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I am brand new to the world of menstrual cups (and livejournal) and have a couple questions I was hoping this knowledgeable crowd could help answer...

#1: I received my first menstrual cup, just in time for my period. I chose the Lunette size 2 based on the size guide on their site (normal to heavy flow, adult [27yo] woman, not a virgin). Today was the first time I used it. I had a hard time getting it in and it was very painful to remove which is very disappointing to me because I was so excited to try it! What I'm trying to figure out is how do I know if this is just part of the learning curve, or if I truly need a smaller size? I understand there is a learning curve, and I am willing to keep trying, but I am concerned at how much it hurt (I am still sore and it has been out for over 8 hours), I don't want to hurt myself by continuing to try something that just doesn't fit.

[Details of my experience]I woke up excited for my period for the first time probably ever, because I was so excited to try my new menstrual cup! I was just lightly spotting but thought it would be okay to put in. I inserted it using the "C" fold as included in the instructions, and was surprised at how difficult it was to get in. To be blunt (prob TMI), I am no stranger to sticking things in my vagina and have been sexually active for 13 years or so, so I thought I would have no problem. I had read posts about feeling around the edge of the cup to make sure it is open all the way, and sliding a finger along side to release the suction for removal - but I had a hard time even getting the folded cup in there, much less any fingers in addition to the cup once it was open! I felt as though it sort of popped open too early and wasn't quite in all the way, so I took it out to try again. Removing it was much harder and more painful than I thought as well, and I couldn't imagine doing it full of blood! I re-inserted the cup, this time with some lube which helped a little, and tried to go about my day.

After a little while I did seem to get used to it, but I definitely could tell it was there the whole time. The stem was definitely poking at me and I planned to trim it once I got home. After reading some posts on here I began to think maybe my period just wasn't heavy enough (sort of doing a dry run, or I guess a barely-wet run!) and perhaps I should try again when I have a heavier flow. I removed it about 3.5 hours after putting it in, and there was just a small amount of blood in the cup, to the top of the small ridges at the bottom of the Lunette. It also really hurt when I took it out, mostly when the harder top rim of it came out. I have since read different techniques for removing but like I said I feel like there's not much room in there for anything but the cup, so I don't know how I would finagle my fingers in to try and fold it or guide it out - I could barely squeeze the bottom to remove it.

Between inserting it, removing & reinserting, and removing again within a few hours, my vagina feels like it took a beating. I am still seriously sore/tender and it's been over 8 hours since removal. I don't know whether i should try again tomorrow or the next day when my flow is heavier or just cut my losses and purchase a smaller cup!

#2: do people use different sized cups for different flow days? I assumed that because there isn't the absorbency issues there are with tampons, it would be okay to use a larger size even on lower-flow days - it would just collect less. I thought this would be a good all-purpose solution to just have one item for all my period needs. But after reading some other entries on here I'm thinking perhaps that is part of my problem - today's flow was too light for the size cup I have?

Help!! Any and all comments/suggestions would be appreciated!!!
I love the idea of the menstrual cup and I want so much to love it and recommend it to everyone but my first experience was so discouraging and painful!
Thank you in advance!
cristinamuirichinnahali on September 19th, 2013 01:11 am (UTC)
I use one size cup for all flow types. Did you make sure to pinch the side of the cup in to break the suction before pulling it out?
ms_nak on September 19th, 2013 01:36 am (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. I did pinch the sides of the cup as much as I could, but could not really tell if suction was released. Is this something that should be obvious and therefore I probably didn't achieve? I sort of wiggled/rocked it side to side to loosen it and pull it out. I imagined pain from suction would feel different from what I'm experiencing (I feel more sore towards the edge of my vagina, where I would think suction would cause more internal pain?) but maybe I am wrong and that's what caused it... Do you think it is okay that I don't seem to be able to fit my finger(s) in with the cup inserted? It all seems very tight and hard to maneuver in any way. Thanks again!
Ashatenlegspider on September 19th, 2013 03:53 pm (UTC)
Yes, it sounds like it was all about getting it past your PC muscles, not suction. I think it hurt so much because you were already irritated from getting it in and out and in again, and it's quite likely you were also tense. When you're using the cup properly you might need to take it out that often, but you should get a lot better at it quite soon, so you won't have that cumulative stress on your vagina.

It doesn't matter what your flow is, but I suggest that you wait until everything's healed before you try again, then use lube just to be sure unless you're gushing blood (apply it to yourself rather than the cup). Once it's in, leave it until you need to empty it and switch to some other protection (or just take it out if it's not in right and won't settle). Have another go the next day, or wait longer if it hurts again and you need time to heal. Taking it easy like this will make it easier to relax, which is a big part of getting used to the cup.

You will have room in there if you relax (lack of lubrication also increases friction which makes things feel tighter). Some of the methods for getting there are: practising tensing your PC muscles (by stopping peeing mid-flow) as a way of learning to isolate them, letting your jaw go slack, laughing, singing, and masturbating. Masturbating isn't practical long-term, but it's a great way to get relaxed! It might make your cervix rise and make removal more difficult though; if that happens just wait a little until it comes down. Once you've done it a couple of times it'll be natural and keep getting easier.

You can learn to use your cup with practice, and you don't need any others. A smaller or softer cup 1) may or may not work better for you to use in future, and 2) would probably shorten your learning curve. The guidelines are pretty arbitrary; some young women find they can't keep a small cup in properly, while I use a small LadyCup at 30 because I have a very light flow and it works well for me. The most important things are that it has enough capacity and that the length is reasonable for your cervix position. If you'd like a cup that will fold easier and be less eager to pop open, and you don't mind spending the money, get a softer one. If you'd rather not, you'll be fine.

As for the stem, it won't get any less irritating with increased flow, unless your cervix also happens to rise so it's not sticking out any more. People here recommend not cutting the stem off completely until the end of your period in case your cervix rises, but I can remember having my stem protruding (it was over 10 years ago!) and going about my day like that wouldn't have been an option. If it's really bugging you, cut it off. If it's not that bad maybe leave it a bit long, but my impression is that it's a minority that have a lot of cervix movement during their period. If it's bad but you're nervous about cutting it then don't leave the cup in this period, but find your cervix every day to see if there's a big change.
ms_nak on September 19th, 2013 04:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you all so much for your kind words, support & information.

Update: I woke up this morning feeling much less sore so I decided to try again. I trimmed most of the stem off, and was able to get it to go right in with the 7-fold and focusing on relaxing my muscles. I haven't had any pain and its been in for about an hour and a half. The stem is definitely what was bothering me the most. The only thing I am noticing is slight discomfort of it pressing on my bladder - I kind of feel like I need to urinate even though I know I just did. Hopefully removal will go smoothly as well!

I cannot thank you enough for alleviating my fears and making me feel supported through this process!! You are great and this community is an excellent resource!
ms_nak on September 19th, 2013 04:46 pm (UTC)
[and by "you" I mean everyone who has replied to my post! you're all wonderful! :) ]
Ashatenlegspider on September 19th, 2013 05:00 pm (UTC)
I don't think a cup can actually press on your bladder, what happens sometimes is that it presses your urethra which makes it harder to pee, but doesn't feel like you need to when you don't.

What you've got could be some pressure on your urethral sponge (the g-spot - congratulations, you found it!), which is a couple of inches into your vagina towards your belly, so if it persists you'll want to see if you can position it a little differently to avoid it.

It could also be that you irritated the end of your urethra while you were having trouble with insertion/removal. If that's the case it would sting a bit when you pee and get better after a day or so. If it's that then watch out for it getting worse because that would suggest a UTI, but as long as you've been washing your hands it's not likely.
Carriecarrieb on September 19th, 2013 02:04 am (UTC)
I remember my first cup experience years ago. It was so painful! Don't give up hope. I know some of the other ladies can give much better, specific advice to me since I've just been using a Diva 1 for seven years and don't have any varied experience. However, I just want to encourage you to try it a couple of more times. I couldn't even get my cup in the first time, but the next period it slid right in.

As for the various sized cups for different flow days.. . I've never done that. Don't really see a point to it, but I am sure others can explain their thought process.
ms_nak on September 19th, 2013 11:20 am (UTC)
Thank you! I will definitely give it another try :)
juliiie87juliiie87 on September 19th, 2013 11:11 am (UTC)
Using lube to help with an almost dry run was a good instinct. In addition, there are more folds you could try than the one in the instructions : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nt6L-POE-b0

"Tightness" is a function of your pelvic floow muscles. You need to learn to relax them for insertion and removal. Relaxing those muscles is similar to what is needed to empty your bladder, without actively pushing. Position may also influence how roomy or tight it feels : I find standing and squattting tends to make things feel more tight, while lying on my back and sitting on the toilet are more relaxed positions.

The thing about the large Lunette, is that it's a rather firm cup. So you might get used to it and over your discomfort, or not. Time will tell. But I bet it makes it harder to refold for removal. I use the hot-dog in a bun method for removal : slide one finger inside alongside the cup, while bearing down to bring it closer and keep the way loose, press inwards against the body of the cup and start dragging it lower that way, until you can reach the base with the tip of your thumb. You can try bringing the cup in a c-fold as you do this, but yeah, it can be messy with a full cup. Overall you should find that it does get better with practice. Hang in there !

One of the reasonning behind having 2 cups or more is that some people need the biggest cups on the market to handdle their heavy flow, and they might get sore by the time their flow lightens up. or not. Some peole also need diffeerent lengths for different days, as vaginas can vary over a cycle. But mostly many peole are cup hoarder. :D

Edited at 2013-09-19 11:15 am (UTC)
ms_nak on September 19th, 2013 11:27 am (UTC)
thank you very much for the info & your encouragement! I will definitely try again keeping in mind relaxation and the different fold types :)
Eireinneireinn on September 20th, 2013 07:00 am (UTC)
I do use different cups for different days, but only because I needed to change to a higher capacity cup to get me through the night.

If I only had my large Fleur I wouldn't bother with a smaller cup for lighter days. But since I have two now anyway, I use the Fleur on my early heavy days and my medium Meluna afterwards.