I got a menstrual cup because I wanted to sleep better at night while on my period.
It wasn’t for the noble reason of going green and saving the environment — although that itself was a great bonus. My problem was this: I could not sleep in the same position the entire night. The sleeping positions I normally favoured ended up with me having blood-stained sheets in the morning.
I tried wearing extra-long sanitary pads, but they felt too much like wearing diapers. Tampons didn’t work for me either, as they felt too raw and painful. Then, I chanced upon this new menstrual solution that everyone claimed was life-changing — the menstrual cup.
It was already known in the States, but its popularity had only just reached the shores of Southeast Asia. After some thorough online research, I settled on an “Asian-sized” menstrual cup: Freedom Cups. It’s been more than three years since, and I’ve never looked back.
What is a menstrual cup?
If you have not been preached on the gospel of the menstrual cup, allow me to enlighten you. Made out of medical-grade silicone, it is a reusable period product that collects your period blood into its cup. It’s as simple as that.
The shape and material it’s crafted from have been designed to fit within your cervix, so a well-fitted one will ‘catch’ all your blood and prevent any leakage. As women have differently-sized cervixes, the menstrual cup will come in a variety of sizes catering to that.
Who will benefit from it?
Everyone, really. It’s a handy period product that is reusable, hence saving you money on disposable sanitary products in the long run. Because of its medical-grade silicone design, it’s safe to be used in the cervix and will last a long time.
Women and girls who have heavy period flows will also benefit from the menstrual cup, as an average-sized menstrual cup can hold up to 20ml of liquid, while larger ones can hold between 37-51ml. For comparison, a regular tampon holds approximately 10-12ml of liquid.
Wearing a menstrual cup also gives you a certain freedom that sanitary pad users can’t enjoy.
A few months after I started using my menstrual cup, I had a beach holiday. Of course, my period had to arrive just as my holiday started. However, this time I had my menstrual cup, and my time was so enjoyable without needing to worry about possible leaks or going into the water.
If you haven’t started your menstrual cup journey but are intrigued, here are some tips I have for you from my firsthand experience to help ease you into it — quite literally.
You won’t always hear that ‘pop’
Most reviews online will tell you that once you’ve inserted the menstrual cup correctly, it opens up in your cervix and you will hear or feel that ‘pop’ as the cup opens up. I’m here to tell you that you won’t always feel it, and that’s okay.
I too, fell victim to that and wondered if I had it inside correctly because I didn’t hear or feel any pop. Rest assured that as you move about throughout the day, the cup will naturally adjust itself into the best position within your cervix.
It may take a few cycles to get it right
The first few attempts of inserting the menstrual cup are going to be challenging, especially if you haven’t had the prior experience of inserting a tampon. At times, it might leak a little, especially if you didn’t properly insert it.
In the first few months, try wearing some pantyliners, washable sanitary pads or period panties, just in case. But don’t worry! With time, you’ll get the hang of it and you won’t even feel like there’s anything inside you.
You might need to change menstrual cup sizes later on
When I bought my first menstrual cup, I was in my mid-to-late twenties. Now that I’m in my early 30s, I noticed that the same cup didn’t fit quite as well and I was more prone to leakages.
After doing some research, I realised that it was due to my age. Despite the fact that I have not given birth, my hips may have widened from age and my vaginal muscles lose elasticity. While this wasn’t news that I was particularly thrilled about, changing the size of my menstrual cup to a larger one solved the issue.
It really is better
My change to a menstrual cup was more than life-changing. It did serve its initial purpose of allowing me to sleep however I like without the leakage, but it also came with a whole other list of advantages. For one, I no longer have to worry about packing extra sanitary products with me when travelling — all I need is one menstrual cup. I can also go about my day without worrying that a sanitary pad is chafing against my skin, and with my medium flow, I only need to change it out twice a day.
The bigger benefit, however, is the small change I’m making to be more environmentally friendly. No more disposable sanitary pads, tampons, or pantyliners. Isn’t that great?