This amazing community both informed me about menstrual cups and persuaded me that it was worth getting one. After hours and hours browsing this place, comparing and checking, looking for any side effects, reading techniques and personal experiences I decided to buy a Mooncup.
My first period using it has just ended and I want to share my experiences with it, both as a detailed (hopefully) guide for newbies to what it might be like and as one of the positive stories. I remember reading some worries that there weren't many success stories, which were soothed by the reminder that not many people posted when things were going fine.
I bought my Mooncup in late December and it arrived early January. I decided to have a dry run so I wouldn't be pressured by having my period. My advice to anyone trying this is to do it in the shower. And remember that dry runs are different to the real thing. It was painful getting it in and out, but I am very sensitive so it didn't surprise me. It was pain I could handle easily. I tried the C fold to no avail (it's huge!) and was rather in a panic, having not actually memorised any other folds. I vaguely remembered the 7 fold and went with that - it worked fine. The dry run was very useful in teaching me that I'd need to cut the stem and that you really cannot panic when getting it out xD
Day 1 of period. Actually night time. I got the telltale cramps that indicated it was period time, so I collected my Mooncup, the instructions, a nail file and some nail scissors and went to the bathroom. I snipped about half the stem off and the first three of my fingernails on my right hand (my nails are a couple of centimeters long and they hurt down there). Hopping in the shower, I was scared to insert it again but realised I'd have to just do it quickly or chicken out forever. Squatting down, I inserted it pretty easily with the 7 fold. I had no way of telling if it popped or not, because it was too difficult to get my fingers in to check and I couldn't actually (and still can't) feel it pop inside me. The stem turned out to still be too long, but I really didn't want to get it out again, so I decided that I'd live. Using a cloth pad (woo hoo!) I went to bed, feeling quite uncomfortable because the stem was waay out of the entrance to my vagina. I got to sleep, though, and in the morning was more comfortable because it'd decided to explore further up my vagina in the night.
Day 2. I'd leaked in the night, which didn't surprise me because it was the first time and my heaviest time. I'd decided beforehand to not worry about leaks - just getting it in and out properly. I had a shower in the morning after trimming it some more (now I have about .5cm of stem left) to have a go at emptying and reinserting it. After forcing myself to relax (being quick here helps - you don't get time to tense up), I squatted and began to bear down, attempting to grab the stem. After a couple of unsuccessful goes, I realised that grabbing the stem was useless and tried for the base of the cup itself. I still couldn't fit any fingers up beside the cup, so I just sort of wrenched it out of me (which was as painful as it sounds xD). Being in the shower meant that cleaning it was easy, and I gave myself a little break as I washed my hair. Then it was squatting again and inserting it. I panicked a bit trying to remember how I'd done it the night before, but the fold worked again and I was able to insert my thumb in a little way as well to check that the cup was rounded properly, indicating popping.
I didn't feel anything at all during the day which was a good sign. At 4pm, I was feeling sufficiently pleased with the cup to attempt going swimming with it. I visited the toilet to change it, which I managed. This time, instead of wrenching it out of my body, I managed to bear down and grasp it well enough with my thumb and index finger that I could slide my thumb up and squish it beside the rim so that it formed a shallow C shape. I was then able to pull it out sideways (IE tipping it to one end of the C) which didn't hurt too much, although it was messy. Not a problem when sitting on the loo, though! I washed it quickly in the tap and then inserted it - getting easier and easier now that I was more familiar with how to do it. All in all, the entire procedure (including washing hands and leaving) took five minutes.
Swimming was totally fine. Swam for an hour and not a leak, not a shift - nothing. It was like I was in normal time. As a non-tampon wearer (way too tight , dry and sensitive for them) it was amazing to be able to do that for the first time in seven years.
In the shower that night it was pretty much routine. Get in shower, take cup out, wash cup, wash self, insert cup, get out. I did notice that although it was easier to move around (probably more due to my increased comfort with doing it rather than me stretching xD) I was getting a bit sore. Not surprising at all, but something I thought I should include here ^_^
By now I wasn't leaking at all, but still wore a pad at all times just in case. The night passed just fine. Cramps were not increased by cup - I only had to take one Panadol the whole time.
Day 3. Nothing new to add really, except that I still wasn't having problems. Oh, going to the toilet was just fine - and the cup didn't make me feel the need to pee. I have been peeing a lot, but I think that's just me rather than the cup. Bowel movements are not a problem either for me. I did notice that after visiting the toilet I'd be a bit uncomfortable sitting down, because the cup had come lower as I was bearing down and the stem rubbed against things. It went back up, though. Emptied it twice on this day - once in the morning, once at night. No leaks.
Day 4. Period starting to recede by now, so I didn't wear a pad. Didn't bother to empty it, either. Was fine the whole day - I seriously can't feel a thing, even though I was sitting a lot, and bouncing on the trampoline at other times. Odd, because whenever I tried a tampon I could always feel it, even when it wasn't uncomfortable. Mother reckons I inserted them incorrectly. Came to night time, emptied for the last time this period. Once out of the shower, I boiled for five minutes, dried and then put back in its little bag.
Overall, I declare this period to be such a success that I almost enjoyed it. The novelty of not being ultra pissed off by my period is something I am savouring.
Now for some other random details. I'm 5'1", 17, have had sex twice. I have fairly big hips, but a tight, sensitive and easily dry vagina (as I mentioned). I'm not sure how long my canal is, but the Mooncup fits in beautifully once most of the stem is gone. Bearing down brings the base in easy reach. I didn't clean my cup with soap - just hot water. To clean the holes, I filled it to the top with water, placed my palm over the rim and squeezed, forcing water out of the holes. I haven't worked out how long I get during my heavy time before it leaks - but I have determined that it seems to leak once it reaches the holes. Stirring has worked for me so far to get rid of excess blood after insertion. At the waning end of my period, I left it in for about 24 hours with no problems. I'm lazy like that xD
I believe that is everything. TL;DR version: it's awesome, get a cup!
This was very weird to write - I hope it is of some help to someone.