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Hey, y'all!

I'm new to the menstrual cup world, but after doing quite a bit of reading I decided (rather eagerly) that I wanted to give them a go. I have always had messy, heavy cycles that cause a lot of grief, yet I've always just buckled down and dealt with it accordingly. At some point in the past month or so I just had enough. I use super plus, super, and regular tampons throughout the duration of my period, though regular is usually used in the last day or two. Maybe the last three days if I'm lucky. I always have to double up with pads and find tampons to be incredibly drying and leaky, though I have found a brand that is more reliable than most for me, so it's not as bad as it once was.

That all said, I am 20, nearly 21, a virgin, and I got the smaller, Model 1 Divacup. It arrived today, and since I've always been rubbish at sticking things up my vagina -- seriously, I am the most lazy tampon inserter ever -- I figured I'd have a dry run. It took a while to figure out how to get it inserted without wanting to ragequit, but I got it. All was well. I liked the feel, I can't feel it at all, and the stem doesn't bother me. The real trouble started when I tried to get it out. The first few tries, I just couldn't. It was angled to one side and the tip was stubbornly stuck behind my pubic bone. There was some mild panic, but akin to the times when a tampon has simply gone too high up, and the string with it, so I calmed down and tried bearing down. Happily, it came lower and I'm able to feel it without sticking half my hand up there.

Now, I'm not squeamish about my body -- I'm actually quite fascinated by it -- so I have no issues with sticking my hands up there. I'm used to walking away from an encounter in the bathroom while on my period looking as though I'm some ax murderer. Trouble is, there's not much room for two fingers, let alone a finger, thumb, and the base of my cup. So, try as I might, the best I can seem to do is run my finger along one side of the cup. It seems to be jammed up against my left side (I'm left dominant, if that matters...). I have tried the hot dog method and all that happens is to push the damn thing back further into the canal, never mind the goal of breaking the seal. I am determined to get this thing out -- I got myself into this mess, I'll get myself out kind of thing -- so if anyone has any suggestions, I'd be glad of them.

That all aside, my hope is that my cervix rides quite a bit lower when I actually have my period, and I'm hopeful that the cup will be a good fit for me. It's comfortable and such. I just really need to figure out a way that works for me in getting it out. My vag is getting irritated from the attempts and my wrist is sore. *sigh*

For your reference, some extra info: I have a mild case of cerebral palsy that affects my legs/trunk muscles, so I'm not the most flexible person ever and my balance is crappy, and I'm currently awaiting approval to go ahead with cortisone/lubricant shots in one of my knees for some rather severe muscle-related irritation and inflammation.
Kay: StitchBWkaysara on May 29th, 2013 03:10 am (UTC)
I mostly just wanted to say you're not alone. I can't get 2 fingers and a cup up there either, and my cervix rides very high in general so I know all about wrist soreness in that regard. I would say either try laying down in your most comfortable open position, or try on the toilet. I never thought the toilet would work for me, but it actually did! I sit way back and lean forward, resting my left (non-dominant) forearm on my left knee. Then I reach through my legs with my right hand and work from there.

No matter what position you choose, remember to bear down. What works for me, and many others, is push like you're going to the bathroom and grab hold of the stem or whatever you can get. Then don't let it go back up, and push again. You should be able to move it down slowly until you can get a better grip and squeeze the seal open. The Diva is pretty good about that. Just keep breathing, keep pushing, and don't lose ground as you go. It'll come out and you'll be a pro in no time.

Also after doing some dry runs and then having used it for real, I have to say the whole process is just easier when you're actually on your period. Just something about the state of the canal I suppose.
pascallewest on May 29th, 2013 04:39 am (UTC)
Hi! I understand what you're going through. Especially the part about trying to break the seal and the cup just gets pushed farther up, making it seemingly impossible. So I'll share my method with you as well and I hope it is of some help.
I squat down all the way (first several times I did this in the bathtub just in case). I bear down, and find/grab the stem with my right hand. This always pinches me a little bit but it's not too bad. Then I switch so that my left hand is holding onto the stem, which is partially outside the body now. While my left hand holds the stem, I put one finger from my right hand up on the side of the cup and push inward to break the seal. I keep pressing in as I pull on the stem. Soon the base is outside my body so then I just kind of try to make the cup into a C fold to get the rim out. That is also a little uncomfortable but only for like 1 second. So basically, I use two hands to get them out, one holding the stem outside the body so that it doesn't slip back up and the other to break the seal. I also use cups that have tab stems, which I think are easier to grasp than the hollow tube stems like Diva cup has. Not sure if you're able to squat down all the way but if not you could try doing the same thing in a different position that works for you.
julieelizamaryjulieelizamary on May 29th, 2013 09:30 am (UTC)
Still no luck. :/ It got to the point where I was just so tired and frustrated that I had a good cry and went to bed. Now I'm awake three and a half hours later and wondering what to do.

I seem only to be able to get the cup to come to the point where a tiny bit of the stem is past my pubic bone, so any attempts to make a grab for it are still useless. I did manage to get ahold of the stem a few times but it was so slippery and my nails too soft that it was a moot point.
teacupcake89 on May 29th, 2013 09:41 am (UTC)
have a towel or a roll of toilet paper on hand and keep wiping your fingers on it in between attempts to make it less slippery.

If you need to do a poo: do one! As it can help move the cup lower down

If you get sore putting some lube or coconut oil on yourself can help

If you're getting tired and it's not coming out go and do something else that will help you relax and take your mind off it: a warm bath, glass of wine, an orgasm :)

Seconding the other suggestions in the comments, have any of them worked?

if you can get one finger alongside the cup, can you attempt to pull/slide it out by pressing firmly against the cup with your finger?

also try bearing down hard once you have one finger alongside/inside and then try to get the tip of another finger in there in the space under/next to the stem (from the other hand if this makes gripping easier)

Remember that the cup can't get stuck or lost, the worst that can happen is that it will overflow and it getting full will probably help bring the cup lower down anyway. If you’ve tried everything it's realllly not coming out last case scenario you could use a spoon to scoop it out! :)
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on May 29th, 2013 11:38 am (UTC)
You're probably "accidentally" clenching your PC muscle. Stay relaxed, bear down, keep your jaw slack and don't forget to breathe. ;o) The idea is to get air into/above the cup so it breaks the seal and does not cause suction. Whether it whooshes over the rim or seeps in slowly through the anti-suction holes doesn't matter.

Sometimes a spoon is a good tool to help get a stubborn cup out. Once you get the Diva out, consider enlarging the anti-suction holes around the rim. Something like a punch or piercing tool will probably make a less jagged cut than a drill bit or pair of scissors. The holes on the cup with the largest holes are 2mm. Most are about 1.5mm or a 12g piercing tool.
julieelizamaryjulieelizamary on May 29th, 2013 03:25 pm (UTC)
I have tried everything suggested -- sorry I didn't make that clear, I was groggy. As I said, bearing down only gets it so far, then it's literally stuck. It's sitting in my vagina somewhat odd, and I think that's part of the issue, and since I can't grab it I really can't turn it or nudge it more rightwards in order to get anything done.

I have about five hours until it's been in for 24 hours. Should I be in any particular rush? Everything I've read thus far suggests that it's not really a problem (ie toxic), just so long as it comes out eventually.

I can't even seem to coax it with a spoon, so has anyone got technique suggestions? It seems like the cup just keeps skating out of my way no matter what, and though I try, I can't use two hands.
teacupcake89 on May 29th, 2013 03:52 pm (UTC)
okay, don't worry about how long it's been in for, obviously it needs to come out at some point but try to relax as much as possible.

is there a close friend/sister/partner etc who you could call on to help get it out as a last chance option?

The reason why your cup is sitting slanted is probably because your cervix is on the side the rim is pointing towards/underneath.

if possible, try squatting as low as you can as this shortens the vagina, leaning against a wall or door if that helps with balance.

you could also try lying on your back on the bed/floor with legs in the air, or knees drawn in to chest, or at 90degrees feet flat on the bed, or out in a frog position. This way you don't need to worry about balancing yourself.

take deep calming breaths and attempt to get your fingers further inside in the middle of a death breath whilst bearing down. keep trying this until you can get a grip on the stem or base.

you must be feeling sore by now, but I would just push aside any pain and discomfort and just rummage as much as possible to get it out. At ER/the doctors they will end up using plier type instruments which I don't imagine to be very comfortable!

You could try wearing a latex/non-latex glove or even a woollen glove might help you get a grip on it?

when you do get it out: I wouldn't try it again unless you know your cervix is significantly lower on your period and look at getting a cup with a much longer stem (if you're not too traumatised by the whole experience :) I think everyone has at least one 'OMG It's stuck!!' panic removal moments in the beginning, you WILL get it out!
julieelizamaryjulieelizamary on May 29th, 2013 05:01 pm (UTC)
Well, I've managed to find a way to get a thumb and finger in, but I still can't get enough of a grip to pull it down further. Argh.

I don't think there are any surgical type gloves laying around the house, so the best I could do is look for some kind of thin winter gloves.

Could I possibly try inserting a tampon to help break the seal? I'm not sure how much it would help in the removal effort, though. I'm afraid the cup would just pop back open.
teacupcake89 on May 29th, 2013 05:10 pm (UTC)
I don't think a tampon would work, what about the handle of a tablespoon (long, thin, flat and firm, hold the spoon bit in your hand and insert the handle) or something similarly shaped? you'll have to be quite forceful to press the cup in in and slide the cup down.

keep going, you're getting there :)
julieelizamaryjulieelizamary on May 29th, 2013 06:31 pm (UTC)
Yaaaay, I got it out (I had some choice words for "it" when the deed was done, but we won't go into that)!

I'm not really sure what did it, but I tried the spoon handle as suggested and there was some pain and squelching noises and I gave up when it came out with diluted blood but I think it somehow shifted the cup downward and more to the center so that it wasn't jammed up the left side of my vagina anymore. I think, anyway. But with some bearing down I was finally able to get a good grip on the stem and just pulled as much as I possibly could while bearing down more. I lost it a few times and had to start over but I finally got the bottom of the cup to my pubic bone, and then was able to slowly, slowly pull it through. Once I thought I had it far enough out that it wouldn't recede, I dried my fingers off and went for the base. Pinch, pull, pinch some more, and the seal broke, super easy from there. It hurt a bit but nothing I won't get over in a day or so. I don't think I spent more than ten or fifteen minutes in the bathroom this time, hooray!

Ultimately I think I was more relaxed trying today, albeit far more frustrated and less optimistic (go figure, my body's a walking contradiction anyway). I did take a shower when I got up late this morning and then filled the tub to soak after, so maybe that helped. Funny thing, once I was able to cram a thumb up with a finger, it was so much easier to keep my involuntary Kegels from sucking it back in and gain some control over that. I think perhaps it had to do with being able to feel the contractions more readily and thus get myself to relax because I knew more of what was going on.

In the end, though, I think the continued helpful suggestions and encouragement was the trigger, so thank you so much, everyone! You guys are great. I have only been lurking for a few days but I think I love this community. :)

Going forward, I'd like to try the cup when I'm actually on my period. Despite the hassle I'm glad I did a dry run just so I can figure out how I'll most likely have to handle everything and I much preferred dealing with natural lubricant and pressure-induced urine to blood. I think it's safe to say my cervix rides high, at least while not on my period. Should I stick with the Diva for a few cycles to see if it works out better when used as intended or look into some other cups? I did like the fit rather a lot and couldn't feel anything. It was comfortable, just irritating to coax out. And I still love the concept of a menstrual cup, so I don't plan on abandoning it. is there any kind of string I might try tying to the stem to help at least get the removal process started if it continues to be a problem?

Edited at 2013-05-29 06:33 pm (UTC)
jwthemathsterjwthemathster on May 29th, 2013 07:00 pm (UTC)
Hooray! Everyone gave such good advice and encouragement. I just knew you'd get it! From the sounds of it, once the seal broke, it was easy going on the removal.

Certainly sounds like those air holes need to be enlarged. I've enlarged holes on a Diva I used to own, and it made a huge improvement in reducing the "super suction." Back then, I had my husband take a power drill to my cup, with not aesthetic, but functional results. Definitely look into a 12 gauge piercing tool for the job if you choose to go that route.
teacupcake89 on May 29th, 2013 08:15 pm (UTC)
YAY!! well done! phew! :)

I would try enlarging the airholes slightly to make it easier to break the seal. You could tie some (clean) string tightly to the top of the stem near the base to help pull the cup slightly lower for removal? I would leave the string pretty long so you have lots to hold on to, and change it every time you empty the cup to prevent against TSS, but it's not something I'd advise doing for more than a period because string is absorbent. Others have used dental floss, but I get a sliiggght feeling that won't be strong enough to be of use to you!

The Divacup is the longest cup without the stem, but there are a couple of other cups that are slightly shorter in the body but longer in the stem that makes them longer than the Diva with its stem.

Your (small?) Divacup is 70mms long including the stem and 43mms wide. The Si-bell (both small and large) are 74mms total length, they have slim flexible stems that looks easier to grab a finger and thumb around. have a look here at the comparison photo of the Si-bells and the Diva to see if you think that would be long enough to make removal easier: http://menstrualcups.friendhood.net/t496-si-bell-cup-comparison-photos

The other option is the Lily Cup (made by Lelo!) the small size A is 77mms long and 40mms wide so longer, narrower and softer than your Diva but a similar shape with a sturdier stem. The large size B Lily Cup is 82mms long and 42.5mms wide so still narrower than your Diva even though it is the 'large' size.