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03 January 2014 @ 05:25 pm
Hi all

I've been lurking here for a few months now - great info throughout your community, and it was really helpful in deciding to get a cup and which one to get. But now that I have one (JuJu size 1), I'm sure I must be doing something wrong, as I just can't seem to get it to work!!

I'm 26, childless, tall and big-framed, but I'm pretty narrow in the downstairs area - before losing my virginity I couldn't use tampons at all, and I tend to use mini-tampons when I do use them. This may be TMI, but it's also been... shall I say, commented upon - that I'm not very wide there. I think I'm long(ish?) though. I also have a tilted uterus which makes pap smears painful. I have a light flow due to my hormonal birth control (prior to that I had a crazy heavy flow, I don't like to remember those days).

I loved the idea of menstrual cups, especially as I am an avid traveller and it seemed so much more convenient and hygienic when accessing a bin can be tricking in remote natural areas. But I've used it for three cycles now (I'm at the end of my third currently) and I just can't make it work!! It nearly ALWAYS leaks, it ALWAYS hurts to put in, it ALWAYS is hard to get out, and it ALWAYS hurts to get out! I know I must be doing something wrong, since so many other people have great experiences with them.

On my first few days using it, it seemed great, worked more or less just like I expected. It hurt a bit to get in, but as I said, I'm not very wide down there so I expected it and I could deal with that. However after a few days, I don't know what went wrong, but I just couldn't get it in right. It wouldn't open up inside. I was at a friend's place at the time, it was super awkward spending that long in the toilet. Eventually I gave up, and it seemed to mostly work even though it wasn't fully opened - a nice surprise. However that's proved to not always be the case - sometimes it works when it's not opened, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it seems to be working for a few hours and then randomly starts leaking - I pull it out and it's only 1/4 full, yet I'm leaking!

I'm using a C fold. I've tried punchdown but it wouldn't open properly and leaked worse, and I've tried a 7 fold but it hurt more to get it in. JuJu seems like maybe it's less flexible than some others as I find it hard to make some of the different folds. But I've tried all sorts of folds, all sorts of positions (sitting, kneeling, squatting, standing, lying down) and I just can't get it to not leak. Have I bought one that's too small? But I don't know how I could get a bigger one in there - this one hurts enough to get it as it is!

Worse is taking it out. The consensus seems to be that menstrual cups don't 'stretch you out' - well I'm certain I've stretched since starting to use it, since at first I couldn't get two fingers in there to pull it out, and now I can. I obv can't see anything, but I think I feel quite different than I used to. However even though I can get fingers in, I can't get a grip on the cup. It's slippery and sits too high up to reach the base. It also feels like it's around a corner - this could be my tilted uterus preventing easy access? I pull on the stem to get it lower, which HURTS because of the suction, but I don't know what else to do, since kedgel exercises just seem to push it higher up. As I pull on the stem it stretches then slips out of my grasp to flick me, which hurts too. When I finally get it low enough to grasp the base and break the suction, I still can't get it narrow enough while maintaining my grip to pull it out the opening without pain either. If I've had sex recently, that last bit hurts a lot more than normal too.

I wish I could work out what I'm doing wrong!! I'm spending next year volunteering in a rural village in a developing country where I expect less than easy access to disposable products so I really want this to work for me, but it just won't! Can I please have some advice?
 
Ashatenlegspider on January 3rd, 2014 11:33 am (UTC)
A narrow vagina isn't inherent to your anatomy, it's what happens when your muscles are tense. A cup doesn't "stretch you out", but learning to use one often involves learning to relax, which does mean you're less tense and therefore less tight while you're trying to get it in and out. If you get as far as comfortable cup use you might also be more relaxed when you have sex, in which case you'll probably stop getting those comments unless you're deliberately squeezing all the time. (If I'm not deliberately controlling it I go through cycles of tensing and relaxing when I'm enjoying myself.)

So relaxing is something to work on. Apparently letting your jaw go slack is good. Sing or laugh if you're comfortable with it.

Lube is worth a try for putting it in, as blood isn't a good lubricant, especially with a light flow. It will reduce the irritation you're getting from friction (sounds like it would be good for you during sex too) which means you'll be more comfortable poking around, and it might help the cup find where it needs to sit and open up. Apply it to yourself, not the cup, or it gets harder to handle. You won't need it forever, but I found it made things easier for the first year or so and it's especially useful when you're bumbling around at the start.

To get the cup low enough to get hold of you need to do the opposite of kegles - bearing down. You use the muscles to push in the same way you do when you poo. Some positions will also help by shortening your vaginal canal - the classic one is a wide, low squat (it's a traditional birthing position), and some people find it helps to lie down (don't worry about that not always being practical, you can switch to a different position once you've got better at removing).

Once you've broken the seal, try walking it out. That is, pull one side down a bit, then the other, keep going until it's out. This is a way of effectively narrowing it without folding it.

A Diva might be easier for you to use since it's long and narrow. I don't have any advice for the tilted uterus, sorry.
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on January 3rd, 2014 02:12 pm (UTC)
Agreeing with and adding to what tenlegspider said, "tight" is a function of your pelvic floor (PC) muscles -- and you're probably clenching them. Cups sit above them. To isolate them, next time you go pee, start and stop your stream a few times. Then insert your finger and give it a little squeeze. Now that you know how to contract them on command, practice RELAXING them on command. You'll need to do that for insertion and especially removal. Open your mouth a little and keep your jaw slack -- and don't forget to breathe! :o)

If you don't already, drop your panties to your ankles so you can splay your knees comfortably. If you're having trouble getting the cup to open, try again with the folded part facing the other way. Up instead of down, left instead of right, etc. Insert your finger alongside the cup on the soft back part of your vag to create an air channel to get air into/above your cup and TAKE YOUR TIME! The more you rush it, the less likely you are to be successful. The air channel trick also helps with breaking a stubborn seal for removal.

As for it leaking, it's possible that you have what we call a "dangly" cervix that takes up room where flow should go in your cup. A wider, higher capacity cup often helps. ANY cup will sit (O) around your cervix and at 40x46, your Juju doesn't have much capacity to begin with.

As for a tilted uterus, that doesn't matter at all. Cervix position is cervix position. Analogy: It doesn't matter which way a room faces on the other side of the door.
Kathlynekathlyne on January 3rd, 2014 08:50 pm (UTC)
I had some trouble with leaking at first--and I figured out it was because the cup was opening to the side, not around/below my cervix. My cervix tends to point to my left, so I aim the cup a little to my left and slide my finger along the right side of my vaginal canal and push it to the right to allow air to enter the cup. Then I do a quick check with a sweeping/stirring with my finger around the cup to make sure I can't feel the end of my cervix. If I can, then I reposition it and recheck it.

And the other thing, which I think someone else already mentioned, is that if your cervix takes up room in the cup it can start leaking and it isn't full when you take it out. I have this problem. So far the Large fleur cup and large lunette work best for me.

Take a deep breath. And good luck.
pineapplewhippineapplewhip on January 4th, 2014 03:41 pm (UTC)
tilted uterus
I have a tilted uterus too, and they're right it's not that. I am petite and thin and when I am stressed I really take longer to get my cup in and out, I just ordered a large Fleurcup, but most days a small lunette works well for me. I have to empty it often on heavy days, so I am looking forward to having a Fleurcup. I guess because it works well for me,I rave about lunette. I just tried a Diva, and I had leaking, I was stressed so I gave up and went back to my lunette. I have had success with sport MeLuna's, they are made for tight muscles. ??? Best of luck.
..::bella vita::..por_que_no on January 5th, 2014 08:26 am (UTC)
Agreed that most cases of "tightness" are muscular in origin. However, in some cases, the skin around the entrance can stiffen with scar tissue, so it no longer stretches as it should (usually due to chronic yeast infections)--so it is a somewhat unlikely but still very real possibility.