rileyanne (greatleaps) wrote in menstrual_cups,

post-TSS cup use

I am currently recovering from Toxic Shock Syndrome. (Yes, it really happens. Yes, it was caused by a tampon. Turns out you can get TSS from a brand new tampon, no need to wait 8 hours!) I need to get a menstrual cup within the next week or so, and the TSS means that I have more concerns than most people. I realize that I'm rushing into this all kind of short notice, apologies.

I have been meaning to switch to menstrual cups for years but never got around to it, which I now obviously deeply regret. It's now officially time to switch to cups, as tampons are now strictly forbidden and I abhor everything about pads. As such, I need to have the right cup before my next cycle, and won't have any other options should I have chosen the wrong one. After much research, I am currently leaning toward a small Lunette Selene, primarily because I believe I have a low cervix and I like pretty colors.

While I am worried about the fit, my main concern is my health. TSS has a very high rate of recurrence and I would like to avoid another trip to the ICU if at all possible. So what I'm looking for is:

  • any anecdotal evidence about Lunette/other brands & health (tendency toward infections, difficulty cleaning a particular style, a cup that chafed, et cetera) that might indicate that a certain kind of cup is less safe for a TSS survivor (for instance, I am extremely wary of hollow-stemmed cups)

  • advice for hyper-vigilant cleanliness when using cups (storage in particular--those bags are cute, but they don't seem safe for me) as what is clean enough for most people is probably not clean enough for my body

  • thoughts on wearing medical gloves while handling and using a cup (the skin on my hands is peeling severely as a result of the TSS) and whether that might make things more difficult

  • any other advice you think of that I haven't had the foresight to request

  • and finally, if anyone here also happens to be a TSS survivor (or has a compromised immune system that requires a similar level of paranoia) your input would be especially appreciated

I got the impression that none of my doctors had ever seen a TSS case before (though I do know they were consulting with the national expert on it) and they could give me very little advice beyond agreeing with me that menstrual cups were a good idea but that I should still be on a constant watch for recurrence symptoms, and be extremely careful with my cup. So this is me, being careful and crowdsourcing information to create a regimen for myself. I know there is inevitably some risk even with cup use, but hopefully with your help I can avoid becoming the first documented case of cup-related TSS. Nobody wants that.

Me: I'm 23, I'm not a virgin, I'm not currently sexually active because it's hard to feel sexy when your reproductive organs have just tried to kill you, I live in the US. I'm very tall and very slim, and prior to my TSS I usually got my exercise by walking a few miles a week and occasional yoga, which some cup manufacturers seem to care about? I can only afford one cup right now as I had to take a few weeks off work for my time in hospital and post-hospital recovery, otherwise I'd probably buy three and Goldielocks the situation.

Cervix: I believe my cervix is low because it's not too difficult to reach, and it seemed like sometimes my tampons were pushed in past my cervix so that a portion at the top didn't get bloody.

Flow, etc: I used to have extremely heavy periods, but a few years of HBC use rendered them manageably heavy, say one super plus in three hours at the peak followed by a super every four to six hours for a while and then tapering off very quickly, all told usually lasting just two to four days. (Despite my heavy flow I'm rather set on a small size cup because I'd rather make more frequent trips for a smaller volume cup for my health's sake--if I'm mistaken in my research and should be using a larger cup because of a heavy flow, please let me know.) I used to have inhumanly painful cramps, but after taking and then discontinuing use of HBC, my cramps are down to the level where I can at least still do my coursework while on prescription painkillers, which is a major improvement. Basically, all of my reproductive muscles are Beast Mode strong.

TSS: I'm open to answering any questions anyone may have about my experience with Toxic Shock Syndrome. Seems only fair. I'm kind of like a unicorn and there's a lot of misinformation out there that I'd love to shut down.
Tags: disabilities & health problems, health risks
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