Blog: Moms

Q: What is a menstrual cup and what are the advantages of using one?

A: There are two kinds of menstrual cups: the first is a soft, flexible cup that is worn internally, in the natural space under the cervix and behind the pubic bone where it conforms to your body. You can wear it for about 12 hours at a time, after which it is disposed and a new one is inserted.

Other menstrual cups are bell-shaped, and inserted internally to form a suction seal once inside the vagina. These are emptied, cleaned and re-inserted and the same one is used for each menstrual cycle. Both types of menstrual cups are designed to collect your menstrual flow rather than absorb it.

A study in the Journal of Women's Health showed that women prefer a soft menstrual cup to their current form of protection in terms of comfort, dryness, irritation, odor, length of wear, and interference with various activities.i

There are several advantage to both types of menstrual cups.

  • Longer wear time. Many women prefer menstrual cups because they can be safely worn longer—up to 12 hours. Given the longer wear time, most women use fewer disposable cups than tampons, giving cups a potential environmental advantage as well.
  • Comfortable and protective during activities. The design and duration of use also means that active women can continue their active lives. Menstrual cups can be worn while swimming, playing sports or doing vigorous exercise such as bicycling. The soft, flexible cup can be worn during intercourse when you have your period to reduce the messiness of sex during that time in your cycle.
  • Strong safety profile. Another advantage of menstrual cups is the lack of odor because menstrual fluid is not exposed to air. Unlike tampons, menstrual cups do not change the pH balance of the vagina or increase the presence of harmful bacteria or excessive yeast in the vaginaii, so there is little risk of the type of infections that have been linked to tampons. Unlike tampons, menstrual cups are safe options for use just before your period, or if you're experiencing light spotting. You can also wear it while going to the bathroom.
  • FDA approved. All menstrual cups currently marketed in the United States have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as safe, and most are made of hypoallergenic, nontoxic materials.

However, you should consult your doctor before using a menstrual cup if you have an IUD inserted, and menstrual cups should not be used with a diaphragm. If you've been told to avoid tampons after a surgical procedure or other medical condition, you should also avoid menstrual cups. Talk to your doctor before using menstrual cups if you have just had a baby, a miscarriage or an abortion. Women with a tilted uterus may require physician assistance to ensure proper fit of their menstrual cup.

Many women who try a menstrual cup choose it over other forms of feminine protection, and given the advantages, menstrual cups are an option worth considering for managing your period.

 


i North, B, Oldham, M. Preclinical, Clinical and Over-the-Counter Post Marketing Experience with a New Vaginal Cup: Menstrual Collection Journal of Women's Health. 2011; 20(2): 303-311

ii Ibid.

Comments

Can you wear the softcup at night, while you sleep?

Yes, you can wear Softcup with confidence whether you’re sitting, swimming, sleeping or exercising for up to 12 hours.   

Yes

Can you wear it during sex?

Yes, Softcup can be worn during intercourse, but it does not protect against pregnancy or STIs.

Will it be in the way when having sex? And will having sex move it?

Softcup should not be in the way during sex, but it will depend on the position. Some positions may be more likely that your partner might feel the rim of the cup, but you'll just have to experiment. The cup may move around very slightly (it shouldn't become displaced though), therefore we recommend putting in a fresh cup before you have intercourse. 

I recently purchased the soft cups to try them out. I was excited to not worry about my period for 12 hours. However I was shocked that it leaked out after about 5 hours. Is my flow just too heavy or is it not placed properly?

It could be either, really. How long can you wear a tampon on your heaviest days? As an estimate, we usually say you can double your wear time with Softcup. However, it's not an exact science. Some women, myself included, can go 10-12 hours even on their heaviest days, whereas others need to change the cup more frequently.

If the Softcup is not in place properly it will leak. Sometimes the cup can become displaced from behind the pubic bone and leak if you've had a bowel movement or you engage in heavy physical activity where you "bear down" with certain pelvic muscles. If this happens just insert a clean finger and reposition the cup back behind the pubic bone and the leakage will subside. When you use the restroom, it's a good idea to check the position of the cup with your finger just be be sure it's in the proper position over the cervix and behind the pubic bone.

i never hear that , it is must be useful for women, amaing!

I am going to try the soft cup for the first time today. I am visiting my fiance next weekend. I have read that it is safe for sex while wearing, does this also include oral sex?

MLTLOCKE, yes, you can certainly wear Softcup during oral sex. Since Softcup is completely internal, your partner may not even know it's there! Just remember, even though Softcup is safe and comfortable to wear during sex, it does not protect against pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.

Thank you very much for your prompt and thorough reply.

Really?? You can have oral sex, too, with Softcup? I guess if a clean cup is inserted you wouldn't have to worry about anything leaking. Still seems kinda weird. Strange question: there's no taste difference? I mean, when i remove my softcup, it seems like some fluid leaks or gets squished out....that wouldn't 'linger' so-to-speak? (sorry for being graphic, but it would be amazing to have a normal sex life with my husband during my period)

Since Softcup is completely internal and high up next to the cervix, it shouldn't be noticeable to your partner during oral sex. If Softcup is inserted properly you shouldn't experience leakage. It's hard to say whether there could be some residual menstrual fluid in the vaginal canal after you insert a clean cup, it's possible. You could certainly rinse off in the shower or wipe down there to try to remove any residual menstrual fluid.

This product is a disposable version of the diva cup, except the diva cup is made off 100% surgical silicon and is guaranteed for 25 years. id rather us a 40 dollar product i only have to buy twice in the life of my menstrual cycle.

The Diva Cup is not guaranteed to last for any specific length of time. The lifespan of the Diva Cup, as recommended on their website, is one year. http://www.divacup.com/en/home/faqs/

tampons: $20–60/year
Softcup: $20–30/year
Diva cup: $15–35/year

A murder scene without question! Sorry for the TMI - I am sadly extremely disappointed in this product! It does not hold up to what it claims at all! I am using it properly, I know that for sure, it leaks (I had a baby via Csection in Sept. and have been advised to stay clear of tampons for a period of time. Well, that meant using pads (so gross) and I just couldn't handle it any more. So, did some research to hopefully find another alternative & found a couple different products but chose the Softcup (mainly for is apparent ease of use & it's pretty decent price).

Anyway, I started using one & it wasn't 2 hours & I had a mess on my hands (Yes it was put in properly- I could feel it pop in place right behind my pelvic bone) so I tried another one & same situation. Through the night, it did ok, but I don't move much when I sleep so not much could really happen. Well....... when I went to the rest room this morning, OMG, I got scared. It had moved & moved a lot! After some disgusting trying to locate it, I had a HUGE mess that about made me vomit! I'll spare the details but surely I'd much rather deal with a pad than the mess I had then!

Well, "Try again, don't give up" is what's said... so I tried another today & still leaking - Ugh, really??? Although you can't feel them which so nice, they sadly shift around (pop out of place) & yet again, I had a disgusting mess.

So, conclusion of my use of this product, NO WAY-Not going to bother any more (especially when it is being inserted properly - exactly as shown in your instructions)!

I am now looking into the Keeper or Divacup. I really feel the stems will help tremendously with holding such a product in place. I sadly can not recommend this product to anyone! And if asked, I would have to share my horrible experience because I surely don't wish that mess on anyone else!

I tried them for the first time today, on a day where my flow was very very light. It leaked. I couldn't feel it, it was in place properly behind the pelvic bone, but it still leaked. I'm glad I found out on a light day, would hate to deal with leaking on a heavy one! What a disappointment.

Hi Suzy, I'm sorry you experienced leakage with Softcup. Did the leakage occur right away or after several hours? If it occurred right away it's a good sign that the cup wasn't properly covering your cervix. Or, the Softcup could have become displaced from behind the pubic bone if you used the restroom, which would cause leakage. I'd encourage you to try Softcup again a few more times before giving up on it. It can often take women 2-3 cycles to truly get comfortable with using Softcup.

Well first of all you bleed a ton more after having a baby then u do on a regular period. so thats the problem.

If you actually read the FAQ on the softcup website, you would know that it says softcup should NOT be used by women who have recently had a baby and have been advised not to use tampons. You should not use the softcup for the same reccomended time to avoid tampons. Next time, do your research before you try something that you shouldn't and bad mouth a product that you have used against reccomendations. Did you even talk to your doctor before using this product? I'm sure your doctor would have informed you that softcup, just like tampons, shouldn't be used after childbirth.

I'm eager to hear the response for this matter, at least the softcup is not for everyone.

Would me and my partner be able to have foreplay while I wear softcup on my period and have sex without feeling it ?

Cassi, yes, you can certainly have foreplay with the Softcup in, and it is also perfectly fine to have sex while wearing Softcup. Many couples report that their partner cannot feel the presence of the cup. Some partners may feel it but it is not uncomfortable. It depends on each couples' unique anatomies, style, and positioning. We do recommend that you insert a fresh cup prior to foreplay and sex, to minimize the chance of leakage.

Can yu have sex with a condom on?

Yes, you can use a condom during sex while wearing Softcup.

Started using Soft Cup 3 days ago. So far, so good. Tampons hurt & pads cause a horrible rash, like the new choice of Soft Cup!

This is my first cycle using the Softcup and I must say: even with some leaks I am pleasantly surprised. I understand that it may take some time to get it right completely. Even still, I can see that it is much better than tampons or pads. My husband was very relieved to find that the Softcup can be worn during sex. Finally! An alternative to the mess with everything else on a regular basis. I will be very pleased when I get used to it 100%.

As for the messy fingers, I keeps wipes on me because I have kids but, I would reccomend for everyone else to do so as well. It's a very small price to pay. I also see how this small obstacle will get better with time. I would definitely reccomend Softcup to all of my friends just as it was to me.

I have been using soft cup and i luv them no more mess. I sm very happy with them. I bought them so i could have sex during my time but i am do verynervous that there will be some leakage and totallyruin themoment. Is it really safe to hsve clean sex with soft cup?

Hi Anonymous, yes, you have can clean sex with Softcup. However we recommend that you insert a fresh cup prior to intercourse to minimize the chance of any leakage.

So the soft cup won't affect the condom and make it more likely to break?

No, Softcup will not increase the likelihood of a condom breaking.

If you read the instructional paper, or the faqs on the website, or even this post that you commented on they clearly say not to use the softcup if you have been told not to use tampons, so you probably shouldn't be using it anyway. If you just had a baby, it can take a while for your your uterus to get back to normal size (especially after a c-section), and since your cervix is the bottom portion of your uterus, and it might not be back to normal, it makes sense that the softcup wouldn't fit around your cervix correctly which could lead to leaks.

I just started my period yesterday &so far I haven't bleed alot I really wanna try this product out me& my boy friend havent had sex since dec. 22 & were supposted to see each other tomarrow....i really dont want to leack while were in the moment &im really nervous i will how can I be sure I won't.

Just put in a fresh cup prior to intercourse to reduce the chance of any leakage.

I am going swimming in a lake tomorrow for the 4th of July. We will be on our boat for 12 hours at the LEAST! We dont have a bathroom on our boat and plan not to get off to do so. Will it 100% stay in? Im 12. I am having friends come and i am disappointed that i HAD to start yesterday.....:( So i want to know this wont leak. Were going to be doing some SERIOUS tubing and im scared it will move and leak in front of my friends....also, would you know anything about having my period every other week? It was regular up until Spring Break......it was regular for about a year. now its really getting on my nerves! Any clue?

I am not seeing my last comment....UGGGG just seeing if this one works!

Hello again! I just wanted to add ONE more thing. I will be diving in the water and be in there for MOST of my time.....will it move?

Hi Morgan, I'm sorry we didn't get back to you sooner. Did you try Softcup? Usually for a first-time user I would recommend trying it on a light flow day and wearing a back up pad or pantyliner, just in case you don't place it correctly and you have leakage. Since it can take a few tries to learn to use Softcup correctly, you may not want to try it for the first time when you'll be out all day in a swimsuit. Once you learn how to use it, you should have no problem swimming, diving, or doing any kind of activitiy while wearing Softcup.

Can you use softcup if you have an iud?

We cannot recommend using Softcup if you have an IUD. However you should check with your doctor, as he or she may give you the OK to use it. The concern is that you could pull on the IUD strings when removing Softcup. However if your strings are cut short this may not be a concern. Here is a link to a study related to menstrual cup use and IUD - http://www.familypracticenews.com/news/more-top-news/single-view/menstru...

Alright, so... first off, I was thrilled when I got these. I started using them on a light day and the end of my period was MAGICAL with minimal cramping and stuff, and I realized that tampons caused most of my discomfort. So, I was already sold.

But, see, now I have my period again and my flow is seriously heavy. It's been 3 days now and I can't get the cup in properly. I've read over and over again about how it's supposed to 'click' into place and watched very detailed instruction videos but for some reason I just can't get it. I think I might be a little on the tight side to really get a lot of movement with the cup, so trying to 'point it downward' is almost impossible! I've laid in the tub for 30 minutes at a time and tried over and over again and it just never feels very secure. Sure, I can't feel the cup, but I didn't feel it hook around my cervix, so I know it's going to leak.

I really love the idea of this product, so this ordeal has really discouraged me. I can't figure out what to do =/ Help! I'm already sold but it just doesn't seem to fit.

Mel, you may find that on some days the cup is easier to insert than others. Changes in your vaginal anatomy due to swelling, hormonal changes, or even constipation can make insertion more difficult. I recommend that you try inserting a Softcup at various times during your period to see if it feels easier on certian days, and don't get discouraged. From my experience there are certain days of my cycle for which the cup is a little more difficult to position properly. However if you have experience placing the cup correctly, you should be able to maneuver it into place eventually, even if you don't get it right the first time. Just feel with your finger that the thin reservoir of the cup is covering your cervix.

This is my first period using softcup and it was good the first time I had it in. Now, it's leaking. Not a small amount, like, its a mess. I'm pretty sure I have it in right though. Could you verify how I know If it's in all the way?

Stephanie, after you insert the cup, feel with the tip of your finger that your cervix covered by the thin plastic reservoir of the cup. Your cervix feels a bit like the tip of your nose. The front rim of the cup should be tucked behind your pubic bone. If it's in right, you shouldn't feel the presence of the Softcup at all.

Okay I seriously want to know how you have sex with one in. I couldn't imagine fitting anything else in said area because there is no room. How is this done, seriously?

Jaky, believe it or not there is plenty of room for the Softcup to sit in the space just below your cervix so that is it out of the vaginal canal. Check out our anatomy video. Women who have used a diaphagm or Nuvaring are familiar with this placement. Since the front rim of the Softcup is tucked up behind the pubic bone, the penis can slide beneath the front rim without coming in contact with it. All that is felt is the thin reservoir of the cup, which feels like your surrounding tissue. Of course, some positions may be more comfortable than others, and some partners may feel the rim of the cup. It depends on the couple, and you'll just have to experiment.

I tried the softcup for the first time today, because my boyfriend is leaving this upcoming Tuesday for upwards of a year. And I started my period today. Surprise surprise! :/ I woke up angry as all get out that I wouldn't be able to get intimate with him. But I remembered about this new hygiene product, and decided what the hey? I'll try it!
I love it. I haven't had sex with my boyfriend yet, and I'm slightly nervous for that part. I don't want his leaving memory of me and him together with a gush of blood all over his man business! But he said he's willing to try:) I
do have one question tho. When I was removing the softcup, after about 10 hours, my fingers got quite messy. Did I wait too long to remove it? Or did I do it wrong? I don't actually have any problem with the slight mess if I'm home and can wash my hands right away. But if I'm ever in a stall, with people around, I'm not comfortable with having to walk out to wash my hands.
Also, thank you soooo much for answering:) and thank you for creating such a wonderful product! :D

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