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05 March 2010 @ 01:51 pm
I've been reading the archives and there are many posts with questions and remarks about suction -- especially from new cup users.  Many use the word SUCTION when they actually should use SEAL.

Suction does not hold your cup in place, your PC and vaginal wall muscles do.

SUCTION is created when a cup is unfolding, and then again when you're trying to remove a cup.  And both times, it's a temporary condition that you want to alleviate ASAP.

Hold your hand facing up and squeeze your cup onto your palm.  There is suction until the cup fills and opens fully.  Once it's open, is there any more suction?  No.  The same thing happens when you insert your cup and unfold it.  There is suction until it fills with air and opens fully.  That air has to come from outside your vagina because it's like an empty balloon in there -- no air.  Then once the cup is open, there is no more suction -- for the same reason there wasn't when it was sitting open on your palm.

[Edited to remove a controversial statement.]

Once the cup is fully open and in use, it is held in place by your vaginal walls and muscles -- not by suction.  Has suction somehow been created since it opened?  No, not unless you have somehow squished your cup.

Then during the removal process, you need to "break the seal" at the rim so that suction does not occur.  If you don't let air into or above your cup and then you pull on it, what's going to happen?  Ouch!  The harder you pull, the more suction it will create on your cervix and vaginal walls.  To break that suction, you need air.  Where does that air come from?  Again, from outside your vagina.  It's an empty balloon in there, remember?  You need to create an air channel.  Once you get air into and/or above your cup, then is there any more suction?  Not unless you run out of air and create suction again.

So the key to both opening your cup and removing your cup is to get air into it.  Those are the only times that suction is created -- and both times, you want to relieve the suction ASAP.
Meghanmegamuphen on March 5th, 2010 06:58 pm (UTC)
I am interested that you say "It is usually easiest to open the cup down low and then kegel and boost it up into place." For me, it is very difficult to open the cup low and boost it up, I find it much easier to put it in higher, and haven't really had any problems. I suspect it depends very much on one's own anatomy.
Meghanmegamuphen on March 5th, 2010 06:59 pm (UTC)
But I do appreciate this post, sometimes the word "suction" is thrown around here an awful lot! We just have to keep in mind that what is "usually easiest" for one person might not be the case for many other people.
Kai: pic#77976566kuradi8 on March 5th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
I'm guilty of it myself in that we all like to think we are in the majority. Both my experience and my logic says that the deeper you try to open a cup, the harder it is to get air (quote-unquote) "that far" back. But you're right that it's not the case for everyone. And "low" and "deep" are very subjective terms as well.

I suppose that "YMMV" is implied with every one of our posts, including mine.
Dina Clarelintilla on March 6th, 2010 07:33 am (UTC)
For me, if my cup is low, my pubic bone is holding it shut. I doubt I'm the only one!
Goat Friendsfrolicnaked on March 6th, 2010 05:42 pm (UTC)
This is true for me as well, at least with my Lady Cup and my Yuukis. (I think it was true with my Diva too, but I haven't had that cup for years.) With my MCUK, it can pop open even when it's inserted low, but I attribute that to the stiffer material and much thicker rim.
efoughefough on April 8th, 2012 02:09 pm (UTC)
Ditto. My small Lunette won't open until it is almost in position. I have a very low cervix and I tried the open it low. "Low" for me is about 1 cm from cervix, otherwise my pubic bone is in the way.

Edited at 2012-04-08 02:11 pm (UTC)
hairballsplathairballsplat on March 5th, 2010 07:07 pm (UTC)
i was just thinking along the same lines when reading the last few posts concerning this. but i have to admit i'm guilty of having said suction when i probably should have said seal.
Kai: pic#77976566kuradi8 on March 5th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah, and I also often see pelvic bone instead of pubic bone (etc) on a lot of posts. To some degree, there's a lot of "you know what I meant" involved. We all mean well but despite re-reading and editing our posts, sometimes our words come out wrong. Including mine. :o)
Katzhukora1 on March 5th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
Hm, but what about cases where the cup actually makes contact with your cervix prior to fully opening and the pressure differential of it trying to continue opening the rest of the way (but failing because the top is covered by cervix) actually "suctions" it in place, like a suction cup? Is this technically suction? My cervix being extremely low, this has happened to me more than once. It makes for a hell of a seal, and usually results in me feeling like I have the world's biggest hickey upon removal. Idk, maybe it just means I need to clean my cup's holes better or make them bigger.
Kai: pic#77976566kuradi8 on March 5th, 2010 07:59 pm (UTC)
Sounds ouchy! =8oO
Katzhukora1 on March 5th, 2010 08:04 pm (UTC)
The suction does hurt a bit when the cup first opens, but after that it actually doesn't bother me much at all. Most times I can't really tell that's what happened until I go to remove the cup and my cervix feels tender.

I'm way more wary of the suction now that I have a Mirena IUD, but I didn't have a period at all last month, and barring any hormone weirdness may not get another for the next 5 years, so it might not be an issue..... oh man, maybe I shouldn't say that. Am I still allowed in a menstrual cup community if I don't menstruate? :-O
Kai: pic#77976566kuradi8 on March 5th, 2010 08:14 pm (UTC)
Shhhhhhh, I won't tell. :o)

Analogy: When we were kids, we'd all go ice skating on the pond in the winter. My best buddy (a boy) could skate OK but he didn't know how to stop so he'd fall instead -- and the more spectacular wipe-out, the better. It got the job done but there were other less painful ways. Perhaps opening lower to relieve the suction first would be more comfortable for you and less likely to pose a risk to your coil?
Katzhukora1 on March 5th, 2010 09:22 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately my cervix is low enough that there isn't really a "lower" for me to open my cup at. As it is I have to open it right at my pubic bone. Any lower and it wouldn't be inserted at all! ;) The cervix suction party happens to me only very, very occasionally though, so I'll probably be ok.

I'm not actually super worried, it's just always something I wonder about every time I see you comment about the "suction" vs. "seal" terminology issue since I hadn't really thought about the fact that not everybody experiences this, and I thought it might be worthwhile for me to throw in my own experiential $0.02. :)
Kai: pic#77976566kuradi8 on March 5th, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
Dialog is always appreciated. :o) So long as you're happy and comfy, all is well. :o)
divaisnotfun on May 2nd, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
help me with the "gurgle!"!
How can I get my diva cup to stop leaking?
I insert the cup and make sure it turns freely. Then with a finger I make sure it's fully open and that my cervix is not outside of it. It's good for about an hour, then it "gurgles" and I know I'm in for a nasty surprise. It's been 4 cycles now and I just can't get the darn thing to work.

If it helps to know, my cervix is always quite high (which is why I chose the diva in the first place) and have a heavy flow with some clotting, especially the first few days, although the time of my period does not affect the leakage -- 8 on 10 times I'm leaking like a faucet. I'm in my early 20s with no kids, so I have the diva 1. Please help!
Kai: pic#84732488kuradi8 on May 2nd, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
Re: help me with the "gurgle!"!
Ask this again on the main page http://menstrualcups.org/ instead of replying here. Because this is an old post, only I can see your question. If you ask it again on the main page, everyone else will be able to see and contribute their good advice.

Also include how full your cup is when it starts leaking. That would be relevant.
quietasamoussequietasamousse on June 15th, 2010 06:46 am (UTC)
The getting it out suction is what was hardest. Can I kegel it down without breaking the suction, because reaching up to break it was a big problem. Then I was squeezing it too hard so if it had been even half full of liquid I'd have had trouble getting it out without it going over the top. Just pinching the bottom of my lunette didn't seem to break anything.
Kai: pic#84732488kuradi8 on June 15th, 2010 12:29 pm (UTC)
You need to get air into/above the cup. Since there's no air in your vagina, that air has to come from outside it. Create an air channel with your finger. Since your pubic bone is in the way in the front, try doing so toward the back where it's softer.

Kegeling (tightening the PC muscles) will usually push the cup up. Try relaxing (opening up) and bearing down instead.
quietasamoussequietasamousse on June 15th, 2010 12:32 pm (UTC)
hmn it didn't seem to move up when I kegeled. Weak muscles?
I couldn't reach up high enough to reach the rim, and just pushing the base wasn't working... and I couldn't push it out too mcuh just by pushing.
By 'doing so toward the back' do you mean finger 'above' it, pushing it towards the back?

I'm doing another dry run right now and I'll need to take it out sometime soon so it'd be good to improve. :)
Kai: pic#84732488kuradi8 on June 15th, 2010 12:48 pm (UTC)
Everyone inserts and removes a little differently. You just need to figure out what method(s) works best for you. Read the REMOVAL tags for ideas and suggestions. It's OK to combine some of this, some of that. It all boils down to practice, practice, practice.

As for dry runs, they're DRY. Don't overdo it and irritate yourself. :o)
quietasamoussequietasamousse on June 15th, 2010 01:01 pm (UTC)
mm I think I'm a little irritated. lol.

keilr on August 7th, 2010 02:12 am (UTC)
Um okay?
Okay, they certainly don't teach this in sex ed. I wonder if it'd help if some of you had a better understanding of the pelvic floor? Read thru some of this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1472875/ or download the pdf. U can use the free reader from adobe. There's a couple good pictures and diagrams. There's actually quite a few muscles, ligaments, tendons, whatever. Not just the pubococcygeus (pc) etc. I assume the lower end of the cup that's tapered sits above what this article is calling the levator plate(levator ani?) in figure 6. However, I could be wrong I don't have a vagina to um work this out. As you can see even yer typical smart doctors don't completely understand some of this stuff. Anyway, I guess I could read the whole thing and not skim so much? Could maybe come up with a better explanation...
jessihugh on September 12th, 2010 11:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you for pointing me to this thread! It cleared up a lot and makes perfect sense now that you mention it. When i would try what the instructions suggested by opening it once its up inside, it would just be sucked in partially and not open all the way. I will def stick with opening it once its just inside and sort of "plunger" it just enough to get the seal going.. now all thats left is to wait for my period to come on and take it for a test drive. :)

On another note its pretty amazing how so many different women have different techniques, and tricks to get it just right for them.
flower18 on July 19th, 2011 03:35 am (UTC)
Diva Cup
Thank You soooooo much for postin this i got the cup today and have been tryin to get it to open i got it to open but when i felt around i could feel that it had no air in it but when i inserted it just inside my vagina it opened perfectly, this will make it so much easier now
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on July 19th, 2011 02:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Diva Cup
Use your finger on the soft back side of your vagina to create an air channel for opening. Sometimes doing so helps with removal too.
bunnylove555 on April 17th, 2013 07:38 pm (UTC)
I was wondering, why do you have to "relieve the suction ASAP"? I like pulling down my stem on my Lunette without letting air in (without breaking the seal), so there definitely is suction. I do this until half of my cup is out, then I break the seal. Is that bad for you? Does having a long suction cause harm to your body?
I was just wondering because I don't want my body to be harmed by carelessness, but it feels much more comfortable to pull my cup down with the suction (I'm weird, I know)
Thank you so much!
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on April 18th, 2013 09:09 pm (UTC)
No harm. Just ouch. If it doesn't hurt you then it's fine.
REGEEregee0304 on February 1st, 2014 07:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this explanation!
I've thought the cup was literally SUCTIONED to my cervix....LOL!!
So, the holes are there to allow an air channel, correct?
If they are stopped up the flow causes pressure inside the cup, then there is a channel made there by the fluid escapes...right?
Can/does the cervix & fluid/flow cause the cup to MIGRATE DOWN??
Does the cup HAVE to be up high to work?? But every body is different and I guess the cup will settle where it needs to be...
Lastly, do I NEED to be sure my cervix is IN the cup??? Seems like if I open it low & let it migrate the cup seems to miss some flow & leak. After reading this I'd think the cup should catch all flow with it sitting lower or below the cervix.
starry15987 on August 22nd, 2014 08:56 pm (UTC)
And the cup always settles around your cervix? I have a high cervix and my cup stays in place through my period, where I can always feel the stem poking out (which I like). Maybe mine is in wrong?

But there were a few times when I was tugging on my cup to pull it out, and it hurt like mad. I felt a lot of suction, so then it must've been around my cervix? Idk...

I was also wondering, what is that sound and feeling you might sometimes get when inserting your cup? When I do, I can always feel a suction (seal?) and my cup gets "sucked" in a little bit into my vagina...

And what do you mean that both times you want to relieve the suction? If there's no suction... But I could feel suction O.O Was something wrong?

Ohh, your post is so informative! I'm just a little hyped up, I hope I'm not hurting my vagina!