You might have sworn by sanitary pads ever since Auntie Flo’s very first visit. But chances are, you know a friend (or friend of friend) who is using a menstrual cup.

If you don’t know what a menstrual cup is, you would be forgiven. Such is the case with many women, who rely on pads or tampons for protection. While period hygiene products are a matter of personal preference, people who use cups say it has made their monthly cycle that much easier.

WHAT IS A MENSTRUAL CUP?

For the uninitiated, a menstrual cup is a soft cup made of medical-grade silicone inserted to catch menses. It’s often available in two sizesone for women who have delivered children, and one for women who have not. Each cup can usually carry up to 1 ounce of fluid, which is twice the amount a napkin or tampon could hold. That’s why most cups are wearable for a maximum of 12 hours. Oh, and did we mention that one cup can last you for years? Yes, years!

WHY USE IT

Although many people might wince at using a menstrual cup again (and again and again), they’re actually more hygienic than you think. As mentioned, all cups are made of medical-grade silicone, which creates less inference with pH levels and healthy bacteria. Also, the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), a common infection among tampon users, is little to none. When using a cup, no menstrual fluid is absorbed into your system, usually increasing the chances of TSS. A cup catches, not absorbs, your menses—which users are usually advised to pour out every 4 to 8 hours.

If there is one thing, however, that convinces most women to consider using a menstrual cup, it’s the comfortability. When inserted properly, you can forget you’re wearing it! Of course, if you’ve worn sanitary napkins all your life, you might experience a learning curve. So, if you’re curious, we’re showing you the easiest way to use a menstrual cup. Just keep scrolling to see how!


HOW TO USE IT

Starting with clean hands, pinch the cup in the middle. NOTE: If you are using your cup for the first time, sanitize it according to the instructions.
Push the sides in half.
Insert the cup in about a 45 degree angle towards the pubic bone—the same way you would a tampon. Once secure, it should “pop” open inside.

When you want to remove it, push your pelvic muscles, which should move the cup outward. Once you see it, press and pull it out. Just make sure to perform the action over a toilet, so you can pour out its contents easily. Rinse with clean water and re-insert if necessary.
With enough practice, you will no doubt get the hang of it. Don’t take our word for it, though—one of the girls on the BeautyMNL put a menstrual cup to the test on her period. She chronicles her experience and what a newbie might expect in the process.

“I’ll be honest: I didn’t wear my menstrual cup today. Mainly because I was in transit from a vacation in Bali, and would be in a plane to Manila for six hours. Using a new contraption outside my comfort zone was a risk I wasn’t ready for—not for my first time.”

“On the second—and strongest—day of my period, I decided it was the perfect time to use the menstrual cup. Since I was home, I would save myself any embarrassment in case of a leak. Plus, I was keen to know if it could withstand the Niagara Falls-intensity of my flow. It was a struggle to insert the cup for the first time. But once I got it down pat, it was easy to insert and re-insert. One thing I did notice is how quickly the cup filled up. Maybe it was because of the intensity of my period? But I wore it for a lot longer than I would a super-absorbent pad—a win in and of itself!”

“On the last day of my period, I wore the cup to the office. Despite my usual worry of leaking, I was able to make it through a 12-hour day without a single splotch on my skirt. And, unlike if I were using a napkin, I didn’t have the normal sensation of being on my period. For one, there was zero discomfort during wear. Two, it wasn’t visible to me when using the bathroom. If anything, it was little strange to pee with it on. But this is nothing a quick readjustment can’t fix!”

THE VERDICT

“I like the menstrual for a couple reasons. First, you don’t have to switch it out as often as a napkin or a tampon. You can leave it on for an entire day with little to no worry of leaking. Second, it also allows me the flexibility to move freely. I could lift weights at the gym or run without any discomfort. Lastly, it felt comfortable. So comfortable, in fact, I forgot it was there!

While it’s obvious I would use a menstrual cup again, I noticed one setback: it isn’t so easy to insert and re-insert in a public establishment. It requires privacy and space, plus a sink. And, if you’re squeamish, you should know that there will be interaction with blood. It’s true: using a menstrual cup takes practice—and perhaps, for many, a leap of faith. But if you just so happen to make the jump, it might just change your life!”

So, would you use a menstrual cup? Sound off in the comments section!

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