September 10, 2016

#SupportLokalPH: Sinaya Cup

Recently, I've been discovering a number of local (i.e. Filipino) independent businesses. Some of them I've discovered online (on Facebook or on Instagram), others in bazaars. I realize how challenging it is for them to compete with the global market--just look at the shops in our malls and you'll see that most of the brands are from foreign companies ("local" businesses are usually re-sellers na lang)--so in my own little way, I would like to help promote their brand by featuring some of my favorite purchases in this blog.

Sinaya Cup

Sinaya Cup is a brand of menstrual cups and a community of modern active Filipinas


Saving the environment and your lady parts, one cup at a time!

First things first: What is a menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is a tool for collecting female menses. Much like a tampon, it is inserted into the vagina, and its cup-shaped structure is used to collect discharge flowing from the cervix. Unlike a tampon or a disposable sanitary napkin, it is reusable for up to five years.

Why consider using a menstrual cup when tampons and sanitary napkins work fine?

There are two main reasons to consider using menstrual cups:
  1. To minimize ecological footprint. Disposable female hygiene products are more often than not non-biodegradable, and depending on a country's waste management laws, used tampons and sanitary napkins are either used in landfills, incinerated, or worse, thrown into the oceans. This pose potential health hazards to both humans and other living creatures in the planet.
  2. To empower women to continue normal activities even during their period. When inserted correctly, a menstrual cup is virtually unnoticeable. Furthermore, a menstrual cup that is correctly worn will provide a seal that will prevent any discharge from leaking outside the vagina. Since a menstrual cup can be worn for up to 12 hours, a woman is free to be as active as she pleases, even during her period.
Admittedly, I am not an active/ sporty person, so my reason for trying out a menstrual cup is Reason #1, i.e. to help save the environment in my own way. I always wanted to start living a zero-waste lifestyle, so hopefully by this way I am one step closer to this goal.

SIDENOTE: While there are other eco-friendly alternatives to using tampons and disposable sanitary napkins, like cloth pads and the like, I'm not too keen about washing a bloody pad just to use them again. Washing my underwear and clothes each time I get a leak is effort enough, thank you.

Saving the environment + Supporting local products = Two birds in one!

The West (i.e. America et al) has already embraced menstrual cups a few years back, with the emergence of brands like the Diva Cup, Lunette, Lily Cup, etc [source]. Despite my interest in trying out one for myself, I haven't been able to find physical stores here in the Philippines that sell this type of product. Since purchase will have to be done online anyway [source], I decided to look for possible local brands making their own menstrual cups.

Thanks to Instagram and friends' testimonials, I discovered Sinaya Cup.

A photo posted by Sinaya Cup (@sinayacup) on

In the interest of keeping my post short (oops, too late for that), here's a quick breakdown on the specifications of a Sinaya Cup:
  • One cup costs 1,199 PhP + Delivery Fee of  45 PhP (Metro Manila) or 100 PhP (Provincial Area)
  • There are two sizes: Small for women under 30 y/o who have not given birth, and Large for women 30 y/o and up, and/or have given vaginal birth, and/or experience very heavy flows
  • Each cup is made of medical-grade silicone, wearable for up to 12 hours, and reusable for up to 5 years

In addition, for each purchase of a Sinaya Cup, another Sinaya Cup will be donated to underprivileged women in rural areas. Not bad!

Each Sinaya Cup comes in an abaca pouch, for easy eco-friendly storage

Ordering a Sinaya Cup is done via Facebook. They respond fairly quickly to messages, and will provide their bank details for payment deposit. I chose to pay via PayPal, and for this they provided a separate page (which can only be viewed in Desktop Mode) for both order and payment. Further inquiries like confirmation of payment, schedule of delivery, and tracking number of shipment are done via Facebook Messenger.

Woah, that cup looks huge. How do you use it?

With regards to menstrual cup insertion and its placement inside the female body, this is the most comprehensive video I found in YouTube:

I haven't got my period yet since my pregnancy/ miscarriage, but I wanted to test out the cup for myself. After two attempts, I was successfully able to insert the cup in such a way that I cannot feel it inside me. But since it was just a dry run, I cannot verify if I wore it correctly--I cannot check it against discharges and leaks of an actual period.

Nevertheless, allow me to share a few tips that can help fellow first-time users insert a menstrual cup in the least traumatic way possible.

A Large Sinaya Cup. Looks intimidating, but I was able to insert it on my second dry run attempt

  1. Boil the cup for 10 minutes or so prior to first use. Not only will it sterilize the cup, but the heat will soften the cup for easier insertion. Don't insert the cup immediately after boiling though, as you will burn yourself.
  2. Wash your hands and the cup with a mild, oil-free solution. You can use regular soap for your hands, but make sure that you wash away all the residue as you will use them to insert stuff inside you. For the cup, mild facial cleansers like Cetaphil will do.
  3. Position yourself comfortably. Some recommend squatting, sitting on the toilet, or raising one leg. Squatting over the toilet (like when you are using public restrooms and you don't want your butt to touch the toilet seat) was what worked for me.
  4. Find the fold that works for you.  There are as many as nine folding techniques for menstrual cups. I observed that while some techniques offer a smaller diameter for insertion, the trade-off is that maintaining the fold will be difficult. Since the menstrual cup is designed to "pop" open once inside you, complex folds mean more challenge as the silicone will resist to maintain its shape. The Punch-Down Fold was what worked for me.
  5. RELAX. My first attempt at insertion was a failure because I was pressuring myself to get it right the first time. Because of this, my whole body was tensing up, and eventually rejected the cup. I was more relaxed during my second attempt (and was a bit more lubricated, TMI), so I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to insert it immediately. Another thing to note is that my first attempt was done in the evening, while the second attempt was done in the morning. Could a factor be that we are most relaxed in the morning? I don't know.
  6. Aim to the back, not upwards. Position the mouth of the folded cup at an angle pointing towards the tailbone, and insert towards that direction. It takes considerable practice to get the aim right, which I think is the key to a successful insertion.
For what it's worth, most of the stories shared in the Web say that it would take a few cycles to master menstrual cup insertion. Also, I have reason to believe that during an actual period, all that shedding in the uterine lining will naturally relax and lubricate the vagina, thus insertion of the menstrual cup will be significantly easier compared to the dry run.

Top view

I only wore the cup for a minute (maybe less), just to check on the comfort of the cup inside me. Since I bought a Large cup, I'm hoping that I will only be re-inserting the cup twice a day (morning and evening), even during my heaviest days. I don't know if I can make myself re-insert the cup in the middle of the day, in a public restroom. Diyahe.

Removing the cup, as I found out, is WAY easier than inserting it. All I had to do is to activate my pelvic floor muscles and Kegel that cup out of me. I didn't even have to tug the stem. Bearing down is enough to push the cup out, and once the base of the cup has emerged from the vagina, a final *pop* will release the cup out into the open.

Volume measurements at the side of the cup--a large cup can hold up to 20ml worth of menses

Rinsing the cup is a breeze, just place it under running water (warm water works best, especially if you plan to re-insert it). The silicone material is smooth (slippery?) enough to not leave any residue after rinsing. Storage is easy, too. Just air-dry the cup, and put it back inside the abaca pouch for next use.

All things said, I think my Sinaya Cup performed well, considering that I only had a dry run. Using a menstrual cup isn't as scary as I expected. What I appreciated most about this experience is that I gained a better understanding of myself--i.e. my lady parts--especially since I had to find a way to wear the cup as properly as possible. My vagina isn't as fragile and as delicate as I thought (hell yeah, GIRL POWER). I'm really looking forward to using it during my actual period. 

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