Suction related pain when inserting Menstrual Cup
I have been trying to use menstrual cups for over two years now and it just doesn’t seem to be working. I think I have finally managed to eliminate all problems except the suction one and if you guys tell me this is normal and won’t harm me in the long run, I am just willing to get over it at this point so I can keep using my cup.
This is the second cup I am using. It is the Gaaia cup, size Sensitive. Before this I was using the Sirona menstrual cup, Small size. With the Sirona cup, I had too many problems. Getting to insert the cup took me MANY months and when I was able to do that, I would always experience leakage. Insertion was painful and I have had vaginismus related problems during sexual intercourse also so I was expecting it. But overtime even after inserting, the cup wouldn’t open properly or it would hurt when opening, I just gave up. Plus, the Sirona cup was staining so much and it wouldn’t clean properly. It ended up giving up me an infection of some kind? Because I had itchiness after the last time I wore for a week after my period. Then I went to the doctor who gave me anti-bacterial medication. That’s when I stopped using it.
Then I decided to give cups another shot. I got the Gaaia cup. Right off the bat, the small size was incredibly helpful in insertion. I could insert it smoothly and I cut off a bit of the stem because it was poking out. It is only my second month of using it. I was experiencing leaks last month and this month too. I figured it is because the cup is not opening properly. Two nights ago, I entirely bled through my underwear. It was not nice. Anyway, how I figured the cup was not opening is: the morning after I inserted my finger to open up the punch-down. So usually I would just slide up the fold (the pokey part of the punch down) till it opens completely, or I would turn the cup around to open it. But when I was doing that I felt a weird suction pull and the cup was open. I had little to no leak afterward.
Next 3-4 times that I have emptied and changed the cup, I noticed that whenever I would feel that suction pull/pain there would be little or no leakage. So then that means that when that happens the cup is sitting properly.
I am happy with this. I just want to figure out if there is a way to reduce the suction pain/pull. It’s like I can feel air hitting me inside. And it gives me weird kind of “cramps”? For like 30-40 seconds after and then it’s over. Sometimes I feel it up on my side also. To be clear, the pain is not INTENSE like I am dying or anything but in that moment it feels like a hit (like when your ear pops in flight, except in my vagina and that POP is half a second but the pain lasts for another 30-40).
I want to know if this is okay OR if there is a way to avoid this from happening. I am unable to judge whether my cup is firm or soft, so I don’t know if that information would help.
I am really happy size-wise with this cup and I really don’t want to have to buy another one. So if I need to get over the pain I will (if it is not causing some long-term damage to my cervix or something).
If this helps, I am in my early twenties currently, not sexually active at the moment.
Bell-shaped cups especially ones with a flared rim seem to “fit” better for those with a low to a medium cervix. The cup will ride up and sit higher while the rounded base is more comfortable than a pointed one like with “V”-shaped cups.
“V”-shaped cups are easier to reach for people who have a medium to a high cervix because it usually has more length, not just overall but the body length without the stem is longer.
However, some individuals find that small-sized “V”-shaped cups still feel comfortable for their low cervix depending on the length.
Another thing to take into consideration is the amount, size, and placement of the air-holes. This is a hard one to determine because the shape and size (of a cup) will position the air-holes in a different area and there is really no way to check. Smaller airholes often make a cup difficult to open and/or remove and create a tighter seal.
I know it seems like there’s a lot to figure out and that you don’t want to keep purchasing cups, but once you find the perfect one, you shouldn’t need to buy another for at least a few years. Check with Menstrual Cup B/S/T groups on FB. There are people willing to purchase gently used cups for a lower cost. Even if that doesn’t sound like something you would be interested in for yourself, you may still be able to resell your unwanted/unused cups to recoup some of your funds back.
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Hiii firstly thank you so much for such a detailed response!
I think I follow almost all the tips you have mentioned for Insertion and Removal. The information about cup shapes is new to me. I didn’t know the difference between a flared rim and a standard rim. The thing is I really do not want to go back the Sirona cup. That experience was overall just so painful and dissatisfying. I had the suction issue even then, and it was much worse and it would require more painful maneuvering to open it up.
I am really sad about having to try another cup. I checked out Safecup and Shecup. The Safecup has size options, I could try the Small one. The thing is, the Gaaia cup size is really good for me. The Safecup Small seems larger than the Sirona Small so I am worried that I will run into all the same problems.
Also thank you for telling me about the prolapse. I really should speak to a doctor.
The perfect cup would be easy to fold, insert, position, and remove while being comfortable to wear all day. I understand that you have vaginismus which comes with its symptoms, but regularly, there should not be pain during any part of those steps.
Here are some things that you can try or pay attention to while using your cup.
-Squat while inserting the cup. This rolls your pelvis forward and brings your cervix closer to the vaginal entrance.
-Aim the folded cup down and back towards your tailbone. The cervix is not typically located straight up. This will help get the cup positioned correctly.
-Try letting the cup open in a lower position (insert cup 1/2 way). The cervix can often prevent the rim from expanding or gets hit when it is expanding. This can cause the release of prostaglandins which may result in cramping. You may have experienced this before with pelvic exams, pap smears, deep penetration of fingers, pleasure items, intercourse, vaginal ultrasounds, etc.
-Insert the cup with a finger next to it. Release the folded cup against your finger to shield your cervix from getting hit.
*While using the last two methods, a single finger can be used to push the cup up into place.
After the cup is inserted and you’re still in a squat, use a damp cloth or pH balanced wipe to clean the stem and grip rings of any excess blood. This will help eliminate “spotting”.
-Make sure to release the seal before tugging down on the cup. You can pinch the base to force out any air or use a single finger to collapse the cup’s body. This is done best when the cup is not full. Make sure you schedule your emptying sessions accordingly.
The Gaaia Cup has a flared rim that tends to ride up and sit higher around the cervix and settle in the vaginal fornix (space around the cervix). This can result in the air-holes creating a stronger seal than cups with a standard/regular style rim (like with the Sirona). It can also make the cup suction stronger when it’s pinched or pulled. Like using a toilet plunder, which doesn’t create a suction until you pull on it.
My suggestion would be to give the Sirona another try with the tips that I mentioned above. If you are still unable to use it with ease and comfort, I would then suggest trying a softer cup with a standard rim. I know you don’t want to buy another cup, but if these two cups aren’t easy to use or comfortable to wear, they just aren’t the cups for you.
I do not have the Sensitive Gaaia Cup, but I have a cup that is the same design. However, since both the Sirona and Gaaia are manufactured in a country that doesn’t have the best quality control, I can’t verify that they would be the same firmness from one cup to the next even if I did have it. On that note, a reputable soft cup with a standard rim that is available in your area (you mentioned cups available in India) would be the SafeCup. If you think a firmer cup would be okay, the SheCup is an option.
As for the continued use of a cup that creates a strong seal and/or suction:
I’m not a doctor so I can’t comment as a professional, but I have experienced a minor prolapse with a few cups that wouldn’t release their seal or suctioned tightly during removal. According to my doctor, the prolapse was minor enough that my cervix would be fine and correct itself over a short amount of time. However, I am not sure about the effects that continued use can cause. Please question your doctor as they may have a different opinion.
Sadly, there is no way to stop a cup from creating a strong seal or suction from happening. Every person’s anatomy is different and will have a different experience with any given cup.
I’m sorry that I don’t have a better solution for you but I hope that you can work it out or find another cup that will be perfect for you.
Good Luck <3
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