The Endless Womb
24 September 2007 @ 06:59 pm
i browsed the archive but i didn't see anything about this... (i apologize in advance if i totally missed it)

for anyone who's used a menstrual cup after giving birth vaginally, how soon after could you use your cup?

i'll probably use cloth pads at least for the first 4 weeks while i heal, but my period returned really quickly after my first baby so i'm just wondering how soon i can use the cup.

also, did it hurt to use the cup post-pardum? and was it maybe to... ahem... loose for the cup to be effective?

and while i'm at it- i was hyping the cup to my friend and she wanted to know why it was considered safe to wear while you slept. she worried about the blood just going back inside when you lay down. i wasn't quite sure how to answer her questions convincingly enough. any suggestions? i'm campaigning to turn ALL my friends onto reusable menstrual products:)

thanks!

<3 becky
 
 
Current Mood: curiouscurious
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
artemissus on September 25th, 2007 02:47 am (UTC)
As far as I know, using the cup is not recommended post-partum. I'm not sure if you'd have to wait until your 6 week follow up or if you could try it before then. Hopefully someone else can shed some more light. If not, definitely ask your health care provider for their recommendation. :)
cornaryncornaryn on September 25th, 2007 02:54 am (UTC)
This is the way I look at the sleeping thing:

If body position is not a problem during pad use, if the body can expel blood out of the cervix and through the vagina and past the labia onto a pad (or pajamas, guh) while we are sleeping and there is no question of backflow, why is the cup a problem? I would think if backflow in the short space between the cervix and the cup were an issue, the body wouldn't be able to handle ANY nighttime bleeding, which, in its natural state, has to travel much farther.

I mean, think about the slope. That slope is there while you sleep no matter what product you use, so gravity obviously is not an issue. Nor does the cup cork a river and force it to backflow--my period doesn't fill my cup at night, let alone fill my whole vagina. Thus, I really don't see how the average, healthy woman who empties her cup before she goes to bed would have anything to worry about.
The Endless Wombquixoticgirl on September 25th, 2007 09:14 pm (UTC)
i don't think it's a worry so much about the retrograde menstruation or whatever it's called. it's just the cup part of it. tampons absorb blood and with pads, the blood just flows freely from your body onto the pad to be soaked up. the cup just holds the blood til you empty it, right? so i know it wouldn't be a gushing river of blood when you laid down, but does the blood just sit kind of barricaded inside the vaginal canal until you wake up in the morning? is the cup like a dam keeping the blood from leaving your body freely? i haven't used my cup yet since i'm pregnant, but i do wanna be able to explain these things to my friends as i'm trying to encourage tehm to try reusable period products, too. i just wanna sound like i actually know what i'm talking about.

:)
cornaryncornaryn on September 25th, 2007 09:48 pm (UTC)
I am not sure I understand your question--maybe I am overcomplicating it--but yes, the cup is just a barrier keeping the blood from exiting. The blood just hangs out until you empty the cup in the morning. It's good of you to try to convert your friends!
The Endless Wombquixoticgirl on September 25th, 2007 11:43 pm (UTC)
well, my friend was concerned that it would just go back up into the uterus and that it wouldn't be healthy for the blood to stay put overnight inside her body without being absorbed by a tampon or pad. not the actual medical retrograde menstruation, just the simple fact that the blood would be more or less "stuck" inside her body. i wasn't sure how to answer her question about whether it was okay for the blood to just sit there inside the body or not. she's had some infections before so she's really wary of anything that might cause another one, i guess. she's veeeerry cautious.

i'm working on all of them, slowly but surely:)
MaryTheBandNerdmarythebandnerd on September 25th, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC)
The blood is coming from your body; why would it be unsafe for it to stay there?

Most of the risk with tampons comes from the fact that they can harbor bacteria that can then grow and multiply when blood is absorbed. Silicone is inert, and it's much more difficult for bacteria to find a place to hang out on its smooth, non-porous surface.

As for pads... since they aren't reaching up there and pulling the menstrual flow out, I don't see how they'd be less risky if you WERE worried about the blood staying there, since it could hypothetically flow back into the uterus from the vagina without ever getting to the pad. My understanding of human anatomy definitely isn't encyclopedic, but it seems to me that back-flow isn't something one should worry about at all, and definitely not something that would be a bigger issue with the cup vs. other methods.
The Endless Wombquixoticgirl on September 26th, 2007 12:20 am (UTC)
yeah that makes sense. i just didn't know how to answer her with a convincing and educated response. and i kind of wondered about it myself. it just almost seems counterintuitive to keep the blood inside when it obviously needs to come out, haha.
Carolinemiriyaayanne on September 26th, 2007 11:36 am (UTC)
Well, you kind of do that with tampons too, don't you? The cup is better than pads because well, pads get really icky and then there's the whole coliform contamination thing and letting a wet pad chafe your privates... The cup just stops things on the way out and then you empty it :D
Melissa, starry-eyed soy-lovin' Expatriated Zulu: Divacupoddharmonic on September 25th, 2007 03:22 am (UTC)
The general rule of thumb is not to insert anything intravaginally until six weeks postpartum or otherwise given the all-clear by one's health care provider. (I've read stories of people who had PIV sex as soon as a few days postpartum, but I wouldn't recommend it.)

Differences in the vagina postpartum vary from person to person. I did not use a reusable menstrual cup before having children so I can't compare there, but I did not notice a difference in my vaginal muscle tone by the time my period returned after giving birth.

I'd recommend that your friend concerned about where menstrual flow goes while lying down read chapter 13 of Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era (aka the 2005 edition of OBO).
another revolutionaryjennifer19 on September 25th, 2007 03:29 am (UTC)
I've never had children so I may not be the best advice to take, but I would not use it before your 6 week, then ask your OB what they think. I would think it along the same lines as tampons as far as when to start using it again.

Below is from the Diva Cup website as far as Retrograde menstruation, Endometriosis, and the cup. Retrograde Menstruation (Backflowing menstruation) is actually VERY common (some estimates I've seen at 90%) yet endometriosis is relatively UNcommon (3-10% of menstuating women). If you google "retrograde menstruation" you'll get a lot of hits.

What is the theory of retrograde menstruation?

The theory of retrograde menstruation is also known as 'backward menstruation'. Some people think that retrograde menstruation is when the flow goes back into the uterus when there is a blockage in the vagina from using internally worn menstrual products. This is not the case. In almost all women, some of the menstrual fluid flows backwards into the fallopian tubes from the uterus instead of leaving the body through the cervix and vaginal canal.

Since the fallopian tubes are open-ended (they are not joined to the ovaries, but open nearby), menstrual fluid can drip into the pelvic cavity. It is suspected that in women who experience endometriosis, the endometrial tissue contained in the menstrual fluid sticks to whatever structures it lands on (such as the ovaries) and starts to grow.

Retrograde menstruation occurs in almost all women, but only 3-10% of menstruating women develop endometriosis. One theory suggests that the immune systems of some women allow endometriosis to develop by failing to control or stop the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus.

Can menstrual cups cause retrograde menstruation?

The DivaCup™ is worn low in the vaginal canal collecting the flow far away from the cervix. It is highly unlikely that The DivaCup™ would cause retrograde menstruation. Remember that retrograde menstruation does not even refer to the flow going upwards from the vagina into the cervix, but actually from the uterus into the fallopian tubes. In this case, the actual form of feminine protection used would have no impact on retrograde menstruation. As we mentioned earlier, this happens in the majority of women.

We have had many customers over the years that suffer from severe endometriosis (including some doctors) who have reported amazing success with The DivaCup™ and even some relief. Since endometriosis causes heavy bleeding, our customers report that The DivaCup™ is able to support their very heavy flows with minimal to no leakage.

We hope that after learning more about endometriosis you will feel comfortable in considering menstrual cups as an ideal option.

For more information, contact the Endometriosis Association:

Endometriosis Association
8585 N. 76th Place
Milwaukee, WI 53223 USA

phone 414.355.2200
fax 414.355.6065

www.endometriosisassn.org


Hope that helps!!
mum2caden on September 25th, 2007 09:56 am (UTC)
You are fine to use it AFTER the 6 weeks, but before that, the cervix is still open. That's why they say to wait the six weeks for sex because you don't want to introduce bacteria into there. So in six weeks, the cervix closes up and you can have sex again, as well as use your cup.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )