This week Ms. Vagina Science answers reader questions!
Dear Ms. Vagina Science,
I’ve got a query for you! My husband is coming home on Thursday for 5 days (for the first time in 3 months) and it just so happens that I’m supposed to start my period on Thursday. I’ve heard of some pharmaceutical that can delay menstruation, ever heard of it? Also, can you have sex with a diva cup or some other contraption? I’ve always just used a bit of toilet paper during my period so I never felt the need to test drive a diva cup. I do remember a product called “Instead” but I don’t know if they’re still available. I appreciate your input, you are the foremost authority in all such matters.
Menstrual Delay in New Mexico
Dear Menstrual Delay,
Your best bet to delay your period for a bit is 800 mg of ibuprofen every 8 hours and double up on B6 vitamins daily. It’s not the best thing to take prescription doses of ibuprofen, but it’s probably not a huge deal just this once, if you’re comfortable with that. It would be a good idea to consult with a physician before you try it, just in case. Other than that, I’ve not heard of any other things that you could take to delay it.
You can’t have sex with a Diva Cup inside your vagina. It totally fills the vagina and has a stem on the end that would surely poke your husband’s penis. I saw one menstrual cup (I think it was Instead) that advertised it as being something you can use to have non-bloody period sex. I can’t imagine how, since they are literally cups that seal off your vagina, but you can try it, I suppose. Ideally, you’d have a diaphragm lying around. That would be the best barrier method to keep the blood at bay. If nothing else, shower sex?
Good luck! And happy doing it! Put some towels down!
Dear Mr. Vagina Science,
I got the Mirena IUD two weeks ago, the kind with the hormones. It was partially for birth control and partially in an effort to calm/regulate my monthly hormonal fluctuations, which tend toward the severe. I’ve heard some women get moody after getting an IUD. I, on the other hand, became a teary, obnoxious, mean baby. It was bad. Needless to say I got that thing out ASAP, about 9 days after having it inserted. I’m absolutely certain that in the future I will leave the hormonal birth control options alone, but I’m concerned about the other inevitable hormonal fluctuations. What about postpartum? Or menopause? Am I doomed to become mopey-pants? I would love your perspective on this one. Thanks!
Mopey Pants in San Francisco
Dear Mopey Pants,
Like you, I (and SO many women) cannot really deal with hormonal birth control. That doesn’t mean we’re screwed, it just means we need to pay extra attention to times when our hormones are raging. You’re right to be thinking ahead to postpartum and menopause. Being hormonally sensitive and/or having a history of depression or anxiety may predispose you to having a hard time postpartum or during menopause. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have kids, it just means you’ll have to prepare. Be aware that it might be coming and inform your partner to be alert for signs of depression, set up an extensive support network to help you with the baby, know that there are breastfeeding-compatible antidepressants, and look into support groups ahead of time. I’ve worked with many women postpartum, and most of them struggle, hormonally sensitive or not. Similarly, menopause can be very difficult, too. Many women seek out hormone therapy with good results.
So, basically what I am saying is this: your pants may be mopey but you’re not doomed. I think you have a leg up simply by being aware of your tendencies towards emotional instability and by being motivated to change it. The Mirena has Progesterone, a hormone that is particularly bothersome for women like you and I, so don’t feel too defeated. You could also try the copper T IUD, as it doesn’t have any hormones. I also suggest getting fitted for a diaphragm! I love mine and it’s pretty simple to use. Additionally, I’ll be writing about fertility awareness as a form of birth control next week, so look for that! Although it certainly doesn’t work for everyone, fertility awareness might be a good method for you.
Dear Ms. Vagina Science,
Hi! New reader here. I just bought a Diva Cup and I’ve been having some problems with it. I’d rather not barrage you with details about my vagina, but suffice it to say I’ve been hating/resenting my body my entire life, I’ve never been to a gynecologist and I have no idea if I’ve been gifted with a bizarre anatomy or what (probably not, I know). Do many people who you know of have trouble with it the first time?
Frustrated in Internet Land
Yes! Almost everyone I know has had trouble using the Diva Cup initially. Let’s just say there’s a learning curve. The first time I put the Diva Cup in my vagina, I pushed it too far up and I needed my boyfriend to pry it out of me (with lots of effort). I was so disappointed and angry after my first try that I gave up for several months. Then, after some time, I began trying it out again. First, I tried it when I wasn’t even on my period. That made it a low pressure situation for me. I did it in the shower and got it in after a few days of trying. Next, I watched this video and tried different folding techniques until I found one that really worked for me. Next, I got active on the livejournal menstrual cup board to help me with little issues while I got used to it. Now, I’ve been using it for two years and it’s no trouble at all.
As far as feeling divorced from your vagina, I understand that completely. As open-minded and sex positive as I am, I used to get skeeved out by putting my hands inside my vagina. I would suggest you get to know the shape and contour of your vagina while you’re learning to use the cup. I was surprised by how my vagina curved back. I had been just kinda shoving it up, straight, when my vagina is in fact far curvier. So, when I insert my cup I push it back, towards my butt.
Although I haven’t seen your vagina, I’m pretty sure you’re just about average. I bet there’s nothing bizarre about it. You should get a mirror! Take a look! And really, so much luck! Please feel free to email me again with any messages you have.
Please email all you vaginal queries to firstname.lastname@example.org