My first menstrual cup experience

It has been disinfected, dried and nicely kept away in its pull-string bag, so when my menses finally came after being a week late, I was excited. Excited to try out my new ‘toy’, that is.

Image taken from tinytapir.com

You see, I have been extremely vain ever since I started my new job which gives me the opportunity to dress up and still look dainty all day long (instead of driving around town, spotting oily face and sweaty body). I get to wear nicely fitted dresses and skirts, even more so after I discovered an effective push-up undergarment for saggy bum. Conscious about VPLs (visible panty lines), seamless undies and G-strings are the only way to go for me. But what happens when your period comes and these just won’t cut it?

Bulging VPL is NEVER okay! - Image via http://madamenoire.com/32655/10-styles-to-get-rid-of-before-the-new-year/panty-line-3/

I decided there and then to try out the menstrual cup after staining my flair beige dress one afternoon and had my boss and colleagues shading my behind from the public’s view while walking to buy another dress at the nearest boutique. Mind you, I was wearing granny undies with maxi pad at that time. Not sure if other mums who underwent natural birth experience the same as well, but my post-baby menstrual flow is a lot heavier than those before I fell pregnant.

Image extracted from http://www.ladycup.eu

At RM145 each, menstrual cup is an expensive investment to start with but considering the chemicals used to bleach disposable sanitary pads, tampons and panty liners so that they look ‘clean’, plus the hassle of changing every few hours and not forgetting the landfill we are creating by disposing so much of these waste, I decided to give it a try. With proper care, a menstrual cup can be used up to five years, saving you money from buying packs after packs of disposable.

My first experience
I tried using it for two days. The description is going to get rather graphic here, so brace yourself 🙂 According to instructions, you’re supposed to wet it with water before inserting it into your vah-jay-jay. Then fold it two times and say “open sesame” to your V – literally!:

During insertion
► I squatted and pushed it in but couldn’t find the entry.
► I stood up and tried again…this is even harder! Time to sign up for the anatomy class.
► I sat on the toilet bowl and ta-da, I got it. Took a deep breath, gently pushed it in and pop! The cup unfolded into its original shape inside.

While wearing
► It felt amazing to be pad-free during menses. I could walk, run and wear anything I want. It’s a new level of liberation!
► I felt ‘cleaner’ and less messy down south too.
► For extra assurance, I used my cloth pantyliner just in case the cup leaks. Guess I didn’t wear it correctly as it leaked a little but was nothing major.
► At one point, I could feel the cup stem dangling inside.

During removal
► I managed to take it out easily the first time, easy-peasy! It was probably because I was very relaxed during the insertion.
► The second time around was the traumatizing part. It took me almost 15 minutes to get it out from my vah-jay-jay. I sat, squatted, knelt, stood and did whatever pose I could think of. The cup went quite high up and I had to rummage my V just to get hold of the stem. Using two fingers (or maybe three), I digged, stirred and grabbed; the suction was too strong. I almost cried for hubby’s help and started imagining the embarrassment I would have to go through should I need to admit myself into the hospital. Oh nooooo….this is a BAD idea 😦

► It didn’t help that my finger nails were long and sharp!
► Then it chanced upon me that the key to managing a menstrual cup is to RELAX. I took a deep breath, imagined myself meditating, did some Kegel exercise, held on to the stem like my dear life, pressed the cup to release the suction and hiakkkkk (and oucchhhh!!)….pulled it out. I felt so bruised and ‘violated’ after that. Boo-hooooo….
► Did I learn my lesson and ditch the cup? Certainly NOT. I tried again the following day and went through the same daunting experience. OK, maybe I’ll call it a day for this cycle and try again next month. Apparently, it takes at least three cycles for one to get used to it.

My conclusion is, I probably inserted it wrongly because according to the manual, it should stay in place and not leak at all. I did some research and found more techniques/tips on using it – relax, twist it around after insertion to lock it in place, cut the stem etc.

I really, really like the concept of menstrual cup and want to make it work for me. Wish me luck when Aunt Flow revisits again in January. Until then, it is Kotex then.

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24 thoughts on “My first menstrual cup experience

  1. I’ve been using the cloth pads after I had kids (no more ‘sposies for me!) – but I have not gathered enough courage to try the menstrual cup. Your experience sounds scary-fying 😛

    I used the tampon when I was in school last time, and it helped me go swimming every time I had my period..but no more tampons for me too, after I learnt about Toxic Shock Syndrome.

    So …. I look forward to your updated experience 🙂

    1. joeyllhow

      I got a few cloth pantyliners to try and found it hard to remove the stains after that, that’s why I have never really considered cloth pads. My first experience was indeed a little daunting but I guess it will take a while before I get the hang of it. Hopefully I’ll be calmer (and braver) next cycle 🙂

  2. Ha… Thanks for the vivid description! Yes, relaxing is the key. I like removing it while squatting or sitting on the toilet bowl. Press to release the suction, gently pull, and contract muscles to push it out.

    And for pads, I’ve always wore sanitary panties from Triumph. It fits snugly, so no loosely moving pad. And there’s a water-resistant layer to prevent leaks. Must have! 🙂

    1. joeyllhow

      I find it easiest to insert when I’m sitting on the toilet bowl as well. Have you ever encountered the cup travelling higher up? Anything I can do to prevent that from happening again. I got so paranoid after the attempt to locate the cup.

      Is there such thing as sanitary panties? Never heard of it! You are a scouting queen! 🙂 I’ll check that out. Thanks!

  3. It took me MONTHS to get the hang of a menstrual cup (with a several-months break in the middle due to frustration). I don’t know what changed, or what I was doing wrong previously, but I’ve finally figured it out. About time!

    If the stem ends up being an issue, check out the MeLuna (look for ’em on facebook; cheaper and easier than ordering elsewhere online). They have a ball stem option that I am in LOVE with.

    1. joeyllhow

      Thanks Karyn. I’m considering to try another brand but am not sure if it would be another failed attempt and hence, a waste of money. But the ball stem option does make it seem easier to remove and get hold of. I guess it takes perseverance to make it work as well ya? I’ll be sure to check out MeLuna. Thanks again 🙂

  4. Allison Graham

    I’ve been using a DIVA cup since I was a teenager. Yes, sometimes it migrates waaayyy up my vagina and I have to dig around, I find squatting to be the best way to get it in, as it opens up your pelvis. Sometimes I have extra cramps when I put it in, but they usually settle after a couple of minutes. It took me a couple of months to really get the hang of it though! Good luck, keep trying, it’ll get easier! 🙂

    1. joeyllhow

      Hi Allison, I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one with the cup moving upwards. Did you panick when that happened? After the incident, I got so scared of moving vigorously when wearing the cup for fear of it going missing in my vagina! Is that possible? Yes I’ll definitely keep trying 🙂

  5. Laura D

    It took me about 3 months of use to get used to getting the Diva in and out without too much trouble. I did learn that on lighter days, I still need to take it out about every 8 hours. Otherwise, getting it out is a bit more of a project. I’m excited for you on this journey and I hope that the following months are easier for you.

    1. joeyllhow

      Hi Laura, thanks for the encouragement 🙂 Do you mean that the more filled up the cup is, the harder it is to remove? Because during my first removal attempt after wearing it for 4 hours, it was really easy but the second attempt – after 8 hours – that was the challenging part. Maybe for start, I should be more hardworking in emptying the cup first. Thanks again!

  6. cujosie

    Hi! When my cup has traveled up, i sit on the toilet and use my ‘bearing down’ muscles. Once. Then realx and wait. Then push again, and relax and wait. And don’t panic. It has never taken me more than three pushes to get it down, and I have the stem completely trimmed off 🙂 But of course it may vary from person to person how many times you have to do it. If you’re really freaking out, squat down on the floor, which makes it a bit easier.
    Does it hurt when you take it out? Squeeze the end of it lightly (not too much, or stuff will spill out) then pull out one edge of the cup, then the rest of it.
    By the way they have a good FAQ-seqtion here: http://www.mooncup.co.uk/advice-centre/faqs.html#438
    I have tried mooncup and lunette and am happy with them both. 20-30 quid and I never have to buy a disposable product again, that’s money saved 🙂 AND it’s better – more comfort and less…fuss!

    1. joeyllhow

      Hi cujosie, thanks so much for the great tip! I knew I was doing it wrongly 🙂 What you meant by bearing down muscles is similar to Kegel exercise right? It did hurt a little when I took it out as the suction was just too strong; it really does take practice. Thanks for the link to FAQ, it does really help amateurs like me. I shall try again! 😀

  7. sheree

    It is physically impossible to lose something in your vagina. Using a cup takes practice. It took me about 3-4 cycles to get the hang of using my diva cup and I love it! Absolutely love it. With mine I found that the easiest way to remove it is to gently break the suction seal by very gently slide yor finger up the side of the cup. Then it comes out, easypeasy.

    1. joeyllhow

      Guess I was too much of a scaredy cat to insert my finger all the way in…and the imagination went a little wild with the cup floating in my uterus! LOL. Thanks for the encouragement, Sheree 🙂

  8. Congrats on using the menstrual cup! I bought a Meluna (ball stem) once my period started after deliver (had to wait 15 months). I loved it from the start!

    Ok la, I was damn paranoid that it would overflow so I must have checked it like, 6 times a day at first. But that was actually a help because I got used to putting it in and taking it out after 2 days of menses. I found different insertion folds resulted in different levels of comfort for me. My fav so far is the punchdown fold, and yeah, relaxation is key! I did find the ‘pop’ as it exits the vagina needs a bit of getting used to tho! Luckily there was no mess or ‘cup overfloweth’ for me at that time.

    (Not so) unfortunately, I only got to use the Meluna during one menstrual cycle as I got pregnant the month after with baby #2 =D
    So will dust it off once my cycle begins after delivery!

    Good luck on your journey and thank you so much for such a detailed review! Would have loved to have read it had I not bought the cup sooner.

    1. joeyllhow

      Haha MamaSinglet, I have the same fear – even checked it in the office toilet to make sure that it wouldn’t “overflow”. We can fold it in different ways? Teach me please! I thought fold it twice is the only way to go.

      And congratulations on your baby #2! Here’s hoping that I get lucky as easily as you did when we’re ready to try for a second child.

  9. cujosie

    Hi, you’re welcome, I hope it helps, and I hope you get to enjoy your cup as much as I have 🙂 I remember when I first started wearing pads and tampons…I had a harder time getting the hang of those, I think.. It’s always tricky when it’s new!
    I don’t know how to describe what muscles I use for getting the cup to come down 😛 It’s almost the opposite of Kegel, cause when I do Kegel I contract all the muscles in the vagina itself, by the opening of the vagina. But when I push the cup out I use the muscles in my lower belly, it feels like, and relax the vagina as much as possible, visualizing it ‘opening’. Yes, graphic, I know 😀 It’s your ‘pushing’ muscles! I don’t know if this helps at all.
    The removal itself has only hurt me when there is still a bit of vacuum there, and I pull the whole thing out at once – Ouch! Usually its better to take it slowly, release the seal and take the cup out one side at a time 🙂

    1. joeyllhow

      Ya, I think I know what you mean now by the ‘pushing muscles’ – basically imagining and working the cup out by contracting the muscles there. It’s almost like simulating the pooping action right? I shall try that when it’s SOS time again 😀 No wonder it hurt! I pulled the whole thing out forcifully when I panicked and couldn’t release the suction. Yeah, I’ll be sure to check these great tips again before the start of my next cycle.

  10. Thanks! I could see the humour in the situation when I found out that I got pregnant so quickly, as I was so excited about using the Meluna. I had done so much research and was so pumped up to use it! Now have to pack it up till I dont know when! Heh!

    You can google Menstrual Cup Folding Techniques and get more info! Here is one site I looked at before:

    http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/453392.html?thread=4016400

    If you prefer to see the fold technique ‘in action’ you can find some info on youtube which you can watch and learn from =)

    Also (and sorry if I am being graphic) once inserted, I held onto the cup a bit longer and sort of ‘screwed’ it in to make sure the hold was firm and the rim was fully open. Not sure if it made a big difference (only tried it for one month *sigh*) but made me feel more confident that it was secure!

    1. joeyllhow

      Thanks! Time to try out some origami skills with my cup tonight. Really crossing my fingers that with all the great tips from everyone here, I will be able to manage the cup better next month 🙂

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