Two years ago I was gearing up for the Rock N Roll San Diego half marathon with Team in Training as part of the virtual team. There were 14 of us that joined the ranks from Shrinking Jeans. It was an amazing experience. Because were a virtual team, we had monthly conference calls with our coach and other knowledgeable folks to help us on our journey to becoming half-marathoners (or repeat half-marathoners). These conference calls were accompanied by literally *hundreds* of emails between the 14 of us. There was lots of laughter and hilariousness in those emails that can never be replicated. One of our many conversations, because we were all women, had to do with what happens when you have a heavy flow and you’re on the race course? Do you carry extra “supplies” with you? If so, where do you put them? And eww! Changing pads or tampons in porta-potties? One of our teammates is a nurse practitioner and mentioned using a menstrual cup. The general consensus was to be disgusted by the fact that you’d have a cup of menstrual flow hanging out inside of you. And how do you take it out without making a mess?
Six years ago I started using a reusable menstrual cup after my third (and last) baby was born. I was over tampons. I hated how sometimes they felt like they were sucking me dry. Yes…not the best mental image, but if you’re a woman, you know what I’m talking about. I found out about menstrual cups on a forum about cloth diapering. I figured the cost for it was cheap in comparison to what I was spending on tampons and I wouldn’t be out that much money if I hated it? I started using one and never looked back. There have been a couple of times that I’ve been taken surprise by good old Aunt Flow showing up early, not being prepared and having to buy or borrow tampons and remembering how much I hate them.
So what’s SoftCup? SoftCup is a disposable menstrual cup that you can wear up to 12 hours depending on your flow. It is similar to the menstrual cup I regularly use.
What did I like about SoftCup? I liked the fact that it lightweight and easy to carry in a purse. I like that you don’t have a string hanging out of you. I like that there is no rubbage during everyday activities, not to mention running and working out. I like that you can swim with it. I like that you can find SoftCup in most stores. I’ve seen them sold in Target and Wal-Mart. I LOVE that there is a choice out there for women who don’t want to use tampons or pads. I do know that Instead is going to be releasing a reusable SoftCup that can be used for a whole cycle. This is a huge bonus in my mind.
Did I have any issues with Soft Cup? I did at first. The insertion is a little different from what I currently use as it has a wider “mouth” and I had trouble positioning it correctly the first couple of times and had some leakage. I know, I know…eww…leakage. But you can’t tell me that you haven’t had leakage with a tampon before. But once I got the hang of insertion, I was fine. Okay…now the part you’re probably wondering about. Removal. Sounds scary, right? If you’re squeamish? You may not like the removal part. I am not squeamish. Never have been. And I *have* been doing this for a few years now, so the blood doesn’t bother me. Removal was a little more awkward than I am used to, but the concept is the same. Grab the lip and give a gentle pull until it slides out. Then you dump the blood in the toilet and wrap up the SoftCup in toilet paper and dispose of it. Yes, it’s more messy than a tampon, but nothing a little TP and washing your hands afterwards doesn’t take care of. (You *do* wash your hands after you potty, right? This shouldn’t be an added step!
The bottom line? I liked SoftCup. I will continue to use my current reusable menstrual cup, but for convenience I will keep a SoftCup or two in my purse for those unexpected visits from my not so favorite aunt. I’m so very thankful there are options other than tampons and pads.
And yes, I will continue to talk to my skeptical runner (and nonrunner) friends about the options to tampons. Give me a menstrual cup any day of the week over those chemical-filled cotton tampons. :)
I am being compensated by Evofem, makers of Instead SoftCup; however, the opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine.