July 7th, 2015

lol, tr00, neutral

On switching from pads and tampons

I've never used a tampon. Ever.

I switched to cups in 2010, at the age of 20. It was no big deal, actually. I soon found out that many of my friends were still using pads (I somehow assumed that everyone else uses tampons). I also found out that it's absolutely not uncommon to switch directly from pads to cups.

In fact, tampon users have to unlearn some habits when switching. Specifically, cups don't need to be inserted as deep as possible, and they're generally a little more hands-on. You can't really just shove them "up the black hole", which is why all the attempts to create a cup with an applicator haven't had much/any success. Honestly, cuppers generally agree that applicator is not needed for cups. It's likely to do more harm than good. (This doesn't mean that those who use applicator tampons can't use cups)

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The bottom line is that everyone's journey is unique. Apart from being able to insert 1-2 fingers into your vagina, there are no requirements for using cups. There's no need for a "transitional" method, like applicator-free tampons or Instead SoftCups. Nowadays new users are increasingly likely to get a cheap cup from e-Bay before making a more significant investment - if you do that, be sure to choose by the dimensions anyway, and bear in mind that they can have a lower quality, be too soft etc. Consider trying out a relatively cheap cup like the Fleurcup, Meluna, CupLee or Yuuki instead.

Just remember that you can always go back. In the beginning most cuppers use cloth or disposable pads for backup, and going through the learning curve may take a few cycles. Start by reinserting the cup as often as you'd change absorbent products, and soon you'll see how long you can go without emptying. Allow yourself to alternate cups with disposables or cloth pads if needed.
  • excyan

Biding time for a year, in need of advice

First of all, I've been here for a while without having an LJ account. This place is awesome. It has taught me a lot and I've been cheering every single person with problems on. I'd like to say thank you so much for being the friendly place you are. I hope this part of LJ never dies!

Regardless, it's not enough. The time has come for me to post. Some of my questions are very common, answered and probably accounted for, but for me the issue lies in having wide and contradicting combination of traits and problems. It's keeping me from actually using a cup. I've gone through size charts, discussions on hardness and the terrific kuradi8 answers to FAQ's. I'd like to say I know my basics.

This post will be long and winding but I'll start with the short info about me and my parts:

- 25 years old, not given birth
- sexually active
- bleeding a lot the first two days, my first mami cup small was 2/3 full in 3 hours.
- former elite dancer
- done yoga, I'm very flexible
- my pelvic floor muscles are extremely tight and toned.
- I've previously had vaginal/urethral sensitivity issues. Yeast infections twice in my life, and a long, one-year period of small, not serious (but still annoying) episodes of what I think was UTI's. They were mild and passed within a week's constant drinking of water. I went to a doctor and she didn't find anything at all. She said that there is no need taking samples if I'm not bleeding when urinating. The problem came and went for a while after that, until it stopped altogether half a year ago. Praise the sun! Still don't know exactly what it was though.

Now I'll list the issues.

1. Either I can't find my cervix even when squatting in the bathroom during my period, or it's extremely low down. I know this sounds weird but let me explain:

I read guides on how to find the cervix and how it's supposed to feel like, so during the past year and up until now I've taken my sweet time feeling around. Meticulously. This is how I do it: I squat on the floor. Then I insert my middle finger, which is 7 cm (2.76 inches). All instructions say that the finger should go in and in until it "stops", and at the stop I should feel something like a hard donut with an indent in the middle. At least it's supposed to be hard during periods, and also lower down.
Fine. I insert my finger with the knuckle downwards (to the floor) and the cushion of the finger tip upwards (to the bladder/belly side). I go further and further until I realise there's no more finger left and I still haven't reached any kind of firm stop. It's just empty space. When this happens I rise up on my legs to a standing position with the finger still inside to try and "catch" the elusive little trickster, thinking maybe it will appear. No success, meaning that even during periods it might be further up than 7 centimeters (2.76 inches).

Conversely I feel something really hard-spongy only 4 centimeters (1.57 inches) in, on the upside, but it seems tilted and strange and doesn't really stop my finger from going further. It's like a curve, or an upside down hill with the base of the hill upwards. During my period this particular place feels a bit harder, like a nose actually, and it might be wishful thinking but I might also feel flaps or a hole or something remotely similar to what I think a cervix might feel like.
What doesn't convince me that this is my cervix is that it's more like a curvature, a half of a donut, and it's situated at an unorthodox angle and place. It also doesn't hurt or feel anything in particular as I press hard on it and I've heard that when it's a cervix, you will definitely experience an obvious sensation.
This leads me to the conclusion that this might be my pubic bone.

2. My first cup was a Mami small. I managed to get it to almost unfold after three day's constant battling. I let it sit and after two hours it started to leak. I took it out and haven't been able to get it to unfold since.
After this episode I took a break and said goodbye to the idea of using a cup. I went back to the hated plastic pads. But as summer came so did bathing, swimming and other fun sporty activities, which I love doing. I decided to try a larger cup this time and bought the Fleur large. The reason for my choices what that this was what the webshop in my country had (the shipping and custom taxes for my country are ridiculous and I try to avoid it).

Sadly, I've never been able to get either of my two cups to unfold. The Fleur is even worse than the Mami. I get sad every time I see them on the shelf (I even crafted cute small pyramide-shaped cotton bags for them so that they would thrive and be happy and kind). When I insert them they don't even bulge. They stay in the exact same fold I have tried (I've tried them all a hundred times). After three periods with no success I started to cry out of frustration.

3. Since I'm sensitive but have super strong pelvic floor muscles I'm forced to either get a cup with the hardness of a rock and springy like an old bed, but risk getting irritated or uncomfortable, or to get a soft cup with minimal amount of ridges/edges but to once again get a cup that simply doesn't unfold. I'm lost.

4. There's also the issue of my heavy bleeding and which size to choose. The main problem is that I can't know for sure how much I bleed since it's a question of perspective and position.
Here's why: With pads, as long as I'm sitting down the blood does actually not run out. Sometimes I can even keep it in by sheer willpower and force (if I forgot pads and need to bolt to the nearest bathroom). But when I sit down on the toilet and relax, it gushes out violently and it seems to me that it's extremely much blood, it flees my body with a constant angry speed for at least 10 seconds. I usually need to flush twice to get it all away. During night, I use the longest pads, but not with the highest absorption. This is because I move around a lot and the blood tends to travel around to all possible directions, but since I'm lying down the amount of blood is not really an issue.

How do I know it's a lot of bleeding comparing to others? Well, a few times during my life I've bled sparingly when compared to myself. Like, normal pad got maybe ten drops worth of blood during 4 hours of use. I've come to understand that this might be the "standard".

5. Can the blood block the small holes as I insert the cup, preventing it from opening? I've thought about this a lot but not come to a conclusion.

I don't think I've ever written a post this long, but maybe it's granted as I'm really passionate about this subject and love the idea of freedom a cup can bring. For me, making my period as easy and natural as it can be, means the world. I wish I had this option when I was dancing ten years ago.

I hope I followed all the rules, posted with the right tags (there can be so many!), and not annoyed anyone in the process. If I have, feel free to move the thread to the right place or write to me and tell me I should repost or edit with the right tags/thingies. I'm completely new to LJ but I'll stop by again soon and monitor the thread closely.