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24 October 2013 @ 01:51 pm
Hi All,

I've been poking around the community for a couple days and have found a lot of helpful info, but not quite enough to make a final (initial?) decision.

Some background: I first got a Keeper (original/latex) several years ago (2005?). Nothing special went into the decision. I was under 30, no kids, and it was that or DivaCup at Whole Foods. Either way, I loved it. The length (never trimmed) and fit were good, capacity was just fine (there may have been a few times I had to empty it after 4-6 hrs, but usually 8-12 hrs was fine). After DS1 was born (2010, C-Section), I tried using it again but it was painful (post-partum dryness maybe? but it would mostly "catch" on my perineum). I think I may have had some minor and/or inconsistent leakage issues, but I attributed it to position problems associated with painful insertion (hard to say from memory, though). After a few months, I left it in too long and it developed an odor I couldn't get rid of, so I tossed it and used tampons until I got pregnant with DS2. Now after a 19 month hiatus, AF has returned after the (vbac) birth of DS2 (and after my 30th birthday), so I'm trying to pick a replacement.  Money is tight enough that I don't want to do a lot of experimenting, but given the trouble I had after DS1, I think I might be better off trying something new.

My questions:

I'm a runner now (in addition to chasing after my kids!), but I was relatively sedentary before. A couple threads seemed to indicate that stiffer is better for an active lifestyle.  Is that right?  I know the Keeper is the stiffest, so at what level does that become an issue (i.e. with the scale listed here, would anything down to 7.5 be stiff enough, or would I notice a difference even between a 10 and a 9?).

In terms of size, since I seemed to be tighter after my CS, and still seem relatively tight, should I try to stick close to the 41 mm of the smaller Keeper or was the pain I experienced after DS1 more likely an issue of something other than size?  If I switch brands, how close should I be (i.e. would I notice a 1 mm difference either way? 2 mm?).  Have any of you who used cups before and after kids/30 and found going up a size was no problem even if you didn't think you "needed" to?  How does squishiness affect how comfortable a particular size feels/seals?

Thanks in advance for the input!
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on October 24th, 2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
[Edited new first paragraph] Too bad you don't still have your old one but look at dimensions and photos to compare it to others that you're interested in.

Check out the size charts at http://sizecharts.livejournal.com/ You can compare your old cup to others there in terms of dimensions and capacity. And there are links to side by side photos to compare shapes. For example, your old Keeper is fairly narrow-bodied but with a wide flared rim.

As for stiffness, I have a large Lunette, which is a wide bodied and fairly stiff cup. I love how easily it pops open and a piece of me thinks its stiffness contributes to how well it seals. On the other hand, on some BLECH sensitive days, it can feel like I've got a bowling ball stuffed up there. I have another large squishier cup (not pictured in my user pic) that I sometimes use at home (because I just don't trust it even though I don't have any reason not to) but I'll wear the stiffer Lunette if/when I'm not at home and also at night.

If you are comfortable with your Keeper's length, go for something in a similar length range. Rim width really doesn't matter all that much. Then when you have a bunch of contenders, also compare the shapes of those that will fit. Narrow or wide-bodied? Flared rim or not? Pointy or blunt based? Etc. Go with your gut from those.

[Also added] See what you think of the (in no particular order) Shecup, Naturalcup and Natural Mamma. They're approximately the same size as your Keeper but with varying shapes. Femininewear in the UK has them all on their site -- and they are a well liked distributor here.

Edited at 2013-10-24 08:43 pm (UTC)
scubabethscubabeth on October 25th, 2013 04:17 am (UTC)
Thank you. I was having some trouble with other size charts, but that one helps a lot.

I'm not seeing Shecup on the Femininewear website, but almost everywhere else I search is showing it out of stock/unavailable, too.
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on October 25th, 2013 12:12 pm (UTC)
Tee hee, the Shecup can be an elusive creature. It seems to show up in waves, whenever they make a batch. Now that you mention it, I haven't seen any for a while so they might be due.
Serpent: neutralserpent_849 on October 25th, 2013 12:01 am (UTC)
what do you mean by "catch" on your perineum? did it open too suddenly before you properly inserted it? did the stem stick out and rub your perineum? soft if the former, short if the latter (it's common for the cervix to be lower after childbirth).

tightness is a myth. http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/a_few_choice_words_about_tightness and the sizes are more about the "smalls" being virgin/teen-friendly, especially when it comes to insertion. if you are sexually active you should have no problems inserting a wide cup. in general, the width is less noticeable in wearing - if a cup feels too wide, actually it's likely to be due to the shape and/or stiffness.
scubabethscubabeth on October 25th, 2013 04:46 am (UTC)
The catching was more with removal than insertion, probably because I didn't squish it enough for fear of squishing the contents out. I didn't think I was doing anything differently after pregnancy, but maybe I was more rushed, less relaxed, etc.

Once I got it in, the length was fine. I might prefer something longer.

Is there any consensus on stiffness? I referenced the one guide, but then I found this one, which seems completely different. Yet I think stiffness is deciding factor I'm stuck on.
Serpent: neutralserpent_849 on October 25th, 2013 11:32 am (UTC)
as for stiffness, i'm inclined to think that people who do sports are less likely to have special needs, other than in terms of length and capacity. i don't think it was a good idea to name the stiff meluna "meluna sport", but they had to come up with a name.
you've already used a pretty stiff cup though, so if this didn't prevent the problems, you may as well try something softer.
soft cups have the benefit of adjusting better to the body shape, here's a great post about that: http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/2568357.html
Serpent: neutralserpent_849 on October 25th, 2013 11:36 am (UTC)
also, when was it fine? if there's any consensus here, it's that you need to look for your cervix before getting a cup.
scubabethscubabeth on October 25th, 2013 01:48 pm (UTC)
The length was fine before and after my CS. The stem (untrimmed) might stick out a little immediately after insertion, but the cup would quickly migrate to where the whole thing was inside.

To be sure, I took an "updated" measurement this morning. (Although I hadn't taken one before, and this cycle has been very light - not my old normal- so it's possible my cervix will be different when my body gets back in the swing of things.) With some reaching, I could brush the tip of my finger against my cervix, so 7 cm +/- a mm or 2.
Serpent: neutralserpent_849 on October 25th, 2013 06:22 pm (UTC)
then something with a similar length should be good, but a bit shorter will be no problem and a bit longer could be risky.

also if you still have dryness, you could use lube! femininewear and most other distributors have it. water-based is a must, glycerin-free is preferred (especially to avoid yeast infections).