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Hi there,

I am very happy to have found this awesome journal and trying to read up on everything I can. I have some questions if anyone can help that would be great!

First a bit of background:

I don't have any kids, and I just started using the Instead Soft Cups. The reason I started looking into using cups is because I have a very heavy flow and suffer horribly. The very first day of my period is pure hell. I even try to re-arrange my schedule just so I can stay home, not only are the cramps dreadful, but the flow is so heavy I am terrified of leaving the house.

- TMI Below -

When I am stuck working, I have to use 2 Tampons (1 S+, and S ) at the same time (yes they fit, barely ) as well as a panty liner just in case. I also have to make sure to remove and insert 2 more tampons again at about the 2.5 hour mark to prevent leaks/accidents.

I HATE the idea of using 2 tampons and it is extremely painful(makes my cramps 10x worse) and uncomfortable to insert but I am so desperate to not have to keep running to the bathroom every hour, that this is the only solution I've been able to come up with. On the 2nd day of my period, the flow is much more normal, and I can go about 2.5 hours on just a super tampon and panty liner. On the 3rd day, its almost completely stops and basically just dribbles (1 super can last for up to 6-8hrs) throughout the next 2 days. (5 day period) I can not use birth control pills because I've had horrible side effects and I don't want to go through all that again.

Another issue I have is the smell! I cant stand the idea of smelling like I'm on my period. I am always carrying wet wipes. I am 100% that even with a tampon, there is a smell to it that surfaces every time you move around and the more the tampon fills up. (TMI - sorry I dunno how to hide it) Once in awhile when women walk past me/or leave the washroom, the smell of their period is so strong that Its made me paranoid as hell. (I can't be the only person that smells it ) So I REALLY want something that WONT smell no matter what!


So, I'm trying these Instead cups and so far I find them convenient ( I bought them half way through my last period ) and they seemed to be like a dream when you only have a light period to worry about. They seem to fit fine.

Now, my period is back and just starting to show up, by tomorrow it will be at full force, and I am desperate for this cup to work and save me from the tampon nightmare, but I am very terrified! I am fairly confidant that I know how to insert it so that it works well enough, but having never used it on my heavies flow day I am clueless on these issues:

How often should I change it?

How will I know when I should change it? I've felt this kind of "bubbling" feeling before while wearing it... but 2hrs later and nothing was leaking???

What is the best way to manage potential leaks before, and when they happen?

What are some tips to changing it in a public washroom? Is it better to just empty and re-insert or empty and put in a new one?

Will it smell when its dumped out/stink up the bathroom??

When wearing the cup, will it keep in all odors?

Will a panty liner be enough in case it leaks? (I can't wear pads at work - only panty liners)

OH, and also I find that when I am nervous about it leaking or possibly shifting (even though Im sure its not, I tend to "tense everything up" Will that cause the soft cup to shift in a bad way, or keep it firmly attached? I try to relax but it can be hard at times)


Thank you so much for reading! I can't tell you how exciting it is to be able to talk to other people about this (none of my friends have problem periods and never used cups before)
Its so nice to meet all of you!
Thank you!
 
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on February 26th, 2014 12:09 am (UTC)
Well, even though Insteads are called, Soft Cups, they are quite different from other cups. Kinda like the difference between beer and wine. The only thing they have in common is that they're both alcoholic beverages.

I've tried Insteads but I think they're very messy compared to cups. They drip, blood clings, and I would get blood all over my hand in the process. I found it easiest to alternate two. Remove one, insert another and then wash the first for later. But that left me juggling a sloppy Instead so having something to put it in between the toilet and the sink is a good idea. Despite what the instructions say, they ARE reusable -- as many times as you trust them, one cycle or many.

I also found that Insteads worked much better on light days than on heavy. For me, a coughing fit could squeeze out its contents. YIKES! So that's why I prefer cups to Insteads. Of course, this doesn't mean you will have the same issues that I did.

If you are interested in cups, head on over to the Community FAQ to look at the size and capacity charts. Since you are comfortable with the width of an Instead, which is MUCH wider than any cups, you can easily choose from any number of high capacity cups, most of which happen to have wide rims.
neverparous on February 26th, 2014 01:35 am (UTC)
WRT the cramps and super heavy flow maybe you could use an NSAID pain reliever (such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, but not aspirin)? They are one of the most common treatments for horrible cramps and they can reduce menstrual blood loss as a side effect (which is kinda weird since they increase bleeding risk). The trick with NSAIDs is to take them before the cramps start so they can lower the pro-inflammatory prostaglandins that are being produced as your body gears up for menses. Since I have a somewhat predictable cycle length I'm on Rx-strength neproxen that I'm to start week before I expect to get my period and take until the worst of the cramps end.

Anyway, good luck with the cup and I hope you find something that eases your cramps.
90subaru on February 26th, 2014 03:33 am (UTC)
Also, although I am also a newbie a lot of what I have read says that the chemicals in normal pads and tampons can actually increase bleeding.. Which also makes me wonder if they can also increase cramps. Honestly I almost NEVER had cramps until I started using tampons
m03m on February 26th, 2014 08:39 am (UTC)
Switching to a cup from tampons decreased the intensity of my cramps by more than half. For what it's worth!
missmojorisin71missmojorisin71 on February 26th, 2014 09:01 pm (UTC)
I also get very bad cramping when using tampons, to the point of nausea and vomiting. I've notice a significant difference using a menstrual cup.
m03m on February 26th, 2014 08:46 am (UTC)
Blood has a smell, but it doesn't stink. What stinks is saturated tampons and pads, because the fibers soak up the fluid and it's exposed to as much oxygen as it can possibly be. Blood inside a cup, or poured out of one, smells a whole lot less.

What are some tips to changing it in a public washroom?
http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/tag/cleaning%20-%20public

I have no experience with either type of Instead softcups. I've only ever used the Ladycup and the Fleurcup. So I don't know about the capacity of softcups, but I do know that larger-capacity bell shaped cups can hold more than any tampon.
If your cervix happens to be high, maybe the LuvUrBody cup is the one for you, it has capacity out the wazoo.

Just a thought, but could you have a fibroid? I've just had one removed, I had the periods from hell before that, now they're back to normal and I can actually leave the house on my heavy day again!
elisamba on February 26th, 2014 12:14 pm (UTC)
Sorry to hear your cycle is such an ordeal. I never figured out how to remove the softcup without dumping, so maybe another person can help you with that.

Your flow may smell less with a cup. Its not the blood per se that smells bad, it is a small natural bodily bacteria that feeds on the blood. (Sort of like underarm odour is not caused by the sweat itself). Towelling off well with the cup in helps considerably. But perhaps you also have a very sensitive nose. :)

From use I would suggest Gaia cup for your heavy flow. It has high capacity and is very soft. You'll need that if you are removing it frequently. Yet it also pops open easily. I personally also love the large Fleur but I wonder if the grip rings would make one sore with frequent removal.
Luceafaraluceafara on February 26th, 2014 01:28 pm (UTC)
The grip rings can be filed down with a nailfile; it only takes about 10 mins.
And, of course, the Fleurcup can be worn iside out as well.
grikhlande on February 26th, 2014 04:58 pm (UTC)
I just bought a lunette last month and this is my first time using it, i love it! No smells, no leaking, nothing! Besides the usual cramps i wouldnt even know i have it in! I just clean mine when I am at home and have no issues. I've slept with it and everything! I find myself more worried about changing tampons (which i dont even have in) because I was so used to thinking that way! I clean mine 2x a day...i'm in love and a total cup convert!
elisamba on February 26th, 2014 07:12 pm (UTC)
I actually just realized I answered the first part of your post more than the second. Here goes:

How often should I change it?

You'll only know that after the first time it overflows, unfortunately. Maybe plan on checking every two or three hours and working your way up? With the heavy flow you describe, you likely won't get the full twelve hours.

How will I know when I should change it? I've felt this kind of "bubbling" feeling before while wearing it... but 2hrs later and nothing was leaking???

The bubbling doesn't necessarily mean you are about to leak. The air displaced by the flow has to go somewhere. You'll gradually get to know how long your cup can go - there's a learning curve. Start out checking it every few hours and work your way up. Or you could always wear a regular pad (not a liner) and wear it until it leaks, to know how long you can go.

What is the best way to manage potential leaks before, and when they happen?

During the learning curve, err on the side of caution. Wear a regular pad, not a liner. And bring a change of pad. Bring your tampons, too, in case you get discouraged - it happens to newbies sometimes.

Go into the learning curve with a sense of discovery instead of viewing any leaks as a "disaster". They're not. You're getting to know your cup and it will be so worth it. :)

The Softcup really is in a class of its own, I guess you have to make sure it is covering the cervix? Most of the tips you'll find on this site will apply to the more common funnel-shaped menstrual cups (making sure it's open, pinching the base etc). Are you breaking in one of those, too? If so, which brand and size?

What are some tips to changing it in a public washroom? Is it better to just empty and re-insert or empty and put in a new one?

Try to get to the wheelchair washroom. The rest is up to your comfort level: empty and reinsert as is, wipe down with TP, rinse down with a little bottle of water, rinse under the tap, wipe with genital-friendly wipes (NOT anti-bacterial). I personally take a second cup with me to insert immediately, give the first one a good wash, and stow it away in its pouch for the next use.

Will it smell when its dumped out/stink up the bathroom??

It shouldn't if you have no underlying issues like an infection or (very very rare)TMAU. I mean there is a slight odor as with most things in life, but not like the pronounced odor you associate with disposables, which is what I think you are talking about.

When wearing the cup, will it keep in all odors?

Menstrual odor is a product of normal bodily bacteria, just like underarm odor, so beside daily washing with soap, thoroughly drying the area helps. With a cup, the flow won't "accumulate" as much on the outside of the body to feed the bacteria. Any blood that gets to the outside of your body could still produce odor.

Will a panty liner be enough in case it leaks? (I can't wear pads at work - only panty liners)

I don't think so, not from your description of heavy flow. What about cloth pads?

OH, and also I find that when I am nervous about it leaking or possibly shifting (even though Im sure its not, I tend to "tense everything up" Will that cause the soft cup to shift in a bad way, or keep it firmly attached? I try to relax but it can be hard at times)

I don't know about the Soft Cup, but it can definitely make removal a bad experience. Whether or not the title applies to you, you might like to check out the "virgin's guide to cups" on this site since it has good tips on staying relaxed during insertion and removal and learning to untense the muscles at will. I would recommend you do that before using any cup.

I really hope some people with experience specific to Soft Cup chime in. :) Have fun!

Edited at 2014-02-26 07:24 pm (UTC)
Erin Burns on March 1st, 2014 05:46 am (UTC)
I started with soft cups and used them for some time before switching to a Diva cup. I had very heavy flow, so instead of replacing it every few hours I'd empty it out, time with water and put back in. Bring a bottle of water with you if it's a multi stall bathroom.

I can't comment on the potential smell as I'm anosmic, but I can only imagine it would be better than tampons or pads, but maybe not as good as a regular cup.

In my opinion, you might want to try a more regular cup, I thought I was satisfied with the soft cups, but it was very nice when I switched that I could go 8-12 hours with out changing it instead of only 2. And it doesn't seem as prone to slipping.