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Hi, I'm "new" here. My story is long, but I would greatly appreciate any advice. I read through as many posts as I could looking for posts addressing similar problems, but I couldn't find anything really relevant, and my eyes are burning from staring at the computer screen for so long.

Okay, so I've been interested in making the switch to a cup for about six years now. Mostly because I want to get away from the chemicals and waste, but also because it is SO hard to find light tampons! I am 27 and have been using tampons since my cycle started when I was 15, except for a recent 2.5 year hiatus from any cycle after giving birth to my daughter.

When my flow reappeared, I decided to make the switch. I had been lurking around on here for awhile and finally decided on a soft MeLuna cup. Upon visiting their website (and reading all of the recommendations and taking the sizing quiz), I decided on a small classic with a ring stem. Let me explain; yes, I have given birth, am sexually active (sometimes...it's hard to make time with a toddler!) and am 27. But I have always been of small frame (I am 5'7", 105lb) and, from what I've been told my my husband (and ex-boyfriends), my vagina is tighter than normal - I still frequently experience pain during intercourse, even postpartum. I also have a very light flow (I use about 2 - 4 light tampons each cycle, and that many only because I don't want to leave them in for too long, but they come out somewhat dry and cause irritation). I went with the classic instead of soft also based on MeLuna's recommendations - I have well-toned vaginal muscles and didn't want to have any trouble with popping the cup open. I thought long and hard about my decision because I really don't want to have to invest in more than one cup; by my calculations, it will take me 3.03 years worth of tampon purchases to pay for the cup.

So yesterday morning I woke up at 6:15am to find my flow had started, so after my shower I inserted the cup for the first time. I never tried any "dry" run after reading on here that they weren't very helpful. I didn't have a problem getting the cup in, but I did have a really hard time trying to pop it open. For one thing, I really can't get two fingers around the cup to spin or reshape it. That process was painful! I finally felt some air get in, but the cup still felt squished flat. Also, I've been told by a nurse that my cervix faces toward my right side, so I tried to get the cup oriented in that direction, but I guess I am not sure if I did it right or not.

I had to be on campus for 11 hours yesterday, and the general experience was not pleasant. First, the cup leaked. Each time I removed it, I could definitely feel that I was breaking a suction (and I surprisingly did not have much trouble with removal) - I'm not sure how, since I never actually felt the cup "pop" open. The cup was never full, usually just about 1/2 tsp. or so would be in there, with almost an equal amount having leaked out. I absolutely cannot stand pads or pantiliners, so I had to pleasure of wearing damp, bloody panties all day. And constantly feeling that "leaking" feeling. Four times I went to the rest room on campus (which is kind of gross, so I avoid it if I can) to remove, rinse and reinsert the cup - I brought my water bottle in the stall with me for rinsing. I tried a different fold every time, but nothing would allow me to pop open the cup. After some fiddling around, accompanied with pain, I would feel air go in, but the cup would still be squished flat. The length of the cup did seem perfect, though...it didn't stick out or feel like it went in too far.

But now for the worst part: the cup caused major, debilitating cramps. They radiated up into my ribs all the way to my breasts, and just as high on my back. Not like a pressure on my bladder or bowels, but actual, severe cramping in the entire abdomen. And after a few hours, I got incredibly nauseous, which just worsened with time. I normally have no cramping or illness whatsoever during my cycle. When I finally got home and took the cup out, I was in so much pain I just had to lay down in the fetal position for the rest of the night. I threw up several times last night as well. (I should note that I have experienced similar severe pain and vomiting after intercourse if my husband's penis hits my cervix, but that usually subsides after 20 minutes or so.) The light tampon that I have put in place to replace the cup is now causing only minor cramping, but I normally do not get any cramping! It's been about 16 hours since I removed the cup and I still feel weak and too nauseous to eat. I am actually staying home from school today, unfortunately. Now, it's possible that I somehow suddenly came down with the flu last night ('tis the season!), but even if that caused the vomiting, the cramping and pain was definitely cause by the cup.

So, I feel kind of helpless right now...I really want the cup to work out for me, and I will consider buying another one if necessary. But it seems like the cup is simultaneously too stiff (causing pain) and too soft (unable to pop open). I am worried that a larger size would only cause the pain to be worse. I know it's only been one day and I should probably try again now, since I am home, and pay more attention to how I am inserting the cup, but I am quite terrified of experiencing more pain and vomiting. Does anyone have any suggestions or encouraging words? I really don't want to give up, but I am just not brave enough to try this again right now.
juliiie87juliiie87 on February 13th, 2013 09:16 pm (UTC)
Ok, so basically (correct me if I'm wrong), you couldn't make the cup pop open and it leaked ? It's all normal, you're just starting, so don't be harsh on yourself, but honestly ? cups are not supposed to be worn still folded. Having them pop open is the one and only crucial step. Also, the most important factor when picking a cup would be length, not width. Your vagina isn't a given width, tightness is only a factor of your pelvic muscles and how contracted/relaxed they are at a given time. And that's something you should be able to work on. I for one totally support softer cup as being generally more comfortable for most people, but they do take a little more fiddling until you learn to make them pop open. My strategy is to run the cup under cold water then use the labia fold, facing the floor (with my Meluna soft) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nt6L-POE-b0

Now, that being said... most cups work for most people so let's try to make this one work first ! you can do it ! :)

Also... it's fine not to try again straight away. Most likely, the cup was hitting your cervix or possibly squished all folded past your cervix on one side, at least that's my diagnostic, hence the illness (vagal reflex/illness it's called). The good news is that you seem to have managed to take it out without any issues, so it should be about the right length for you and considering you have a light flow, I'd say the size is probably right as well. And really, it doesn't get much softer as Meluna soft... But in order to work painlessly, cups are supposed to sit (o) around your cervix, so that's probably what went wrong the first time.

Edited at 2013-02-13 09:29 pm (UTC)
tobilei on February 14th, 2013 02:19 am (UTC)
I can't help with the nausea etc. I've only used a diva cup before but I had all sorts of trouble trying to get it open initially. To help it pop open, I find it easiest to squat right down (like a kid squats) and then if it doesn't pop open on it's own a finger up alongside the cup usually lets in enough air to do the trick.

Perhaps not aiming it to the right thinking that's where your cervix is might help? Mine tends to sit on the right also but if I pop the cup just in the entrance and don't try to aim it one way or another (just back slightly) then stand up and do a bit of a jiggle it will usually put itself in the right spot and no leaks.

I don't blame you for feeling frustrated and worrying about trying again. If you really feel horrendous about it maybe leave it until next period to give it another go.
Tasha: pink hairnamelessw0nder on February 14th, 2013 02:19 pm (UTC)
Minus the actual vomiting, I have had that kind of highly uncomfortable experience with the cup not sitting right. Everything seems to indicate that it was making improper contact with my cervix. After that much contact, it can take some time to recover, longer than just from intercourse.

I would encourage you not to try again this cycle, and try it out on a day that you don't have to go anywhere!
Rainne: Castle - Beckett - Smilingxdawnfirex on February 17th, 2013 02:49 am (UTC)
Like others, it sounds to me as if the cup wasn't open and was maybe poking your cervix, especially since you mention you have similar pain during intercourse if that happens.

I just got a MeLuna as well, and had serious trouble yesterday trying to get it to pop open. I, too, ended up leaking all over, and I had some pain issues from the cup being bent out of shape. Here is what I did.

First, I switched to a smaller size. When I bought my MeLunas, they were running a sale where you could get two different sizes, so I got the XL and the L. I started with the XL, couldn't pop it open, so I switched to the L.

Second, I used a different fold. I don't know how you fold yours, but when I do mine, I've been in the habit of using a modified version of the punch down technique (at 0:21 in this video). But when I did that, the lip was getting caught against the other side of the cup and it wasn't popping back up. So I changed the way I fold it, and am now using the Origami fold (1:05 in the above video). So far today I have not had any leaking problems. Hopefully this will help you! If you are still having trouble please leave another comment and maybe we can brainstorm some more.

Oh - I almost forgot. The third thing I did is a little unorthodox. This is my second month using cups, and last month my Diva slid so far up that I had to go get a nurse to get it out for me. When I bought the MeLuna, I got the one with the ring, and I have been tying sock yarn through the loop so that it hangs out like a tampon string. Not only does this help with extraction (thus ensuring no more embarrassing Sunday afternoon trips to the E.R.) but also I can tug on the cup a little bit after insertion, the same as you do with a tampon, just to jar it a little bit and make sure it's seated properly. Combined with kegels, this might help make sure it pops open.