My First Experience With A Menstrual Cup (Diva Cup)

Posted In: General Life, Health and Fitness, Reviews

This blog entry is regarding personal feminine issues (talk of vaginas – specifically my vagina – and menstruation). Feel free to pass on this one if that’s not your cup of tea.

OK, so I know some of my Twitter and Formspring followers wanted to hear about my experience trying out the Diva Cup. For those who don’t know, a Diva Cup is a brand of menstrual cup, which is…to put it bluntly, a silicone cup that is fully inserted into the vagina to “catch” menstrual blood. It can be kept in for 12 hours, emptied, cleaned and reused as an alternative to disposable feminine products like tampons.

Menstrual cup, diva cup with trimmed stem

For a whole month I contemplated how on earth I would ever gain the courage to put that thing inside me. I mean, the thing is a cup. Like a little (big, in vagina-land) egg cup. It’s scary, especially when the whole damn thing needs to be inside you. But logically I knew that there’s no way it could get lost or stuck in there – the vagina is like a fleshy muscular accordion that stretches out during arousal and child birth but in a relaxed state it’s only about 4 inches deep and ends with your cervix, so there’s no possible way that the cup is going to be sucked into the depths of your uterus and require surgical removal.

I gave it a whirl this month. My very first time inserting it was hilarious – I folded it into the U shape as instructed, then when it popped open I literally squealed “OW!!” out loud, it sort of twanged past my vaginal muscles at the entrance and it sure made its presence known up there. And I could definitely feel it. It was initially a little painful but after a few minutes there was just the unpleasant sensation of having a big cup in my box. So I went back and forth from the bathroom over the next hour, trying to get the thing to sit in a less annoying, not-so-HELLO! I’M AN EGG CUP IN YOUR VAG kind of way. (I just realized that it literally is an “egg” cup in a sense, lmao)

It was a messy venture and I gave up after a while.

Tried again this afternoon after cutting the stem as suggested by the instructions. I cut it just up past the first ring on the stem, if you’ve seen one before you’ll know what I mean. My photo up there is post-trimming. I figured it was the stem that I could feel; it was a sensation of being randomly poked or jabbed as I moved about.

Now I’ve got it in again. It helps me a lot to ensure I exhale deeply as I insert it – you need to relax, because no way in hell can you get one of these in without being relaxed. So, big long exhale, insert it towards your tailbone, never straight up. It doesn’t hurt…but…I just…I don’t know if this is how it’s supposed to feel! I can definitely tell it’s there and I don’t know if that’s normal, if I’ll get accustomed and desensitized to it soon enough…or if this cup just isn’t for me. There’s no pain, just a sense of pressure and a foreign object being deep inside my vagina that actually reminds me a lot of how it feels being in late labour and I don’t like that at all. When I move about I can feel my muscles grinding against it and it makes me feel so grossed out that I almost go to grab at my crotch, so I’m constantly walking around with my mouth screwed up to the side in discomfort.

I guess I’ll persevere with it and see how it goes, I know some women have said it took them a few months to get it all figured out. For anyone who is curious about its actual functionality though – I have a VERY heavy flow and the cup does do a marvelous job at…uh…collecting it. No leakage at all and (aside from those first few uses) it is less messy than you’d imagine. Probably not ideal for the blood-phobic though. It’s also very interesting to see exactly how much you’re bleeding; it’s a surprisingly small amount for me, even though I have a heavy flow.

Anyone who has anything to share of their own experiences with menstrual cups, please do share in the comments below because I’m eager to hear about it. There’s only so much discussion you can do in real life about your period blood catching vagina-cup.

Like I said to my husband, “What kind of conversation IS this? ‘I need to cut the stem on the cup I’m going to stick in my vagina to collect my blood’!? Oh to be a fly on the wall in this house. And especially in my bathroom.

LATER: So I stuck with it and kept the cup in all afternoon and I did eventually forget that it was there and couldn’t feel it at all after a couple of hours. However there were brief moments where I could feel the pressure again – but I think I know what’s causing it now. Since having children my bits have been particularly sensitive to the uterine contractions during menstruation, it aches (like arms carrying a heavy load for too long is the only way I can describe the feeling – I feel like I want to give my privates a ‘rest’ but can’t!)…I think my vagina itself experiences some muscular contractions too as the uterus sheds its lining and that may be why I occasionally feel discomfort and the pressure of the cup.

One issue that I haven’t solved yet – getting the thing out is a nightmare and even moreso now that I’ve trimmed the stem. I CANNOT remove it as instructed, by slipping a finger alongside it and breaking the seal/pushing the side in before removing it. As you can tell by the photo, this cup is as big as the palm of my hand. There’s no way I can fit a cup AND a finger inside me. It’s just not happening without a lot of pain. So removal for me is an embarrassing contortionist event with lots of yelling and discomfort. Any tips would obviously be appreciated, ladies!

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  • Jennifer Cepero

    Ugh this sounds painful. I would definitely just stop using it and go back to tampons. They work best for me.

    • http://loveemmalina.com Emmalina

      I THINK I’m gonna eventually get the hang of it; I’m gaining confidence with it and I think it’s getting better each time, so I’ll stick with it but I have been switching back and forth between the cup and tampons – they’re just so easy!

  • Jennifer B

    I just push the side in before folding it and pulling it out. Making sure it’s up as far as possible helps with that pressure you’re talking about, but it still takes getting used to. You can look online for different folding techniques that don’t hurt as much either :)

    • http://loveemmalina.com Emmalina

      Good idea, I’ll have a look and check out other folding suggestions! My method at the moment is uh…not so much of a “method”…lol!
      Yeah, I don’t think I’ve been putting it in quite far enough but each time I’m gaining confidence with it so I thiiiiiink I’ll get there in the end lol

  • Bluesapphire78

    I recommend the Instead Cup. It’s probably a little less invasive, easy to insert, though it is disposable, you can keep it in for up to 12 hours, which beats other feminine products.

    • http://loveemmalina.com Emmalina

      Hmm, I’ll have to see if I can find one. I don’t think that brand is sold in stores here but maybe I could find some online – though that could become annoying if they’re disposable/single-use. Will have a scout around, thanks for the suggestion!!

  • sparklyshellie

    I can’t say I like the idea of a menstrual cup at all. I hate tampons and I get enough pain with my monthly as it is, so I’m pretty sure I’d never get along with a cup. But if it’s something you want to carry on with I hope it gets easier!

  • winter2789

    I just put in a menstrual cup for the first time about an hour ago, and I’ve been stressing ever since. It wasn’t that difficult putting it in, but I’m not sure if it’s in properly. I can’t get to the base of it to turn it around and there’s no space for my finger to go up the side. I’m waiting it out a bit because it’s now too painful to even touch down there. I’m already thinking this is a big mistake, but it hurts even more to think that I might be out $50. I’ll see how it goes.

    • http://loveemmalina.com/ Emmalina

      I know exactly how you feel – I can’t do the whole “rotate it a full turn” thing either. It just…it’s not happenin’ for me! Just getting the cup in there properly is a big ask – a cup AND fingers? No. And I’ve had children!! I can’t imagine how virgins use these things (they say you can use them even with an intact hymen!)

      Totally understand the pain of losing $50, it’s not exactly one of those things you can gift to someone else or get your money back on, lol! I’m really hoping I can get the hang of it in a few more cycles. I’ll stick it out and see how it goes too.

      • winter2789

        I’m a virgin, and it is impossible to get a finger in there. I don’t have a problem getting it pass my hymen, but once it’s in, it’s in. There’s no room to adjust. It’s way too painful to try and squeeze my way in there. 
        I’m on my third day and I still can’t get in the right place. I thought I had it right today, but an hour later I felt it pop/snap, and now there’s way too much pressure down there going all the way to my back. Gonna have to take it out and try again tomorrow.

        It also feels really awkward/uncomfortable because my vagina feels open the whole time. I’ll definitely have to blog about my experience with this thing. It’s super frustrating, but entertaining too.

    • Lauren

      I just started using the diva cup yesterday and I share the same issue of not being able to rotate it when it is fully inserted. What I have tried doing, and works better, is inserting it halfway (so that the base of the cup can still be held) and then rotating it (it may not open completely fully because it still needs a bit of room to expand but it help to open it more after you folded it initially). And yeah, taking it out will definitely be a learning curve. I don’t stand or sit, I honestly SQUAT. I have found that to be the easiest. But just remember how much you will be benefiting the environment by using it instead of tampons or pads! :) Good luck!

  • http://twitter.com/heatherface Heather Haft

    Tongs. Just go buy some tongs to get it out. lol

  • Suzan H

    Hi, 
    Enjoyed your post a great deal!  I encourage you to continue on with the cup even though it seems difficult. 
        I know you’ve trimmed the tab and this makes it more difficult to  remove.  I wonder if you have tried pinching the bottom of the cup between thumb and forefinger to break the seal and then slowly withdraw the cup. Some women find it easier to remove the cup while sitting on or squatting over the toilet or in the shower with legs wide and vagina open. It helps to relax.  
         As you noticed with insertion, relaxing the vaginal muscles and taking a deep breath helps. It’s the same with removal.  If relaxing and squatting/sitting doesn’t aid in removal, insert your forefinger along side the cup (tight fit, I know, but the vagina stretches) until you feel the upper part of the cup edge. At this point your thumb will be naturally positioned at the cup bottom. Gently press the cup together (similar to how you would pinch the bottom of a tampon for removal if you can’t find the string) and grasp the cup with your thumb as well. (If the bottom of the cup is reinforced this may not work – this works well with Lunette Cups.) Pull the cup down. At first it may seem that you have to pull with a fair amount of force but with practice you will find that it’s more a matter of technique than of force. Tug down firmly on the cup and don’t let go.  When the cup is at the opening of your vagina, squeeze the cup together just like when inserting and remove it.     It usually takes a couple of cycles to learn the ins and outs of menstrual cups.  I hope you won’t give up. 

  • MitzyMay

    I’ve used both the Instead Soft Cup and the Diva Cup and I definitely prefer the Diva Cup. After talking with various women the type of cup that will work for you is definitely not one size fit all.  For example, the Soft Cup sits under your cervix and behind your pubic bone but it’s too bit large for me and always slips out.  The Diva Cup works well for me because it just sits at the bottom of the canal but if your cervix is too low then the Moon Cup would be more suitable as the cup is shorter.

    Anyway, the Diva Cup was a bit difficult for me to use at first and it has a learning curve but I love it now.  A tip that’s helpful for removing any cup I’ve found is to bear down as if you’re uh…having a BM since it helps push it out with the force and then it’s easier to pull out.

  • Enie Dub

    I love my mooncup! Once you get the hang of it you will never go back to gross unhealthy tampons. I know it is expensive at first but I am so pleased with the thoughts of how much money I will save over it’s life time! http://renovatinglpa.blogspot.ie/

  • Jennifer Marie

    Oh God, I couldnt use that, it’s massive! Even a tampon is too long for me to fit up mine properly.. that cup looks double the length of a tampon.. I can only use mini tampons, or any other size I have to cut them in half lol.. it’s not the width or anything, only the length thats a problem, and my cervix is in the middle of my vag on the roof, not at the very end, so theres no way I could use a cup. Literally if I put my pinky in my vagina, by my first knuckle, I can feel my cervix

  • Stilla Gandi

    I just bought Lady Cup and since i am 27 years old, i purchased the L size. My first time using it?? hahaha, its little scary and excited feeling at the time. Excited because i do research before purchased it and found that its very good. I took about 10 minutes to inserting it, but i dont gave up and finally the cup getting there. haha..i m so happy that i know this product before is too late..  I  no need to buy a pad anymore. Its really save this earth.  Grateful that I found it in Malaysia and I believe many Malaysians dont know this. My little sister even ask me, its really have a such product?? Hahaha, now I am free of worry, the Lady Cup will not transfer any chemical in my body…

    • Anna

      dayum you have really bad english

      • Anon.

        Dayum, you’re an ass.

    • Pearl

      where did u buy it in malaysia? how much did it cost? kinda wanna give it a try. maybe u can email me at pearlycious@gmail.com tq

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