Sunday, October 7, 2012

Diva Cup: The Ups, Downs, and Swear Words

My Diva Cup arrived fortuitously on the same day as my period. My innards are psychic.

Day 1:
Hate it. First of all, how the heck am I supposed to push it in? It flops open as soon as it gets in there which makes it all squishy and unpushable. I will prevail! Ok, maybe not. Now, how am I supposed to turn this thing?? It is slimy and gooey with my slime and goo and getting a grip on this sucker is impossible. I can tell I don't have it in right. My vaginal canal feels full and that just cannot be right. Dude...not happy.

Day 2:
The good news is it didn't leak overnight. The bad news is, I may scratch my vagina out. Why is it so itchy???? Off to battle this thing out and try again. May the force be with me.

Back from the bathroom:
Scratch that. Plenty o' leakage, just none managed to make it to the sheets luckily. My vagina is sore from all the digging. My tongue is sore from biting it instead of screaming my stream of choice swear words.

A friend recommends wearing a pad while I get used to this Satanic invention. This is a problem since: a) I loathe pads and haven't worn them since I got my very first period at 13, and b) I don't wear or even own any underwear, but that is for another post.

Later:
Dear Diva Cup,
I hate you with a fiery passion from the pit of my belly and the depths of my soul.
Loathingly,
Not-So-Zen Mama



Dear Readers,
I must love you more than even I knew.
-___-,
Me

After yanking this ridiculous contraption out of my vagina about four different times today because I HATE IT, I finally decided to cut the stem. I left a little under 1/2 an inch. Let's see if that helps. It can't make it any worse, let me tell you. I also used the second suggestion for folding it for insertion. That actually did help a bit, because it felt like a Mack truck pulling in before.


Even later:
Cutting the stem made a HUGE difference. I no longer hate you, Diva Cup. It will take some time to get beyond the hatred I once so deeply felt, so I won't go as far to say anything other than I do not wish to burn in a fiery inferno you any longer.

Day 3:
Holy carnage, Batman! Last night, my son napped from 6:30-9:30 p.m, so he and I were in for a long night. Eventually, we both fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up at 5:30 this morning to move us into the bed, I knew something was wrong. I boobed him back to comfort and sneaked into the bathroom where I got the sight of my life. There was blood ALL over. I have discovered two things: 1) I am not a 12 hour kind of woman, and 2) my blood has anti-gravity powers. Seriously, there was blood up on my fat roll! How does that even happen??! Lessons learned. At the beginning of my period, no 12 hour stints for me. Also, I may want to look into joining the local Superhero Union, because I clearly have latent gifts. How they would be useful, I do not yet know, but I am sure I can figure it out.

After cleaning up the mess and creating what looked like a murder scene in the bathroom, I quickly threw this devilish monstrosity in again and went back to bed. Mistake #14859. Evidently, I didn't get it in there right, because an hour or two later, I coughed and out squirted another little gift. I was exhausted and in a hurry to get back to my snuggled slumber, so I tossed in a tampon and went back to bed.

Attempt #I-can't-even-count-anymore: so far so good. We shall see...

Let's talk poop. It says you can poop and pee without disturbing it. There must be some trick, because pooping makes it drop down and poke out. I guess chimichangas during my period are out now. However, if this is my biggest problem, things are looking up.

Day 4:
Methinks we've hit a homer here! I don't want to jinx it, so I'm keeping fairly quiet and trying not to think about it much (or sneeze, cough, or otherwise jiggle my insides). One thing that has really helped is spinning it before I get it all the way in. That was a no-go, as you saw on day 1. Doing it when it's still halfway out is MUCH easier and results in far less swearing under my breath.

Day 5:
And it's over. Phew! I made it. I survived, my vagina survived, and, most surprisingly, the Diva Cup survived.

Here's where I've landed on the subject so far: I ended up feeling fair to middling about it. I got better and better at is as time progressed and as I was able to practice more, so I imagine in another cycle or two, I'll have it down and will end up really liking it. I think I'll continue this review for another couple of months, but for now this is what you get.

I am not a big fan of something that is an acquired taste. I didn't like coffee the first time I tasted it, so I didn't keep tasting it. I didn't like salt and vinegar chips the first time I tried them, so why would I keep trying them? That's kind of where I am with this. I mean, I've committed to trying it for another two cycles, but I'm not honestly in love with the idea. I think it takes a lot of time, but I also think that I could solve that issue by getting another Diva Cup (or something similar...I'm considering a Me Luna). As it stands, I sit on the toilet, pull it out, dump it, put it in the sink, finish wiping myself up, get up, wash it out, sit back down, put it in, get back up, wash my hands again. It's just a little silly and time consuming. If I had a second, I could eliminate some steps and I'm all about streamlining.

I'm not drawing any hard and fast conclusions about it. Too many of you have said it takes time to get used to, so I'm reserving my final judgement for now. I'll update this as I go along, but for now, this is where I am: periods can be frustrating enough without adding to that frustration. I'm not sold...yet.


Round 2

Day 1:
Much easier to insert this time. About an hour after I put it in, I forgot I was even having my period. This is good news.

Day 2:
No leakage overnight (10 hours). Score one for Diva Cup. I do have to say, I really hate that stupid stem. What the heck is the point other than to irritate me and my vagina? I cut it completely off and both of us are much happier now.

Pooping remains a problem, as any time I do, I dislodge the cup. I don't have time to both poop and readjust. I'm a mom of a toddler. Pooping in and of itself is a luxury!

Day 3:
No issues whatsoever until I pinched my labia between my thumb and the cup as I spun it. I drew blood biting my tongue so as no to set my son's hair on end.

Day 4:
I don't know that I'll ever go as far as saying I love any feminine hygiene product, but I definitely no longer hate it and I like it better than tampons, the Instead cup, and certainly pads.

Round 2 Bottom Line:
I'm going to keep with it. I had absolutely no cramps, which normally I am afflicted with quite terribly. Huge plus in my book! The moisture level in my vaginal canal seems much better. Sometimes during that last day of my period with tampons, things feel mighty Sahara-like. With the cup, there's nothing sucking me dry. I feel like my vagina is happier without the bleached cotton torpedo up there all day.

So, ya, I'm going to keep at it. Like I said, I'm not on the "I love it!" train, like so many of you are, but I do feel the pros outweigh the cons. Final recommendation: get it, but be patient.


Round 3

I'll spare you the daily blow-by-blow and give you the summary, since not much has changed since the last round. Things came a little easier this time. I'm able to insert it with more efficiency and confidence. Having cut that stupid stem off makes things WAY better. I'd like to see them make a stemless option in the future. I still pinched the heck out of my labia one time when I was spinning it. Not a huge fan of that, let me tell ya. Pooping still pushes it out, but now I just kind of push it back in rather than remove it and start all over. One oddity that I've noticed over the last few months: when I have it in, I have to pee like a pregnant woman - frequently, urgently, and I never seem to get it all out. I did not enjoy pregnant peeing and dislike it when I'm not pregnant, too. A major plus is that my cramps, previously quite painful, are all but gone now. I can only attribute this to the cup and am likely to continue with it for that benefit alone.

I'm still not on the "I LOVE IT!" train, but I do feel like this is the lesser of all evils, so Diva Cup it is. Thus ends my Diva Cup blogging journey. I wonder what I should review next...

UPDATE:
I recently had an ovarian cyst burst. Aside from pain that should've sent me to the ER (I will not be so stubborn next time), one of the side effects was that I can no longer wear my Diva Cup. I had just gotten to the point where the Diva Cup and I were friends and now my body rejects completely. Upsetting, to say the least. Thus, I will be changing to cloth pads as soon as I find a sewing pattern I think I can use.

17 comments:

  1. Hey Amy, I read your Diva Cup post and I have to say I think you may not have the right size??? Mine is super comfy and never ever leaks... I have a few pointers for you. Practice with KY when you aren't bleeding. Fold it in half with the "corner" at your perineaum push it back toward your tail bone, not "up and in" so to speak. slowly let it open up as you push it back and see if that helps...LOL maybe we should do some youtube tutorials???LOL <3
    Maggie

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  2. My suggestion to avoid the scratchy feeling is to only try a few times and then retreat to your preferred product for a few hours and then try again.

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  3. Poor Amy...I HATE those things! First of all, you need a First Aid kit to use one (again, you get blood in places you never even imagined having blood in or on). Second, since everyone's flow is different, it's hard to know when to change it. So, if you neglect to get to it in "time" it dumps sideways and there is goo and gore all over the place...seriously, I had to take a shower practically every time I changed the damn thing. Finally, I just couldn't get the hygienic part down. I don't care how many rinses and washes and it just smells funky. Even with a spare and plenty of air-out time, I kept getting the idea in my head that it was just unsanitary (ie: NASTY) and the odor (even when "clean") was proof enough for me. My last comment is that this thing feels like an already full OB tampon (remember those horribly explosive, highly-absorbent, toilet-paper-roll-sized self-insertable nightmares??) when it's in. I did have the correct size...but I was always aware of it. Actually, it felt like I had a flip-flop up there and it made me sit funny or it felt pinchy. ENOUGH! This thing was worse than sponges too! Good luck sweetie!

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  4. Have you looked at all the different ways to fold it? Some of these are hilarious.. http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=Nt6L-POE-b0&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DNt6L-POE-b0&gl=GB But seriously, it's one of those things that really is worth sticking at. Took me a couple of months (although I never actually hated it!) And have now been using a mooncup for around 10 years. Had to use tampons about twice in that time and wow the difference.. Ugh! Anyway, I use the 'punch down', then just run my finger around the edge to make sure the seal is right. You get used to how long you can go, it's generally recommended that you wear a pad or at least liner while you're getting used to the whole thing, but yeah, underwear! Good luck, I hope you find the love, or at least an alternative that you do love!

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  5. Definitely not looking to convert you, but if you would like some recommendations read-on. :)

    A few things that have helped me make the experience better:
    -It's ok to also use tampons (or pads depending on preference). Don't feel like it's an all or nothing, so you may want to use tampons when your period is heaviest or overnight or while you're out of the house and still getting used to changing it.
    -Don't empty too often. Unless the flow is really heavy, I've found that waiting to empty the DivaCup (1-2 times per day) helps prevent leaks. Often, the small leaks I was having were from the vagina not the cervix (does that make sense?). Not removing too often helps with the scratchiness too...
    -You can but don't have to rinse the DivaCup every time you empty (idea for 'streamlining').
    -Get creative ;)... a friend mentioned that she empties the cup in the shower. I've found that it can be easier sometimes to take it out and put it in while squatting, plus I just empty directly in the drain, rinse and put back in.
    -Boil your DivaCup. I've never used soap or other products on mine. I simply rinse during my period and usually give it a boil at the end (and before starting to use the following cycle). I've been using mine consistently for 2-3 years and it has no smell at all. You can also give it a boil anytime, if you feel like it's getting dirty.
    -Remove to poop. I don't always remove mine, but I feel like there's more room for things to maneuver (TMI!) and I don't risk pushing it out unexpectedly into the poopy toilet.

    I've found myself way more aware of my pelvic floor and being able to use muscles selectively since using the DivaCup for a while. I'm also happy to report a lighter flow, fewer cramps, and a shortened period. I think these results are a combination of my body being more accustomed to the copper IUD over the last couple years AND using the DivaCup.

    Thanks for sharing your "first time". It's great to see where I've come from and where I am now ;)

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  6. Question is - will you use it again next month?

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  7. I got a moon cup years ago and hated it, but ever liked tampons either. A couple of years ago I bought cloth pads and they are fab. Will never go back to disposable pads again.

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  8. This story is pretty much exactly what I anticipate when thinking about trying one. I use cloth pads, and am in love. Never a single issue, complaint, or pinching, haha. Good for you for being so devoted though! Hope it all works out in the end.

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  9. I've used mine for 2 years now and love it. I hated it at first, too. Lol As you use it more, you'll find easier ways to insert it. I never thought to cut the whole stem off... I may do that as it's my only complaint. Like Sarah mentioned earlier, remove it to poop (to cut down on risk if it falling); rinse, don't wash; and use pads during your heaviest times. I don't use soap. I boil it at the end of my cycle and rinse between changes. The easiest place is the shower.

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  10. Have you thought of switching to a smaller size cup mid-way through your period, once it is lighter? I have been using cups for a few years, and I experimented a lot, and I found switching to a small size about 4 days into my period (I have a 7-8 dayer) eliminated most of the "full" sensations that makes one want to pee more frequently and .. it didn't have an issue staying in place. I will say either size I could never leave one in to poop, it ended up being easier just to take it out to poop.. because I push the thing half the way out! The problem with switching to a smaller size later in my period was removing it, particularly because my cervix hides.. I quit using the smaller one even though I liked that it eliminated the sensations because toward the end of a period a woman's cervix starts to move up/retreats a bit, and um, my cervix is already way high and tilted (ie: it already likes to hide) and sticking such a tiny, slippery contraption into my crotch so deeply and at that angle that made it harder to get hold of made for REALLY interesting cursing lots removal.. and I have really long fingers, too! If you have a generally bit lower and maybe not a tipped cervix/uterus it might not be so hard for you to remove the small cup.. Some women tend to have a lower uterus/cervix the older they get or/and more babies they have (or if they have pelvic muscle damage, like from forceps).. but then in that case the small cup may not stay in place. And, even then if your cervix isn't that high up you may not be able to get the small one out with enough ease to want to use it... It'd be worth a try, I think, though. The other thing you may find with use is that it's more comfortable but you may get more leaks (esp after sneezing, etc.) after about 6 months. It's because the cup starts to get broken-in. I have such a heavy period that I personally use a newer cup at the beginning and then switch to a more "broken in" cup half way through.. It's a little more comfortable that way. I definitely don't use a broken-in cup at the beginning though or I create for myself huge messes when sneezing or if it gets contorted just right. And, I too personally found that there's no way I could go 12 hours at the beginning of my period. More like every 2 hours the first day.. Explains why I get anemic! I did notice that my labia is happier at the end of my period than it used to be at the end of using pads.. I think the moisture is trapped a little bit with pads (and I even use nice breathable cloth pads) and my skin gets irritated. I wish that using cups had eliminated my cramps, I actually found that if I try to pee the first day with the cup in, the cramps are much worse for some reason.. I have to empty it so often I just take it out out to pee.. otherwise I noticed no difference in my cramping.. So, what a lucky side effect for you to have less cramping!! :) If I didn't have cramping anymore, I'd probably be way more excited than I am about using the pink cup! To me, it's, just more convenient but still a pain in the butt. Sometimes I still use a cloth pad if I don't feel like self-exploration that day.. the kind of cloth pads that are cotton flannel with no PUL are actually very breathable and very comfortable.. they're a good alternative I believe if you start to feel uncomfortable. You may find your body won't tolerate tampons after you get used to using the diva cup. I've read accounts of women growing intolerant to them after not using them for a while.. they didn't realize how inflaming they were. :) Sorry for the long response and way TMI. :)

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  11. I'm glad I stumbled across this. I am interested in trying a diva cup (or similar) when my cycle returns and am glad to read such a brutally honest account of using one. Maybe I'll just stick to cloth pads...

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  12. Had a helluva time with mine the first several cycles, almost gave up entirely - but NOW, i wouldn't give it up for ANYTHING! If you're generally a heavy bleeder, it might be a little less convenient for you, as I generally only deal with it in the morning and at night. You will get used to knowing that it's in correctly, and you'll start to recognize what it feels like and that will help you out a LOT! Firstly, if someone had told me that the *push* to "getting it out" was essentially the same muscles you use to poop, I totally would have appreciated that information and integrated it into my routine!! I also learned from your posts/comments that apparently i'm fortunate it doesn't fall out when I poop...so not sure how to help you on that one. I will say that I freaked out my 1st or 2nd cycle with it and insisted that my husband remove it for me bcs I panicked. He was NOT happy about that... and life is better now that i've gotten it figured out! At this point I pretty much do my best to only remove it in the shower and it makes life a LOT easier. Folding and twisting to position does certainly help! It is a "gotta get used to it" sort of thing...but I will say that my periods are easier, and lighter and my (cramp & lower back) pain has been lessened since using it! I can also predict more when i'll be 'done' w/ my cycle based on my flow. Good luck, it really is worth it once you get used to it!!

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  13. Thank you. It's been a really bad week, I needed the laugh I got by reading this! You crack me up! Now I just need to stop laughing and try to sleep ♥

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  14. I usually liken the system to cloth diapers menstrual cup usa

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  15. Hello, well my experience is very similar to yours except I don't know if the diva cup is the reason for what happened but I guess as more women use it we shall find out. I used the one recommended for 30 years and older (L). Used it for 3 months and it was amazing, my cramps (which were horrible) were reduced to nothing, I had less pressure on my bladder (normally closer to my period I would have to pee more often than usual) and it was all around more hygienic, no smell to be cleaned every time I changed a pad or anything...I was pretty much in love with it. Here is where it gets horribly bad...one week after the end of my 3rd cycle I had an additional cycle (normal cycle for me is 6 to 7 days) with huge blood clots (biggest size of a golf ball, literally)...after that initial golf ball size one I had at least 4 a day that were the size of my palm. Mind you this was for 7 days...I went to my local planned parenthood and after a manual check they found my uterus was 12 to 14 weeks swollen...they put me on birth control pills and was told not to use the diva cup anymore. I went through a huge emotional turmoil/emotional breakdown because another hospital obgyn had preliminarily told me I have tumor fibroids (which are aparent lyrics VERY common...almost 20% to 80%,based on age, of women have them!!!)...after an ultrasound they found a 3.9cm* cyst obstructing my left ovary...needless to say after reading your last update this had me thinking...but then again I don't know how many women have the same experience...I really did love the diva cup...I just don't know if it's to blame for my traumatic experience...it's the only thing in my life that had changed...other than me being 30 and according to my doctor likely producing too much estrogen which makes my body do these things...after birth control 1 month later my uterus has gone down and I'm having a follow up with a 2nd opinion with another obgyn...needless to say... I don't think I will be able to use diva cup again...

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  16. My vagina deserves only the best.) but I'd only ordered the second smallest available, buy menstrual cup

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