In my previous post, i said that the menstrual cup was the major reason that made me decide instantly that i am finally going zero waste. There’s no exaggeration in that statement. This may sound weird but the menstrual cup is life-changing. As in, bes! Once i realized that zero waste menstruation is possible, i realized that i can actually do zero waste. After all, a huge part of my nonrecyclable waste in 2016 was composed of pads and tampons and their packaging.
If you have used a menstrual cup before, i’m 100% sure you agree with me. If you haven’t, then try it and i’m already 100% sure you’ll agree with me. Since i’ve used it, i haven’t stopped raving about it to my sister and friends.
Even before i’ve actually used a menstrual cup, i’ve been talking to some of my friends about it and have had a hard time convincing some of them to join me in making the switch from pads and tampons to menstrual cups. The facts and figures about the waste disposable pads and tampons make weren’t convincing enough. And that is partly because that’s just all where i’m coming from, really: the pro-Earth perspective. But now that i’ve actually used a menstrual cup, i hope i can now be more convincing.
So what’s exciting about menstrual cups? Well, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to my period! At first, i only wanted to use it for environmental purposes. I thought i was trading convenience and comfort for an environmental cause and i was willing to do that just so i won’t send another pad or tampon to the landfills. But it turns out that menstrual cups are not only eco-friendly, but actually waaay more convenient, comfortable, and hygienic than pads and tampons!
(1) You only need to put it in twice: morning and evening. While this depends on one’s flow, i think that even on heavy days cups won’t require you to change as often as pads and tampons require. You also need to own only one cup for at least five years or more because silicone, of which the cup is made, is durable and reusable. That said, menstrual cups are more convenient and practical to use than pads and tampons, which you need to buy every month and change every four hours or less to avoid odor and risks of toxic shock syndrome caused by bacteria. (Wow, imagine the waste we throw in a single day and in a month!)
(2) It feels like you’re not wearing anything at all! Mga bes, i think many of us can relate about how pads and tampons can feel very uncomfortable and gross they restrain our freedom to move however we like. With menstrual cups, not only can you hike, run, dance, climb, and swim safely, you can also sleep in whatever position totally worry-free. Pads for “all night” use have nothing on menstrual cups. Not even tampons, which gives a feeling of dryness inside you. Using the toilet becomes a different experience too: no sight of the blood on the pad (yuck!) and no need to protect the tampon string from touching the toilet bowl. Having said these, i think menstrual cups are more comfortable to use than pads and tampons. A note, tho: Trying it out for the first time did feel uncomfortable but applying water-based lubricant did the trick. The lube i used was Trust EZ Lubricating Jelly, a small sachet of which costs P25.00 at Mercury Drugstore. Eventually, i learned how to easily insert the cup without the help of a lube so now my periods are totally zero waste.
(3) No odor, no itchiness, no leaks!* Once you’ve used it, you’ll realize how gross pads and tampons are. Heck, you’ll realize that the blood isn’t gross at all! The odor, as we all know, is actually caused by bacteria building up in the moist down there and upon contact with the chemicals in the pad or tampon. The same odor-causing bacteria irritates the skin, causing itchiness and, sometimes, rash. About leakage, tho, the cup needs to be properly inserted or emptied every 12 hours in order to have no leaks. In my experience, i only had a leak because i once wore the cup for 24 hours straight as i then had honestly forgotten about my period!
So there. Eco-friendly, convenient, comfortable, and hygienic, the menstrual cup is truly the best thing that has ever happened to my period. There is just no way you can make me go back to pads and tampons anymore. I hope this simple reason is enough to convince menstruating people** to make the switch too.
So where can you get menstrual cups in the Philippines? I got mine from Anytime Menstrual Cups PH for only P700.00. I wanted to try the Filipino brand Sinaya Cup but it was rather expensive for me then as i had resigned from work during the time i desperately needed to make the switch (desperate because my conscience wouldn’t let me throw another pad to a landfill. I still have a pack of unused pads here and i’m never using them again!). A social enterprise, Sinaya Cup costs P1,199.00; when you buy one, you also give one to a woman in its partner communities or to Days for Girls, an international women’s advocacy group.
International brands of menstrual cups are also available locally at maternity online shops, but i recommend the two brands i mentioned because they’re the most affordable so far and many Filipinos have used these brands and given them good reviews with detailed tips on how to use them.
So there. I hope you give menstrual cups a try, if you haven’t. I swear, it’ll be the best thing to happen to your period!
UPDATE: I don’t know why, after some use, my menstrual cup leaked. As far as i can tell, i have inserted it properly and have not filled it to the brim. So why is it leaking now?? I googled and found out that i’m not alone. It turns out that leaks are pretty normal. While there are ways to stop menstrual cups from leaking, i realize it would also help to wear washable menstrual pads or pantyliners to catch occasional leaks. I’ve heard of washable pads and pantyliners before but didn’t bother to mention them as a zero waste period alternative because i’m a hardcore menstrual cup fanatic. (Haha) But because occasional leaks, okay, here you go. Now, where to get washable menstrual pads and pantyliners in the Philippines? Well, just google “washable menstrual pads philippines” and you’ll find many local online stores that sell washable pads and pantyliners at affordable prices. I haven’t bought one but i suggest choosing one that is made of cotton instead of microfiber. 🙂
*Not that we should be ashamed about menstrual leaks or stains! But don’t we hate stains–blood, coffee, ink, etc.–on clothes or furniture?
**’coz i feel i just want to say that not all girls and women menstruate and that not all that menstruate are girls or women. 😉