Sucking it up

Dear Lucy: Because I am an adventurous individual, I recently purchased a menstrual cup with the unfortunate name of the “Diva Cup”.
The online reviews were overwhelmingly positive! I was excited. Well, as excited as one can get about a silicone cup that’s shoved up one’s privates for hours at a time.
Unfortunately, when it’s time to change the cup, I’ve noticed a terrible issue: awful, horrible, unceasing... suction. Am I doing something wrong? Am I anatomically unable to use the Diva Cup? Am I just not a diva? —Diva Or Not?

Illustration of an x-ray of a woman's pelvic area and a menstrual cup

Dear Diva: Suction, you say? And in the last place one might wish to experience suction. Oh, dear. This is, indeed, a problem. 
While menstrual cups have been around since the 1930s, their commercial availability and popularity is a relatively recent phenomenon—as are the struggles of women trying to figure out how to use them properly. And as Lucy discovered, you’re not the only one dealing with this problem. Her quick Google search for “Diva Cup suction” turned up more than 129,000 results, at least one of which included the word “owie” in the page title. 
Fortunately, Lucy knew just where to turn for the answer: Jennifer Shark, a certified nurse-midwife in MIT Medical’s OB/GYN Service and a self-professed fan of menstrual cups.
Shark commends you for “doing your part to keep your periods environmentally friendly and convenient.” And, she explains, it’s thanks to “that awful suction that the Diva Cup, like most other menstrual cups on the market, can be kept in place for 12 hours at a time without leaking.” While that’s great for cleanliness and convenience, “it can make menstrual cups a challenge to remove,” she concedes. 
But Shark also offers “a simple trick” to remove the cup more easily: “After washing your hands, slide your index finger into the vagina along the side of the cup until you feel its top lip. Once you are there, wiggle your finger above the lip to break the suction. Then insert your thumb along the other edge and squeeze your thumb and index finger together to fold the cup and pull it down and out with a gentle twisting motion.” 
And don’t worry if this “simple trick” feels a bit difficult the first few time you try it. “It can take some practice and can be a little messy at first,” Shark says, “but soon you’ll be a pro and love the convenience of your cup.”
Lucy wishes you the best of luck in getting up to speed with your cup. She also reminds you that this is exactly the sort of thing our terrific MIT Medical clinicians can help you with. If you continue to have problems using the cup or have other questions about reproductive health, birth control, your period, or anything else, call 617-253-1315 to make an appointment with Shark or one of our other excellent OB/GYN providers. —Lucy

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