For the Ladies: Instead Softcup Review

Fair warning: if you’re male, you can skip this post. In fact, you’d probably prefer to skip this post. If you’re female and you’re uncomfortable talking about your period, you should also probably skip this post. Why? Because this post is all about that delightful monthly visitor whose company we enjoy so much. Got it? Okay, then let’s get started.


Instead Softcup

Instead Softcup (Photo credit: Selbe B)

Sometime last year, I volunteered to try out and review the Instead Softcup, an opportunity I heard about through For the Love of the  Run. Softcup and FtLotR were offering runners a free box of the product and a free race entry in exchange for a review. It sounded like a great deal to me, so I signed up enthusiastically.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Softcup, here are the basics: it’s a “feminine hygiene” product (I hate that term but I couldn’t think of anything else to call it) that falls somewhere between tampons and menstrual cups when it comes to how it functions and how squicky it can end up being. It’s a very flexible, latex-free cup that you insert into the vagina in a way that allows it to sit and collect your (ahem) menstrual fluid. It can be worn for up to 12 hours, even on your heavier days. When you’re ready to remove it, you pull it out, wrap it up in tissue (and put it in the disposable pouch it came in, if you still have it) and throw it in the trash. It can be worn during sex, while you’re swimming, and has never been associated with a case of Toxic Shock Syndrome. All good things!

During my period, I tend to wear tampons during the day and pads at night. I get some fairly bad cramps at times, but my period is generally light-to-moderate and doesn’t really cause me too many problems. I’m not a big fan of tampons, though–the idea of putting something toxic in my body makes me uncomfortable, they create unnecessary waste, if I don’t insert them just right they can be painful…the list goes on–so when I heard about Softcup, I really wanted to like it. Like, a lot. I wanted it to replace tampons and pads for me, and change my life in the process. Okay, maybe changing my life is a tall order. But I did want to like it enough to use it exclusively. When I got my sample, I was actually excited about getting my period. I don’t think that’s ever happened before.


Image via

Image via

Softcup comes with instructions for how to insert the cup, and also explains how to dispose of it. It seems like a pretty simple process, and according to everything I read, if you’d inserted it correctly, you weren’t supposed to even feel it was there. The first few times I tried it, I made sure to bring back-up with me, just in case. I continued to do so after the first few times, because I still didn’t feel entirely confident. Even though I was following the directions and felt like I was inserting the cup correctly, I ended up narrowly escaping an unsightly leak more than once. Every time this happened, I made sure to check the instructions again and really pay attention to what I was doing when inserting the cup, but that didn’t seem to help.

I also found that even though I couldn’t feel the cup when I first inserted it, I could sometimes feel it after a few hours of wear. That just seemed awkward, and had me worrying that the Softcup was going to somehow find its way outside my body before I was ready to remove it. Call me crazy, but at the age of 31, I don’t want to end up being the subject of one of those “most embarrassing” stories in Seventeen. And speaking of removal, I’m not all that squeamish about my body, but there were a few times when taking the cup out was just a bit too much for me. For one thing, on more than one occasion while at work, when I pulled the cup out, it made an audible squelching sound. Yuck. Fortunately, I was alone in the bathroom. For another, it’s just going to be messy. And there’s just no good way to take the cup out, dispose of it, and insert another one without getting your hands dirty (pun intended?)–my period isn’t my favorite thing, and I just don’t feel like I need to be that up front and personal with it.

Overall, I found the Softcup to be hit or miss. When I felt like it was securely in place and doing its job, I liked it. But after a while, I became less and less confident in it and found that I didn’t want to have to constantly monitor what was going on down there while I was in the middle of doing something else. I ended up never wearing it during a run for that reason–I just didn’t want to get caught in the middle of the park trying to find somewhere to make necessary adjustments…and then have to find some way to clean things up! The thing is, I still really want to like it. I still haven’t given up on it entirely. I still wonder if I’m just doing something wrong, and I still want to figure out how to get it right. If all the work ended up with me finding a replacement for tampons, then it would be worth it. So: to be continued, I guess.

If you’ve used the Softcup, I’d love to hear whether your experience was anything like mine!




  1. I had the same experience. I’ve been using the Keeper for 8 years and really like it. The shape is different and doesn’t leak as easily

    1. I do trust all of the ideas you’ve presented in your post. They’re very convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very short for beginners. May just you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post. dbabffccddgd

  2. I’m sorry you had that experience with it! I’ve used it off and on for a couple of years (in conjunction with a diva cup) and I *love* it. I’ve never had issues with it leaking, I’ve never gotten a suctioning sound, and I find it super convenient and easy. I have wondered, since the diva cup comes in sizes and this one doesn’t, if fit was an issue with it for some people (and I guess it is).

  3. I tried the Instead Softcup several years back when I was on the pill and had an artificially generated monthly cycle and I HATED it. I could have ended up in Seventeen magazine stories, it didn’t work for me at all. And I really wanted it to, for all the “good” reasons you mentioned.

    I have heard that the Keeper and Diva cups are better, so I may try those out if/when my cycle returns post-pregnancy. I don’t ever want to go on a hormonal birth control again and I don’t like the idea of tampons negatives, but that’s what I’ve always used because they were the least…. gross? (Even if they are gross when you think about what they’re made of and where you put it and the waste they generate.)

  4. I use these when my husband cannot wait a few days to resume our regular sex life. After a few mishaps using the cup alone- which were mortifying, I came up with a solution:

    Simply add a (new) triangular make-up sponge to the cup and insert. This helps to absorb the liquid so that it isn’t just filling up the cup. It also makes removing the cup less messy (gross).

  5. I tried the instead cup when it first came out. Actually I don’t see it anywhere I
    Where I live, don’t think they sell them anymore here..anyways I inserted it like instructed and later when I went to remove it it wouldn’t come out. My husband tried but failed and after hours of trying I had to go to emerg where the nurse didn’t know what I was talking about and was thinking I had some sex thing stuck up there..people in line behind me heard..embarrassing I tell ya. Anyways I ended up in the stirrups for over an hour and a half where the dr dug poked prodded, he tried everything and was about to get a gynaecologist to come down and mentioned surgery when finally at last it came out!! I have two kids but this was horrific experience so I really don’t recommend the instead cup…but that is my opinion…just wanted to share, bc the dr said it may have been because I have a tilted uterus. At the time it did not say on the box or in the instructions not to use if u have a tilted uterus, they may have it in the box now. I know I called the company and complained so maybe others have as well so now it’s on the box, I don’t know. If u r thinking of using instead then please be careful thanks

  6. I tried softcup for the first time this past weekend because my boyfriend happened to be in town just at the wrong time. I’ve used the diva cup for a while so I thought this would be similar. It works and didn’t leak until about the same time the diva cup would have. I generally have heavy periods and bearable but unpleasant cramping. My cramps got progressively worse throughout the day, especially when I would change the cup and it brushed my cervix. By the time I went to bed I was in tears. The next day I only wore pads until the evening when I put the softcup back in just long enough to have sex with my boyfriend. From now on, that’s the only time I’ll use them. I think the ring is just too stiff for me to wear long term.

  7. I LOVE the Instead Cup! It is amazing. I cannot feel it at all, it stays in place, there are never any leaks, it doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals for the body to absorb and they are economical. I drive way out of my way to find them and buy several boxes at a time. A truly amazing product!

  8. I just started using it and it was great until time for removal… Lol but after I figured I can do this, I pushed like I was in labor and it came out. My flow it’s ridiculously light so I wondered if that was the problem. It seems not after reading reviews.

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