How to use a menstrual cup: Pros, cons, and where to buy them in Singapore

How to use a menstrual cup: Pros, cons, and where to buy them in Singapore

Surfing the crimson tide

Text: Emily Heng

Image: Instagram | @thehellocup

Much has been said on the matter of menstruation. In ancient times, it was thought to make cows infertile; be the hallmark of dark witches; and even, uh, serve as a cure to leprosy. Knowing this, it's hardly a surprise that this affliction is rife with rumours and misconception, causing most to shirk the topic all together. Some even go as far as to regard the subject taboo. To that, we say, no more. After all, we at Buro. Singapore pride ourselves as much disruptors of the intimate health realm as we are forward-thinking folk.

To date, we've addressed everything from vulva care to oral contraceptives — because knowledge is, indeed, power. With that in mind, it seems only apt that we talk about the latest in menstrual-management; that is, period cups. Could this eco-friendly, reusable chalice be the future of your monthlies? Read on to find out.

What is a menstrual cup?

Made from flexible plastic, they are small, funnel-shaped cups that can be (safely) inserted into the vagina. According to Stephanie Taylor, Founder and Managing Director of pelvic health company Kegel8, "it sits just below your cervix and collects any blood or lining you lose for up to 12 hours." Do note, however, that this depends on your flow. Those who frequently experience heavy periods might only be able to wear it for 8 — 10 hours at a time.

Are there any pros to using a menstrual cup?

Its reusable status makes it more eco-friendly than disposable tampon and menstrual pad options. Users also don't have to worry about their privates coming into contact with bleach or harmful substances, considering how it's a well-known fact that certain tampons are treated with chemicals to bleach the cotton. It can be used if you're a virgin or while swimming. Not forgetting, of course, the added bonus of it being cost-effective in the long-run.

Are there any cons to using a menstrual cup?

Studies say no.

How do you insert a menstrual cup?

First off, do remember to disinfect after purchasing a cup. Period ovulation app, Clue, claims the best way to do so is to grab a pot, drop the menstrual cup in, and add water until the menstrual cup isn't resting on the bottom of the pot. Next, stick it on the stove top. Boil the menstrual cup for five minutes, and that's it. Remove the menstrual cup from the pot, and be sure to let it cool down completely before insertion.

Once that's done, take the cup and fold the top portion in half. This will create a tight C or U shape. You can insert it while sitting, squatting, or even lying down, so opt for whichever position makes you feel comfortable. Part your legs, locate your vaginal opening, and slowly insert it until it is no longer protruding from your opening — make sure, however, that you can still feel the stem so you'll be able to remove it safely after.

How do you remove a menstrual cup?

It is recommended that you get in a squatting position for this. Using your abdominal muscles, bear down as if you are having bowel movement — this, supposedly, pushes your menstrual cup slightly down in your vagina and makes it easier to grab onto. Gently pull at the stem and extricate it from there.

What is the best way to care for a menstrual cup?

Simply give it a thorough rinse with hot soapy water after each use. Use a mild soap to ensure that you won't experience irritation after insertion. Long-time users claim that this method alone has allowed them to preserve and maintain their cups for up to a decade.

Where can I buy a menstrual cup?

Online is your best bet. You won't even have to rely on international orders — The Period Co, for instance, is based in Singapore and also provides a wide range of reusable menstrual products to choose from. Other options include Freedom Cups (also SG-based), Lunette, and Saalt.