Thursday, February 25, 2016

First Impression: DivaCup

Yesterday I got it in my head that I wanted a menstrual cup. I was done with nightly period leakage and either sitting in my own blood or constantly being worried about leakage. This had gone on too long. I have heavy periods, and I needed a new solution.
I did my research, and the #1 best menstrual cup is apparently DivaCup. I went online and made sure they had some available at my local CVS. So today I trekked all the way to CVS in the snow to buy one. Cost me forty bucks I could've used on ice cream to accompany my menstrual cycle.
Model 1 DivaCup (source) (I bought mine here)

Some things you should know about me before we begin:

  • I'm 16 but pretty much done with puberty as far as I know and almost at my adult height
  • I don't routinely shove (not-tampon) things up my vagina
  • I use tampons with no problems (usually. Once in a while it's tough to get one in there.)
  • I experience leakage with tampons
  • I regularly use pads

Trial #1
It's the third day of my period and it's not a particularly heavy one. I made multiple attempts and eventually gave up and resolved to try again later. Not gonna lie, it was painful. That thing is big, and it did not want to slide up in there.

Trial #2
I waited until my next cycle so I could try again on my heaviest day. Ow. Insertion hurt. It's definitely not "the same size as a tampon when folded" as many claim. After wrestling with it for a good forty minutes, I came out sore but victorious. I turned it and everything. But then I got up and started walking. I have a vague sensation of needing to poop, and I definitely feel its presence. It feels uncomfortable, to the point of pain. The stem is touching something that I don't like. I heard some people only wear it at night if it's uncomfortable, but I'm not sure if I could even do that.
I read up on it, and the Internet suggests I push it up farther. Did that. Didn't help. They suggested I trim the stem. Did that. Had to remove and reinsert. Helped a little bit with the pain, but not the discomfort. When I move around, I feel air bubbles. It is distinctly uncomfortable and still rubs up against something bad. I have concluded that it's my anatomy and menstrual cups simply aren't for me.

Trial #3
I am now a pro at insertion (but it still hurts). I use the "punch down" fold. Trial 2 was going to be my last attempt, but I'm having a particularly heavy period and I completely soaked through an overnight pad in three hours. With periods like that, I routinely wake up with blood on my sheets, my pants, and all over my underwear. So I thought I'd try and avoid that by using the DivaCup. This time, once it was in it wasn't as painful, but I was leaking! I'm not sure if it was the leftover blood below the cup causing the leakage or what, but I was leaking significantly and this just wouldn't do. I removed it and am using an overnight pad. I also was unable to turn it, which can sometimes lead to leakage or migration of the cup because it doesn't form a proper seal in the vagina. But it just wouldn't turn! What am I supposed to do?
The entire time I was paranoid about the cup migrating upwards and suctioning to my cervix (I've heard of that happening to people), especially because I have a high cervix so it would be way up there. Whenever it was in, it was painful (rubbing against something) and insertion and removal were no picnic, although I could potentially see past that if the pros outweighed the cons. I also kept feeling air bubbles releasing inside me. It wasn't a "get it and forget it" deal. I suspect that if I tried a different brand (perhaps one with softer silicone or a less prominent ring at the top) I would find more success, but I think I'm done with menstrual cups for now. I really wanted to like it! It's a shame it didn't work out, I would have enjoyed leak-free nights.

Will I use it again? No. Not even comfortable/leakproof enough for nocturnal use.
Do I recommend it? Yeah, if you're willing to take the risk of paying the forty bucks and it being too uncomfortable to use or in some way undesirable. I suspect it would work better for other people with different anatomy, so if you're willing to take that risk, it's worth a shot.
Am I at least glad I tried it? I could've done without this experience in my life. I guess it made me familiarize myself better with my anatomy, but not much. Generally not impressed.

Disclaimer: just because it didn't work for me doesn't mean it won't work for you.