One of the very first things I did when I arrived in London was hop on to Amazon to order a menstrual cup. If you haven’t heard of menstrual cups before, they are essentially these small silicone cups that fit into the vagina and function to collect your monthly period. It’s similar to a tampon in the sense that it is inserted into the body, but the similarities end there. Menstrual cups are reusable (usually up to two years) and they do not dry up and irritate your vaginal area like tampons tend to do. If you’re interested in reading more about menstrual cups in general, Google is your friend.
So, why switch over to menstrual cups? Well, to answer that I think we need to have a short discussion about the other two methods of “period collection” most women are familiar with: tampons and sanitary pads.
I never really used and liked tampons because they are uncomfortable and just generally strange contraptions. Sanitary pads on the other hand tend to be seen as (ironically) the less sanitary option, plus they produce a lot of waste because they need to be changed so often. Tampons need to be changed out less often but they are still single-use products and they can cause irritation in the body because they sit inside you. They are useful when you need to go for a swim while on your period, though. Pads and tampons are probably the two most common products associated with periods, but there are also cloth pads that function exactly like disposable sanitary pads but can be washed, making them more environmentally friendly — but still very much of a hassle for the user.
So when I first heard of menstrual cups about a year ago, I was very much intrigued by them. A reusable product that’s sanitary, safe for the body, supposedly comfortable, and good for the environment? It sounded too good to be true! Especially since most women just put up with pads and tampons. I certainly never used them with any semblance of enthusiasm. If there exists an option that can ease the discomforts of monthly periods, I want to be using that for sure!
It was a while before I bought my menstrual cup mainly because they were not widely available in the Philippines and ordering things online isn’t easy over there. That gave me time to do research about the different menstrual cup brands out there. The product is relatively new, so there aren’t too many to choose from. Moon Cup, Luna Cup, Lunette Cup, and Sckoon Cup are the major brands. Based on reviews, Sckoon Cup looked like the best option for me.
I’ve used my Sckoon Cup for two periods now. I thought I would be able to give you guys a “first impressions” post about it after the first month but, as you are about to read, that first month was a total fail. Haha! There really is a learning curve when it comes to using these. Here’s what went down during my first two periods:
Not a single day without leakage. Haha. I experimented with the different types of folds one can employ when inserting the menstrual cup and the “C fold” was the best for getting it in, but creating the seal (ensuring all sides pop back out again) once the menstrual cup is inside the vagina was difficult. Since there was a significant amount of leakage, I still had to use pads while using the cup. I could definitely feel it inside me, which I knew was not right based on other reviews I had read. Removing the cup was also a bit strange as I hadn’t figured out the best way to go about it just yet. Still, it was never painful or terribly uncomfortable.
On day two of my period, I finally got the cup to seal properly and sit inside the vagina so that I could hardly feel it was there at all. I knew right away that it was sitting properly and every time after that, I could tell if I had done it right or not. I still slipped up a few times during the insertion process after that, so I always wore a liner just in case.
Getting the cup to seal seems to require that I run one finger around the cup after inserting it. When it comes to removing the cup, bearing down and “pushing” as though giving birth (something I haven’t done but another blogger described it this way and I think all women know what it means…?) helped me get to the cup so I could pinch it and break the seal.
When inserted properly (probably 3/5 times during this particular monthly cycle), the cup was comfortable and effective. You can leave it in for up to 12 hours, but I was emptying it out every 6 hours or so because I was paranoid about spillage. On days when my flow was very heavy, it filled up to only about half way in six hours, so capacity-wise it seems to be able to handle a lot even if it looks small. I should mention that I have this in the smaller size option, which is for women who have never given birth and/or don’t have particularly heavy flows.
So far, I love my menstrual cup! The first month was frustrating, but I forgot that frustration completely the moment I got it to work. It’s ten times more comfortable than a pad and fifteen times more than a tampon. I will continue to use liners just because I’m paranoid, but I feel like I’ve already taken a good step towards reducing waste and making my monthly periods more comfortable for myself at the same time.
The one major drawback is potentially having to empty the cup while out in public places… it’s something I haven’t done yet because thankfully I haven’t had to be out of the house for very long, but I foresee that being pretty unpleasant. Still, I look forward to becoming more well-acquainted with my Sckoon cup — and saying that I look forward to anything period related at all is saying a lot.
I will likely be posting about this again in the future as there is a lot to talk about, so if you have specific questions please do leave them for me in a comment so I know what most people are curious to know.
Have you heard of or used menstrual cups before? Love ’em? Hate ’em? Know of any major drawbacks I might not see yet? Do share!