rh22 (rh22) wrote in menstrual_cups,

Incredibly raw skin, terrible chafing and irritation from using Diva Cup - help!

I'm pretty much at my wits end. This is my fourth cycle using the Diva Cup. I'm a 44-year old woman with no children, I'm using the larger size Diva Cup.
The first cycle was a bit of a disaster, I nearly gave up. I had a very hard time inserting in correctly, and after becoming quite sore after several repeated attempts, several days in a row, I decided to give it a rest until the next month.
My next cycle seemed to go surprisingly well. I was able to insert it correctly the first 2 days, and had no leakage or discomfort whatsoever. Hurray! I also discovered that my cervix is incredibly high (who knew?), so high that I had a hard time with removal. But by squatting and bearing down, I was able to grasp the very end of the tip and maneuver it out. It made a bloody mess (pun intended), but I figured that would improve with practice.
Unfortunately, over the next few days, I experienced continuous leakage, or at the very least spotting. No clue why. I wasn't doing anything different, and my flow was less than the first 2 days...
I tried different folding methods, but because I kept leaking, I kept removing and reinserting the cup, and as a result my inner labia became extremely irritated and chafed. It lasted several days after my period, and I had to use lots of soothing lotion to ease the rawness. Ugh.
Then my third cycle. I expected yet more improvements. But alas, things only got worse. There seemed to be less leakage, and I found that using Kegel exercises helped position the cup correctly (although I continued to experience some spotting, still not sure why, as the cup was never full to the brim). After 2 or 3 days, my vagina began to become irritated again, and this time it was MUCH worse than before. And honestly, I wasn't removing the cup as much as the previous cycles!
My labia became red and swollen, the skin burned like crazy and urinating was sheer agony! I was in pain constantly, an itching, burning, stinging pain. When a week after my period ended things were still just as bad, I decided to go to the doctor. She (yes, I have a female family doctor) had no idea what was wrong, but she said that the skin just looked incredibly chafed and irritated - which is exactly how it felt. She did a swab to confirm I didn't have a yeast infection (which seemed unlikely anyway, because I didn't have any increased or smelly discharge) and even sent off a swab to test for herpes! It came back negative as well.
I was given an analgesic gel, but it didn't help at all. In the end, I used Bepanthen ointment (for diaper rash), which worked within several days, thank god!).

All in all, this was a horrific experience.

Now, I am on my fourth cycle, and yet again I am trying to use the Diva Cup. But today, on my second day, I can already feel my skin begin to get irritated. Oh no!
So what to do? I'm already using Bepanthen preventively. I am trying to reinsert as infrequently as possible, because I really think it's from inserting and removing the cup. I feel like I have to smush the skin aside to get the cup in, and that some of the skin just sticks to the cup while inserting and perhaps causes minute tears... Removal is perhaps even worse, as I am unable to break the vacuum seal immediately, so I end up tugging the cup down a bit, and again I feel like it pulls some of my skin along.
Either that, or I'm developing some weird kind of allergy for silicone??? But I didn't think that was possible. I've used condoms without any problems and I'm not an allergy-prone person.

Any suggestions? Or should I just give up? Is the cup perhaps just not for me?

Thanks for any and all advice!
Tags: allergies - silicone, chafing/irritation, divacup, insertion - painful or problems, leakage & spotting, removal - painful or problems, teething troubles
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