This story was submitted to us by a CLEO reader, Sabrina Chong. She shares a personal account of her experience using the menstrual cup for the first time. If you have any stories or ideas you want to share with us, email us at [email protected]
What if I told you that there’s a menstruation product out there that is leak-proof, odour-proof, and costs only RM150 for 10 years?
I was just as surprised when I was first introduced to a menstrual cup. No more advertisements of ladies in slow motion wearing white pants, no more blue liquid on sanitary pads, no more taglines saying “period or not, she can.”
When inserted correctly, a vacuum would form. This vacuum would prevent the blood from coming in contact with air, stopping odour producing bacteria from sprouting, thus the odour-free promise.
The vacuum would also be secure enough that no amount of tossing and turning at night would cause the cup to leak. At the same time, it wouldn’t feel like a giant diaper stuck to your butt, causing you to sweat bullets out your derriere.
Taking the leap
After some surveying, I found some popular menstrual cup brands like DivaCup, Ruby Cup, LENA cups, and the one I finally decided on – Organicup. The brand seemed reputable enough, winning scores of awards and claiming their product is made of medical grade silicone, is certified hypoallergenic, certified vegan meaning that it doesn’t test on animals, and is chemical-free.
It sounded like a load of buzzwords but I couldn’t say I wasn’t intrigued.
“Price a little steep,” I thought, but then did the calculations. Considering a RM150 menstrual cup would last me 10 years, it was a much better deal than to spend RM25 every month on pads, which basically equates to RM3,000 over the span of 10 years. Not to mention that I’d be creating less waste by stopping usage of disposable pads.
I waited anxiously as the month rolled by, eagerly waiting for my menstrual cup to arrive magically in the mail to transform my life forever.
Using the Thing
When the package arrived and I held it in my hand, it became a little more intimating than just ‘fold it and put it in’ as stated on their website. The size of the opening of the menstrual cup was a quarter of my palm, the surface flexible and smooth.
After looking up some folding techniques, I decided on the punch down fold. The folding method included pushing down on one side of the cup opening, creating a triangle that folds into the cup itself. This creates the smallest possible surface area entering the vaginal opening, making it the ideal fold for beginners.
After some struggle, I got it in and went about my day.
The messy incident
I went about my day as usual and the menstrual cup lived up to expectations, no leaks and no odour. The website claimed that I could keep the menstrual cup in for up to 12 hours, but at the fourth hour, I took it out to examine it out of curiosity.
The cup was nearly full and I was lucky to have checked on it before it overflowed. Contrary to the website, it didn’t last me 12 hours. I dumped the blood in the toilet bowl and used a hose nearby to clean the cup before reinserting only to feel odd about an hour or so later.
I hurried to the toilet to check on the cup only to find blood smeared across my underwear. After cleaning up the mess, I reinserted the cup hoping that this time, it would yield better results. Fortunately, I didn’t have further issues with it that day.
Fast Forward a Little
The days and months followed consisted of me trying all sorts of positions and ways to insert the menstrual cup. I retained the punch down fold method, but had tried sitting, standing, and everything in between when inserting the cup.
After six months of constant trying, I found that the best method that worked for me and was good to go. Though it was meant to be cost and environment saving, I found myself using panty liners whenever I used the cup, in fear of being caught free bleeding outside the house whenever I got the insertion wrong.
I also learnt that my flow wasn’t consistent, and that the first two days I had to toss the blood out every 4 or 5 hours. But as the days passed and my flow got lighter, I could leave it in for 12 hours as it advertised.
Now that I’ve made the switch to menstrual cups, I don’t think I could ever go back to pads or tampons. The menstrual cup made it easier to exercise, swim, and go about my day without having to place a slab of cotton in between my legs. It wouldn’t smell when I took my pants off, and it is generally more convenient.
However, be forewarned that one would have to be relatively comfortable inserting something inside your body, which might be scary for girls who are unfamiliar with the sensation. One would also have to check and toss the blood depending on one’s flow which might differ from day to day.
Regardless of all the positive reviews, menstrual cups aren’t some type of magical fairy dust that make periods feel like nothing. Cramps still hurt, and nausea still sometimes overwhelm me. But it does make periods easier, more convenient, and more comfortable to endure.
If you’re the type of girl that hates wearing thick or long pads on the regular and find yourself defeated whenever the dreaded week arrived, menstrual cups can be your best friend in making menstruating easier. With the menstrual cup, period or not, you can.