allison wonderland
05 October 2009 @ 01:28 am
Hello! I'm looking into getting a menstrual cup, but I'm a little overwhelmed.

I first started thinking about getting a menstrual cup a year ago, but tampons were (and still are) working fine for me, so I didn't do anything about it. But now, the idea of being able to leave a cup in for 12 hours is really, REALLY appealing to me. I'm a full-time student at a local community college, and my schedule varies day-to-day. Plus, despite being on a birth control pill for 3+ years, I ALWAYS get cramps the first 1-3 days of my now 5-day cycle. They aren't mild, but aren't severe either, and as long as I take an Aleve at the first sign, they go away pretty quickly and won't return for the next 8 hours. While they don't interfere with my ability to do homework, drive, or attend class, they're still annoying, and I've read that the absorbing action of tampons may make cramps a little worse.

When I recently started thinking again, this time more seriously, about trying a cup, I thought a DivaCup (model 1) would be best, since they seem to be the easiest to purchase in the U.S. But then, I was looking at cup comparison pictures, and I came across this image (all of these are small cups). The Diva looks huge in comparison to the MeLuna. So while I haven't completely ruled out the Diva, I'd also like to consider the MeLuna, Lady Cup, and Yuuki.

Here are some facts about me/my cycle:
- I'm a 19-year-old virgin. I have never had a problem with tampons, and when my periods were heavier, I used Super Plus with no difficulty. I have had a pelvic exam before, and while it was a little uncomfortable, I wouldn't call it painful. I pretty much have no hymen to speak of (and haven't since I was 6. Monkey bar accident, lol). I can comfortably fit one finger inside my vagina and move it around. I can fit up to 3 fingers, but I feel a little irritated if I move them around too much. So basically, despite being a virgin, my vagina is fairly flexible, so it's not a requirement that I get the absolute smallest cup known to mankind, but I definitely don't need a cup made for women who have given birth.

- My flow is not exactly light, but it's definitely not heavy. My period lasts 5 days. The first 3 days, I stick to Super absorbency tampons that I change at 8-hour intervals. The last 2 days, I use Regular absorbency tampons, also changed at 8-hour intervals. With this schedule/absorbency combination, I do not have leaks.

Here is what I really want from a menstrual cup:
- 12 hour protection
- Comfort. I don't feel tampons when they're inside of me, and I don't want a cup that's any different. I don't mind if I can feel the cup briefly a couple of times in a 12 hour period, like if I've been sitting for awhile and then stand up, but I don't want to feel like it's poking or pinching.
- Reliable fit. I want to know that I can leave a cup in for 12 hours and not feel like it's progressively moving lower and lower. I need it to stay in place for the most part.
- No leaking

Ideally, I'd like a cup to be easy to insert, but I'd gladly spend a few extra seconds folding/inserting a stiffer cup if I knew the fit was more secure.

So...based on the information I've given, does anybody have any...direction they can point me in? Or any suggestions if they have or had something in common with me? I know that this will be trial-and-error to some degree, but for the sake of my wallet, and my impatience, I'd like to limit the amount of errors as much as possible. ;)

Thanks for all your help!

ETA: Thanks SO MUCH, everyone! I don't know how I missed the cup size comparison post, but thank you for pointing it out to me. Armed with this new knowledge, I feel better about making a decision. Of course, I may not get it right on the first try, but I'm definitely willing to experiment. I'll get back to you guys when I have chosen, purchased, and tried a cup. Thanks again!
Using stars as icecubes in my moonlight punchkaelstra on October 5th, 2009 06:35 am (UTC)
When I was in your shoes, I decided to try a Divacup, mostly because it was the easiest one for me to get being in the USA. I got a size 2, as I am over thirty and have a child (although he was born by c-section), and the cup fits just fine.

As big as the thing looks, it really fits in there just fine, and I have no real issues removing or inserting it, and I never feel it.

All we can really do here is tell you our personal experiences with various cups, but I like my Divacup a LOT. Saving tons of money, not using potentially dangerous tampons, and not adding that much more waste to the environment are all huge bonuses for me-and that's on top of the whole "leaving it in all day without leaking" bit. I LOVE it. I wish I'd known about cups earlier. Woulda saved myself a lot of heartache and money.

Good luck!
allison wonderlandneurotic on October 5th, 2009 03:09 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the only way to know is definitely to try. Thanks for your advice! :)
(Deleted comment)
allison wonderlandneurotic on October 5th, 2009 03:11 pm (UTC)
How did I miss that post? Lol. My period starts tomorrow, so that will be a good time to check how high/low my cervix is. Thank you so much!
coffee nut bitchpeiyu on October 5th, 2009 06:44 am (UTC)
I would say that since you are not uncomfortable with your vagina, the idea of a Cup should not faze you. Going 12 hours is based on individuals though, since everyone's flow on different days is not the same. Whether it would move lower depends on individuals' pelvis (?) muscles as well. I'd say the length of the Cup would depend on the length of your cervix.

This post is informative with measurements for each Cup. I'm also a virgin comfortable with my vagina, and bought a MoonCup (UK) before checking that chart out but it works for me. It is of a stiffer material though, but I am currently rather pleased with it. Can't feel a thing!

It pretty much varies, sorry if this is not as useful but hope someone might be able to help!

jarethrakejarethrake on October 5th, 2009 09:17 am (UTC)
I'm not a virgin, but I'm twenty-one, and my vagina is about the same size (assuming my fingers are).

I'm pretty happy with my UK Mooncup too. Admittedly, I've only used it for the past few days, and my flow is very different to yours (OP), but it fits well and seals easily. It does tend to work its way up while I'm sleeping, but it also comes down enough for me to grip after a bowel movement, so that works out well. I can sometimes feel it a little when I first put it in, but then it gets comfortable and I sometimes have to feel for the stem to check that I'm really wearing it (stem is only half trimmed for that purpose).
allison wonderlandneurotic on October 5th, 2009 03:13 pm (UTC)
No, this is very helpful, thank you! I'll definitely consider a MoonCup in my decision making.
Dina Clare: dreamlintilla on October 5th, 2009 07:45 am (UTC)
On the "don't need a cup made for women after childbirth" front, I'd like to point out that when Lunette first started making cups, they only had one size - the big one. And that's not a small cup! :) It was meant for women of all ages, and I'm sure women of all ages have used and liked it.

The tricky thing is that a lot of these criteria are subjective and might differ for different people - not terribly helpful, I know, but that's the unfortunate reality. I agree with whoever it was that suggested checking where your cervix is, as I think that's the most reliable indicator. It's what steered me towards the UK Mooncup (shortest cup available back then!) when I got my cup, and I'm very pleased with it. :)

Good luck!
allison wonderlandneurotic on October 5th, 2009 03:17 pm (UTC)
I had no idea Lunette only had one cup size to start out with. That's interesting. And your input definitely helped. I don't know how I missed the cup sizes post, and the suggestion that I check my cervix. Thank you!
Blogging Sarabloggingsara on November 8th, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)
yep. i got a free lunette back in the day when they only made one size. never been pregnant/given birth and that one size works great for me. :-)
Kai: pic#84732488kuradi8 on October 5th, 2009 12:37 pm (UTC)
As the others have already said, use the size charts to pick the cup you think might fit you best. http://community.livejournal.com/menstrual_cups/1285963.html

12 hour protection depends on its capacity and your flow.
A cup that fits you right will be comfortable.
Reliable fit depends on how it fits you.
No leaking also depends on how it fits you and how quickly you learn to insert and seat it properly.

Unfortunately, there can be a little trial and error involved -- but if you make an informed choice instead of picking one at random, your chances of success is higher.
allison wonderlandneurotic on October 5th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I have no idea how I missed that post when searching through the community, lol. It might have something to do with the fact that I was posting around 3 in the morning.
Kai: pic#84732488kuradi8 on October 5th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
Let us know which cup(s) top your list so that we can point you toward some good prices. I hate to see fellow List Members pay too much. ;o)
melissa569melissa569 on October 5th, 2009 01:01 pm (UTC)
I would have to agree-- There are some people who just can't go 12 hours, regardless of the size/brand. Weather or not you can do that, greatly depends on how heavy your flow is, and how low your cervix dips down (if it does at all). Some women, it moves down very far during their period, and it can take up space in the cup if it comes down a lot. There aren't too many people who can go a full 12 hours without changing a cup on a heavy day. Even with a very large, roomy cup. The only people I know who can do that, are women on the last 1 or 2 days of their cycle, when it is lightest (I myself can on those days). Or women with a fairly light flow in general. But honestly, I would tell you to expect to change your cup at least every 8-10 hours on your heaviest day. Unless its quite heavy, but it sounds like yours is about average. Still, that's a fair amount of time, and you won't have to buy assorted tampon sizes every month :).

Brand... You want maximum time, so that means you'll need maximum capacity. Miacup (even the small) has GREAT capacity, but its pretty soft. Folding right across one of the two holes helps it pop open easier though, because one of the holes being in a fold crease keeps it exposed to air longer. Diva has good capacity too, but weather or not it is comfortable depends on weather you have a low cervix. Even still, you could flip it inside out and that would solve a lot of the problem. Both large and small lunette hold up quite well, but you may have to wait for another bulk order from here, to get it in the USA. Large Meluna holds the same as small Diva, but is shorter, so that's another good option. The medium Meluna holds as much as a small ladycup, so it depends how long you want it to last. Even large ladycup might help, as it holds the same as a small lunette. The mooncups (both Keeper and UK) are pretty comfortable, but hold less than many other brands, due to their lower holes.

Finally, you would be surprised how many women can get away with going outside the "size" guidelines... I've never had a baby, but both larges and smalls work great on me. Just depends what kind of flow I'm having that day. I know virgins who use larges, and mothers of 3 who use smalls. It just depends on our unique shape. Hope all this helps :)
allison wonderlandneurotic on October 5th, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC)
I was thinking that because my flow isn't too heavy, that I might have a better chance of leaving it in for 12 hours. The Super absorbency tampons I use that last me 8 hours on my heaviest days hold up to 12 ml, so I definitely need a cup that holds at least that much. Thank you so much for your advice, it really does help!
XDeasilydistra on October 5th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
I'm basically agreed with what other people have been saying-- 12 hours is doable, but you need a cup with fairly high capacity if you want to do that on a heavy day. I'd suggest looking at cups with 15mL+ capacity. I'd suggest not the small Meluna/LadyCup, since their capacity is about that of a super tampon. Of your suggestions, Yuuki has the most capacity after the Diva.

As far as comfort/reliable fit/nonleakage... well, all cups CAN provide that, but some cups work better than others for different people.
allison wonderlandneurotic on October 5th, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
I'm thinking that the small MeLuna is definitely not going to last me 12 hours, because the few times that I've worn a super absorbency tampon for closer to 9 or 10 hours (oops!), it sometimes leaked a little. Thank you so much for the suggestions!
a clockwork cuttlefishcastalianspring on October 5th, 2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
The size charts will help you a lot, definitely. I'm also a virgin and I started out with a small Ladycup, and I'm glad I chose that one and not anything wider. It hurt taking it out the first few times, but after that I seemed to loosen up a little (though the Ladycups can be slippery and hard to get out for some, so consider that as well). However, as nice as the small Ladycup feels, the capacity isn't that high. I have a similar flow to what you've described and on heavy days it won't last 12 hours. I've just ordered a Lunette and a Fleurcup, both of which are almost exactly as wide and long as the Ladycup, but both have much bigger capacities. Hoping those will work out on my heavier days.