One of our customers has kindly allowed us to reproduce her review of the Lunette Model 1 menstrual cup here. As a sportswoman, she has tried and tested the cup through heavy lifting at the gym. Read more about her experience!
My first Menstrual Cup experience
Some time late last year, my sisters and I were chatting on WhatsApp, and we decided to make 2016 the year that we would switch to a menstrual cup. Now, having grown up in a family of 4 girls, that’s huge news for us!
So I excitedly mentioned this to my close friends (who are also my powerlifting team mates), and as it turns out, one of them, Gee has a small business selling menstrual cups! The conversation took an amazing turn from there on - the more we talked about it, the more I learnt, and the more I felt comfortable with the idea of bidding my tampons goodbye.
On 28 December, I collected my first menstrual cup, the Lunette Model 1, from Gee, and it took me a few more days to convince myself to try it out. Although I had been chatting with my friends about it, it still seemed pretty daunting. Like our team mate Vanessa, I also wanted to try it out before my period started, as I felt it would be a terrible experience if I were to struggle with it on the first day of my period!
My first try (without period)
I used the C-fold on the first try, and managed to get it in pretty easily! YES! But then I gave the stem a tug, and the cup started moving, and it could slip out easily with a couple more tugs. That was a fail. Ladies, if you don’t know yet, that’s the first sign that your cup did not open up inside. If it did, it would create a seal on the walls of your vaginal canal, and it would not slip out so easily. (Also, this means your cup won’t fly out so easily, regardless of what vigorous physical activity you’re doing!)
I tried it a couple more times that evening using the punch down fold, and the triangle fold, and did not manage to get the cup to open up. Felt a little dismayed, and said so in our group chat, but the girls encouraged me to try another day. Also, after a couple of tries, and the fact that I kept washing my hands and my cup while trying, my vaginal canal was quite dry. I did not have any lubricant with me, so I decided not to try anymore. It actually hurts a little if you try to shove something up your vagina when it’s dry - that’s why we can’t have sex when our vagina isn’t ‘wet’ enough, right?
My second try (without period) a few days later
Wow, this time I was much more relaxed, and armed with a few tips from the girls on how to get the cup to open up, I tried and was successful in getting the cup to open up inside! I stood upright, wiggled my butt around a little (silly, I know), and bent over in various positions, and squatted, to make sure I didn’t feel the cup’s presence inside. Felt nothing at all. I tugged on the stem a little, and the cup didn’t budge, so I knew it was safe.
I went to bed with it.
The next morning, I woke up, and went about my morning. Then, I decided to remove my cup. As I was not having my period, there was only a little discharge in the cup. A good sign, actually - that meant that the cup had opened up properly, and could collect stuff inside. I was so much more confident now.
The important thing, I guess, is to know that your vaginal canal is not straight. It is at an angle, and so you should try to insert your cup at an angle too. This diagram might help:
I don’t know about you, but I tend to put in a tampon when my WomanLog app reminds me, in anticipation of my period. More often than not, I waste a couple of tampons before I start bleeding. With the cup, there is zero waste. No period? No problem! Just rinse and put it back in. No extra charges! :P
On Sunday night, I put the cup in, in anticipation. On Monday morning, I had some discharge in the cup, and very very little blood. (That would have been one tampon wasted). I rinsed it out, and put it back in. Monday evening, before I went for my powerlifting class, I checked. Same thing, discharge, and very tiny specks of blood. (That would have been two tampons wasted). Past midnight and before bed, I checked again, and rinsed again, as there was nothing much again. Damn uterus. (That would have been three tampons wasted). By this time I have had so much experience taking it in and out, I felt like an expert and a rockstar. Haha. Tuesday morning came, and there was finally blood in the cup! YES! (It would have been four tampons by this time). I washed it in the shower, popped it back in, and went out for brunch with my girl friends.
Came back 4 hours later, and the cup was half full. BLOODY UTERUS (literally) finally decided to bleed properly! I was really happy, though. This also meant that I had successfully used the cup on my first day, and there were no leaks!
Doing Sports with the Menstrual Cup
As I mentioned, on Monday night, I went for powerlifting class. I did some vigorous work (light squats, push ups, squat jumps) for warm ups, and then went straight into squatting 70kg, 80kg, 90kg, 92.5kg. Nothing flew out. DAMN. I was kinda hoping some blood would fly around so I get to gross my male team members out. Nevermind.
I then moved on to bench pressing. With that super arch and how hard we pressed our legs into the ground, and when we tighten our bodies for the bench press, there is a feeling similar to bearing down (like trying to give birth or push the menstrual cup out). You would think I would have squeezed something out right? But no, again, nothing came out of my vajayjay. The girls, who knew I was wearing a cup, were teasing about squeezing the cup out so we could fling it or flaunt it at one of the guys, as he was so embarrassed when he overheard us talking about the menstrual cup the last week. A little disappointed nothing flew out.
Deadlift! Some girls have been known to pee a little during the deadlift. Maybe I could finally squeeze out the menstrual cup! Deadlifted 100kg for reps, but still nothing flew out. Super disappointed. I did some other exercises later, some involving flexing my glutes (butt muscles) etc. and, as expected, nothing flew out.
So yes, the cup doesn’t fly out so easily - tried and tested! :P
The cost and the convenience
I guess I really switched to a menstrual cup cos I’m a lazy person, and also a forgetful one. I often forget to bring tampons with me, and end up having to buy them from convenience stores at exorbitant prices. Also, the fact that I use so many tampons (heavy flow on 2 days, means I use around 6-7 tampons a day, although by day 3 I usually just need pantyliners). Add on to that, the three or four tampons I waste while anticipating my period, that means I easily finish up almost an entire box of 18 tampons for each period.
For someone who is often on the move, often with a huge bag (those who know me personally will know this), it is just super inconvenient to keep going to the toilet to change my tampons (that get soaked so fast), and struggling and digging around in that gigantic duffel bag, for tampons. Imagine doing this while trying not to set your huge and heavy duffel bag on the floor especially when the toilet floor is dirty or wet. With a menstrual cup, I eliminate this problem entirely - the cup will never get misplaced, as it’s already inside me, and all I have to do is to rinse it and put it back in. I always have a bottle of water with me, so I can simply use this for rinsing!
I am definitely no tree hugger, and the closest I come to tree-hugging is when I wrap delicate pieces of tissue paper around my nose every morning, thanks to my allergic rhinitis!
Jokes aside, I do love the idea of being more eco-friendly, as I am a huge fan of SCUBA Diving. The less waste we each generate, the better it is for our ecosystem! I don’t know how big of a carbon footprint I have, but I believe that if everyone does their part, no matter how small, together we can make a difference!
“Small Flowers Crack Concrete” - that’s what is tattooed on my right forearm, and I am reminded everyday, that small people can do great things. Likewise, every small action we do to save or harm the earth, can add up to big consequences.
I am a little (quite) ashamed to admit that I typically buy Tampax Pearl tampons with plastic applicator. That means the amount of waste I generate each period is really terrible. Let’s just say I use one entire box of 18 tampons during a period. That means every month I use:
- 18x plastic wrappers
- 18x tampon itself with string
- 18x plastic applicators,
- 1x cardboard box containing the tampons
Well, all that is now behind me. No more tampons, no more waste!
The bad thing is...
Just kidding - there are no bad things about using a menstrual cup so far, for me. Even though my period is heavy on Day 1 and 2, and I might have to empty the cup more often than people normally do (every 12 hours), I still feel fine about it, as there are no extra costs other than the one time sunken cost in purchasing the menstrual cup.
Perhaps the worst thing is the first couple of times you try to put the cup in (and even then, it’s really not that bad). There is indeed some getting used to, and the learning curve isn’t as easy for many people who don’t have friends to talk to. But if you feel comfortable, you can always talk to me about it, or join this private ladies-only Facebook group Menstrual Cups Asia - LiveLoveLuna which my friend started. Over there, girls share tips, information, and experiences on using the menstrual cup! It really helped me to talk about it, and to have people share information with me.
My Lunette Cup, and The Period Co.
So far, I’ve only gotten the Lunette (Model 1) and I can say it is relatively easy to use. I don’t know much about the other cups, but I know some other brands are stiffer. Many cups are similar and once you’ve gotten the technique of putting them in and removing them, using different cups wouldn’t be as daunting. The most daunting part is really the learning curve when you’re first trying to switch over from pads and/or tampons.
Obviously, there are pros and cons to softer or firmer cups, but personally I love how smooth the Lunette is. No awkward ridges on the cups (ouch) unlike some other brands I’ve seen, and it’s soft enough so that I can easily fold it, and insert.
I’m currently using a feminine wash to wash my cup, but I’ve also just purchased the Lunette FeelBetter Cup Cleanser, cos I’m a lazy bitch and I don’t feel like boiling my cup every period. I think I will really FeelBetter if I use the cleanser recommended by the manufacturer, as there’s the least chance that it will degrade the silicone material of which the cup is made! This is entirely optional though - most people just use a mild soap that doesn’t have fragrance or alcohol in its ingredients.
I purchased my Lunette cup from The Period Co., and because it’s started by my friend, I do also hope you will support this local, home-grown business. It’s not easy to start a business like this in a society where even the mention of menstruation is taboo, but she definitely is trying! :) She has dreams of making periods easier and cheaper for women across Asia, and would love to share her experience and pro-tips with any girl who wants to know!