I am going to be 40 this year. I have been having regular periods since I was 10. In fact, I got my first period on my 10th birthday. Wasn't that a great present? ;) I have also had two children vaginally. I am not stretched out, I have not lost tone. I kegel regularly, so I am in good shape down there. As for menstrual cups, I had heard of them back in the early 00's, right after I had my first kid, but at the time the only available was The Keeper, and I have latex allergy so that was out. Plus, there was somewhat of the "ick factor", too. Instead Softcups came around a couple of years later but I had trouble finding them. A friend of mine from out of state had some, tried them, and found them to be a total disaster, so that turned me off. I didn't even think about it for several years. Flash forward to about a month ago. One of my LJ friends discussed her cup on her LJ and I was again intrigued. The fact that there were now silicone ones that were hypoallergenic was great, and there were so many different styles now that I had a lot of choices. My friend's post directed me to this awesome community, and I started reading and researching. I was nervous about the cups. I mean, I have just spent the last 29 and a half years of my life pretty much exclusively wearing pads. Change can be hard sometimes.
I am pretty comfortable with my body, but I'd never really worn tampons, and I had never worn OBs, so sticking my fingers in my vag was odd at first but I got over it quickly. Plus, I swear that after you have kids nothing fazes you anymore when it comes to your body. You just don't care after having so many doctors and nurses (and a doula in my case) seeing all your parts and or poking around in there.
I settled on a LadyCup based on reviews, and the higher capacity. Since I had kids, my flow is very heavy for one to two days (and I mean heavy....I call it Big Guns Bleeding Day "BGBD" aka Bleeding Like a Stuck Pig Day aka Wear a Depends to Work Day). I also ordered a large Yuuki for the capacity and the reasonable cost. I was initially turned off by the Diva because everyone seemed to have one, and their marketing strategy is pretty aggressive, and this annoyed me for some reason. However, once I got my LadyCup, I started to feel the urge to get more cups (my Yuuki hadn't arrived yet) so I ordered a Diva online for a great price. So, here I am now with three different cups.
I like the LadyCup. It is soft, a pretty color (I have the Lotos), and very comfortable. I also love the pretty little pouch it came in. It was a good one to start with because it was easy to insert, and very, very comfortable. Couldn't even feel the stem even though I kept it full length. Removal, however, was tricky. Very slippery, and a real pain to get hold of. I managed, but it was annoying. My large Diva arrived (still hadn't seen the Yuuki yet), and I gave it a whirl. The stem was annoying and pokey, despite being so short, so I ended up cutting it completely off. Very comfortable cup, but at first I could feel it a little more than the LC. Removal on this one is a breeze. So easy to grasp and pull down and out. So much easier, IMO, than the LC. Despite my initial gut reaction to the marketing strategies of the company, I really found that I love it. I like it so much I stopped using my LC entirely. I also have a cervix that likes to visit Canada and the Arctic Circle, so the length of the Diva is great for me. Same with the Yuuki. Anything shorter and I'd be fishing around for a week trying to locate it. I did finally get my Yuuki, too, and it is very similar to the LC. It seems to have the same softness of material, and in fact the material looks pretty much identical down to the "sheen" they both have, and the same types of crinkles when you fold them. The Yuuki is slightly larger and has a slightly higher capacity. It's also much easier to remove than the LC because of the grip rings. If you are considering the LC but want more grip and don't care about color, go for the Yuuki.
Since having kids, I also have a pretty heavy daily discharge, so I decided I was going to wear my cup for that. Otherwise I have to wear a liner or I end up all soggy. It's gross and nasty and not fun. Not to mention the endless amounts of pantyliners that I was tossing every year. I am really happy I did do the daily thing because all of those "dry runs" really helped me figure out how to properly insert the cup, what fold is the best for me, where I need to position it, etc.. I really recommend using the cup daily especially in the teething period. I know some people don't agree with that, and I know that when you are actually on your rag your body sometimes acts differently to the cup than when you aren't ragging, but I think that it was extremely helpful for me to wear it daily so I had more of an idea of what to do when I finally did get my rag. I wore it daily for 3+ weeks (I took it out overnight), and by the time I finally got my rag I was very comfortable inserting and removing the cup, and I also had a good feel for when it was positioned correctly, and when it wasn't. I also learned that my cups never open completely at first when I insert them. I have to insert them right past the pubic bone and kegel them up bit. Within 10 miniutes the cup is open and positioned perfectly, and now I am at the point where I can tell as soon as I insert it if it isn't working out and I can adjust it right away. This probably would have taken me several cycles to learn had I not done all of my daily wear.
I finally started my period this past week. I used the Diva for the first couple of days which are mostly spotting days. Things started to pick up so I knew I was in for BGBD soon. That night I wore my Diva to bed and in the morning it was completely filled and when I sat down to pee it overflowed and leaked. It never did leak while I was sleeping though. So I figured I needed more capacity and switched to my Yuuki, which has been working great. Not one leak, and removal has been clean and easy. I have gotten a slight amount of blood on my fingers at removal, but nothing much, and the fact that I am not drowning in blood and having to use an entire roll of toilet paper to clean myself is *wonderful*. Having a super overnight pad between my legs all day sucked. It rubbed, it was like a pillow between my legs at times, it leaked, it smelled. My first period with the cup has been a stunning success, not one leak. No smells, no rubbing, no mess everywhere.
I wish that cups had been an option for me when I was younger. I am very happy I have a cup now, though. I still have at least 10 years of periods, so I am still going to benefit. Older women: don't be afraid of these, they will change your life for the better and you won't regret it. I swear! You will probably just be mad that you didn't have these options earlier in your life.
LOVE my cup and will never, ever go back to pads. And thank you menstrual_cups all for your great posts, encouragement, and useful info.