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Hello all, I'm looking into getting a cup for any number of reasons (desire to be more eco-friendly, travel ease, the cost of pads/tampons, etc.), but I have a few questions. My sister has been using a Diva for the past year and absolutely loves it but I'm not sure if the Diva would be the right choice for me. (Apologies if it seems like you've answered all of these questions  before!)

A few of my questions/concerns:
  • I'll be studying abroad in the British Isles from August to December of this year. I'll be travelling with about thirty other people (six guys but otherwise women). We'll be staying in many different places from hotels to cottages to college housing. How feasible would it be to maintain the cleaning on a cup whilst travelling in a group setting where I wouldn't necessarily have my own kitchen/pot/etc.?

  • For the Diva (in particular though others as well), the website says to only clean it with water or the Divawash. How strict is that? Because if I were to get a Diva, I don't think I'd really be able to bring Divawash with me through customs. I don't mind if I have to pick up something over there.

  • I'm twenty (on April 24th), a virgin, and have only been using tampons for the past four or five years. I can insert one finger easily but two is less comfortable (from the last time I checked which was a while ago). Do you think these would affect using a cup? Because I'm not entirely sure what size to look for (other than the smaller size with the Diva).

  • Tampons are sometimes irritable, especially when inserting or removing. This might be due to the fibers involved. In your experiences with cups, are they more comfortable than tampons? (I'm pretty sure I already know the answer to this question but I figured I'd raise it anyway.) I'd like something that allows the ease of movement that tampons do but without the discomfort. I also have only used tampons with applicators (both cardboard and plastic, which kills the eco-friendly side of me) and I'm not entirely certain how similar the application process tends to be. The Diva website said that the user manual is more in-depth than the online explanation.How similar/different are the application processes (cup v. tampon)?

  • Of the cups I've looked into, I'm interested in the Diva, Fleur, and MeLuna. (Part of the thought with the Diva is that I can drive five miles to a Whole Foods Market and pick it up now instead of waiting for it to ship.) I've looked at some of the charts but one thing I can't quite figure out is the comfort aspect. I know that it'll be different for everyone but before I, on my univ. budget, make a purchase, I'd like to know as much as possible. Comparison thoughts or cup suggestions?

I'm currently on my period (which is why I'm kind of leaning toward the Diva because I'd love to start using a cup as soon as possible). Any tips, comments, suggestions are welcome and appreciated! Thanks, everyone!

Edit: I've just ordered a medium Meluna with a ball stem. Thanks for all your advice and help, everyone!
Serpent: neutralserpent_849 on March 29th, 2012 12:06 am (UTC)
-i was also a 20 yo virgin when i started using cups. i have never used tampons either. my first one was a small lunette, one of the narrowest and that was good. however, i realized i need a wide cup to fit around my cervix, and already on my next cycle i was using one of the widest cups, a large ladycup. no problems. if you have a heavy flow i recommend taking advantage of a large+small size offer (or getting a meluna - they normally send free samples in a different size). if not, go for something 41-43 mm wide and decide what length you need.
-comfort: i picked a medium stiffness cup as my first one. the others i got are VERY soft but i don't feel any of them. here's a stiffness chart: http://menstrualcupinfo.wordpress.com/cup-stiffness-comparison-chart/ some are sensitive enough that, say, 2 vs 3 makes a difference, but that's quite rare i think. just avoid the stiffest ones like the large lunette etc (though i've seen and squished it at a store in finland - it was much softer than i expected it to be!)

-cleaning: you don't need a kitchen/pot. you'll have access to a sink i'm sure? :D most of the time at least. when you don't, it's fine to just reinsert. also, many simply use water, however i find that it causes staining. i use johnson's baby shampoo and i'm very satisfied. anything is fine if you rinse it well really...you may want to use fragrance-free and avoid the stuff that suggest residue, like "extra moisture" or "antibacterial protection", this is more difficult to rinse off. the company-produced wash is more of a marketing thing. it's also a safe choice for a beginner, especially if you're prone to yeast infections.
for tips on discreet use, check the dorms tag.

-choice: been to the sizecharts yet? it's better to know where your cervix is. if you're sure you can't reach it, a diva is a good choice. if you're not sure where it is, don't get a diva. if you know it's low, don't get a diva.

-tampons: a common mistake is inserting a cup too far. whether you need to insert it as far as you can depends on your cervix position. though you can let it open even before it's in (in my case, as soon as the rim is in! my cervix is VERY low), this works for many high cervix folks as well. also, aim towards your tailbone, not up. oh and there's far more room for experimenting - the ways of folding, facing the fold this or that way, your pose (i don't think it's easy to insert a tampon in the shower?).
Caitmscaitlinpotter on March 29th, 2012 09:54 pm (UTC)
I like the look and sound of the Meluna so I think I'm going to go with that. I'm not entirely certain where my cervix is (tried locating it but to no avail) so starting with something smaller than a Diva sounds like a good idea.

The dorms tag is my new best friend. I've actually brought up menstrual cups with two of the girls I live with (my roommate and section mate). They've both heard of them! My roommate said she's used disposables and the other girl said she would use a cup if not for her depression (because she wouldn't be able to keep it clean). I was so excited to get some affirmation on cup use.

As for insertion, I've only ever used tampons with applicators. But you've said it doesn't go that far in? Would the cup then sit closer to the vaginal opening?

Thank you so much for the tips! (I've also never inserted a tampon in the shower. I would just do that at the toilet prior to showering.)