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Hi, sorry if this is too long!

I am a first time user of a menstrual cup (mine is a Femmecup) and I've tried using it twice now, not on my period, so both just a 'dry run', and both times I had the exact same problems. Just so you know, I'm 17, and currently sexually active.

Both times, I used the 'lotus'/'punch-down' folding method, as it is the narrowest and I have quite a tight vagina, and was squatting, as I squat when I put in tampons and it's the most comfortable for me. The cup went in fine, without any pain, which I was happy about. However, I am almost 100% sure that it didn't 'pop open' on it's own as I was expecting it to. So, I tried doing what I had read - running a finger around it to make it pop open, but nothing happened, and I could feel for myself that it hadn't popped open. In fact, the second time, I think it just stayed in the folded position completely. 

Then I stood up and walked around a bit and I couldn't feel it at all which I was also happy about.

Then I tried to take it out, using the methods I had read about - I inserted two fingers and tried to squeeze the cup to release the seal, but as the cup hadn't even popped open, this did nothing. So then I tried bearing down and pulling on the stem, and then reaching further up and pulling on the cup itself, because I thought that as it hadn't popped open and formed a seal it would just come out as easy as it had gone in. However, it was at this point, both times, that I suddenly felt it pop open, but when I ran my finger around I could tell that it still hadn't popped open completely, it was basically just squashed in half (like the first step of the 'c fold' method).

After a lot more pulling and bearing down it finally came out, but it wasn't easy to pull out, I could feel it resisting as if it had formed a seal, and as the rim of the cup finally came out it hurt quite a lot because it stretched the entrance to my vagina quite wide - almost as wide as the cup itself, because by now it had actually popped open basically completely.

So my questions are:
  1. How do I know if it's popped open, and if it hasn't how do I make it pop open. Also, as I'm sure no woman's vagina is perfectly circular, could the cup still form a seal if it isn't completely popped open, as I think my cup may have done?
  2. How do i get it out?! I'm just worried that I'm going to have the same problem getting it out every time I try using it.
  3. Finally, I was thinking about it, and I had this thought: If I can only get it in when it is folded, then won't I only be able to get it out (without pain) when it is folded? But if it's full of blood then folding it will cause all of the blood to spill out?
Again, sorry if this was too long, but any thoughts and advice would be great, THANKYOU!
 
m03m on June 12th, 2012 03:09 pm (UTC)
Since this was a dry run, I wouldn't assume that you'll have the same problems during actual use. For most of us, dry runs are harder.

That sort of answers the first two questions... or it will then your period arrives. More practice will make you a pro in no time.
If it won't pop open, try a different fold now that you know you can get the cup in without any pain.

3. If you refold the cup before taking it out, it's possible that some of the content will spill out. It will then fall into the toilet or go into the shoer drain, where it was going to end up anyway.

Another way of not having to deal with the whole rim at once during removal is taking the cup out at an angle: first one corner, then the other.
melissa569melissa569 on June 14th, 2012 01:28 am (UTC)
Ditto! I like to think I'm pretty good at it these days, but even for me, its more difficult when I'm not on my period. It seems like the muscles just relax more on my period for some reason...

But in response...

1--For me I know its popped open when its "mostly" round, and its not leaking. I normally let it pop open halfway in then coax it up the rest of the way because that seems to for a better seal. But that can be challenging with softer cups, because the bottom just crushes when you try to push up, lol. Honestly, with softer cups, I just can't do the punch-down fold. Well... I can, but its so much more difficult to make that fold pop open. For me the easiest is C-fold, and sometimes 7 fold. But also, try to make the folded crease face the vagina's back wall. The back wall just seems to be more roomy and let things pop open and seal better.

2 & 3--This cup can be a little slippery so keep some tissue in your hand while you remove it, and re-dry your fingers a couple of times. It gives you better grip. See if the "pinch and tilt" method helps, you pinch the bottom of the cup and tilt the cup from side to side as you carefully pull down. then when you come to the rim, just partially do a C-fold, and ease it out. I myself do not just remove the whole rim, I always partially fold the rim. If you empty it slightly more often, you get less spills, if that is your concern with the partial fold.

The first time you wear it on your period, just use a pad for backup, until you get the hang of it. Remove it every few hours, to see how long it takes you to fill it up, especially in your heavy days. And from then on, you will always know.

juliiie87juliiie87 on June 12th, 2012 03:25 pm (UTC)
Just some general tips, you're doing great already !

Both to remove and especially make the cup pop open, you need to allow air inside your vagina, next to the cup, and above it. The best way to do this is to insert a finger next to the cup and press on the side of it, for removal / on your lower vaginal wall, if trying to pop open. Also making sure you're as relaxed as possible, even bearing down a little, generally helps for both (more bearing down is needed for removal though).

Most users find convenient to insert and remove sitting on the toilet, for many reasons including potential spilling. The fuller the cup, the more chances of spilling you'll get, but actually if your cup isn't quite full you should be able to squish it or even partially refold it for removal with little to no spilling.

If it's catching fluid and difficult to remove by just pulling on it, then it's probably sealed. Circling your finger around the base is more of a check method, but both poking around and pulling gently on the cup can actually help pop it open, sometimes. There are just as many tricks as there are cups and vaginas really, so keep on experimenting ! practice makes perfect. :)
Sock Be A Lady Tonight: monday garfieldsockbealady on June 12th, 2012 03:40 pm (UTC)
Dry run. The term sounds so painful. :/ Are you using any kind of lubrication, be it water or lube, to get it in?

1. I know a lot of people "feel" it pop open, but I never have so far. I usually insert and turn it so it pops open. The fold is probably not working properly for your body since you are doing a dry run. There are videos on youtube that show lots of different folds. Experimentation is key. I use two different folds during my period (C for heavier/beginning, punchdown for lighter/ending).

2. I saw someone mention somewhere that you can squish the cup together like a hotdog bun and gently rock it out. I usually rock my cup out slowly, getting one side out at a time. I've never had any spills issues.

3. Possibly, but as said, it'll go into the toilet/shower so no issue there.
Serpent: neutralserpent_849 on June 12th, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC)
have a look at this post: http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/2618390.html#cutid1
the cup should be oval if not rounded but it definitely shouldn't be completely folded.
also this post: http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/2091967.html basically, there can be suction even if the cup is still folded. it definitely was so on my dry runs. suction on removal doesn't guarantee there was a good seal before that.

it's crucial to learn to relax, both for insertion and removal. i also found this video very helpful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLPBZz3uJEg in general, watch the vids again if you already have. it'll feel different.

more specifically about 3) - yes, many prefer to fold their cups for removal. the vid has some great tips for that. if you don't let the cup fill completely, it shouldn't spill on removal. of course when you remove an Absolutely Full Cup,you might get blood on your hands even if you don't fold it. I think Melissa's rec was to not let it fill by more than 2/3.

Edited at 2012-06-12 05:34 pm (UTC)
loveyourcuploveyourcup on June 13th, 2012 06:26 am (UTC)
1. A good way to check it has popped open is to rotate it once it's inside, that kind of forces the cup to open. You can check then with your finger if it's in place

2. The removal shouldn't be painful. You need to pinch the bottom enough to help remove the seal from the rim. The femmecup has large airholes which means the seal isn't that strong but since it is very squishy at the bottom it doesn't really change the shape of the rim like it would on a harder cup. So just rock it side to side until you can feel the seal as released.

3. Yes that's the question I asked myself when I first used a cup. inserting is usually always more difficult than removing. it's rare the cup is actually really full so even if you squish it a lot it won't overflow. Worst case you'll get a few drops on your hands. After you use it a few times you'll get a sense of quantity and when to change your cup

You did it when you didn't have your period, the just know it is harder then, when you have your period you vagina will be more dilated and slippery, it will be easier.

Like I said the femmecup has a very squishy bottom but a firm rim, the C fold is difficult with that cup, I recommend a classic punch down not some fancy origami, 7 fold or I dont know what else. Since you are only 17, I think the problem you have is that the Femmecup is just too soft for you, you should consider getting a harder cup like a meluna classic in M.

You can see my detailled how to use a cup guide on:
http://menstrualcup.co/how-to-use-it/

I hope this helps :)

Edited at 2012-06-13 06:27 am (UTC)
fishchick72 on June 16th, 2012 12:28 am (UTC)
I'm having a lot of issues getting my diva cup to open up once inserted. BUT I did a dry run with my diva & had a really hard time removing it. Removal is much easier when you're actually on your period as their is more lubrication & the weight of the fluid in the cup & gravity just seem to help more.