"God will make a way when there seems to be no way." is a line from one of my favorite Don Moen songs.
Just so we're clear, using a menstrual cup may break your hymen, but it doesn't devirginize you nor does it make you a sinful, immoral person. One's virginity is only lost when one engages in sex, and not when one uses feminine hygiene products such as tampons and menstrual cups. This is my personal opinion.
The Anytime Squeaky Cup Package consists of an Anytime Menstrual Cup, a cloth bag (in the photo below), a glass mat, and a spray bottle. The cloth bag is what you'll use to store your cup in, so it can breathe. The other stuff, I'll explain later.
The size I got was 1, which was for ladies under 30 years and/or those who haven't given birth yet. The feel of the cup was soft and flexible with a firm rim.
Inside the box are leaflets with instructions and product facts, but I'd rather watch Youtube reviews since they're from actual users.
The next thing that happened was actually a staring match between me and my menstrual cup. I think it looks rather dainty, but how the hell am I going to put it in. Based on the menstrual cup market, Anytime is considered small (yes, there are various shapes and sizes for menstrual cups), but it still looks huge to me. @_@ I've had it for 2 monthly cycles already, but on the first month, I kept putting it off. LOL. I was only able to successfully use it during my second cycle over the long weekend holidays, which gave me more time to practice at home.
Anytime Menstrual Cup PH's Facebook page was also a treasure trove of information that's very friendly for beginners. Check these out:
- What is Anytime?
- What size?
- Helpful illustrations
- Inserting your cup
- Removing your cup
- Caring for your cup
And most importantly: Why switch to cups?
The size I got was 1, which was for ladies under 30 years and/or those who haven't given birth yet. The feel of the cup was soft with a firm rim.
First, you'll have to sterilize the cup in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. Do not use fragrant soaps, as they might linger and irritate your vagina. Wipe the cup dry so it won't be slippery, fold, then insert. I personally use the punch down fold. I won't lie; it's not easy at all! I thought I got it all together after the knowledge and tips I've amassed with watching instructional videos and tips online, but when I first tried it, I almost regretted signing up for this. It took me probably close to an hour inside the bathroom just to get it inside. (Or was it 30 minutes? LOL I couldn't really remember but it felt like an awfully long time.) The trick here is you have to relax your body, or else you will just have an even more difficult time. During the eureka moment when I finally got it in, I hardly felt it at all, and it's as if I really had nothing on, or in. What sorcery is this? :o Once it's inside, you'll have to check using your finger if the cup has fully opened and sealed itself on your vaginal walls, or else it may leak. (I have yet to do this one but it's important.)
During wear, I still had slight cramps but nothing unusual with that. My PMS doesn't bother me that much. I wore a pantyliner just to be sure, but I didn't have blood stains. The only time when I felt it leak was when I wiped after peeing and saw tiny hints of blood. I knew I hadn't perfected the art of wearing the menstrual cup just yet, since it's not supposed to leak. You can wear the cup for a good 4 to 8 hours depending on your flow before needing to "unload" the cup.
For me, removing the cup was even harder than getting it in. The struggle is real! The cup gets slippery since menstrual blood is viscous. You have to bear down your pelvic muscles, so I just push as if doing number 2. The cup lowers that way, so you can reach the stem. Pinch the base of the cup to get rid of the vacuum seal, or reach in near the rim of the cup to make use of the suction holes and remove suction from there. Dump the blood into the toilet bowl, and rinse the cup with water. Make sure to clear the suction holes from debris.
After giving it a good clean, you can place on top of your cute little glass mat! Make sure to clean your hands well too before reusing the cup. At first, I didn't think this was needed or important. It looked like just a cute add-on. But it's really handy, and I don't have to place my clean cup over tissue papers or on the bathroom sink.
The spray bottle is for when you're at a public restroom and would need or like to take out your cup to clean it. I personally don't see myself doing that yet, as I'm more comfortable cleaning myself up in a private washroom.
- No sudden gush! This one's probably reason enough to switch to cups.
- No odors (I was surprised, too. Turns out, menstrual blood smells when it comes to contact with air while using a napkin.)
- No dry feeling. It's just normal all throughout.
- No rashes from harsh chemicals in pads
- More capacity and higher protection
- Less frequent "changing" compared to pads and tampons - can last even up to 12 hours on light days. You can just place it in the morning, go about your day normally, and dump the blood when you get home.
- Healthier alternative to disposable sanitary pads and tampons
- Reusable and environment-friendly
- Travel-friendly (no need for bulky pads in your luggage)
- Soft and flexible - can hardly be felt when worn properly
- Discreet - wear anything you want because there's no buldge, no wings, no strings
- Can be worn during physical activities (yoga, running, swimming, hiking - no problem)
- Not sure if this goes for everyone, but my period was shortened by a day, probably because the menstrual cup doesn't contain chemicals unlike pads which can also affect your cycle
- Cheaper in the long run - 1 cup can last for 5 years! Some even 10 years. @_@ Let's do the math: P500 ÷ 5 years = P100/year ÷ 12 months = P8.33/month! That's less than P9 per cycle. With P9, you can buy just 1 pad, and how many pads do you consume per cycle? It adds up!
- LEARNING CURVE!
- The rim easily pops open during insertion (ouch), so I have to re-fold it and start again
- Not for people who aren't comfortable with their bodies
I'm still on the beginner stage of my learning curve towards using menstrual cups. I still get slight leaks, and I admit not being able to use it everyday during my cycle, just because it takes so much of my time as of now. (Define having an 8AM class at Ayala!) However, when I went back to wearing pads, it was instant discomfort even if I've been wearing them all my life, because it just feels "cleaner" with menstrual cup. On my next cycle, it's practice time once more. I chatted with the seller just this weekend as I was crafting this post, and asked her how fast she can properly place the cup when she already got used to it. Her answer was 1 minute, and on days when there are a bit of struggle, 5 minutes. Wow. Someday, maybe I'll get to that point, too. :D
Available at Anytime Menstrual Cups PH on Facebook
You can win a pair of Anytime Menstrual Cups for you and your friend when you join the Anytime Menstrual Cups Summer Contest! Mechanics are easy, promise! :D
Like Anytime Menstrual Cups PH on Facebook for more information.
So, are you curious about menstrual cups or is it still a no? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Believe me, I'm curious to know your answers as well! :)
Let's keep in touch!