01 April 2009 @ 08:57 pm
Hello all!

I'm super curious about the menstrual cup idea, however I'm getting an IUD inserted most likely during my next period so I wouldn't really have a chance to test the cup out without having the IUD. This makes me nervous, as I've heard that there are cups that have a ton of suction and will suck out the IUD because of it, but I've also heard many people saying that it is more likely you will accidentally grab the IUD string while removing the cup.

Regardless, I have a couple questions. First of all, which cup *generally* sits lowest? I feel as if this is important because if its lower, it means it would be away from my cervix. Also, which cup has the least amount of suction? I feel as if this would be important because then there is less likeliness that the IUD would be removed by the cup.

I was looking into the Lunette cup, since I have seen many people say that they are the best to use with the IUD, but they are so expensive! Before I go out and buy one, I'd really like some insight. Has anyone used the Lunette with the IUD before? What was your experience?

Thanks again!

Oh, one more thing... can any sort of feminine hygiene pads be used to wipe the cup off when removing it to be emptied, or just the ones sold by Lunette and other companies?

Mrarmrar on April 2nd, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)
First off I don't think it matters how low the cup might sit because all cups work by putting suction onto your cervix. If it doesn't suction your cervix it will leak all over the place.

Also a cup isn't going to pull an IUD out on it's own. The suction by itself isn't strong enough. The issue is, as you mentioned, removing it. If the cup is pulled without breaking the suction first it COULD potentially pull an IUD out. But, as long as the user is careful to break the suction before removing the cup there really isn't much of a risk. Also generally it's said most of the risk of this is during the first 3 cycles and after that the IUD is pretty stable and the risk is very low. However many women have used cups since day 1 without issue.

I got my IUD put in ~7 weeks ago and am currently on my 2nd period with it. I've used a cup for ~2 years now, but decided to use pads and tampons until after my first 3 periods. I discussed this with my doctor as well, who told me that the makers of cups and IUDs will tell you NOT to combine the two but that is mostly liability as they cannot assure it will work out well, but she also said that as long as I'm careful it shouldn't be a problem but that it's best to wait out the first 3 cycles.

You can also check out iud_divas for a lot more information and experiences. There are women there who have ALWAYS used a cup with their IUD and never had an issue.
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Mrarmrar on April 2nd, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
Hmm interesting. I thought it worked by suctioning the cervix, thought I read it somewhere. And it just seems like mine do that, especially since when I put them in the suction comes and then they...ride up or something. Good to know though.
shivadidj on April 2nd, 2009 01:34 am (UTC)
Well, it creates a seal. Which can be seen as suctioning or not. The suction isn't necessary for it to catch the blood, but I think if it's not suctioned it doesn't work very well.

My cup sits above/around my cervix and I think (from what I've read) that is also the experience of many people here. I don't think they're "supposed" to sit lower than the cervix. That's what the diagrams show on some websites, but so what?
Mrarmrar on April 2nd, 2009 01:37 am (UTC)
Hah yeah I'm sure the diagrams don't know how it works with every woman. And I do think of the seal/suction as pretty similar but I guess they definitely could be different concepts. I just do kinda wonder about how they work, since the different cups definitely do seem to work differently...I started out with a diva cup which was absolute hell for me, I was guaranteed a leak every month and sometimes it SEEMED sealed and then I'd leak all over the place. And I'd usually have to reinsert it every time I changed it...but now I use a keeper mooncup and no leaks. Hmmm.
shivadidj on April 2nd, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
actually, i'm sorry. I should have been replying to the person above you. I am mostly agreeing with you.
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Mrarmrar on April 2nd, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
Maybe that's why I couldn't use the diva. I when I used it I was guaranteed a leak every month, now I have a mooncup and haven't had any issues with that.
shivadidj on April 2nd, 2009 01:40 am (UTC)
yeah, they're wrong about where it should sit.
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alyndraalyndra on April 10th, 2009 10:34 pm (UTC)
I believe the point they want emphasized is that the cup cannot work if it is beside the cervix, but on this community those for whom the cervix sits inside the cup (and I can't imagine that not 'touching') feel that the cup companies have chosen poor words to convey that.
every breath is a needle to my heartjemm on April 2nd, 2009 05:36 am (UTC)
I also agree with froggie3ds. Mine hardly even gets near my cervix, and most things I've read say that they're not supposed to be worn high like a cervical cap or diaphragm is, but lower (though there are a few times my cervix does get low and touches the cup, on those days I have to make sure the cup isn't off to the side of it.)

Plus, I have serious doubt that the suction that is created is strong enough to suck it out. There are holes in the cups for a reason. And I frequently feel more of a suction from sex than I do from my cups. Those who tie their IUD expulsion to their cup usage could very well have expelled them without using a cup, since expulsion can be inevitable with some women.

I have used the Paragard since July 2006, and a Divacup since November 2008. I am very gentle and slow when I pull the cup down, to make sure I avoid the strings. Mine are trimmed pretty short, but there are just some days where they hang out. Interestingly enough, using a cup has made me more aware of my cervix positions so I have an easier time checking my strings monthly. So from my experience, I feel that as long as you're gentle when you take the cup out, and you're not already prone to expulsion, cups and IUDs work well together.
mallt on April 23rd, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)
"there are just some days where they hang out."

Out? Out of where?! I could only just feel mine when the IUD was newly inserted... once they had softened & been pushed up during intercourse I can't find them anymore... but the Dr. assures me they're still there!
every breath is a needle to my heartjemm on April 24th, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC)
Out of my cervix. When my cervix is riding really low, I can feel the strings, and quite a bit of them actually.

Most days though, I have to assume ridiculous twisted positions to even feel any sign of them. That is if I can reach that far in at all (I have very short fingers).
shivadidj on April 2nd, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)
thank you for posting this. I am basically in the exact same position (iud inserted feb 13, waiting at least 3 mo to use cup) and I've been reading some horror stories lately and was worried, and my NP was totally against the cup. I've read all the good stuff too, but I was getting worried. I'll be interested to hear your follow up. I may wait up to 6 mo, or even a year to use my cup. I really love my Paragaurd IUD and don't want to chance it.
Mrarmrar on April 2nd, 2009 01:30 am (UTC)
Yeah I'm in love with my paraguard as well and don't want any risk of it coming out.
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shivadidj on April 2nd, 2009 01:42 am (UTC)
Thank you. My strings are already cut to 1/2 inch (as per the np), and they sometimes get shorter than that during my cycle. I'm actually considering them have cut shorter, but I don't know much about removal without strings, in case they dissappear.
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shivadidj on April 2nd, 2009 03:27 am (UTC)
My strings are the same. They curl around my cervix, being about 1/2 inch long. I can't feel the end of the strings most times. At times they shortern, but then come back down, curling around my cervix. At certain times during my cycle my husband can feel them, but usually not.
Kellyrainbowtastic on April 3rd, 2009 01:50 am (UTC)
I'm actually a member over at iud_divas, thats how I found out about the cups! =] Thanks for the info though!
Kai: pic#84732488kuradi8 on April 2nd, 2009 01:48 am (UTC)
"Suction onto your cervix" is not necessarily the right term but the opening of cups generally do (O) sit around the cervix. Suction is created during removal and then the idea is to get air into the cup so that it can slide out. The quicker and easier you get the air in, the quicker and easier you get the cup out. There's a bit of a learning curve to that but once you get the hang of it, it only takes seconds.

That having been said...

DO NOT BELIEVE the pictures either online or that come with the instructions. They are HORRIBLY out of proportion making it look like the cup is the size of a thimble and that there are multiple cup lengths between the top of the cup and your cervix.

In actuality, the opening of the cup (for most gals) sits (O) around the cervix and the body of the cup rests kinda sorta against the pubic bone. The cup itself more or less fills the vagina (though it can stretch much larger.)

It is important to buy a cup that will fit properly:

Some cup manufacturers say that they are OK to use with IUDs. Others say to ask your doctor. And yet others say not to -- but many do anyway without any problems.

I have had IUDs for decades and never had any problems with them. But others spit them out regularly. And some blame their cups. Personally, I think you're either prone to expulsion or not -- and unless they were really hamfisted about cup removal, that the number of those for whom cup use was "the final straw" is pretty small.

I also happen to use a Lunette -- because that's the right size cup for me. (I also have a UK Mooncup for my light days.)

When you get your IUD, your doctor will probably tell you to use pads (not tampons or anything internal) for the first couple of cycles. If you have your cup already, bring it to show the doctor because he probably won't know what you're talking about. Ask him to trim the strings reasonably short.

Then be sure to break the suction seal during removal and use common sense. If something hurts, STOP, and try something different in a moment or two.

Cups can cost anywhere from US$15 to $45-ish. With proper care, they can last 10 years. Whether they pay for themselves in savings in 3 months or 9 doesn't matter in the long run.

Sarah-May will be back from vacation next week. She usually has the best prices on Lunettes: http://stores.shop.ebay.com/Lunette-Cups
Kellyrainbowtastic on April 3rd, 2009 02:02 am (UTC)
This was VERY helpful... judging by the charts as well, I think I'm going to go with the large Lunette... Its in the middle size-wise and can hold more, which is important for me, because I bleed pretty heavy at times.

Thanks so much for all your info!
Kai: pic#84732488kuradi8 on April 3rd, 2009 12:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :o) I hope the Lunette works out for you.

My favorite part about cups is that I can go in and out of the ladies room empty handed. No stigma of taking my purse. No trying to smuggle a tampon. No double-trips when I get there and realize I should have brought something with me. Discreet! Especially because I'm surrounded by macho men at one of my jobs -- with whom I have to share a porta-potty.
Kellyrainbowtastic on April 3rd, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
Haha! Yes, the double trip is terrible!

Just out of curiosity again... you can't change the cup TOO often, can you? I know with tampons if you feel as if you need a change and you don't, bits of the cotton will get stuck in there(YUCK!), since its dry... is there any harmful effects of changing a cup too early?
Kai: pic#84732488kuradi8 on April 3rd, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
I don't think so. I think the worst that can happen is that you don't put it in as well as you had it last time. "Darn, I should have left it alone." Because most cups have a far greater capacity than tampons, you'll find you can go longer. Some gals with light flows can go all day. I can't. On my worst day, I can go about 4 hours and then it's not full to the tippedy top but it's high enough that I'm glad I attended to it. You'll eventually figure out the best intervals for yourself. It takes a few cycles.

For most gals, there is a learning curve to these buggers. There are tricks to getting them in right, tricks to getting them out, and they effect everyone a little differently. It's wise to wear a back-up the first few times. But others pop them in and have success immediately. (Not me, I struggled.) Fortunately, we all have this List for help and support.
Kai: pic#84732488kuradi8 on April 2nd, 2009 01:56 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, one more thing...

You asked: can any sort of feminine hygiene pads be used to wipe the cup off when removing it to be emptied, or just the ones sold by Lunette and other companies?

If I'm at home, I just give it a quick rinse before reinserting my cup. If I'm not, I just pop it right back in without wiping it with anything. Those few drops that remain won't make any difference and the more I handle the cup, the messier my fingers get and the more hand germs I impart onto my cup.

Other things you can do is bring bottled water or a wet paper towel into the stall with you, or just wipe it down with toilet paper.

Some gals are fanatical about boiling their cups between cycles. Not me. "As clean as cutlery is fine." I just wash it well before and after each cycle and maybe once a year soak it in some peroxide to keep it from looking dingy.
fireaphidfireaphid on April 2nd, 2009 04:51 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, you won't know where the cup will sit until you try one. If you have a short vagina (can you easily find your cervix?), then it will have to sit low, but if you have a long vagina, it's a crapshoot. My Lunette sits so high I can't reach the end of the stem without first bearing down.

I agree that you should choose the one that you think will fit you best based on the size charts. If necessary, you can enlarge the holes so that it's easier to release the suction when you remove it. I think any kind of wipe would be completely unnecessary and possibly harmful; tap water or toilet paper work just fine for most cup users, but soap residue can trigger infections.