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31 August 2013 @ 01:46 pm
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..
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on August 31st, 2013 06:37 pm (UTC)
Since you were comfortable using a 70mm wide Softcup, there is no reason to fear a "wide" cup that's called "large" if you think you might like one. And BTW, it's perfectly OK to wash and reuse Insteads. They tell you they're disposable so they'll sell more of them. ;oP

Since you were able to use the Diva comfortably, that says you have a fairly long vag -- so keeping in the "medium to long" length realm would probably suit you better than a short cup.

Compare the dimensions and capacity of the Diva that you have to other brands of cups at http://sizecharts.livejournal.com/ or at any of the other charts at the Community FAQ. Also compare side by side photos to see if the shapes of those that you like appeal to you.

As for the stretchy strands and clumpy clots -- they're perfectly normal. There's a theory that says they indicate that you're a little dehydrated so drink a little more water before/during your period to see if that helps reduce them.
tinykristentinykristen on August 31st, 2013 10:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for all the info!! I wouldn't necessarily say I was "comfortable" using the Softcup, it was more so "tolerable". The worst part for me was inserting/removing. I still keep one in my car and at work just in-case my period starts and I need some protection..

The main reason I'm going with the smaller cup is because (aside from the clots/clumps - which never go into the cup lol), the cup really doesn't fill up much in 12 hours. But you make a good point that I should base dimensions off the Diva cup. Am i right in thinking that I don't want one with too small of a diameter b/c then it may not create a good suction?

I've never heard the theory about the correlation between dehydration and clumpy/clotty periods. It could make sense in my case though. With one of the medications I take I'm supposed to drink a lot of water (because it can cause dehydration) and I totally don't drink as much as I should. I'll have to really hydrate up before my next cycle and see if it makes a difference!
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on September 1st, 2013 12:04 am (UTC)
Well, my point was that if a 70mm-wide Instead was "tolerable," then you should have no problem with even a 47mm-wide (the widest) cup if something called a "large" appeals to you.

And suction is a misnomer. http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/2091967.html Cups are held in place by your vaginal walls and sit above your pelvic floor which forms a (for lack of a better word) "hammock" at the base of your vagina.

A cup that is too long will might feel like it's being pushed through that pelvic floor opening or it will shift off (O) the cervix and leak like it isn't there. A cup that is too short will find its happy place up around the cervix (O) and be really difficult to reach for removal.

Since you can successfully use a Diva, which is one of the longest brands, then a longer cup would probably suit you well.

If you want to try other cups, then go for it. But you don't have to go for a lower capacity one just because your Diva doesn't fill all the way. It's not like you're wasting anything if there's only a little in there when you empty it. Ya know what I mean??? ;o)

Edited at 2013-09-01 12:05 am (UTC)
tinykristentinykristen on September 2nd, 2013 04:27 pm (UTC)
After looking at tons of charts, measurements, and reading everyone's feedback, I've learned a lot more over the last few days!! Thanks! I was definitely thinking more along the lines that I needed a "smaller" cup because I wasn't filling up my diva cup. I was thinking similar to the tampon rule - select the smallest/lowest absorbancy for your flow. But you're right, I need to pick one that's right for my vagina!
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on September 2nd, 2013 06:17 pm (UTC)
BINGO!!! One that fits you best, no matter what it's called.

Most of us can wear a variety of shapes and sizes. And it's those who pick a cup that's WAY TOO (_whatever_dimension_) that they start to run into problems with it. Length is usually the biggest factor.

A good thing about a Diva is that it can be flipped inside out to shorten it if it's too long for you on your short-vagina days. If it feels like it's "trying to escape," take it out, flip it and see if it works better for you that way that day. Then you can flip it back once your cervix retreats.

On the other hand, if you want a second "light days" cup, then go for it. Many of us have a couple/few cups that we mix-and-match. The mc_sales sister site (link at the top right of the page) is a good place to buy and sell gently-used second hand cups. It's a good place to satisfy your curiosity at bargain prices.
akiratakamashiakiratakamashi on August 31st, 2013 09:42 pm (UTC)
If you are looking for a softer cup, then I would go with LadyCup. It has very fun color choices (if that is something you are interested in) and the rim is stiffer than the base of the cup so its easier to pop open but it is a shorter cup (in my experience). I have one and I love it.
Femmecup has the most capacity if that is what you want. It is also probably the longest out of the three.
Meluna is a lot smaller than the LadyCup, so I wouldn't recommend it based on your experiences.
tinykristentinykristen on August 31st, 2013 10:42 pm (UTC)

I never realized how much thought goes into ordering a menstrual cup. At least, how much though I put into it lol....

I'm definitely not worried about capacity, I don't really seem to bleed that much to worry about that.. most of my menstrual flow is just clots/mucous.

I'm still really interested in the Meluna classic.. maybe not the small anymore after the advice I've gotten.. The reason I am gravitating towards Meluna is the ball stem type.. I feel like that would be more comfortable. I often find the stem of my Diva Cup poking me..(even when its almost all the way in my vagina).
akiratakamashiakiratakamashi on August 31st, 2013 11:19 pm (UTC)
Then I would recommend the soft Large Meluna with a ball stem. It will have the length you are looking for, is kind of a medium stiffness and is only a teeny bit bigger than a small LadyCup.
tinykristentinykristen on August 31st, 2013 11:58 pm (UTC)
Do you know how the Diva cup and Meluna compare with softness/firmness? I don't have any issues with the Divacup popping open, I have strong pelvic muscles.. Do you think the soft meluna would be too soft?
akiratakamashiakiratakamashi on September 1st, 2013 12:18 am (UTC)
If you have pretty strong pelvic floor muscles then I would go with the classic.
tinykristentinykristen on September 2nd, 2013 04:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It's really helpful getting all this feedback :)
juliiie87juliiie87 on September 2nd, 2013 09:36 am (UTC)
The stem poking indicates it a tiny bit too long, you could trim a little bit off if you think you'll still be able to reach it that way. I wouldn't get a small Ladycup or Meluna since it's the other end of the spectrum lengthwise, and the Ladycup is also very slippery. The Femmecup is more of a medium between small and large sizes but still low capacity due to its shape and hole placement, and also pretty slick like the Ladycup. The diva is one of the longest cup and the small size is actually a medium width. So in short I would consider the medium to long size range, and not disregard the benefits of a good capacity. Withdrawal bleeds are not "natural" periods, and they're usually lighter than the real thing, and you'll have to go off hbc at some point if you're looking to concieve. And also consider stiffness : http://menstrualcupinfo.wordpress.com/cup-stiffness-comparison-chart/
I like softer cups because you're less likely to feel them, they're easier to fold back for removal, and I find them easy enough to open with the right fold, but ymmv.
tinykristentinykristen on September 2nd, 2013 04:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I think I may try trimming the stem just slightly. When I bear down, I don't have a problem reaching the base of the cup.

Everyone has been so helpful with all the feedback and info. I've looked at the chart you listed, as well as a few other ones I found online, and I sort of compiled my own. I don't think I was really taking all factors into consideration before. I was really mainly thinking about the fact that I wasn't filling up much of the cup, therefor I thought I could go for a smaller cup. Similar to the tampon rule - the lighter your flow, the lighter absorbancy tampon you need.

I'm slowly preparing for when I get those "natural periods" now with these withdrawal bleeds, I'm not quite sure I'm ready for it yet lol (I remember the pain associated with my natural periods from when I was a teeenager..hence being put on continuous hbc for close to 10 years)

ginny587ginny587 on September 1st, 2013 01:36 am (UTC)
With the random clots that don't want to escape very well-ME TOO! I didn't realize that was a thing. Thought it was weird, and a little gross, but wasn't worried about it enough to mention it anywhere. It's weird/kind of cool what kinds of things we discover with these cups.
About the new one, I echo previous comments about considering long cups. My first was way too short because I failed at finding my cervix before ordering, and while I could get it out it was an ordeal that took some time. And patience.
tinykristentinykristen on September 2nd, 2013 04:31 pm (UTC)
I am always kind of fascinated by the clots. Since I was on hbc continuously for 10 years and not getting any periods, it was such a new experience for me. I almost feel like I was missing out for all those years! Now, I actually sort of LOOK FORWARD to my period so I can use my cup and see what kind of clot my body will expel. I know, it's so weird. I am in the medical field, so I am kind of fascinated by the odd things the body does :)

m03m on September 1st, 2013 09:28 am (UTC)
So why do you want to try another cup? Is anything specifically missing in the Diva? Maybe you could figure that out first, and go from there.
tinykristentinykristen on September 2nd, 2013 04:39 pm (UTC)
When I decided to start using menstrual cups I felt so limited in my options. I knew there were tons online, but I really don't like ordering things online. I like to see them before I buy them (see them in a store, not through a computer screen).

So my options were the Instead Softcup and the Diva Cup. I went with the Instead Softcup first because it was less expensive, I liked the individually wrapped idea, and I felt like if I didn't like it I wasn't loosing out on much. I ended up being "OK" with it, but hated the waste I was creating, and had some discomfort with removal.

Then I decided to get the Diva Cup at one of my local health food stores. Insertion is easy, removal is easy, feels comfortable. Only real problem is the stem poking my vaginal opening, even if its fully inside me. And it isn't really even a problem, it is easily fixed by either going into the bathroom and readjusting, or doing a little wiggly dance if I'm in public.

Now that I've done so much research on different cups, I have found different stem options, and SO many different cup types. Since I plan on only using cups from now on, I figure it can't hurt to give another one (or two) a try.
m03m on September 2nd, 2013 07:39 pm (UTC)
Have you trimmed the stem at all?

Personally, I use only one cup: the large Fleurcup. But I have a low cervix so my options are somewhat limited.
I don't really understand the wish to try different cups once you have one that works well and is comfortable, but hey, whatever spins your beanie!
tjs77tsa on September 5th, 2013 04:41 am (UTC)
Watch out before you know it you will have 6 cups because that one is so pretty and I must try this one too :) It can be very addictive.
Luceafaraluceafara on September 3rd, 2013 02:58 am (UTC)
If you are still considering a Meluna, I have a few soft ones, and a few classic ones, with ballstem mostly.

Advantage of the classic ones is I can run and exercise with them without any leakage, and they pop open easily, but I personally feel that the soft ones are a tad more comfortable to wear. I can keep the soft ones in for 24 hrs because I don't feel them at all, however, I have to run cold water over them or dunk them in icewater before insertion to aid with opening them up.

Removal is not a problem with either of them.

The ballstem is my favorite type of stem, though I don't really need one, so I will order my next Meluna stemless.