This is my menstrual cup success after horror story
I’m Jamine, a wife to a vegan anesthesiologist, a mother to 4 little humans and 13 dogs, a clinical pathologist by profession based in Bacolod City, and a natural parenting advocate. This means I breastfeed, I employ essential oils in our day to day lives, we cosleep with the youngest, I babywear, and I choose sustainable and reusable products when an option is available.
My journey exploring reusable menstrual products
I started exploring reusable menstrual products in 2015 when I started getting into cloth diapering for my second child. Initially, it was difficult to imagine having to wash blood-soaked pads and there was that fear that I’d always have leaks or overflows. Then again, I thought, I’ve been dealing with blood-soaked underwear since 6th grade, so washing pads shouldn’t be that icky, right?
Then I stumbled into menstrual cups when I was doing my research. I got curious about it, especially when I read really good reviews.
Before I proceed to describe how I selected my cups, let me give you an idea about my periods. I’m now in my late 30s, with more than 6 years of sedentary lifestyle to date, with a BMI bordering on overweight(currently working on that, I’m proud to say), and I’ve gone through 3 emergency cesarean sections.
Menstrual cup horror story. | Image from iStock
Before cups, my periods tended to use up 3-4 overnight disposable pads for the first 2 days, and fully soak 3-4 regular disposable pads from days 3-5, and light days on days 6-7, even up to 9 days. My cervix height is mid to high (you can Google how to check or you can ask your OB about it). I have endometriosis, so each period begins with severe, disabling dysmenorrhea since grade school.
Lately, considering the brands and types of cups available now, a quick online quiz at putacupinit.com can help you narrow down what cup is best for your body profile. It mostly asks what I described to you about myself in the previous paragraph.
However, back in early 2015, there were, I think, only 2 brands to choose from locally, and since I had recently just joined the unemployed (it was right after residency training), I went with the “more affordable” MeLuna. I went with a small size in classic firmness and with a ball, because I followed the guide which said small was the best size for women who never had vaginal delivery.
Menstrual cup horror story
So my period finally came and I was soooo excited to try out this new contraption. IT WAS TERRIBLE! On the first 2 days, I had to empty the cup every 30 minutes to 1 hour, because the capacity of the cup couldn’t handle my heavy flow. Then later in my period, on day 4 I think, as the flow got lighter, I spent probably 2 hours in the bathroom trying to get the damn thing out! It was too high up. I was panicking, imagining I’ll never get it out. So when I finally DID get it out, after alternately bearing down and relaxing and more panicking,
I set it aside and went back to sposies for the rest of that cycle. That was the time Facebook support groups were already starting, and I found Menstrual Cups – PH. I can’t describe the exact feeling, but I was so relieved I was not alone in my horrific experience. I also found out that choosing a cup was mostly a gray area thing rather than black or white. The group members were mostly recommending Lunette, however, I was looking into MeLuna still, this time in large.
To be honest, this was scary for me because it might be too big, and what if I couldn’t get it in? Then again, if my vagina can accommodate my husband’s penis, it probably can accommodate a menstrual cup easy.
The menstrual cup
Menstrual cup success story after horror. | Image from iStock
The cup fit, I could wait maybe 2 hours before having to empty on heavy days, and the cup didn’t disappear into the abyss (yes, it was easier to remove lol). However, I was still experiencing leaks, so I got some cloth pads that had PUL lining to back up the cup, especially since I don’t like emptying in the workplace.
About 3 years later in 2018, I decided to get a Lunette in size 2, because I noticed that my MeLuna was getting deformed with each use, and the leaks were getting worse. I thought that since Lunette was “the cup” for so many veteran users, it would probably be mine, as well. I was only able to use it a few cycles, because I got pregnant by 4th quarter of the year, and I hadn’t gotten enough experience with it to determine if it was “the one”.
Fast forward to 2020, after using Lunette for a year, I noticed that I seem to always have some form of UTI symptoms right after my periods. A couple of episodes actually required antibiotic intervention. I’m sure your initial judgment includes poor hygiene, but I actually only empty my cup at home, I wash the cup before reinserting, and it undergoes steam sterilization before and after my period.
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Hygiene was not an issue, BUT my pelvic floor muscles were! They became too weak with my sedentary lifestyle (so always do your kegels, ladies!) that the very firm body of the Lunette tended to press against my urethra through the vaginal wall, and this caused urine retention each time I urinated with the cup inside. I considered getting a different cup. One that had the same firmness of the rim but with a softer body. I took the online test, and the top result was the Mermaid Cup by cottonmermaid, a Malaysian brand. I looked for videos comparing this with a Lunette and it was EXACTLY what I was looking for, it was almost freaky. After just 1 cycle with the firm Mermaid Cup in size 2, I must say, I’m happy with it. I think I might have just found “the one”.
After all, my menstrual cup horror story isn’t a horror story.
Changes in my body that I observed when I ditched disposables:
1. Menstrual cramps were lessened. The chemicals in the disposables were messing me up real bad, and to think I used those things monthly. I have to mention as well that using essential oils to help balance my hormones was also key to better periods.
2. My periods became shorter. It used to last as long as 7-9 days, but now it stops at 6-7 days. There is a theory that the gelling “stay dry” chemicals that absorb the blood “pull” the blood out rather than just catching the flow, making periods last longer than they should.
3. My blood flow became a healthy color and the clumps that signal “something is wrong” are practically non-existent now.
Other advantages in switching to reusables:
1. A lot of people (including me way back then) think a cup is expensive, however, when you compute the cost per month, considering a cup can last 5 years when used properly, a P2,000 cup is only P33.33 per month while sanitary pads can cost you anywhere between P100-P300 per month, depending on the brand.
2. No worries about “running out of pads” when my period arrives off-schedule. I just pop the cup in its sterilizer and insert once cooled.
3. No stinky trash bins. I really despised this part of my period, because the bins get really smelly, and worse, sometimes my dogs got into the bin. Yuck!
Why I’m never going back to disposables:
During my second pregnancy, I bought disposable maternity pads because I wasn’t sure if my overnight cloth pads can handle the postpartum bleeding. That was a HUGE mistake. Apparently, there are toxins in disposable that my old body got used to, but my new, cleaner body reacted to them SO BAD. I developed a really bad allergy that started around my pubis then spread all the way up my chest and down my legs. It was the most traumatic thing, much worse than pruritic urticarial papules of pregnancy. I would much rather fold up a shirt and use that rather than buy another disposable.
So here are a few tips in choosing the right cup:
1. Get intimate with your vagina. Knowing and being comfortable with your body is already half the battle.
2. Check your cervix height and assess your pelvic floor muscle strength.
3. Take the test at putacupinit.com.
4. Research the top recommendation and make sure it is FDA registered. You’ll be putting it inside your body for hours x days, don’t risk it with cheap knockoffs. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
On using cups, always remember:
1. To wash your hands before and after emptying.
2. To have a clean bottle of water for washing the cup when emptying in a public toilet, such as in school or the workplace. Don’t use the tap water. (At home, I do because our water is filtered before it even enters the house.)
3. To clean and sterilize the cup before storing and before using. (Inquire with the manufacturer what is the best cleaning agent for their cup.)
4. To store clean cups in breathable containers, such as the pouch they come with.
Allow me to end with this:
“Your period is not your enemy. On the contrary, it’s a sound barometer of your overall health.” – Kirsten Karchmer
Where I got my cups:
1. MeLuna from mama.baby.love (Facebook)
2. Lunette from Mamaway, Shangri-La Mall
3. Mermaid Cup from reglamor (Instagram)
Connect with me:
FB: Jamine Cruz-Nalumen / The Purple Lab by jaminemd
Email: [email protected]
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