tinykristen (tinykristen) wrote in menstrual_cups,

menstrual cup research.. and reviews!

Hi! So for the last few weeks I've been doing TONS of research on menstrual cups. Over my last few cycles I've tried the Instead Softcup and Diva cup. I'll put my reviews on both below a cut..
But I'm also looking for a little insight and help from other cup users. I'd like to try another cup or two..but I'm really not sure what to go with. They aren't exactly cheap, and I don't want to order blindly. The ones I'm really looking at at are:

  • Meluna classic, size small with the ball grip.

  • Femmecup

  • Ladycup, size small

Of course I'd be open to other options also!

A little about me/my periods...

  • I'm 27, nulligravida, petite (4'11, 100lb). Lesbian, not in a relationship, haven't been sexually active in about a year.

  • I have PCOS, so for better part of the last 10 years I've been on continuous birth control (Ovcon) to control my dysmenorrhea and oligomenorrhea (very infrequent periods). Just recently within the last 4 months I starting taking the pills giving myself the 7 day break before the next pack to get a period - in otherwords, I'm not taking them continuously right now.

  • For the most part, I've been having semi-normal withdraw bleeds. Pretty bad cramps, but I was expecting that. Bleeding starts about 1-2 days after the last active pill in the pack.

  • My period is a lot "clottier" than I remember it being when I was a teenage (since I was put on the pill when I was 16ish, I haven't really had periods/normal periods since then, so it's kind of hard to remember)

  • Periods are lasting about 4 days, light/moderate flow

  • If you're wondering why I decided to take myself off the continuous birth control.. it's for a few reasons. I was getting a lot of breakthrough spotting. I'm pretty bad about taking the pill at the same time every day, sometimes I even forget to take it all together and take 2 one day.. I'm not too worried about that since I'm not actually using it as contraception. Also, I am getting to a point in my life where over the next few years I will start to think about IVF/other fertility options to start a family, either on my own or with a partner. Plus I felt like I was kind of missing something, not getting a period, I guess that is the feminist part of me..Oh, and yes, my GYN does know about the change in the way I'm taking them, and it's totally ok.

I'll put my reviews about the 2 cups that I've tried below (kind of graphic)..

[softcup review]I got the Instead Softcup first, because I liked the idea that it individually wrapped, and disposable. It seemed easy for carrying in my purse and traveling with. When I opened a pouch and saw the Softcup I was a little intimidated.. it looked a lot like the pessaries that I use in my office for women with pelvic organ prolapse! I thought to myself that there was no way in hell I was getting that thing in my vajayjay. Well, lo and behold, I could. and fairly easily. Just squeeze the rim of that thing together, push it in (straight down and BACK, not UP)It took a little finagling to get it into just the right spot.. I had to be sure to really get it tucked behind my pubic bone. It wasn't the most comfortable experience, but I wouldn't call it painful. I couldn't feel it in place when I was wearing it and walking around. I am really active at work, pretty much up and moving all day.
Taking it out was another story. Since this cup actually sits more horizontally in the vaginal canal (and tucks behind the pubic bone), and you can't really squeeze the rim together while taking it out as you did when you were putting it in, it creates a great deal of pressure on the vaginal opening as it's coming out. The easiest way I found to take it out was to sit on the toilet, knees apart, start to bear down slightly and with my thumb and pointer or middle finger, reach in and grasp the front lip of the cup. Keep bearing down while you start to remove the cup. Just make sure you keep the cup HORIZONTAL or else you'll create a great mess!! These are the "single use" cups, but honestly, I started to feel really wastefull so I began to wash out the cup with warm water, cleaning really well around the rim, and use it for at least a day.
I never had any problems with this cup leaking. I was able to sleep in it over night. The packaging states that you could have sex with it in (?!) but I think that would end up being pretty messy or uncomfortable. Overall, I think it's a decent cup. I still keep one in my car, purse, and at work just incase my period starts and I'm not prepared.

[divacup review]After using the Instead Softcup for 2 cycles, I decided it was kind of defeating part of my purpose of switching from tampons to a menstrual cup.. The waste! I'd heard some good reviews from friends about the Diva Cup, and it was available at my local health food store so I decided to give it a try...I was actually so excited for my period to come to use it! It looks a lot less intimidating than the Instead Soft cup. Smaller diameter, I like the fact that it sits under the cervix/suctions around the vaginal walls to collect, rather than suctioning around the cervix like the Instead Softcup.
So period starts.. First day, and every day after.. I have no trouble inserting it! It's comfortable. No leaking. I sometimes have to mess with the little stem so that I don't feel it poking my vaginal introitus. I can EASILY wear it for 12 hours with no problem. I sleep in it. I really can't even tell it's in when I'm wearing it.. There's only ONE problem, while I'll talk about below.
I use the "C"/"U" fold or the "Punch Down" fold. Basically when I'm sitting on the toilet and getting ready to put it in, whatever way my hands decide to fold it and get it in, that's what I do lol.. I always make sure to bear down a little once I have it in place, grasp the stem/bottom of the cup (where the ridges are) and turn it a full spin... This helps to make sure the cup has fully opened and created a good seal. I then just push it back up and do a little wiggle to make sure its comfortable.
Taking it out is also easy. Again, I bear down, grasp the steam/bottom of the cup, pinch, pull, and start to fold a little as its coming out. I fold it because it decreased the pressure on my vaginal opening and just makes removal a little more comfortable. Here's where my ONLY issue with the Diva Cup comes in. And this could be an issue with ANY cup, it could just more so be my body/menstrual flow...
The cup does a great job with collecting liquidy blood/thin mucous. But it seems like now that my period is more clotty, The cup only really collects a very small amount, and then when I remove the cup there's this HUGE (and I mean huge - sometimes 3-4 inches long, thick) strand of tissue that's still in my vagina, kind of swinging out of my vagina. Either like it couldn't pass fully out of my cervix or something. I usually have to actually reach into my vag. and pull it out. There's no pain or cramping associated with it. So I don't really mind, I'm just wondering if theres a reason maybe the diva cup isn't catching this..
For cleaning, during my period I wash it with hot water each time I take it out, or if I can't wash it (ie - in the bathroom in a public place or at work) I try to keep wipes in my purse. Worst case scenario I wipe it out with TP. Oh, and always clean out those tiny holes at the rim! At the end of my cycle I boil it

Sorry this is such a long post!! Since I'm faily new to using menstrual cups, I'd really love to get some feedback.. The reviews have my experiences with both the Diva Cup and Instead Soft cup..
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