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Cait
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!
 
Arrow_Bright: Anne Patharrow_bright on March 29th, 2012 12:56 am (UTC)
First things first, since you're on your period right now, the first thing you should do it so find your cervix. Reach into your vagina with a finger and feel along the front side for a fleshy lump that feels kind of like the tip of your nose. If you don't have to reach far to find it, you have a low cervix and should look for shorter cups (which would not be a Diva--it's the longest cup available, even the small). If it's difficult to reach (e.g., you have to reach all the way in with your finger to reach it or can't barely reach it), then you're better off with a longer cup like the Diva. If it seems somewhere in between, then a medium length cup. Once you've located your cervix, take a look at the size charts: http://sizecharts.livejournal.com/ Once you've figured out how long or short a cup you need, you can start eliminating brands and picking out the ones that you think would work best.

Other questions:

Cleaning - If you look through the cleaning tags, you'll see that there is no one way to clean a cup. It's really all about personal preferences and convenience. Some people boil their cup between each period, some people boil every few months, and some never boil. So when you're abroad, you don't necessarily have to boil your cup if you don't want to, as long as you clean and rinse it well. If you really want to boil, you could buy a mug or bowl and boil in the microwave, if you have one. There are other methods to disinfect, though, such as the Lunette disinfecting wipes.

Using the company's product is not a strict thing. Personally, I just use Dr. Bronner's natural liquid Castile soap for mine because there's no added glycerin (can cause yeast infections) and no artificial fragrances or dyes (can be irritating), and it's organic (better for environment). You mentioned having a Whole Foods near you. The Whole Foods near my school has a large selection of Dr. Bronner's liquid soap, including a 1 oz trial/travel sized bottle that you could probably take with you (also a lot cheaper). You only need a couple of drops for each cleaning, so it would last the whole time. You might also be able to pick up a soap over there.

Virgin & Cup Use - I can't give any personal advice on this because I wasn't a virgin when I started using cups, but I do know that there are several users who are virgins and use cups successfully, even without having used tampons before. I'm guessing a narrower cup would probably be more comfortable, and maybe a not very stiff one as well. You can also check out The Virgin's Guide to Cups: http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/1243131.html

Comfort - This is all personal experience, though this also tends to apply for others as well. For me (and from what I've seen of other users), cups are MUCH more comfortable than tampons, provided you use one that fits you well, of course. Once you get the hang of it, insertion is more comfortable because they slide better (but if not, you can use a water-based lubricant to help it along). Removal is much, much better because you don't have to worry about pulling it out dry, unlike with a tampon (*shudder*).

I think what you're asking is about softness/stiffness. Generally, you feel soft cups less or not at all, while stiffer cups are more noticeable (though not necessarily painful). However, stiffer cups pop open more easily and the seal breaks more easily, while soft cups can need a bit of coaxing. You might want something in the middle or on the softer side.

Cup v. Tampon Insertion - This subject is really up to personal use. There are many different insertion methods. However, for me, I'm able to insert mine approximately the same as I did with a tampon with an applicator. I use the same body position (on the toilet, knees spread, pelvis tilted slightly forward). Once I'm in this position, I fold the cup and insert insert it while gripping bottom half firmly, and push it in until my fingers are slightly in my opening, and then let go. I then push it around a bit and slide it a bit upwards until it's comfortable. It's sort of like a tampon, I guess, except it's a bit more "hands on," I suppose. Of course, like I said, everyone's millage varies on this one.

I hope I've answered some questions! Feel free to ask more!
Caitmscaitlinpotter on March 29th, 2012 10:15 pm (UTC)
I actually couldn't quite locate my cervix. I'm not sure if that's because it's high or because I wasn't entirely certain what to look for. I know that my sister uses a Diva comfortably so I'd assume it's higher but I don't want to take any risks so I'll avoid a Diva until I know. I'll be going to my first gyno appointment in the next few months so I'm sure I'll find out them.

I'm glad to see so many options for cleaning. It really lightens up my concern, because when I was first looking at cups, the only thing I saw related to cleaning was the Divawash. I also think it'll be so much nicer to travel with a cup rather than a bunch of tampons and pads while I'm abroad. More space for other things!

Thank you, you've helped so much with my questions! Everyone in this community is so nice and willing to help out! I think I'm going to go ahead and order a Meluna because I like the look and sound of it. It seems like a good investment and, if it doesn't work out, I can always look into another cup! (I am so glad that I got a job this semester even though it's only 8hrs/wk because now I can actually spend money.)

I wish I had more questions to ask right now because I just want to hear everyone's stories and opinions. Thanks again!