First and foremost, I'd like to thank everyone for making this such a wonderful and informative group. Everything I have learned is a result of the time and effort people put forth in their comments and posts. :)
Recently, I made the switch from disposables to cups [and other reusables]. Here is my experience:
SOME QUICK STATS: 5'3", athletic build, physically active, sexually active, usually medium to high cervix [this was to my surprise], medium flow, student, entering my 30's, no children
REASON: Environmental, health, and personal reasons.
I try in any way that I can to reduce waste. Also, I'm convinced that the fibers left behind from tampons can't be good for your body. I know people will argue that 'women have used tampons for years without problems, so why worry?' but it concerns me. Some topics, especially regarding women's health, are considered taboo but could use much more research. This may be TMI so quit reading now:
During my cycle, I would find fibers that would continue to pass up to a day after I had last used a tampon. I find this alarming--where else are these fibers migrating? I also hate the dry feeling they cause. Disposable pads make me feel as though I'm wearing a diaper and result in that annoyingly sweaty feeling. Finally, I hated that I absolutely dreaded my period. I felt as though it was something I had to constantly rearrange my life around. I always had to consider where I was going to use the restroom in 4 hrs, if I had enough disposables on me, what I should wear ('Can people see my pad/liner/string showing?', 'What if I leak?')....this didn't feel like the freedom the commercials had promised.
COLD FEET: My first cups, a MCUK and a Keeper Mooncup, were purchased for me in 2008. I didn't work up the courage to try them until a couple of months ago. So everyone who suffers from cold feet, don't give up! :)
FIRST RUN: Using a MCUK and the punchdown fold, I got the cup inserted on the third try. The first time I let go of the cup too early and it popped open and bounced around my bathroom. The second time, I inserted it in way too low and I couldn't scoot it up because it was very uncomfortable. Once it was inserted correctly, it seemed comfortable at first. After I had it in for a few hours, I found that the rim placed a lot of pressure on my bladder. When I sat down, it felt as though the hollow stem was poking me. I had the exact same experience with the Keeper Mooncup. I tried trimming the stems, not only did it not help that much but it also made it more difficult to grasp. I had a really difficult time with removal. (I'd estimate that these first removals took up to an hour. I would get frustrated and give up, then sign on here get some advice, regroup, and try again. :D) As the community has suggested to others, I figured I would use this opportunity to create a list of things I liked about the cup and what I would change to help me find my perfect cup. (I love MCUK and Keeper Mooncup. I would most definitely recommend them, I just found they weren't the perfect cup for me.)
MOST DIFFICULT PART: Removal. I have carpal tunnel and repetitive use injuries. When these things flare up, it makes it difficult for me to keep my wrist in position or my fingers in the grasping position for long.
MOST REWARDING PART: Learning a lot more about my body. Before this experience, I felt as though I had a limited understanding or awareness of things such as where my cervix was or my measurements...I feel more informed. Also, I love not having to worry about adjusting my schedule to the demands of my cycle. I don't dread my period--in a weird way I kind of look forward to it! These are words I NEVER thought I would say. EVER.
CUPS I OWN: three MeLuna (M) cups (yellow, cyan, and blue glitter) in soft and classic with ring stems (my favorite!), MCUK, and Keeper Mooncup.
WHAT INFLUENCED MY BUYING DECISION MOST: length, diameter, stem style, firmness/stiffness, color, capacity
CUPS I'D LIKE TO TRY/OWN SOMEDAY: Si-bell (maybe Fleurcup, MiaCup, Lunette but I just don't think the stem style would work for me.)
FAVORITE FOLDS: a really tight c-fold (I think it might be referred to as a 9 fold or G fold), c-fold, punchdown fold. I stopped using the punchdown fold because I found that it didn't always open up properly, especially with softer cups.
ASSISTS?: The cold water method helps my cup pop open if it's being difficult. Also, a personal lubricant is nice. I use one from Sliquid Organics.
STEM STYLE: I love the ring stem MeLuna offers! I absolutely hate hollow stems.
CONCLUSION: I think the MeLuna (M) is my GC. They're so comfortable and easy to use. I can't say enough about the customer service, the company is wonderful. I love that they take an interest in what consumers want and give so many options. I'm also a sucker for pretty colors.
REACTIONS FROM PEOPLE IN MY LIFE: I've heard the full range. Some friends are intrigued and seem open-minded, while others are less receptive. People often ask whether it's: safe, effective, sanitary, comfortable, messy...just to name a few.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I wish that I would have given this a try earlier in life. I feel that there are so many people who don't even realize this is an option. I try to get the word out any way that I can. :)