I have recommended the menstrual cup to my friends, and they’re now all converts. Here are the wonderful reasons why you should start using a menstrual cup.
Like most Singaporean women, I first started off with — you guessed it — sanitary pads. Despite using it for many years, I could never get used to it — I was constantly worried about overflowing when I was out and about, and leaking while I was asleep.
In my late teens, upon recommendation from my friends, I decided to try out a tampon for the first time. I remember buying a box of Tampax (the one with the cardboard applicator) and not being able to stuff it in no matter how hard I tried. When I finally managed to after countless attempts, it started leaking shortly after because apparently it wasn’t placed high enough.
Besides, I was afraid of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) and continued to wear a sleeping pad at night (which still gave me leaks). Trust me, I’ve tried many different brands of pads, tampons and wasted a lot of money because nothing was to my liking … until I discovered the menstrual cup.
How it all started
It was earlier this year in 2021, when my lovely colleagues at Singsaver gave me a voucher for an online shop for my birthday. As I was browsing through the webpage, I chanced upon a listing for the Satisfyer – Feel Confident Menstrual Cup Set.
I’d always wanted to try out a menstrual cup, but they do not come cheap — The DivaCup costs around S$50, which was an amount I wasn’t willing to spend on something I wasn’t entirely sure I’d like.
As the menstrual cup set from Cherry Affairs was only S$11.06, I decided to use my voucher on it.
Unboxing of the Satisfyer – Feel Confident Menstrual Cup Set
The Satisfyer – Feel Confident Menstrual Cup Set comes with two medical-grade silicone cups, which holds a capacity of 15ml and 20ml. It also has a 15-year warranty.
Imagine spending only S$11 for 15 years’ worth of periods? I’m excited.
My first experience with the menstrual cup
For the first time ever, I couldn’t wait for my period to arrive. When it did, the period cup was immediate love. Yes, it might’ve taken me a few tries to get it in, but that’s expected. All you’ve got to do is to continue trying and finding the best position.
Basically, the key is to relax, prop your leg up at an angle and slide the cup in. What I’ve learned over time is that if it isn’t comfortable upon insertion (you shouldn’t feel anything at all after the cup is inside), you just have to squat lower and push the cup farther in. For more tips on how to use a menstrual cup, watch this video. It has helped me a lot, and I’m sure it’ll help you too.
Once the deed was done, it felt as if I didn’t have my period — I immediately felt cleaner, and throughout the afternoon, I didn’t have any leaks. AT ALL. Zero. I totally forgot that it was the time of the month and went about my day as usual. It was like an achievement unlocked — I even went swimming just to test how well the cup would hold out. Safe to say, it did not disappoint.
Removing the menstrual cup for the first time
I’m not going to lie, there’s going to be a bit of panic the first time you try to take out the cup. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get it out. I dug my fingers around, tried different positions and was able to figure it out just fine.
After a few tries, you’ll realise that removal is very easy — in fact, I think that it takes more effort to insert the cup correctly than to remove it. Simply pinch the cup to release the suction. If you do it gently enough, you can even see how much blood you’ve collected in the day! Dump it in the toilet bowl, rinse it with water and soap, reinsert it and you’re good to go for another 12 hours.
Do take note that this process can be a bit messy when you’re first getting used to it (there will be blood everywhere) but just do it in the shower.
Also, practice makes perfect. By my second period, I felt like a pro. With this experience, I was absolutely convinced that I would never use pads or tampons ever again.
Benefits of using a menstrual cup
With the power of the menstrual cup, here are some things you’ll never need to do again:
- Change or rip your pads open in public toilets
- Wrap used pads or tampons in wads and wads of toilet paper
- Be in the situation of staining your underwear or running out of pads
The concept of never having to pay for anything period-related (or at least not for many, many years) again? Sounds pretty amazing. I fell in love with my menstrual cup and here are other reasons why you should get one too:
- Medical-grade silicon
- No chemicals or dyes
- Won’t dry out your vagina
- Affordable (the brand I used, at least)
- One-time spend of S$11.06 covers your periods for 15 years
- Change once every 12 hours (or six, depending your flow)
- Zero leaks
- Less risk of TTS compared to tampons
- Holds more blood compared to tampon or pads (that’s why you can change less frequently)
- Very comfortable, you will forget that you even have your period
Cons of using a menstrual cup
- Slightly steep learning curve — it may take a couple of cycles to learn how best to insert, remove, and change out the cups.
- You will get blood on your hands
- Your cup may discolour and even smell a little (when you put it very close to your nose) after some time of using it (solution: boiling it in hot water should do the trick)
- When your flow is heavier, you might opt to wear a panty liner in case of any leakage. However, once you’ve used the cup long enough, you should be able to gauge how long it will take before it overflows
- It can be inconvenient to wash a bloodied cup in a public bathroom sink during the day (solution: use a handicap toilet when outside)
Despite these cons (which I personally think are very minor), I firmly believe that the benefits of using a menstrual cup far outweigh them. I’ve stopped buying or carrying pads and extra underwear around, haven’t had a stain anywhere since using the cup, and it feels good to help the environment!
Using a menstrual cup has been a life-changing experience
Strangely, the cup has given me more confidence in life — I feel empowered knowing that I’ve taken full control of my period, and that menstruation doesn’t hold me back from doing anything. You want to go to the water park on the second day of my period? No problem. You want to go on a full-day hike? Let’s do it.
I’ve since recommended the menstrual cup to many of my friends, and all of them have made the switch so far. In fact, I received so many good reviews and referred so many people that Cherry Affairs should probably give me a cut of their profits from the Satisfyer (just joking).
Tips for menstrual cup beginners
- Boil cup before first use and after last period
- Watch YouTube tutorials
- Always release suction before taking out (if you pull it out with force, there is chance of uterine prolapse)
Misconceptions about menstrual cups debunked
“You have to remove it each time you go to the toilet”
Not at all! I wouldn’t even write this article if using a menstrual cup were that troublesome. A menstrual cup sits inside your vagina, so it doesn’t stop you from peeing or pooping, which uses two different holes.
“Will my menstrual cup randomly fall out?”
Absolutely not. Once the cup is opened up inside, it will painlessly create a suction to your vaginal walls, keeping it in place. The only way to break the suction seal is if you reach in and squeeze the cup.
“Will it get lost in my vagina?”
No, there is no way your period cup can actually get ‘lost’ inside your vagina. You might think that it is ‘lost’ because you can’t find the stem of the cup, but it is actually impossible for the cup to pass through your body as your cervix acts as a barrier between the uterus and the vagina.
Cost comparison: Pads vs menstrual cups
Before switching to a menstrual cup, I, an average woman with an average flow, was using around three pads per day — two in the day and one for sleeping.
With that, let’s do a cost comparison to see how much money I would’ve spent on pads in 15 years compared to a menstrual cup.
Disclaimer: All pads and products mentioned in this cost comparison are what I personally used before making the switch.
Amount of sanitary pads and cost for one period cycle
For day use: Laurier Super Ultra Slim Cool, 25cm
Price: S$4.50 for 14 pieces
For night use: Whisper Koala Huhu 42.5cm Maximum All Night Super Thin With Wings
Price: S$2.50 for four pads
Panty liner (for spotting and towards end of period): Carefree Pantyliner
Price: S$2 for 40 pieces
Assuming I use one entire pack of Laurier (day) and Whisper (night) and 10 pieces of panty liner per period cycle, the total cost of period products per month will be a grand total of S$7.50. Doesn’t sound like much? Wait until you add up the cost over 15 years.
Amount spent on sanitary pads per year: S$7.50 x 12 = S$90
Total amount spent on period products for 15 years: S$90 x 15 = S$1,350
Menstrual cup that lasts for 15 years: S$11
Price difference: S$1,350 – S$11 = S$1,339
With that amount of money, I could’ve bought an iPhone 13 and still have some left over. Even if you replace your menstrual cup yearly, it will still cost you less than disposable period products.
If you’ve been convinced to try out the menstrual cup, here’s a trick to save more money. Simply charge your purchase to a cashback credit card to make your cup even cheaper!
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By Kendra Tan
Avid promo code hunter and haggler. Kendra doesn’t like paying full price for anything. She’s the best person to bring along if you’re travelling on a budget. Have an interesting story to tell? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org