There’s the pad, there’s the tampon, and there’s the menstrual cup. As evolution goes, the newest product is always better. Menstrual cups have been around since the 1930s, but Singaporeans still haven’t warmed up to the idea of sticking a silicone cone up their hoohas. But why not? It’s reusable, eco-friendly, and did I mention the cleanest way to get through shark week? Here’s an honest review of what its like to finally use medical-grade silicone to collect our monthly two ounces of blood. Be warned: it’s explicit.
Look and feel
Every cup is made of either medical-grade silicone, rubber, or occasionally, latex. They are about 4cm long, 5cm wide, and surprisingly slippery. They also look and feel rather thick, which I found VERY intimidating when I first received mine.
Putting it in
I highly recommend trying tampons out first before trying this. That’s because your muscles contract when you are nervous, making it hard/doubly painful to put anything inside you. If you’re a tampon user, you’re less likely to be worried. The key is to relax and open up your vaginal muscles; you can imitate trying to poop. This makes your lower region relaxed and open.
There are plenty of instructions online, but I used the punch-down/push-down way of folding and squatted down as I do when I put in tampons.
When folded, the cup is still thick, thicker than any tampon I’ve ever used, not to mention it’s all rubbery feeling. It was painful and I felt like I was shoving this massive thing where it shouldn’t be. The worse part is it’s very slippery; I kept letting go BEFORE it was in, and it would just bounce right open and I would have to re-fold it. I tried this in my shower; you should too because you’re gonna take a while your first time. Thankfully? It feels like nothing. Make sure it’s about 1cm deep and you’re good to go. The cup opens up inside you to create a seal, allowing blood to collect in the cup.
I finally tried the punch down fold instead and it was MAGIC. It went in super easily. I used this method all the way until my period ended. It didn’t hurt, it didn’t irritate my skin, and I didn’t even need to use any lubricant.
There is a lot of helpful information online on how to do this. For me, I mimicked pooping and used my pelvic muscles to squeeze the cup out until I could touch the stem. I then tugged the stem down and pinched the base of the cup to make sure the suction is gone. Be careful; it hurts a bit when it comes out because the rim is expanded inside you. Just do it swiftly and quickly to minimise it.
My period is way too heavy and I was leaking after 6 hours. (I have a very heavy flow which soaks up a jumbo tampon in 2 hours.) Thankfully, it’s super obvious when it leaks because you can feel the dampness. It’s also very gradual so I had time to put in a pad while it was still light. If you’re a heavy flower, pack some pads on you. It still beats changing your pad/tampon every few hours while risking staining your clothes. If you don’t mind pulling your menstrual cup out in a public restroom, you can just empty it in the toilet and stick it back in, or wipe it with a wet wipe or rinse it with a small bottle of water first.
Just use a pad at first in combination if you’re not sure how heavy your flow is. Once you have a gauge, you know if you never need a pad (you most likely won’t, but just in case you know).
1. It lasts the longest. It’s unbeatably convenient. You stick it in and it lasts 12 hours until you go home. I recommend using a pad on your first and second day in case you overflow. If you don’t, then you can forgo the pad your next period and never worry about leaks again! I have a heavy flow, so you can imagine the number of times I have to visit the restroom to change pads/pull out jammed tampons. It’s downright annoying especially when you’re at a concert, or hiking, or on date etc. Even tampons don’t last me in a pool, so I would definitely use a cup instead next time.
2. It’s clean. It’s completely odourless, unlike pads or tampons. Because the blood is collected in a sealed environment, it doesn’t coagulate or “rot”. Empty it out in your toilet, rinse it and wash it with soap and you can use it again. At the end of your period, boil it with hot water or soak it in mild hydrogen peroxide solution. It’s ready to be used for your next period.
3. It’s incredibly satisfying. I know it sounds gross, but it feels so much cleaner to just pour away blood as compared to getting rid of the super smelly and gross tampon/pad. There’s completely no waste/mess for me.
4. It saves money. A fancy one from LiveLoveLuna costs $40 – $60. A cup can last 5 to 10 years. I don’t want to spend money on pads/tampons I throw away every month.
5. It’s eco-friendly. I love that I don’t have to think of adding MORE plastic waste with my pads and tampons. Silicone is recyclable.
6. No fear of toxic shock syndrome (TSS). I got super paranoid about this one after reading about a model who got amputated due to TSS. Menstrual cups do not absorb blood, irritate vaginal tissues, or change the bacterial environment, which is the main cause of TSS. Which means you can…
7. Use it overnight. No fear of TSS means you can sleep with it. It was incredibly freeing to not wear a heavy overnight pad for the first time in my life on my period.
8. I had no cramps. This also varies lady to lady, but for me, the cup completely eliminated my cramps. No one knows how this works, and the mystery shall continue.
1. It hurts at first. Once you master it though (it took me a day, and this is coming from the girl who used to take two whole hours to put contacts in), it will be as easy or even quicker than putting on a pad.
2. You might have to change it more than twice a day. I’m still bummed that I’m not one of the lucky few who can make it through with only two changes each day.
3. I got queefs. It’s like a vagina fart. When I stand or sit, I can feel air bubbling down. I read that it happens because your blood is displacing air in the cup, causing it to come out. It was no big deal for me though.
4. Going number two with it. I got very annoyed when I had to do a big number while I had a tampon in, because I would end up squeezing the tampon out too. It was the same with the cup, except it never came out the way tampons did. I’ve read other reviews where girls say it only happens with tampons but never with her cup, and some where their cup got squeezed out, so it varies according to your body.
You will never live it down to yourself as a vahooha-owner if you don’t give this an honest effort. I know it’s scary but honestly it’s nothing; I’ve had worse pains down there. I have sensitive skin and pads make my skin rash and bleed. Tampons are made of cotton and expand so much that they hurt like a right BITCH when I have to pull them out. In contrast, the cup is soooo effortless, comfortable, and you will never have to worry when you’re on your period again. Never.