Menstrual Cups

Instead’s Softcup

I’ve been asked why I haven’t reviewed or mentioned Softcups here.  Not mentioning them I suppose is an oversight…  However I don’t really consider them to be one of the “menstrual cups” that I talk about here… which is why I hadn’t included it.  But I will now for the sake of completedness…

This is a “softcup”

http://www.softcup.com

What they are is a disposable cup, with a more solid rim and a thinner pouch like catchment area…. which sits higher than the other menstrual cups, over the cervix, like a contraceptive diaphragm does, and holds the blood in that catchment area.  It is removed and replaced with a new one when you need to empty it. As they sit higher and are shaped differently, they can be worn during penetrative sex, but otherwise work like the other Menstrual cups (can be worn swimming, to bed, etc.)

Compared to a menstrual cup, the Softcup is much wider and shallower.

They now come in 2 forms, The “disposable” which is designed to be thrown out after each use (although a lot of women reuse them) – which are the light pink rimmed ones, and the “reusable” (dark pink) are designed to be reused through one cycle and then thrown out.  So both forms are still disposable, one however you can use for a few days before disposing of it.

I haven’t reviewed them here for a few reasons…

  • 1). Nobody has sent me one to review (most of the cups reviewed here were sent to me free of charge) – even though someone offered in the comments below, I haven’t received any….. and I’ve never asked for one, or would buy them myself because I personally have no desire to try them…
  • 2). I am an advocate of completely reusable menstrual products, so I don’t consider them the same as the “menstrual cups” I talk about here (they are also a different shape, and are worn differently, so I don’t really consider them a menstrual cup like the others).
  • 3). Frankly they scare me :D (the size and shape just looks bulky and cumbersome).. so I have no desire to actually try them, when I’m perfectly happy with the other Menstrual Cups, which seem to me to be a better design.

But – They are out there for those who feel so inclined :)

They have the advantage that they don’t have the TSS risk of tampons.  They can safely be worn overnight or during sex.  In the US you can often find them in actual “bricks & mortar” stores (pharmacies etc.), and you can buy online.

They claim the cost would be $3 per cycle (using the “reusable” version).  If you consider a woman would have 12 periods a year, that’s $36 for a year’s supply.  You can buy a completely reusable menstrual cup for that (or slightly more) – which would last 10+ years.

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August 1, 2011 - Posted by | The Cups |

21 Comments »

  1. Thanks :) I’ve honestly never tried them either, but my main reason for using menstrual cups is my own paranoia about TSS and all the other possible complications with tampons and pads. The environmental benefits are why I do use the reusable cups. I mention cups to most of my friends, but found that most of my friends are grossed out by reusable products. I was glad when I stumbled across these because now I can tell my friends about a healthier alternative that doesn’t gross them out.

    Comment by Lauren | August 1, 2011

  2. Your review reads a lot like mine would have: except, having tried it, it’s far messier to empty. I mean, no matter what you do, you must turn the thing SIDEWAYS to get it out. So the contents go all over your hand. I tried one for one whole period. I ended up emptying it ONLY in the shower because bathroom stalls were too hazardous!

    Thanks for giving it a mention at least; it’s worth the try just to compare, and worth it for the sex, but that’s pretty much the only perks I can think of.

    Comment by heidi | August 1, 2011

  3. I just want to say I’ve tried the Instead cups and hated them. The biggest difference between Instead and menstrual cups is that the Instead cup is up against your uterus. I have a tilted uterus, so maybe that’s the problem I have with these, but it would “hurt” when scrapping across my uterus as I pulled it out. And like Heidi, it was a total mess. To be completely honest, it also seemed to shift when I would have a bowel movement and then start leaking. It did not work for me and delayed my switching to a menstrual cup until I read online that the menstrual cup sat low in your vagina. The only “plus” side is you can have sex while on your period, but I never feel like it anyway, so that makes no difference to me.

    Comment by Amber | August 19, 2011

  4. I’ve used the Instead cups for a few months now (just recently ordered a Lunette Cynthia, very excited to try it) and I loved them. I’ve only used pads before, never tampons, so it was new for me having to stick something inside for my periods… but I found, as long as I changed them in time, I didn’t leak at all like I would with pads. They were easy to put in, easy to take out, although I did get blood on my fingers but I never minded that. And despite looking so big, for me they were comfortable and I never felt like I had anything inside until they were full.

    Comment by Shauna | September 1, 2011

  5. I love to keep them on-hand for sex. Insteads were my first foray into menstrual cups and I think they’re fantastic for that reason. I’ve turned so many people away from tampons with them and all eventually went over to a menstrual cup. They are a good gateway product in my opinion.

    Comment by Missy | September 13, 2011

  6. We’d be happy to send you a box of Softcup® to try. There is also a reusable version coming out next month which can be reused throughout one cycle.

    Comment by Mary | September 27, 2011

  7. Thank you :)

    My Address is
    Obsidian Star
    Po Box 1306
    Mountain Gate Shopping Centre
    Ferntree Gully,
    Victoria, Australia 3156

    Comment by obsidian | September 30, 2011

  8. I hate them and are now paranoid about using a reusable menstrual cup because I had bad luck with these. Which menstrual cup is the best for someone who has never used one before and is in college (20’s) and a new tampon user.

    Comment by Hannah | March 27, 2012

  9. I have tried them. In fact, I am wearing one rate now. This is my first shot at having my period without a tampon/pad. I plan on investigating actual menstrual cups (I saw these softcups in the store on sale, and thought “might as well”).

    I placed the cup fine, but I find it shifts easily… Going to the bathroom shifts it, and I would say this is expected being that you are bearing down, but sometimes I’ll be walking around and it slips a little (Can’t feel, but the gush of fluid lets me know). I should probably learn, but I am paranoid: whenever this has happened (and it hasn’t happened too too often), I have removed it to see if it was overflowing, and there was hardly anything in the cup (probably because it spilled out). I’m thinking this isn’t a compatible size for my body. Overall it’s comfortable, but I wouldn’t say totally reliable. If I sit in a weird position (which, I am prone to when I study at school), I feel leakage.

    One other thing: removing it. A few times, if I haven’t taken it out with total precision (Have been trying to discover best angle to remove it), it catches on my cervix or pubic bone (I’m thinking cervix, terrible reminders of PAP smears) and it’s really uncomfortable for a few seconds. I look forward to trying actual menstrual cups, and hope I have better luck.

    In general, I look like I’ve murdered someone every time I remove this thing (Not too badly when I put it in; I think it must spill a lot when I remove it). This doesn’t bother me; but today when I had to go to the public bathroom because I felt a gush of blood, I had debated spitting on my hands so the toilet paper would wipe more blood off of them. *I didn’t have wipes with me, and didn’t spit on my hands, just kind of hid my hands and washed them real quick in the sink). I could see this being a massive turn off for some women.. And I must say it’s inconvenient. Haven’t had sex with this beast in, but I imagine it will get moved around if it moves around already after I’ve placed it properly… I don’t know what would make this product better or if I’m only having issues with it because of sizing problems. My period should be lighter by tomorrow, so we’ll see if it works better. Overall, I think I would use this product again, but I would much prefer to try a real menstrual cup.

    Comment by Concerned Citizen | March 30, 2012

  10. I got a DivaCup a few years ago when I started uni, as I was really interested in a reusable menstrual cup and reducing waste.. it ended up being really very difficult to insert (would take 10 minutes minimum and was always painful) and because I hadn’t had sex, without tons of lube, anything larger than a “super” tampon was a horror to insert. I put aside my DivaCup and basically gave up on menstrual cups. I decided to try the instead soft-cup and I LOVE IT. I pinch them in the middle so that the rim makes an ‘eight’ shape, insert them vertically and slide them into place. Insertion takes 20 seconds max, with no lubrication or discomfort! I reuse one per cycle generally, and they sometimes automatically empty a bit when I pee because I guess I bear down and break the seal.
    They aren’t difficult to remove either…

    I’m studying to be a surgeon and it looks RIDICULOUS to scrub out during procedures to go change a tampon/whatever, and these instead cups make my life easier because I can’t feel them and they last 8 – 12 hours !

    Their main con is that they aren’t long-term reusable.. I’m researching/looking for a menstrual cup that is soft/easy enough to insert as an instead soft cup, but reusable.. Any suggestions?

    Comment by Vaigai | August 5, 2012

  11. I tried them years ago when cups were few and far between. This was before I had kids or tried a normal cup. Back then I just had to push and pop out a tampon (still do that) and found that if I was having a BM while wearing one they would inevitably come out despiting trying to retain them.
    That being said I tried the cup and was sitting down watching tv, sneezed hard and the cup popped out, dumped its contents and popped back in.
    Same thing happened while sitting on the toilet on another occasion.
    Never used them again and took me a good 10 years before I finally bought a cup!
    now i’m kicking myself for wanting one for years and years and never doing it!

    Comment by Shan | October 5, 2012

  12. I know this is an older post, and maybe someone asked this elsewhere, but what is the difference between Softcups and regular menstrual cups? Since the traditional cups sit lower in the vagina, can you feel it when you walk and move around? I couldn’t really feel the Softcup, but I really want to try a reusable (long-term) cup, and I want to know how much different it is to use them. Thank you.

    Comment by Valerie | October 5, 2012

  13. I haven’t had success with the softcups either. I bought them on a whim and only wore them at home with backup, and boy did I need it! I have only had one insertion that went correctly and collected fluid, the rest wound up in a huge mess as described above. They are also super noisy; it kind of sounds like you’re opening a bag of chips when you’re folding them up to insert.

    Comment by Ashley | January 6, 2013

  14. I bought mine at Walmart for less than a box of tampons. I tried these cups during two different cycles. I didn’t have any trouble with insertion and I didn’t find it noticeable once it was in, BUT getting it out was traumatic both times. (regarding fit: I’ve never given birth and am over 30) I don’t remember it being particularly painful to remove, but I had trouble getting a hold of it and when I finally did, blood went everywhere. I do not find my body gross so trying to “retrieve” the cup didn’t bother me, but trying to retrieve it for 15 to 30 minutes then thinking I might have to ask for help to get it out and then also cleaning up blood from everywhere was altogether unpleasant. Despite these first experiences with menstrual cups, I will give a stemmed-reusable cup a try because I want to stop creating so much trash. I’m not super-green, but I’m trying in little ways.

    Comment by Heather | February 2, 2013

  15. I’ve been using these (off and on) for years (since they first came out – I want to say in the late 90’s or very early 2000’s) and I think they’re brilliant. I use them specifically if I want to have sex while I’m menstruating or if I am doing some other activity where wearing a pad or tampon would be unsuitable (swimming – traveling and being out all day with little space and little to no access to clean restrooms). They are a bit difficult to remove, only because I’ve found that I end up getting menstrual blood all over my hands – otherwise since I have a very short vagina, I can easily get up to my cervix using my fingers to insert and remove them. Tipping them to let the blood flow out doesnt doesn’t seem to work for me because you have to squeeze both sides to make them small enough (at least for me) for removal. You should definitely review these. They are THE ONLY product of its kind that are disposable (which is a plus to some people) and more than that, like you mentioned already the only product that you can go to a regular store to get. I’ve never tried the multi-day use ones and would love to read a review on them.

    Comment by Joanne | May 23, 2013

  16. I’ve tried a lot of cups over the years, all in the Diva cup shape -keeper, moon cup, etc, and they always were too long. Even if I cut the stem, I always had this uncomfortable feeling of sitting on the bottom of my cup, which was very irritating for my fragile skin. But I really liked the idea of a reusable menstrual cup, thought. And then I tried instead cups and its the perfect fit! But as you said, disposable… Does anybody know a cup similar to instead but compleately reusable?

    Comment by Genevieve | August 30, 2013

  17. HI everyone

    I tried the Softcup recently as I have been giving them to my friends who were unsure if they could handle the “yeek factor” of dealing with blood in a cup. I have converted my friend to cups. We use them several times (til they break). This cycle I found them particularly helpful as I had an “unbalance” down there and did not want my silicone cups to be infected. They took a bit of getting used to as they are inserted entirely differently to the silicone cup. Vaigai, have you tried the Ruby or Juju? I have used the Juju and am investing in a Ruby this year as for every cup they sell they give a cup to a girl in Africa which makes sure they can attend school and have a hygienic method for catching their menstrual flow. Both are able to catch more fluid than their counterparts. I think the large meLuna also can stay in longer on a heavy day too. I had to change my mooncup uk 4x a day but my juju lasts 12 hours.

    Comment by Lizzy | March 2, 2014

  18. I’m a first time user of any cup and I really I wish I knew about then sooner!

    after having six cesareans and a tubal ligation, my menstrual cycle is extremely heavy. to the point of needing to use the restroom once every hour the first couple of days. ( evenings and nights aren’t so bad since I rarely move as much as I do throughout the day.) so far, I’m very impressed with the soft cups. less trips to the restroom. I can actually sleep through the entire night without having to jump up to change a leaking pad or sometimes, my sheets.
    as long as the instructions are followed ( insert downward and back ) I find them much easier and comfortable to insert than a tampon— which I stopped using years ago. no problems when I walk, sneeze, cough, or use the restroom.
    however, I will be going to purchase a pack of disposable vinyl gloves this morning. they are much needed during removal and I can also use them for a quick disposal of the cup too avoid the mess often found during removal add mentioned by others. ( they removal process reminds me of the no string tampons)
    one insert, one glove, DONE.
    I believe in recycling, so by year’s end, I’ll be purchasing a non disposable one for home use.
    I would definitely recommend these to everyone I know, asking with a set of gloves.

    Comment by GoddessMaAt | March 29, 2014

  19. Hi Vaigai

    Have you tried the JuJu, it is excellent for lasting over 8 hours. Meluna makes an even bigger cup, however the JuJu feels nicer as its silicone.

    Comment by Judie PinkGrl Rutter | April 10, 2014

  20. I really like them, but they do not work on my super heavy days. I find that they are not super messy. They work if you do not need to change it that often. They are much better than tampons or pads to me. I cannot feel them if placed in right. I have bought them multiple times.

    Comment by MRose | June 28, 2014

  21. I use the insead cup and love it, easy to insert as well as remove. No issues except I wish it were a more of a one time product insead of disposable. I feel so clean with it and one will last all day.

    Comment by Nicole | July 13, 2014


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