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21 December 2015 @ 04:05 pm
I am still loving the idea of a MC, but not actually loving using it by a long shot. I think my cup might be too big for me, but the problems I'm having also sound like they just could be normal "getting used to things," though they're also not getting better!

This is my third cycle using my cup. I'm 37, and have had two kids via c-sections. I think my flow is normal, and I can reach my cervix toward the ends of my fingers at any time. My cup is a Chinese Cheapy that exactly matches the dimensions of a size 2 DivaCup. I've read that the Chinese off-brand cups tend to be soft, but if this is soft, I don't want to feel hard! It's difficult for me to keep it compressed into the folds without it popping back out when it's outside of me.

But, inside it's a whole different story. Here are the things that are going wrong and haven't gotten better in three months:

1. I can't get the cup to pop open completely inside. Even when the rim expands and has clearly formed a seal (it's definitely suctioned on!), I can feel that the sides are indented on both the top and bottom (so the cup is kind of bow shaped). I absolutely can't spin it, and pressing on the walls doesn't seem to help. C-fold never opened at all, but a fold-in one does much better and seems to form a seal most of the time, but still isn't actually open and round in there.

2. Pressure - I can definitely feel it at all times. It's not terrible, but it's never out of mind entirely either.

3. Hard to remove - I really can't fathom how removal is supposed to go, though I've gotten it in and out now probably close to 100 times. "Pinching" the end is completely impossible because it's in there so far and slippery. And indenting the side to "release the seal" doesn't do anything because it's already indented on the side (see item #1) and I can't get even close to the top of the rim while it's in to break the seal that way. I literally just pull with all my might on the stem down and then shove it to the side while pulling some more until it comes out. It always takes several tries after it slips back in again when I lose grip on the stem.

4. Stem rubs the whole time - this seems like an easy fix eventually, but only until I figure out #3!

I think I might do better with a size 1/smaller width cup, but I also don't know if I should try something shorter and/or softer without any experiences with other cups. Any advice welcome! Thank you!
 
..::bella vita::..por_que_no on December 22nd, 2015 01:07 am (UTC)
Is it an iCare/Aneer? If so, I find that the stem is "pokey" as all flat tab stems are for me. My cervix is off to the left so the right corner of my vaginal wall gets poked because of the way the cup sits diagonally inside me. Ain't nothin you can do about that other than getting a cup with a supersoft, rounded stem (the Rainbow and Si-Bell would fit the bill while preserving the softness).

For the very soft cups a more complicated fold will help them pop open more successfully. I like the labial fold and half-diamond folds--they both work pretty well for me: https://menstrualcupforteens.wordpress.com/folds-and-insertion/ - with the half diamond being slightly easier for cups with a bit more of a rim like the iCare/Rainbow. But my vaginal walls do kind of crush the sides of cups sometimes. The thing is that if I go any firmer, it really irritates my bladder because my vag sits really far forward. So I am probably losing capacity I could be getting out of each of these cups, but oh well. I'd rather not have to pee all the time like a 90 year old. lol
atajev on December 22nd, 2015 02:22 am (UTC)
This is the cup I have, it doesn't look like an iCare:

I think it might be too stiff, rather than soft since I can't do a 7 fold with it at all after a punch-down.

But, it sounds like a softer one might be better in general. Should I risk getting a smaller width? I don't know if the firmness or the width is the culprit in my discomfort.
..::bella vita::..por_que_no on December 22nd, 2015 02:10 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, the NaturalMamma-style stem. That would be HELLA pokey for me. Both my Mami and iCare have flat tab stems (unfortunately I've broken two Si-Bell stems and can't necessarily rely on those anymore) and I have to be very careful about orienting them north-south so that the wider side of the stem is the side that rests against my wall, otherwise I'm getting poked for several hours.
bklynmom on December 22nd, 2015 02:33 am (UTC)
Sounds like your cup may be fitting on to your cervix a bit too tightly. Can you enlarge the holes? That might allow it to open more fully and make it easier to remove. I've seen people talk about using a hole punch, or a toothpick. Other than that, you're getting it in and out and are on the right track. Three cycles isn't that long, you might just need to hone your technique to make it smoother.

On the other hand, it might be time to take what you've learned and get another. Sounds like you'd like to go softer and retain the length while trying a different stem. Maybe a bell shaped cup would be better? It might be easier to release the suction. Or maybe another long and soft cup would work better. I imagine the knockoff cups are not very consistent in quality so a brand name might be better. the size charts can help you narrow it down.

I tried a lot of cups before I found my favorite, but find now that I can use many of the ones that were hard in the beginning. The only ones I tossed or gave away were both immediately uncomfortable, not just fiddly. I don't regret trying a few out, but could have saved money if I'd kept working with my diva. So, either approach will probably work.
atajev on December 22nd, 2015 05:16 am (UTC)
I'm glad to hear that three cycles isn't that long. It sounded like a lot of other newbies posting for advice were on their first cycle and had things figured out by the end!
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on December 22nd, 2015 03:02 am (UTC)
It probably only has 2 anti-suction holes and they're probably tiny. Enlarge them. And don't be afraid to make 2 more so it will have 4. Skim/Read http://kuradi8.livejournal.com/ especially the part about insertion. The pressure you feel is probably suction because it hasn't opened all the way. Open it down low and make sure it's fully open before you let it go up where it wants to go. There's no need to spin the cup despite what the directions say.

No, by your description, I don't think it's "too big" meaning too wide or too long.

The big flat tab stem might be more noticeable than other smaller ones. Don't trim it off until you are absolutely sure you won't need it. Until then, try facing it North-South instead of East-West -- or vice versa until you find a comfortable direction.

As I tell everyone else, don't buy another cup until you figure out how to work the one you already have. Then you'll have a better idea of what you'll want next in terms of length, width, shape, rim, etc, etc, etc. More than likely, after you get good at your next cup, you might come back to this and decide that "it wasn't so bad after all."

Edited first for a typo and then to change my reply.


Edited at 2015-12-22 03:18 am (UTC)
atajev on December 22nd, 2015 05:13 am (UTC)
Alright, holes will be enlarged and added tomorrow (there are indeed only two itty bitty ones)!

I'll also experiment with the entry orientation a bit more methodically to see if I notice any improvements.

And, wow, that FAQ you made is incredibly helpful and complete. I have been reading a lot on this and that had some totally new info to me! Thanks. :)

Edited at 2015-12-22 05:21 am (UTC)
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on December 22nd, 2015 12:59 pm (UTC)
It sounds like you are well on your way to figuring it out. :o) Unfortunately, the directions that come with cups are maddeningly inaccurate. That's why we're all here. We had questions too -- and we stuck around to pay it forward. And thanks for liking my post. It is a compilation of good advice from many enthusiastic cuppers who are or have been active on this list. It seemed that we were all saying the same things over and over so I wrote them down in one place.