Hello, all! I'm a new cup user and also new to Livejournal - so for that reason, if I don't understand something about using this site, please bear with me. I also apologize for any rambling - I tend to get carried away. Additionally, if these questions have been addressed before, please pardon me for bringing them up again. I searched through about 5 - 10 pages under the each relevant tag and found nothing I considered helpful for me in particular, though I could have easily overlooked something.
Some basic info: I'm 17, 4"11 (1.4986 metres), 190 lbs. (86.1826 kg), a virgin (though I have masturbated [with penetration] before, if that counts), never given birth, and I have a small (size one) Diva Cup. I've been using the C (a.k.a. U) fold. I'd like to mention that I have about another $100 to spend on a second cup, so buying another is not an issue. Also, I'm not sure if it's relevant, but my cervix seems to be very, very high up (even on the heaviest day of my period) because I couldn't feel it at all after 20 minutes of trying. I'm not sure if this is helpful either, but I get extremely infrequent menstrual cycles, usually only 2 or 3 times a year. This is my first cycle in about a year and a half. Again, I'm not sure if that helps anyone in the least, but I thought I might as well mention it.
I needed an alternate solution to using tampons/pads due to an extremely heavy flow that was soaking through an entire super sized tampon (about 9 - 12 mL) an hour, so I bought my first cup today locally after only 2 - 3 hours of research on the subject. Considering how little research I did and how many options and factors that seem to come into buying a cup, it's worked surprisingly well. I absolutely LOVE it. It's so much cleaner, in my opinion, than using tampons or especially pads and much, much more convenient. It also made a tremendous difference on my cramps that I noticed extremely quickly. It also gives me an extra free hour of worry before I have to change it - and while two hours doesn't seem like much compared to the 12 hours some people get out of it, it's like a huge burden has been lifted. I haven't had any pain whatsoever, either (besides an incident with the stem), which is a big relief after reading some of the quasi-horror stories around the community. However, I do have a few major problems that I thought it might be nice to get some answers to from some people who are more experienced than I am - especially because of my lack of research. If I don't receive any help, I'll still probably continue to use the cup so it isn't that big of a deal, though I would greatly appreciate it and be forever in your debt!
The first problem I noticed is that getting the cup to open fully while/after inserting it is extremely difficult. I have no problem getting it to open when it's just barely inserted, but then I have trouble pushing it up. My vaginal muscles are to weak to do it via Kegels, and every time I try to push it up with my fingers, I end up gripping the cup the wrong way and breaking the seal. After about 5 - 10 minutes of trying relentlessly, I can eventually get it to work - though it usually seems random. The best result I had was when I used the stem of the cup to push it upwards so I didn't accidentally break the seal - however, I plan on trimming most, if not all, of the stem off (see next question). Are there some kind of folds that would help me get it to open more easily? Are there holes on the cup that I should try to expand? I tried looking for them (as far as I know, every cup has them) but had no luck. Could it be too wide for me? I felt around while I had it in, and I seem to be very swollen and tight - I'm concerned it might not be opening because it doesn't generally have enough room.
The second thing I'd like to address is the stem. It's very... poke-y. Sometimes the cup will slide to the side a bit, and the stem will end up leaning against the side wall of my vagina and the ridges on it tend to cause pain. Not a problem when I'm sitting down or relaxed, but if I'm standing up or moving, it becomes irritating and worrisome. I cut the first notch of the stem off after realizing this and it has alleviated the problem somewhat, though I still feel like cutting the entire thing off would be better. The last time I took out the cup I removed it without the aid of the stem at all, so I know even without it I would still be able to get it out. However, as I said in the first question, I do feel like I need the stem for insertion purposes... So I'm on the fence. If I cut it off, I'll be more comfortable but won't be able to insert it the way I find the easiest. Should I look into purchasing a similar cup with something other than a stem (like the balls on the MeLuna or a ring) so that I'm still able to push it up but don't experience the discomfort that comes with the stem?
My third problem isn't too important, but I'd still appreciate advice. I have severe arthritis in my fingers and hands, so on some days my grip is astonishingly weak and my pain is easily agitated by folding or holding things tightly. As such, I'm worried about not being able to fold the cup or insert it properly on those days - or at least be able to do so with minimal pain. Would a softer, more flexible cup help with this? And, if so, would that further agitate the other problems I've listed in any way? Alternatively, does anyone know of any folds that are relatively easy to do? The only one I can create comfortably is the C/U fold - everything else looks too complicated and like it requires too much work. As I stated earlier, this isn't a very important problem - it's unlikely my symptoms will flare up enough to actually cause any kind of pain just from folding and inserting the cup, but it's still something that worries me.
The last question that I have is whether or not the cup is situated correctly. I experience a little bit of discomfort when walking (I can tell the cup is in, but it doesn't hurt or bother me much). I've tried aiming it directly towards my spine as instructed and even deviated from that recommendation and experimented with the degree that I insert it, but the discomfort still seems to be present for about half an hour after insertion. Like I stated in a previous paragraph, the cup does tend to shift around a bit while it's in (which is what causes the stem to begin poking me) which makes me nervous that it isn't situated correctly. Or perhaps it isn't big enough (despite my concerns about it being too big) or my vaginal muscles just aren't strong enough to keep it in place. However, I've seen a few people in this community post saying that as long as the cup isn't leaking, there's no need for concern about how it's situated. Is it just my body getting used to the cup and the feeling of it, or do I need to experiment more and try to get the correct angle? Does anyone have any tips on inserting it correctly?
Last but not least, I'm wondering if anyone could help me decide which cup to use (I plan to get a second one regardless as to how much I end up liking the Diva Cup). I have no idea what I need, as you could probably tell from this post - I can't decide if my cup is too small, too big, or a perfect fit. I have absolutely no idea whether I want a long cup, a wide cup, etc. and if anyone could recommend a brand (or even just a general size) based on my information above I'd greatly appreciate it. I'd prefer them to be colorless because of the dyes (though that's not extremely important) and they absolutely must have measuring lines (preferably mL AND ounces) on the inside so that I can measure my blood loss. The more accurate they are, the better. On that note, does anyone have a list of cups that have measuring lines and what type they are (mL, oz., etc.)? I've searched Google for about an hour but can't find one. Would anyone with a large amount of cups be willing to compile one?
Thank you in advanced for reading this far and for any help you can or cannot offer! I appreciate it!
- 17 years old, virgin, no children, irregular cycle, very high cervix, Diva Cup, looking to buy another (extra) cup. Very little research done initially.
- Problem with suction. Cannot get the cup to open fully when inserted, and when I get it opened before it's fully inserted, I tend to bend the cup and crush the seal in an attempt to push it upwards. The best luck I've had is using the stem to push it upwards so that I don't accidentally ruin the seal that's been created. Is this problem due to being the cup being too large, the way I fold it (c/u fold), the way its situated, angle, etc.? Or simply a learning curve?
- Stem trimmed 1 notch. Having problems with discomfort caused by it rubbing against the vaginal walls and causing pain, particularly when walking. Want to trim all of it off (because I know I'd have no problems with removal) but am afraid I won't be able to insert it if I did so. Should I look for a cup with a different kind of grip (like the ball grip on some MeLunas)?
- Due to severe arthritis in the hands, I need easy folds and (potentially) a way to make the cup easier to hold after being folded, rather than worrying about preventing it from coming undone due to a weak grip. Any folds that are particularly easy to do, or any cups that are easier to fold than others? Would a "softer" cup help in this area or only worsen things?
- My cup doesn't leak at all, but I still experience discomfort for about 30 minutes (sometimes longer) after insertion. Is this from being inserted wrong, from the cup readjusting itself into a more comfortable position, or just my body getting used to having it in?
- Does anyone have any recommendations on what my next brand of cup should be (cup MUST have measuring lines, preferably both mL and oz) based on the information above? Or would I be better off buying a second Diva Cup?
- Does anyone have an accurate list of cups that have measuring lines and their units (mL, oz)?