Frequently Asked Questions

The information below should help you get started with the Softcup. If you have any additional questions, please ask the doctor!

I am trying to get pregnant. Can Softcup be used as a fertility aid?

Evofem has not studied the post-intercourse placement of an Instead Softcup as a method to help improve the probability of conception. The use of Softcup as a pregnancy aid has not been cleared by the FDA.

Can I feel Softcup when it is in?

When Softcup is inserted correctly, you should not feel it. If you feel discomfort after inserting the cup, try inserting it again. It should stay in place behind your pubic bone.

What is Softcup made of?

Softcup is made of inert, hypoallergenic, non absorbent, non-irritating polymeric material that has been used safely for more than 20 years in health care products such as catheters and baby bottle nipples.

What are the benefits of Softcup?

Here are some of the benefits of Softcup that our customers rave about:

  • Softcup is great for busy women or women who just don't want to think about changing a tampon every few hours—Softcup can be worn for up to 12 hours
  • Softcup can be worn during sexual intercourse
  • You can't feel the Softcup when you're wearing it
  • You can wear Softcup during any physical activity—including swimming, sports and sex
  • Get a full night's sleep with Softcup; it can be worn overnight
  • Softcup eliminates menstrual odor cause by the menstrual flow being exposed to air
  • Softcup is comfortable and does not cause irritation or dryness
  • Softcup is not linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome (see question on toxic shock syndrome)
  • You can wear one reusable Softcup through the duration of your period, saving you money and the environment
  • Softcup has no wings and no strings
Can Softcup be used as a contraceptive to prevent pregnancy?

No; Softcup is for period protection. Softcup cannot be used as a contraceptive nor to prevent sexually transmitted infections.

Can I have intercourse with reusable Softcup?

Yes, you can have clean, comfortable sex while wearing reusable Softcup. Softcup is not a contraceptive and does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

What is reusable Softcup made of?

Reusable Softcup is made of the same medical grade elastomer and polyethylene material as disposable Softcup. It has been cleared by the FDA and is the same material as is used in catheters and baby bottle nipples. It contains no latex, silicone, phthalates, Bisphenol-a (BPA) nor dioxins. It contains no residual fibers, bleach, pesticides, carcinogens nor polycarbonates (PCBs). 

Do I need to sterilize reusable Softcup between uses?

No, do not sterilize reusable Softcup between uses. To store the cup for an extended period of time, wash thoroughly with mild soap, dry completely and store in a ventilated container. DO NOT store in a closed airtight container or sealable plastic bag. DO NOT boil or microwave reusable Softcup.

How do I use reusable Softcup?

The insertion and wear time for reusable Softcup are the same as for disposable Softcup. Please refer to the Softcup FAQs for insertion instructions and information about the advantages of Softcup.

Can I recycle reusable Softcup?

No, Softcup cannot be recycled, nor can other feminine hygiene products.

Can Softcup cause cramping or discomfort?

If you experience discomfort after inserting Softcup, it may be inserted incorrectly (see question on fit). It's important to read the directions fully to learn how to insert the Softcup, as it's slightly different from inserting a tampon. For a small percentage of women, Softcup may be too large. If so, it will protrude slightly from the vaginal opening and you may experience difficulty in getting it behind your pubic bone. If you normally experience menstrual cramps, Softcup will probably not change the cramping that you experience.

Can Softcup cause a woman to lose her virginity?

No. The vagina (and virginity) is not altered by use of a Softcup, tampon, or other vaginal device. There are no age restrictions to using Softcup.

Do I flush the Softcup?

No, do not flush the Softcup or the wrapper, as this can damage plumbing. To dispose Softcup, empty the menstrual fluid into a toilet, and put it into the wrapper or wrap it in toilet tissues, and throw it into the trash.

How do I remove the Softcup?

To remove the Softcup we recommend sitting on the toilet with your knees apart. Insert your finger into the vagina and locate the pubic bone; the Softcup rim will be right behind it. If you push or "bear down" with your muscles, that will help push the Softcup down to more easily reach it. Hook your finger under the rim. Don't worry; your fingernails cannot puncture the cup. (Some women use their middle finger to remove the cup, as the middle finger tends to be longer than the index finger.) Very slowly pull Softcup out, keeping it horizontal and level to the floor. Do not pull down like you do with a tampon, as this can cause spillage. Do not twist; just pull steadily.

It is not unusual for first time users to make more than one attempt to remove Softcup. You may want to practice removing Softcup for the first time when you are not on your period and when you are in the privacy of your own bathroom. Softcup cannot be lost inside your body, and it can be worn safely up to twelve hours.

Other removal tips: You may want to try removing Softcup for the first time when you are having a light flow day or no period. WE recommend your first try to be when you are in the privacy of your own bathroom. Removing Softcup can be awkward until you have some practice. Remain relaxed for easy removal. Some women find that crouching in a warm shower makes removal easier because they are relaxed and less concerned about spillage. Always remember to remove your last Softcup when your period is done.

How does Softcup work?

The Softcup is not a tampon or pad. It is a soft, disposable cup you wear to collect, rather than absorb, your monthly flow. You can wear Softcup for up to 12 hours.

Does Softcup have an expiration date?

No, Softcup does not have an expiration date. 

How do I know if Softcup doesn't fit?

If you can still feel Softcup after you have inserted it, it has either been inserted incorrectly or it may be too large. We recommend you fully read the instructions, and check our FAQs to insert Softcup properly. If Softcup is too large for you, you will know right away because Softcup will not stay in place behind your pubic bone. If after insertion the Softcup tends to slide out or you cannot get the rim behind the pubic bone then the Softcup is probably too large.

Can I use Softcup with an IUD?

We recommend that women using an intrauterine device or IUD talk to their doctor before using Softcup as there is a risk of dislodging or removing the IUD by pulling on the IUD string while removing the Softcup. Your doctor may be able to help you determine whether there are steps you may take to safely use the Softcup and your IUD simultaneously, such as trimming the IUD string.

Who should not use Softcup?

We recommend that women using an intrauterine device or IUD talk to their doctor before using Softcup as there is a risk of dislodging or removing the IUD by pulling on the IUD string while removing the Softcup. Your doctor may be able to help you determine whether there are steps you may take to safely use the Softcup and your IUD simultaneously, such as trimming the IUD string.

Women who have had recent gynecologic surgery (such as Leep, Laser, cone biopsy for dysplasia of the cervix) and have been advised not to use tampons, should also avoid use of the Softcup for the recommended time.

Women who have ever had TSS should not use any internal sanitary protection product, including Softcup. Women who have just had a child, miscarriage or abortion, or have been told they have a tilted uterus, should consult with a physician before using Softcup. There are no age limitations on the use of the Softcup and it can be worn by virgins.

Is there a risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)?

Laboratory studies show that the Instead Softcup does not promote growth of the bacterium Staphylococcus Aureus, the bacterium believed to cause Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). To date, we have not had any reported cases of TSS.

Although TSS can occur in men, children and women, it is a disease that mostly affects menstruating women who use tampons. Population studies suggest that the risk of TSS is related to tampon absorbency; the higher the tampon absorbency, the higher the risk of contracting TSS; the lower the absorbency, the lower the risk of TSS. Unlike tampons, the Instead Softcup is non-absorbent; it holds rather than absorbs menstrual fluid. However, consumer usage of Softcup has not been extensive enough to date to quantify the risk of TSS, if any, while using Softcup. As a precaution, users must change Softcup after 12 hours maximum wear time. TSS is a rare but serious disease that may cause death. The warning signs include a sudden high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, a rash that looks like sunburn, dizziness, fainting or near fainting and muscle aches. TSS can progress rapidly from flu-like symptoms to a serious illness that can be fatal. If you have any of these signs and you are using Softcup, remove it and immediately contact your physician for medical care.

Is Softcup available internationally?

Yes, the disposable Softcup is available in the U.S. and other countries.  Click here to view a list of international distributors. If you cannot find Softcup in your area, you can order Softcup through this website. The reusable Softcup is only available online at softcup.com

Can I flush reusable Softcup?

No, do not flush reusable Softcup. When you are ready to discard it you will need to place it in the wastebasket in the same manner as other feminine hygiene products.

How do I dispose of reusable Softcup?

Once your cycle is complete or if washing becomes inconvenient, you may discard your reusable Softcup in the wastebasket, as you would for other feminine hygiene products.

Can I use Softcup during other times of the month?

You can wear Softcup whenever you need feminine protection. If your periods are regular, you can insert Softcup just before you get your period to help prevent accidents or staining clothes. You can also wear Softcup any day of the month that you experience normal irregular bleeding; for example, due to hormonal birth control or peri-menopause.

Can I use Softcup if I have a tilted uterus?

Can Softcup leak?

Just like when you may have learned to use tampons, it will take some time to determine how long you can wear Softcup, depending on your flow. Softcup can safely be worn for up to 12 hours. On heavy flow days you may need to change it more frequently. The first time you try Softcup, we recommend trying it on a lighter flow day, or when you go to bed. You'll soon get accustomed to it and learn how frequently you need to change Softcup.

You may notice some leakage when going to the bathroom. This is normal, because when you urinate or have a bowel movement, your muscles "bear down" and can push the rim slightly forward, allowing some fluid to leak out and into the toilet. When you are finished, Softcup usually moves back into position and the leaking stops; or to be sure, you can use a clean finger to reposition the Softcup.

If you experience leakage during heavy exercise or during intercourse, you may have waited too long to change Softcup. We recommend that you insert a new Softcup before intercourse or before engaging in strenuous physical activity. And of course, just as a reminder, the Softcup is not a contraceptive and does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections.

Are there any special tips for new users?

Inserting a Softcup is slightly different from inserting a tampon, so before trying Softcup read all of the usage instructions that are included in the package, including the warnings. Like all new activities, such as putting in contact lenses or using a tampon, it may seem awkward at first. It might take a little time to learn how to properly insert and remove. We recommend that you try Softcup during your light flow days to make sure you become familiar with its use. Give yourself plenty of time to experiment with Softcup, and remember to relax. The first time you use Softcup on a heavy flow day you may want to use a pantyliner just for added protection. You will soon learn just how often to change Softcup. Like tampons, if you leave Softcup in too long it will leak.

Stick with it. We believe the benefits of using Softcup more than make up for the initial time it may take to learn how to use it. If you have any questions, please call as at 800-INSTEAD. We'd be happy to walk you through the process. Or, you can watch some tutorial videos here.

Where can I buy Softcup?

You can purchase Softcup at the following stores:

  • CVS
  • CVS.com
  • Drugstore.com
  • Fred Meyer
  • Kroger
  • Longs
  • Raley's
  • Ralph's 
  • Rite Aid
  • Walgreens
  • Wal-Mart

If you cannot find Softcup in your store, we urge you to ask the manager to carry Softcup. You can also order Softcup online.

The reusable Softcup is available online at softcup.com

View our store locator.

If I cannot find Softcup at my local stores, can I order it anywhere else?

You can order Softcup through this website, or by calling us toll-free: 877-367-9636 or view a list of stores that carry Instead Softcup. If you do not find Softcup in a store or chain that we name in our list of retailers, please email customer.service@softcup.com with the name and location of the store.  You may also ask the manager of the store to begin to stock the item, which they often do if they get several customer requests.

Reusable Softcup is available at Fred Meyer stores and at some local natural products stores, as well as online at drugstore.com and softcup.com.

How do I insert Softcup?

You may want to start by learning more about your own vaginal anatomy. Begin by inserting your finger just an inch or so into your vaginal opening. Then slide your finger further in until you can feel your cervix at the end of your vagina. Your cervix is the bottom part of your uterus. It is knob-shaped and about 2 or 3 centimeters in diameter.

Before inserting Softcup, wash your hands. The first time you insert Softcup, we recommend sitting on the toilet with your knees apart. When you are in this position, your vaginal canal is horizontal, sloping slightly downward. To insert Softcup, hold it so that the collection reservoir area hangs down from the bottom of the rim. Squeeze the opposite sides of the rim together. When squeezed for insertion, Softcup is about the same size as a tampon. Gently slide Softcup into your vaginal canal, back and down toward your tailbone. Softcup will slide into place under the cervix and behind the pubic bone and will come to rest naturally in the space just below the cervix. Do not tilt the inside edge of the cup upward as you insert it, because it will bunch up in front of the cervix instead of slipping under and into place behind the cervix where it should be. Watch a video on insertion and removal.

If you want to check if Softcup is properly in place, insert your finger and feel for the bottom of Softcup. You should feel your cervix inside the cup.

When Softcup is inserted properly, you shouldn't feel it. If you feel something in the vaginal canal, Softcup is probably not far enough inside you. Just remove it and try again, sliding it back and tilted slightly downward. Remember, it will be much easier if you are relaxed. If you are still unable to insert it until it slides comfortably into place, Softcup may be too large for you. This may be true for a small percentage of women. If you want to double check on the fit or size of the Softcup, take one with you the next time you visit your doctor or nurse practitioner. She can check it for you.

Does Softcup have any latex?

No, there is absolutely no latex in Softcup, and it is safe and comfortable for use by women that have latex allergies or sensitivities.

Can teenage girls wear Softcup?

Yes, teenage girls can wear Softcup. There are no age restrictions with this product. However, teens should thoroughly review instructions on proper fit and insertion before trying Softcup. Also, successful placement and removal of Softcup requires knowledge and a level of comfort with your body.

Can I insert Softcup too far?

No, you cannot insert Softcup too far. When properly inserted, the rim of the cup is lodged between the pubic bone (which is just inside the vagina) and the very back of the vagina, and the cup should cover the cervix. The cervix is a fleshy knob that feels like the tip of your nose. The cervix is another name for the bottom of your uterus. The menstrual flow comes out of the uterus through a very small opening in the cervix. The Softcup cannot get lost inside the body since this opening is much too narrow.

Can I urinate or have a bowel movement while wearing Softcup?

Yes, you can urinate or have a bowel movement while wearing the Softcup. You may notice slight menstrual fluid leakage during this time, which is completely normal. When your muscles "bear down" they can push the rim slightly forward, allowing some fluid to leak out and into the toilet. When you are finished, Softcup moves back into position and the leakage stops. If this is the only time you observe leakage, it is normal and the Softcup is inserted correctly.

How many times can I use reusable Softcup?

Reusable Softcup is designed to be used throughout one entire menstrual cycle, and can be worn up to 12 hours before being removed, rinsed and reinserted. Once the cup is full, or if you have reached the 12-hour maximum wear time, it will need to be removed, emptied, rinsed and reinserted. 

You may wash reusable Softcup with lukewarm water and mild soap if you wish. Or, just use water if you prefer. To store for an extended period of time, wash thoroughly with a mild unscented soap, dry completely and store in a ventilated container. DO NOT store it in a sealable plastic bag or airtight container. DO NOT boil or microwave reusable Softcup.

When do I dispose of reusable Softcup?

Many women find it convenient to use and reuse one reusable Softcup at the start of each period and discard it at the end of their cycle or when washing or cleaning becomes inconvenient. When washing or rinsing facilities are unavailable Softcup may also simply be emptied and reinserted.

How is reusable Softcup different from disposable Softcup?

Reusable Softcup is designed to be used throughout one entire menstrual cycle. Like disposable Softcup, reusable Softcup is made from non-toxic, hypoallergenic, latex-free material. However, reusable Softcup was specifically designed for multiple uses for up to one cycle. Reusable Softcup’s reservoir is more durable than the disposable cup, to extend its use. Once the cup is full, or if you reach the 12-hour maximum wear time, you should remove, empty, rinse and reinsert reusable Softcup.

Can I re-use Softcup?

The disposable Softcup is designed as a single-use menstrual collection cup. Each Softcup is safe for use for up to 12 hours.

Reusable SoftcupThe reusable Softcup is designed for reuse for up to one menstrual cycle. Reusable Softcup is safe for use for up to 12 hours at a time.

How is Softcup different from other menstrual cups?

Softcup differs from other menstrual cups in both its design and its features.

There are two types of Softcups: disposable and reusable. The disposable Softcup is designed to be discarded after a single use, however you can use one reusable Softcup throughout the duration of your period and then dispose of it when your period ends. Each cup is designed to last up to 12 hours of wear time before it should be removed and discarded. If you are using the reusable Softcup, after 12 hours the cup will need to be emptied, rinsed and reinserted. 

Softcup is worn in a different position than other menstrual cups. Softcup sits high up in the vagina, just below the cervix and behind the pubic bone. Other menstrual cups sit lower, suspended in the vaginal canal where a tampon would sit.

Softcup can be worn during intercourse for mess-free sex on your period. Other menstrual cups, due to their placement in the vaginal canal, do not allow for intercourse while they are being used.

Softcup is made of medical grade material consisting of elastomers and mineral oil. Most other menstrual cups are made of either latex rubber or silicone, with the exception of a few made of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE).

How long can I wear the Softcup?

The length of time you can wear the Softcup depends on your level of flow. From a health standpoint, you can safely wear the Softcup for up to 12 hours. On heavy flow days you may need to change the Softcup more often to avoid leakage. Just like when you may have learned to use tampons, as you gain more experience with the Softcup, you'll learn how frequently you need to change your Softcup. Women often overestimate the amount of menstrual flow during a period—the average amount of flow is only about two tablespoons (30 ml) for the entire length of the period, which on average lasts two to seven days.

Can I have sex while wearing Softcup?

Yes, you can have clean, comfortable sex with the Softcup in place. Although individual experience may vary, most likely neither you nor your partner will feel the Softcup. To help avoid leakage on heavy flow days, we recommend inserting a new Softcup before intercourse. Remember that Softcup is not a contraceptive and does not protect you from pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.

Is Softcup safe?

The Softcup has had extensive toxicology, biocompatibility and microbiological laboratory testing. It has also undergone human clinical testing and has been used by thousands of women since it went on the market in 1996. All results support the safety of Softcup when used as directed. The cup is compatible with a woman's internal tissues, does not promote infection, and is not likely to cause an allergic reaction. Softcup is made of inert, hypoallergenic, non absorbent, non-irritating polymeric material that has been used safely for more than 20 years in health care products such as catheters and baby bottle nipples. Softcup contains no latex. The Softcup does not leave fibers behind in your body. Read more in the Health Info section.

If you feel itching, redness or swelling after you have inserted the Softcup, gently remove it and discontinue use. Just like any period protection product, It is possible that a few individuals could be sensitive to the materials in this product.

Can my partner feel Softcup during sex?

Does Softcup come in different sizes?

No, Softcup is "one size fits most." This single size was chosen after significant design research showed that it fit almost all women comfortably and securely. A small minority of women may find the cup does not fit.

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