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09 May 2012 @ 01:05 am

This happened about last month, and I'm still very curious as to why it happened as it was something I had never experienced before. 
I have used tampons, I have used pads, and I had finally gotten around to owning a menstrual cup -- that is, the size 1 DivaCup (smallest DC size). I am fifteen and -- of course -- a virgin, and before this menstrual cup mishap, the only thing that had been inserted into my vagina were tampons, and that's strictly it. 

I was rather surprised by the size of the cup. I live in Canada so this is the only cup sold around here, therefore I had no options to buy other cups (I'm looking into buying them online after this, though). But it looked very, very huge for being a "smaller size" (yes, it was definitely size 1). I had read a lot about them and had done "research" beforehand on cups, and I made sure to read the directions fully before going for the kill. 

After weeks of putting it off, I finally forced my squeem-ish self to use my finger, and I had gone about 3/4 of my index finger without much problems at all after numerous attempts. After this I tried tampons for the first time, and they slowly became easier to insert (I have a difficult time using a finger of mine to insert in my vagina, but anything that is not a part of my body is easier and less hard for me to insert). This went on for a few months. 

Then I felt I was ready -- I wasn't scared much anymore since I was used to tampon/finger insertion by then. So I tried, and tried, and tried, and I just couldn't get it in! I tried so many folds and positions I couldn't keep count. Then one day, when I was pretty heavy on my period, I used the 7-fold again while sitting on the toilet with a leg up on the bathtub (most comfy for me) and it actually went in so far that only the base was left for me to insert. I had put it under water a few times so it wouldn't be so dry going in. Then I pushed the bit of the stem so I couldn't see it anymore (making sure I didn't put it over a half inch in like the directions said, and I can assure you I didn't put it much farther), but boy, was I wrong. 

A second after I let go I had stinging, burning sensations and it felt as if the cup had razorblades along the edges and was expanding into a balloon. I was ready to shriek, so I quickly went in and grabbed it, and squeezed the base (because I heard that it breaks the suction, right?) and MY GOD, it felt as if every organ in my body was being sucked out from my vagina, along with the stinging and burning feelings growing more and more excruciatingly painful! I don't think I even broke the suction!! I had every force in my body not to scream in terror. I was so convinced that my uterus was going be ripped off, and that SUCKING feeling became more painful the more I tried to take it out. It wouldn't come out at first, because the cup was a little too big, and the feeling had even moved to around my anus. I really, truly did think I was going to die or end up with bits of my uterus/organs in the cup. While it was "in", I felt it in, just sitting there, but I knew not to put the cup too low/high but it felt *nothing* like what it would if I would insert a tampon the same way. 

So FINALLY, I pulled it out, breathless, (*cringe*) and felt as if my whole waist area (vagina, anus, everything in between, under and above) had been hacked with a tiny chainsaw via vaginal insertion, along with extreme stinging and burning. That must have been the most painful thing I had ever experienced in my life. 

Well, less than a half hour later, the pain thankfully subsided and I had no visible (or just internal) pain or changes in defecating, urinating or menstrual bleeding. I had no pain or any abnormalities after that event and haven't noticed anything since... but jeez, was that ODD! And not to mention traumatizing! I can't look at my cup anymore without thinking of that specific event... and I haven't touched it since! 

Really, though, I want to know how and why this happened. I did notice myself moving the cup more to the left than straight in, as well as my very weak and somewhat "slippery" gripping of my cup. I think I may have let go way before fully inserting the cup. I don't want this to happen again, so I'd appreciate any advice you could give me since I clearly did not do things the right way regarding insertion (and I suppose removal, too...). Please feel free to condescend my awful knowledge on this as it is most definitely ABNORMAL to have something like this happen (unless anyone else here has experienced this before? Let's hope not... that was petrifying). 

Current Mood: scaredscared
Arrow_Brightarrow_bright on May 9th, 2012 06:40 am (UTC)
If you look at the sizecharts, you'll see that even the S/Size 1 Diva is longer than pretty much all other cups except for the L Diva. It's a bit strange, to me, that they made their "small" cup so long, but it does work well for some people.

I'm sorry you had such a painful first experience. :/ I wouldn't say it's normal, but I would say that a lot of people have experienced this. I'm guessing that it happened because your vaginal walls (and possibly hymen) aren't used to being stretched like that. Even tampons are a lot narrower than cups. Though, hmm... On rereading your post, are you saying that you inserted the whole base (with just stem sticking out) and it felt ok, and then you pushed it up farther so that all the stem was inside you and started feeling pain then? If that's the case, it's possible that you inserted it too far and hit your cervix. The Diva is a rather long cup, as I said. You might try inserting it again, but only as far as the base. If it has farther upwards to go, it'll get there on its own. It also might be too long for you. You could try turning it inside out to shorten it a bit.

You might find the Virgin's Guide to Cups (http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/1243131.html) helpful. The person who wrote it gives helpful tips broken down into steps.

Also, the key to removal is definitely to relax! If you panic, it'll make it painful because your pelvic muscles will tense up (basically, your vagina will be gripping the cup while you're trying to pull it out--ouch!). I know it's hard to relax when it hurts, but you need to try. And don't worry, you won't be harming your internal organs if the seal doesn't break. It hurts, but it's not harmful. Making sure your jaw is slack helps. If your jaw is clenched, then the rest of your muscles probably are too.
arcticfox97arcticfox97 on May 9th, 2012 06:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks a ton for the information and tips. Yes, I did notice the DivaCup being rather wide *and* long which is why I had mentioned it being so big... I'm not sure if I should consider buying a smaller menstrual cup or not, though. All I know is that I'm terribly afraid of trying to stick it back in, haha!

The pain had been continuous throughout the whole "insertion" part when it had gone about halfway in. I pushed it a little further (the base -- I still am not sure how far the stem went in, but it wasn't much at all) and the pain had become much worse to the point of being excruciating, which is when I began to attempt to pull it out.

And gosh, am I glad to know I'm not the only one who's experienced this. It sure felt out of the ordinary, especially with something that some people can do so easily.
Maybe I'll try again in the future, but I'll be much more scared than I was the first time!
Arrow_Brightarrow_bright on May 9th, 2012 07:07 pm (UTC)
You're welcome!

Have you been able to find your cervix? That might be helpful in seeing if part of the problem is the Diva being much too long for you and hitting your cervix.

In the mean time, practice relaxation exercises (deep breathing, etc.) so that the next time you try, you can be more relaxed. Relaxation is a skill one needs to practice. It doesn't always come naturally, especially during stressful situations, but it really helps. Also, click through the various tags linked in the right column that are related to your situation (particularly "virginity" and "insertion - painful & problems") and read posts. You might find answers to your problems in there and in the comments section.

In the Virgin's Guide I liked to before, the person did what you did where she got comfortable just inserting a finger, first. Then she just got comfortable putting it in folded (without letting go), going inch by inch. Eventually she was comfortable with it in all the way folded, so she started working on getting comfortable with it unfolded. I think this would be a good idea for you, from the pain you've described. You don't have to jump in all at once! Going through each step at your own pace is important. :) Some people's bodies adjust more quickly than others, while others' bodies need more coaxing. Try again next month when you're less scared and go at your own pace.
arcticfox97arcticfox97 on May 10th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC)
I haven't exactly tried to find my cervix yet, but this afternoon I had tried again and used my index finger and I went almost to my knuckle and felt nothing yet, so I'm assuming mine is relatively high considering the Diva is about the length of the finger I used so it shouldn't be the problem...

Thanks again for your tips. I read the Virgin's Guide, and while it was helpful (as well as your information) I tried again today as I'm on my period and I realized that the pain began again when I popped it open while it was inside me -- I had assumed it was from the notorious Diva strong suction -- could I be correct? Before I did have a very painful "my-organs-and-uterus-are-being-sucked-the-heck-out" feeling, and today it happened once again but not as much, but still unbearably painful.
Could buying a smaller and weaker-suctioned menstrual cup solve this problem, do you think? Or am I wrong about the whole problem on this? Your replies have been much appreciated!
Arrow_Brightarrow_bright on May 10th, 2012 02:48 am (UTC)
Ah, yes, that would mean a high cervix. You're probably fine in that area, then.

Yes, you're right about the Diva having strong suction. I had forgotten about that. It has very small holes compared to other cups (the holes let in air to break the seal). Strong suction and difficulty breaking the seal can cause the giving-birth-to-your-organs feeling during removal. I know I've read of some people enlarging the holes on their Diva, but I can't remember how they did it. Toothpicks, maybe?

A slightly shorter cup might help, if it's hitting your cervix (not sure if that's what is happening). You wouldn't want to go too short, though, because then removal can be difficult with a high cervix (though you'd be ok if it had a long stem). A narrower cup probably wouldn't make a difference, since the small Diva's relatively narrow to begin with. One with larger holes might help with removal, though. Obsidian has a menstrual cup blog where she reviews all the cups she has, and she talks about the size of the holes: http://menstrualcups.wordpress.com/2008/06/11/my-comparisons-and-ratings-cleaning/ . She talks about them in relation to cleaning, but it gives you an idea about the size. Another thing Obsidian mentions at that link is the ridge some cups have that can make insertion/removal less comfortable. She also talks about the ridge again here (http://menstrualcups.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/ridges/) and has comparison photos.

A softer cup might help you, too. The Diva is about a medium stiffness (4/10). See the chart here: http://menstrualcupinfo.wordpress.com/cup-stiffness-comparison-chart/

I would recommend you keep practicing with your Diva to see if it gets any better. If you're not comfortable with that because it's too painful or it doesn't get better and you want to try a different cup, I think I would recommend a small Fleurcup to you. It has larger holes and no ridge, it's softer, and it looks narrower in body under the rim (look at the comparison photos here: http://menstrualcups.friendhood.net/t231-divacup-comparison-photos - it's the third from the bottom). It's also a bit shorter but has a long stem, so you don't have to worry about it being too short. Meluna soft cups (they have soft and classic stiffness) are also popular with people who require a gentler cup.

ETA: Forgot to add that even if you did get a new cup, you would probably still have some discomfort with it at first just because it's still a new experience for your vagina. It might make things easier, though.

Edited at 2012-05-10 02:50 am (UTC)
arcticfox97arcticfox97 on May 11th, 2012 04:26 pm (UTC)
Oh gosh, that's relieving to know that it was the suction that could give me that sort of pain and not that I did any type of damage. I appreciate you for re-assuring me!
I checked out the links you gave me, they were very helpful. And thank you for the recommendation of the small Fleurcup -- sounds great for me, so I'll see what happens when I take in more cup considerations / do more researching.

Also: You've been extremely helpful, I'm so glad to have come here and have people like you answering my every question and concern. Thank you once again! And regarding getting a new cup and having discomfort, I'll make sure to keep that in mind and not give up when I buy a new cup and make a decision like I did with the Diva.
Arrow_Brightarrow_bright on May 11th, 2012 08:29 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! I'm glad I could be of help to you. :)
foggyimagefoggyimage on May 10th, 2012 12:12 am (UTC)
I was too lazy to read all the other posts but in my experience, it was easier to go slow and work up to putting all the cup in. Forcing the cup in will make the pain you described upon insertion. Sticking a tampon in is not the same as a cup. A tampon is straight whereas you have to feel your body curve when inserting a cup. Try inserting slowly next time! Btw, I have totally had that shock of pain and quick removal. When you remove in panic (especially for anyone who JUST put it in and is apprehensive of the cup as soon as it is in) this will cause lots of pain! I totally did this the first time!!!! You should read some posts of how to break the seal properly! In case you think you might be the only one with issues, I once inserted the cup and let go really quickly and the cup flipped inside me and opened the wrong way down. That was instant panic as well! lol
arcticfox97arcticfox97 on May 10th, 2012 12:28 am (UTC)
Ah, that's true. I had for sure gone really slow, but when it was in and I popped the cup open, all hell broke loose, haha. What I think is that the Diva's suction is too strong -- at least, too strong for me. I tried it again today since I'm on my period and while trying to pop it open during insertion I did notice that the pain occurred due to it's size compared to my vagina, and it's extreme suction. I might use the Diva when I'm a little older, but I think for now I'll look into weaker-suctioned and smaller cups.
I hadn't known much about the tampon / cup insertion difference -- thanks! And if I want to try again, I think I really should learn more about breaking the suction, LOL. Thank you.
m03m on May 9th, 2012 07:21 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry to hear that you had this problem! It sounds very painful.
I'm not sure if this was similar in nature and cause to the painful first experience described in a post made on May 6th, called "Once I finally get it in, I'm met with INTENSE pain. Quite upset now."
But you might want to take a look at that one, and the replies.
arcticfox97arcticfox97 on May 9th, 2012 06:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'll take a look at that post as soon as I can.
juliiie87juliiie87 on May 9th, 2012 07:28 pm (UTC)
here it is : http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/2860818.html#comments

Also, as it says in the answers to that post, the burning and stinging pain should be eased a lot by using water-based lube, water, or even natural lubrication. Try again on your period, things usually go smoother then. Also, you may want to try inserting lying on your back, this was my most relaxed position at the beginning.

And IGNORE the instructions regarding how high / low you should put it in / it should sit. All you need to do is make sure it gets in and pops open, then it will climb wherever it wants to sit on its own.
arcticfox97arcticfox97 on May 10th, 2012 12:24 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'll keep that in mind. Your tip on the high/low insertion is very useful as well, much appreciated.
kcrona1kcrona1 on May 9th, 2012 11:01 am (UTC)
It sucks that your first insertion experience didn't go well. I agree with the other posters here. This isn't abnormal for the first experience. Give it a break, and when you feel comfortable, try again. Relaxing is a huge key. It does also sound like you tore your hymen and more than likely bumped your cervix. A shorter cup might work better for you, but you'll have to order it over the internet.
arcticfox97arcticfox97 on May 9th, 2012 06:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Glad to know it isn't totally abnormal to endure. Maybe I'll try again in the future, but it'll be hard trying to relax in fear that that will happen again!
I'll probably look into shorter cups as well -- once I try again with my own one day, though.
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on May 9th, 2012 11:48 am (UTC)
Well, the good news is that now you know not to YANK your cup out without breaking the seal first. *Raises hand and waves* I did exactly the same thing my first time. It felt like it had given my cervix a hickey.

More good news is that at 43mm in diameter, your Diva is only 2-3mm (a negligible amount really) wider than some of the most popular "small" cups. AND its long length might actually help you get the hang of insertion and especially removal because you don't have to reach way deep to get at the base.

Most important when it comes to removal is to relax and DON'T RUSH! Even though your brain is screaming "GET IT OUT!" stay calm, bear down, relax and rock it out SLOWLY.

I second the advice to flip it inside out to shorten it if you think it's too long -- but not until you get the hang of removal first.

Get to know your Diva well (what you do and don't like about it) before you consider ordering another cup. That will reduce your chances of getting another (?) ill-fitting cup. Or maybe the Diva will turn out to be the right cup for you after all.
arcticfox97arcticfox97 on May 9th, 2012 06:20 pm (UTC)
Ah, thank you so much. I definitely wouldn't have pulled it out so hard, but if it weren't for the amount of pain it was giving me while it was in, I wouldn't have panicked and rushed to stop the madness!
Hmm, really? I don't know why, but I find the DivaCup to seem very large, and when looking up comparison sizes it looked as if it was much bigger than others, but I'm most likely incorrect if that's the actual case.
I'll keep the flipping inside out idea in mind, thanks! I'm hoping some time in the future when I have the courage to try again that it won't be as bad the experience.
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on May 9th, 2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, really. ;o) Check out the various size charts at the Community FAQ and you'll see that there is a cluster of cups in the 40-41W x 46-47L size range. At 57mm long, your Diva is definitely longer but 43mm is only a teeny bit wider.

DON'T RUSH! Some day when you have some time and are feeling confident, give it another shot. It will probably go better. Cups are patient. :o)
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arcticfox97arcticfox97 on May 10th, 2012 12:22 am (UTC)
Thank you! I definitely do understand what you mean. I've been on my period for a few days, so I had actually tried again with the DivaCup today and I could get it in somewhat, but the thought of how it managed to cause that pain rushed out and I kept taking it out. I think the problem with the Diva is that the suction is too strong. It seems to be giving me this "death grip" effect which enhances extreme pain and shooting discomfort.

Today I decided I would go and try a new cup, because the Diva's notorious suction and size is simply too much for me. Thanks for your input -- and if you don't mind me asking, have you tried any other cups? As I mentioned before, I'm a virgin and I don't do well with big or tight-suctioned cups, apparently. I also have a hard time holding onto the fold since it's so stiff. Does the MeLuna match my desires, or are there other reusable menstrual cups fitting my description? Thanks a ton.
juliiie87juliiie87 on May 10th, 2012 02:02 pm (UTC)
You don't HAVE to experience suction, it's not a necessary part of cup use. Always allow some air to reach the top of the cup (by pulling your soft back side away from the cup, even by sliding a finger next to the cup, so it doesn't have to suck on whatever littler aire hangs out in your vagina in order to pop open.
efoughefough on May 12th, 2012 05:38 am (UTC)
I have appreciated this bit of advice, even if I find it more awkward to do than everyone makes it sound. If I don't try to "bring in some outside air", then my cup suctions, rather than seals, as evidenced by the fact that the sides cave in. When that happens, I break the suction/seal and try again.
juliiie87juliiie87 on May 12th, 2012 09:09 am (UTC)
I know it's tricky, and most people wish they could just shove the cup in like they do with a tampon... Have you tried lying on your back, knees splayed ? I find this position makes everything so much looser, it's much easier to rummage around the cup.
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arcticfox97arcticfox97 on May 11th, 2012 04:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the links! I *have* looked at the size charts, although I also feel like it's pretty nice to have personal opinions from others so I can get a sense of what I might like if it works for me, too.
Haha, yes. No matter how many times I tried holding onto the folds, I would end up feeling like I seriously damaged my hand/fingers, and I think once I almost let go too quickly during insertion which scared me. But I'm glad to know others had this issue, too!
skysosskysos on May 11th, 2012 04:09 am (UTC)
Just wanted to point out that it *does* get easier to hold onto the fold for insertion. I think that's a really common complaint, but your hands/fingers will get used to it and it will get a lot easier! You can practice holding the fold just when you're hanging around your house or whatever (not intending to actually insert).
arcticfox97arcticfox97 on May 11th, 2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I personally haven't felt much change in the decrease in difficulty of holding folds, but I found that with the Diva, if I don't squeeze one of the folds or just hold it hard it will begin to unfold which leads me to having hand pains, too. I'll try to look more into stiffness reducing and holding folds, though!
wireni on May 11th, 2012 02:15 am (UTC)
As you say you had pain around your anus, that sounds like cramping of the pelvic floor muscles. So I second the earlier comments: relax.
Picture your pelvic floor as a net hammock, you want the meshes to open and have a feeling as if you "let it all fall out down there".
arcticfox97arcticfox97 on May 11th, 2012 04:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the advice. That might have been what it was as well, but I also think the suction contributed a whole lot to that certain pain.
I'll be sure to remember that the next time I try! :)
efoughefough on May 12th, 2012 05:42 am (UTC)
I found it impossible to break the seal on my Lunette by just "pinching the bottom," and had to usually get my finger all the way to the rim to do so. With the stiffer Meluna classic, I can manage that maneuver, but I often have to wiggle it a bit as well before I hear the seal break.
I think the Diva is closer in firmness to the Lunette, so you might have to do a little more to break the seal on your cup before removing.