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14 April 2009 @ 12:31 am
I did a great deal of research before purchasing my Divacup, and was looking forward to doing a very small favor for the environment (and a very large favor for my budget), but things are not going well. I fear that my anatomy is not suited to a menstrual cup in the slightest.

The following is a bit graphic and wordy...

I bought the size 1 Diva, and as I feared, it was much too long. Even with the stem cut off completely, it hangs out. After getting very sore from forcing myself to wear it anyway, I gave up and decided to turn it inside out. I had very little trouble removing it the first time, but apparently I just got lucky. When turned inside out it just barely fit inside, and was much more comfortable, but when I tried to remove it I discovered this method made it nearly impossible. After about fifteen minutes I gave up and tried again two hours later, but no luck. Finally after about half an hour in the bathroom I managed to yank it off my poor cervix. The suction WOULD NOT let go. I tried everything. The feeling of pulling that hard on my cervix was so sickening I literally almost vomited.

Before this gets any longer I'm going to switch to a list format in the hope that someone will actually read this and possibly offer some advice.

1. I have never been to a gynecologist, but I am fairly certain that there is something odd about my cervix. It is very wide, it protrudes from my vaginal wall about an inch, and it sits only 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch within my vagina. This is not only at a certain time of the month.

2. I can push the cervix up slightly with the Divacup in order to fit it in, but this creates powerful suction that latches on perfectly around my cervix and holds on for dear life.

3. Even with the cup right side out the suction is so strong that none of the recommended removal techniques work. (Other than the first time, while the stem was still intact.)

4. I have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), and it might just be a coincidence, but after many weeks of feeling pretty well, I got very sick repeatedly while using the Divacup. Has anyone else with IBS experienced this?

5. Can you recycle silicone? Blowing 32 bucks sucks enough as it is, but the very last thing I wanted to do is generate MORE waste by throwing it away, to sit in a landfill until the end of time, along with all of my tampons.

All in all I am feeling pretty disappointed right now. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I was a little excited about this switch (visions of Feminism and Empowerment dancing in my head), and really wanted it to work.

I don't have much hope for a solution to these issues, but if anyone has any suggestions, I would be very grateful.

.bloodvsplastic on April 14th, 2009 05:31 am (UTC)
Although I am extremely new to this and have not had a chance to try the Divacup or even an Instead, for which I have a box sitting and waiting for my period, what about cloth pads? Are you absolutely opposed to pads in general? I have tried some of those and I've really liked my experiences.
chimericals on April 14th, 2009 05:50 am (UTC)
No, I am not opposed to them, depending on the situation. I wear pads at night and liners with tampons, and plan to invest in some Lunapads (or something similar) soon. I am very concerned with odor when out in public, though. And thanks to work and school I spend a good twelve hours a day outside my home, where pads would be highly uncomfortable physically and mentally.
.bloodvsplastic on April 14th, 2009 06:01 am (UTC)
I wear liners everyday anyways, and one of my worries was odors, but I found that if I change it when I start to feel uncomfortable it's actually better for odors than the disposable ones! If you're just trying out cloth pads, check out http://www.partypantspads.com/, they offer free liners for wanting to try cloth pads (you pay for shipping - $2.99). It's a great way to tell if you'd want to try them whilst on your period, at least imo. I hope that helps!
crochetaduckcrochetaduck on April 14th, 2009 06:34 am (UTC)
Disposable pads have MUCH more odor than cloth pads. If you're interested, you can check out http://community.livejournal.com/cloth_pads/.
indigo_dawn: nurknowwheretostickitindigo_dawn on April 14th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
Cloth pads have much less of an odour.

The "period smell" is from bacteria. As disposable pads are composed of so much plastic and synthetic materials they trap heat against the body, thereby encouraging bacteria to thrive. Cloth pads are a lot more breathable - in all honesty with cloth pads there is no bad smell. It just smells similar to regular blood. Period blood should never smell offensive just on its own, and if it does you should query infection.

Please shop around for different pads - Lunapads is certainly not the only one out there, plus I have heard they are quite expensive. www.ecomenses.com , the cloth_pads community on livejournal and clothpads.wikidot.com are excellent resources.
Shoneéscarletfbl on April 14th, 2009 05:48 am (UTC)
5. There are women who might be willing to buy your used cup, if not now, then later. I know of several women who bought their cup used.

A different brand of cup might be better for you, like the Lunette or Mooncup (UK). I find the DivaCup slightly too long (Only enough to feel that it's there), but the Moocup (UK), I don't feel at all.
chimericals on April 14th, 2009 05:58 am (UTC)
Oh, wow. I guess the question, then, is if I feel comfortable selling/giving away items that have been inside my body. Hmm.

Is there a brand/size that does not rely so heavily on suction? I get the feeling that regardless of brand they are all going to latch onto my weird cervix.

Thank you both for the advice.
Shoneéscarletfbl on April 14th, 2009 06:03 am (UTC)
I actually meant to ask you whether you felt comfortable selling it, but that's the power of the internet for you. Attention span of a goldfish, here.... :)
Dina Clare: dreamlintilla on April 14th, 2009 07:53 am (UTC)
All cups will need suction to some degree to stay up there. (Except for maybe the Instead... but they're quite large, which may be a problem for your anatomy, too.) However, some cups have much, MUCH less suction than others. If your cycle is pretty light, you could probably get away with a small Ladycup - it's the smallest cup, has the biggest holes (so less suction) and is the squishiest.

Also, I noticed you said that you had to yank the cup off. Did you try to break the suction in any way (like by pushing a finger up alongside the cup or trying to fold it into a C shape)?
Katzhukora1 on April 14th, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
1. How wide is "very wide"? Most women don't have a lot of experience comparing their own anatomy with that of other women, so it's easy to think your own anatomy is not within the range of normal just because of one frustrating experience. My own cervix is perhaps a bit wider around than an American 50-cent piece when left to its own devices, but it squishes a little longer and thinner when I wear a cup. My cervix is also extremely low. Don't worry! Your cervix is certainly likewise at the low end of normal, but in all likelihood it is normal. There actually was a post not too long ago asking for how to cope with cups and extremely low cervices. If your cervix is really that low, run! run far away from the Diva! Pick something at the shorter end of the cup spectrum like a small Lunette or a LadyCup.

2. The Diva is generally known for having very small holes, which can make the suction pretty brutal. Other brands have holes that range from a little larger to much larger (I think LadyCup has the largest? Someone correct me if I'm wrong here). Larger holes means the suction is a bit easier to release.

3. See #2.

4. Other members have posted about their experiences with cups and IBS and similar. Perhaps try checking out the tags on bowel movements and health problems over on the right. I know that some have complained that the pressure from the cup has not done good things for them, but since it's not a problem I've personally had to face, I don't have a lot of good first-hand answers for you there. Sorry! :(

5. I don't know if you can recycle it, but plenty of newbies or budget-wise gals around here have been open to buying and selling gently used cups if they have ended up just not working out. Perhaps that's something you could try?

-- Getting a menstrual cup to work for you is definitely not easy-peasy for everyone. Don't give up! Some girls get lucky and everything works out perfectly on the first try. Others have to trudge through some serious trial and error or a dauntingly steep learning curve, but most of us do make it in the end.

My cervix is ~33mm from the entrance of my vag (I don't have a inches/cm ruler in front of me so I'm not sure offhand what the comparison is), and I also started on the Diva since that was what was most readily available to me, and since I didn't know anything about the existence of other brands, or the possibility of sizing to suit your individual internal anatomy. It was awful! But I'm on my 3rd brand of cup now, and I've finally found one that works for me (Lunette).

It was a very tedious and long process getting to where I am now--a couple of years, anyway! If you're really fed up or can't afford to try another cup just now, don't be afraid of putting the idea of cups down and coming back to it later when you're ready to work at it again. It's ok! Cups will still be here! It doesn't make you a bad person or an environment-hater to not use a cup! Learning to use one is really about the process of getting to know your body and its needs and tolerances. For those of us not smack in the middle of average it can take a while to figure out how we fit into the greater scheme of cup-dom.

Just be patient, and in the meantime, read every tag we've got. You could get inspiration for what will work for you in the randomest places. And even if the information doesn't apply, it's still enlightening. ;)
Katzhukora1 on April 14th, 2009 06:05 am (UTC)
And since I don't think anyone else has posted the size charts yet, check these babies out. They should help you get started with finding something that will fit you better.
Dina Clare: dreamlintilla on April 14th, 2009 07:50 am (UTC)
33mm is about 1.3 inches.
lizwinlove: It's Lizzielizwinlove on April 14th, 2009 06:28 am (UTC)
Well your problems (or two of them anyway) are related to suction and size. Diva is the strongest suction and the longest cup. You may very well prefer the shortest or least suctiony cup.

I can't speak for your anatomy as I am not a gynecologist and the only vagina I am the least bit familiar with is my own, but everyone's cervix is different, and I'm not sure anyone here could tell you if that's wierd or not.
fireaphidfireaphid on April 14th, 2009 07:51 am (UTC)
1- Sounds pretty normal to me. (-: You have a low cervix, like many successful cup users. Unfortunately, the Diva is the longest cup out there. Check out the shorter cups on the size charts zhukora1 linked to.

2- Furthermore, the Diva is also known for having very strong suction compared to other cups because the holes around the rim are so small (and often not punched through all the way, have you checked?). There was a recent post on enlarging the holes. . .

3- I depend on the stem for removal, so no bright ideas here.

4- Also no experience with that.

5- Yes, but I don't think you'll need to; ask someone who works at your local hospital how they recycle medical-grade silicone, or call up your local recycling center to ask about medical-grade silicone.

Re Cloth Pads: I just wanted to chime in that cloth pads DO NOT SMELL (unless you leave them in an airtight container for days, or leave them soaking for weeks at a time, or something silly like that). The mere rumor of this being true is what made me want to try them out, and I am very pleased with the results (no odor, plus they're more comfortable). Anyway, if you want to get started with cloth without breaking the bank (assuming you don't want to make your own), try searching for "cloth menstrual pad" on eBay and Etsy.com before you make a big investment.
Lost: stock - corset dreamgypsy_owl on April 14th, 2009 09:16 am (UTC)
A lot of people have already chimed in, so you can see, we do want you to succeed! :)

As others have mentioned, for the suction issue, make sure you are tilting it (opening of the cup up to the sky) as you are pulling it out (at least that's what I do...), and consider widening the holes. Toothpick or safety pin if fat enough might be enough, but not being a Diva owner, I honestly can't say. Hopefully you find something that works for you! (There was a post... a few days ago maybe? where one was talking about her experience widening holes. I'll link if I find.)

Also, Re: Cloth Pads. The tag is good to check, but I'm also going to toss in that there's a helpful website that talks about the pros and cons of different fabric for pads (thickness, absorbency, softness, water resistance for liners, cost, ect) and also, if you are sewing inclined, how to make a few versions of your own pad. She uses examples of how you can even use old towels for the inner layers. Knowing fabrics can be helpful when looking for pads others have made. Relevance is there are some women who wear pads for a backup, or at least a liner, while wearing their cup. (There's also a community about cloth pads you may wish to look into if you go that path.)

Hopefully you find a good solution for your body.
radicalancient on April 14th, 2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
Hey, I'm not the OP, but thanks for that link to the site on cloth pads! I've been looking for such info, wonder why I never landed up on that site. Thanks again!
Jenn: gothjennynakedfaery on April 14th, 2009 10:18 am (UTC)

1. Your cervix sounds a lot like mine. It is wide and long and protrudes quite a bit into the vaginal canal. It's never been a problem during sex and a gyn has never mentioned anything to do with my cervix, so I'm assuming it's fine. I don't have the issue you have because I have a very long vagina. However, I did find a smaller cup worn low down stopped the 'omg I'm going to suction out of my entire uterus' feeling.

2. I find that wearing my cup low down without letting it suction over my cervix helps. A smaller cup would probably be beneficial to you, maybe a LadyCup. I have a pink LadyCup and love it.

3. The Diva has evil strong suction and there are cups which work fine but have less intense suction. Some people have found that widening the holes of their diva with a taper, like a needle etc (provided you're VERY careful not to damage the cup) has eased some suction. I did this with my Diva (I have 3 cups) and it made removal much easier.

4. I also have IBS and I found that using the smallest cup possible helped because I felt less pressure on my rectum. My first cup was a Mooncup uk. It was far too thick and firm for me and aggravated both my rectum and my bladder.

5. If you have barely used your cup, provided you sterilise it, a lot of people would be willing to buy it.
another revolutionaryjennifer19 on April 14th, 2009 11:48 am (UTC)
my only suggestions are to look at potentially getting a shorter cup like Lunette, that traditionally has less suction than Diva. This is the benefit of having so many brands. Also you can sell your diva online used if you're comfortable. White vinegar soak and dropping in a boiling pot of water for 5 minutes should kill anything latching on. Medical grade silicone doesn't really allow gross things to grow and cause infection, that's why it's used.

Your cervix is just different than other people's. There is no "normal" because everyone's is different. If there was something like...wrong...about it your doctor (if you see an ob/gyn) would have said something.
Kai: pic#77976566kuradi8 on April 14th, 2009 12:40 pm (UTC)
1. I peeked at your profile. 1987. You're due. Google Gardasil (various spellings) to look into an anti cervical cancer vaccine before you go. Your doctor will probably ask if you want it.

2 & 3. Yes, ALL cups suction. Do not just yank it out. The idea is to get air into the cup. If you can't get it to whoosh over the rim, then try enlarging the anti-suction holes so it seeps in through them. For removal, go slow. OUT is trickier than IN. Removal is a common stumbling block when learning to use a cup.

4. The Diva isn't "very" stiff but the Lady/Color Cup is supposedly the squishiest, which might help.

5. You might be able to re-sell your Diva if you decide not to keep it. Not everyone is squeamish.

You say you did a lot of research but you still bought the longest cup available. Check out the size charts to see if there is a shorter cup that appeals to you: http://community.livejournal.com/menstrual_cups/1285963.html

Because your cervix is so low, also look into Insteads. They are completely different. And despite the instructions, they *ARE* reusable. Many here use one per cycle. Some wash and reuse for many cycles before they wear out.
chimericals on April 14th, 2009 07:43 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it was silly of me to get the longest, when I knew there was a risk that it wouldn't fit. I have this tendency to get impatient when I find something new, and the Divacup was the only cup available locally. I really wanted to give it a try, and I guess I was just foolishly hoping I'd get lucky.

As for being overdue...yes, I am aware, but I am terrified of doctors. I am not sexually active, so I am only risking my own well being, and for now I am okay with that. I'll probably summon the courage to make an appointment this summer when have more free time.

I would like to add that I only yanked it out when all other removal techniques had failed (including leaving for a while and going on a walk.)
Kai: pic#77976566kuradi8 on April 14th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
No need to be terrified of doctors. Disdainful, maybe. ;oP Personally, I'm not impressed by doctors. All they know how to do is throw drugs at symptoms, not necessarily the CAUSE of any of the conditions. Since you're not sexually active, then there's no great rush -- especially if you're going there for "no reason" other than to confirm a clean bill of health.

You MIGHT be able to make it easier to remove by enlarging the anti-suction holes up around the rim. My Lunette's holes are 1.5mm which equate to just a little smaller than a 1/16" drill or hole punch. Or if you have access to body piercing equipment, that's 14g.

Once you get the hang of getting your cup out without giving your insides a hickey in the process, try flipping the Diva inside out to shorten it.

Along the right hand column are links to posts about removal. Read through those replies. There's LOTS of good advice in there. See if any of those methods work for you.

Don't give up quite yet. Despite the poor fit, it's not a complete failure and you are going through the same learning curve that we all did. There are ways around all your problems. And then don't be impatient. If you decide you want a different cup, don't rush into it. Let us know what cup(s) you like and we'll point you toward a "best price."
radicalancient on April 14th, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
I'll agree with what the others have said - try a shorter, squishier cup. Just because the Diva doesn't work for you doesn't mean no cup will! Lunette or Ladycup seem the way to go. I would have recommended the MooncupUK(stem trimmed off), but it might be a bit too firm for comfort.

As for removal, try pinching the base, SLOWLY tugging downwards and rocking it from side to side. Release the base(to let air in) from time to time without letting the cup ride up again... slowly rock it out of your body. Yanking the cup out is definitely NOT the way to go!
radicalancient on April 14th, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
oh, forgot to add - my cervix goes down to around 1 inch from the labia. Barely 1/2 inch inside my pubic bone. I successfully use the MCUK, but I'm trying for a Lunette for the higher capacity. The MCUK's capacity tends to get eaten up by my cervix lying inside the cup.
neurotic_orchidneurotic_orchid on April 14th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
Try keeping the DC turned inside out and widening the holes to reduce suction before investing in another cup. Also, make sure you're releasing suction with your finger at the rim of the cup before pulling it out.

I have IBS and the Diva Cup has helped me immensely with this problem during my period. It's also shortened my period and almost completely elliminated what used to be debilitating menstrual cramps.
neurotic_orchidneurotic_orchid on April 14th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
(You can widen the holes with a skewer or toothpick.)
Ms. Kanegenericjanedoe on April 15th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
I agree w/ this comment 100%, both in advice and what using my menstrual cups have done for my IBS and menstruation.
missKitty_79: insteadmisskitty_79 on April 14th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
I hated my DivaCup, but am absolutely IN LOVE with my Insteads (which I reuse, just as if it was a regular reusable cup)...
yellowsunflowersjmnstars on April 15th, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)
If all of these loverly comments and suggestions don't work, look into Sea Pearls. These are natural sea sponges that you insert like tampons. You can reuse them and they have better fluid capacity then tampons. They are also all natural, biodegradable and environmentally sustainable. They aren't that expensive either. I have heard of women actually going into craft stores, purchasing the softest sea sponge they could find and cutting it up into smaller pieces. If the Lunette didn't work out for me, I was going to go this route. Here's a link for you - I'm sure there is a lot more information out there. :)