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5 Pinays Get Real About What It's Like To *Make The Switch* To Menstrual Cups

'I don't think I will ever go back to using pads.'
PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK
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Ever since I got my period, the only menstrual products I knew of (and actually tried) were sanitary napkins and tampons. For the longest time, I stuck with these products because 1) they're readily available in grocery stores and 2) they're comfortable and easy to use. Fast forward to college, I discovered a more sustainable option: menstrual cups. ICYDK, a menstrual cup is a flexible, bell-shaped, silicon or TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) feminine hygiene product. It's inserted into the vagina to collect blood during menstruation. 

Now I what you're thinking: The thought of putting a foreign object inside you can be pretty scary and uncomfortable. We totally get it! But if you're curious as to what it's really like to use one, Cosmopolitan spoke to five Pinays who started with pads and tampons and recently *made the switch* to menstrual cups. Keep reading to know more about their experiences. Who knows, they just might convince you to do the same. ;) 

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What pushed you to *make the switch*?

  • "I watched a lot of YouTube videos and read stuff online about other people sharing their experiences and what works for them. I was pretty sold on the idea already. Having a friend who also wanted to make the switch finally pushed me to buy one." -Kat

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  • "Sakto kasi sa lockdown, haha! I've been thinking about purchasing one for both my personal benefit and the environment's. It really made sense to make the switch cause all that non-biodegradable waste and monthly costs from purchasing pads every month just wasn't sustainable." -Iana

  • "I was starting to feel really guilty about all the waste that was made from using feminine products, especially since I go through so many when I would have almost a week of heavy flows. On top of that, it was always so expensive and a hassle to constantly stock up on pads and tampons. Plus, tampons are also hard to come by since I moved back to the province." -Andrea

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  • "I wanted to make the switch a couple of years ago but back then, cups weren't readily available in the Philippines. It was my mom, who's really into sustainable living, who first spotted a local seller! It's really the most environment-friendly option out there. For the price and how long it lasts, it's also the most economical option. I thought of it as an investment." -Tessa

  • "It started when a post about menstrual cups came up on my feed. I got curious. A lot of people kept saying that once you get to used to it, 'that time of the month' won't be such a hassle anymore. There's also the bit where you contribute less waste and you get to save since a cup would last you for at least a year." -April

What menstrual cup are you using now?

  • "I use the Saalt Soft Cup which I got from Period Supply Co. for around P2,000." -Kat
  • "I have the Sinaya Cup (which I got for the promo price of P2,084) and the Loop Cup (P750)! Got both from their respective online stores. For the Sinaya Cup I got the Lite Bundle which includes an abaca carrying bag, a sterilizer cup, a Sinaya wash, a reusable panty liner, and a resuable organizer box." -Iana

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    menstrual cup
    COURTESY OF IANA
  • "I got the Loop menstrual cup from the Loop Store for just P750!" -Andrea

    menstrual cup
    COURTESY OF ANDREA
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  • "The cup that works best for me is the Me Luna Classic which I got from Period Supply Co for around P1,000."
  • "I use the Sinaya Cup which I got for P1,199 from their website." -April

What's it like to use a menstrual cup and how is it different from other menstrual products?

  • "There were struggles in the beginning but it really just took patience and practice. After getting the cup, I was pretty much used to it by my fourth or fifth cycle. I don't think I will ever go back to using pads. The struggle was just finding what ways of inserting and removing works for me, and figuring out how to use it correctly so that there won't be any leaks or it would be just minimal. In terms of comfort, the menstrual cup for me is the best! I wouldn't say that you don't feel anything at all. If you pay attention to it, you would know that it's there. Throughout the day however, you'll probably forget that you have it in you! You won't have to deal with the icky feeling of wet pads that also limit your movement if you use a menstrual cup. I'm also just really so happy that I don't need to buy pads anymore and that I'm limiting the waste I produce." -Kat

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  • "I super love it! I've been using it for around nine months now and it's so freeing! Legit I have never felt so comfortable during my period. I only have to change it once in the morning after I wake up, once in the middle of the day, and once at night before sleeping. Not gonna lie, the first time I tried it was a struggle. I literally had NO IDEA where the hell it was supposed to go. So, I really had to figure out the right position and the right angle as I prepared to insert it. In terms of pulling it out, I also had a hard time at first cause I swear it feels like laying an egg, haha! It doesn't hurt naman as long as it's done properly. The trick is to use your pooping muscles to push it out. The pinaka-game changer talaga for me is being able to workout without discomfort or fear of tagos (which I would usually worry about when I'd wear pads). Sometimes nga I forget na I'm on my period! On top of that, I'm reducing costs and overall waste. It's really a winning product tbh, would highly recommend." -Iana

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  • "Switching to a menstrual cup definitely has a learning curve. Since I'm coming from tampons, I have more familiarity with my female anatomy. However, I did find folding and inserting a little daunting at first. Getting it to make the 'pop' sound, which lets you know that the cup has securely unfolded inside, was also a little bit confusing but I think I did eventually get the hang of it. The emptying process was also a little awkward and messy during your first couple of tries. Practice makes perfect though! But even with all of that, I absolutely fell in love with using a menstrual cup. I was able to go about my day without constant trips to the restroom or having to limit myself to certain body positions. I could go to bed, sleep soundly, and still not have to worry about stains when I wake up. Not to be cliché but it really did make me feel empowered as a woman." -Andrea

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  • "The first few times were awkward and uncomfortable. I couldn't tell if I was inserting it properly, if the cup was opening, and I couldn't stop worrying about leaks! Even coming from using tampons, the switch still took some getting used to. Over time though, wearing and removing it got easier and eventually became effortless. I still don't like removing and cleaning it in public bathrooms though and prefer to do it when I get home. Throughout the day, wearing mine still caused some discomfort and sometimes even pain from the stick type handle! I switched to a smaller size with a ball type handle and now I hardly ever remember I'm wearing it! Didn't put much thought into sizing and assumed it was a one size fits all type thing and only realized later on that the size and handle can make all the difference." -Tessa

  • "My first attempt wasn't that successful because I wasn't sure if the angle was right or if the cup already 'popped' and was secure. It wasn't exactly a painful experience though, it just felt a bit uncomfortable. Luckily, I found a really helpful instructional video in a Facebook group. After maybe 2 cycles, I didn't have a problem with using the cup—it didn't feel awkward and I didn't experience any leaks. When people say you barely notice you're wearing the cup, it's true! I even do my spinning classes with it and I don't get any leaks. It's probably one of the best decisions I made this quarantine!" -April

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What's your advice for Pinays who are planning to *make the switch*?

  • "I think it's really all about finding what works for you and giving it some time. Be patient. Read up not to scare yourself and really learn from others. It's super worth it!" -Kat
  • "For those who are concerned about the pain, it's not as scary as it seems so don't worry! There will be a little discomfort sa start because you're not used to it yet, but I can reassure that once you do get used to it, you'll hardly feel it!" -Iana
  • "Don't forget to do your research! There are lots of resources online for first time cup users that will be so useful in deciding what shape and size you want your cup to be. It's also great to have conversations with your friends who may have already made the switch in order to get a first-hand account of what it's like to use a menstrual cup. Don't be shy or hesitant! Menstruation is normal and we have to start thinking of it as such!" -Andrea
  • "The discomfort of being new to the cup is nothing compared to the amount of discomfort and pain that usually comes with a period. It's tough at first but once you're used to it, sometimes you'll even forget it's your time of the month." -Tessa
  • "I think the biggest help was joining this Facebook group for menstrual cup users. It's easy to ask for advice or find relatable and helpful content there since you're sharing a common experience with everyone else." -April
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