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Hi all,

I have been experimenting with Instead Softcups for the past week with no success and a lot of frustration. I've successfully put it in and can remove it without any problem, but within the hour of putting it in, it starts to poke out of my vaginal opening and becomes extremely uncomfortable. I am 25, have had no children, and have extremely tight pelvic muscles (I am currently in physical therapy for vulvodynia to learn how to relax my pelvic muscles). I would like to use a menstrual cup, but which ones may be a good option? I will need something that fits and that hopefully will not exacerbate the vaginal pain that I already have. I wonder whether the Instead Softcups are too large in diameter, but I'm really not sure how to identify what the issue is. Any advice or help would be appreciated!
teacupcake89 on April 4th, 2013 12:14 pm (UTC)
Instead cups are completely different to menstrual cups for a start! (no airholes or stem and much much wider, and they sit differently)

not being able to use them doesn't reflect on being able to use a cup! (I'm comfortable with using my 'small' and 'large' cups but tried an instead recently and it was a bit of a disaster size and leakage wise!)

do you know how high/low your cervix is during your period? as the cup should sit underneath it, that will tell you if you need a very short/short/medium/lonf/very long length cup.

depending on your flow then choose a cup width (if heavy or you want to go a long time between emptying then pick a 'large' sized cup in a soft stiffness) Ignore the size labels! many virgins use 'large' sized cups if they have a heavy flow or a low cervix, many women over 30 still use 'small' sized cups if they don't need the extra capacity.

those with very strong pelvic floor muscles (very advanced in yoga etc) find that medium upwards stiff cups prevent their muscles from crushing the cup, but they can also press on bladder more/'feel' the cup more or cause cramps. Soft cups are a good choice if you're sensitive etc so that might be a good option for you.

if you haven't found them already here are links to the size charts: http://sizecharts.livejournal.com/
and photo comparisons here: http://menstrualcups.friendhood.net/f52-moderator-s-photo-library
trejoytrejoy on April 4th, 2013 01:55 pm (UTC)
Your description of no success and a lot of frustration describes my Instead experience also! I tried them before I found reusable cups, could not get them to sit right and always felt them. But I have a friend who loves Instead and won't consider anything else.

There's a softness comparison list further down this page that helped me: http://menstrualcupinfo.wordpress.com/cup-stiffness-comparison-chart/
ant1matterant1matter on April 4th, 2013 04:28 pm (UTC)
Instead cups are definitely very different from other menstrual cups. I've used both and the softcups always felt like they were sitting wrong, and getting close to poking out like you described. They also leaked a lot. My MeLuna is much better and sits COMPLETELY different, and I've only had one small leak in three months of use. I'm not saying regular cups work perfectly for everyone either, just that you can't really tell from using a softcup because they are so different.

I don't know much about vulvodynia, but (again, this is from personal experience) I don't feel mine at all once it's in. Even if I tighten my muscles, I still can't tell there's anything there, even though I could feel tampons most of the time.

Sorry for all the anecdata. I would say try another type of cup if you're interested, and hopefully it will be a much better experience. Good luck!
juliiie87juliiie87 on April 4th, 2013 04:35 pm (UTC)
Insteads sit inside your canal like a drawer, whereas other cups sit (o) around your cervix,which is the tip of your uterus, a fleshy bump poking somewhere near the back of your vagina. Therefore, Insteads have the widest diameter of all cups, almost double the size I think. If your vagina is shorter than an Insteads diameter, it would pop out and try to escape, which would be uncomfortable. The factor you'll want to be most careful about in picking another cup is length, not so much width. For instance, the Divacup is amongst the longest cup there is, therefore it pokes out and tries to escape on some people too, whereas the Mini Melunas are the shortest, and can be hard to reach for removal if you happen to have a long vagina. So if at all possible, check how long yours is before buying a cup.

Like teacupcake89 said, softer usually means less likely to put pressure/be felt, and firmer means better resistance against strong muscles. Whatever you choose, you'll need to bear down and relax for insertion and removal, so the cup can settle above your pelvic muscles and come out. Using a cup can teach you a lot about using those muscles.
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on April 4th, 2013 08:38 pm (UTC)
Insteads don't fit everyone. Instead of aiming the Instead up like a tampon, try aiming it (excuse me) toward your asshole. And then push the front rim up so it hooks above your pubic bone.

Personally, I prefer menstrual cups because they are less messy to remove. Check the guidelines at the size charts to eliminate ones that you don't think will fit and then use side-by-side photos to pick one from those that remain.

As for being tight, cups sit above those muscles. You'll need to relax them for insertion and removal but otherwise you can hold them as tightly as you normally do -- and it won't effect cup use.