Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Soft Cups - a review

Disclaimer – as previously noted, I am not compensated for anything I talk about. These are all my opinions/experiences nor am I a health care professional. If you are not comfortable talking about/reading about someone’s menstrual cycle or sexual intercourse – this post is not for you.

I wanted to wait for a couple cycles before I did a post on Soft Cups. I’m going to be honest with you, that first few days of the first period using them I wanted to throw in the towel. But I decided to stick it out and then at the end of the cycle decide if I was going to do it all again.

First things first – you have to be comfortable with your body. I mean sticking your fingers all the way up your biz in order to get the cup in and then out kind of comfortable with your body. The trick is putting it in the correct way. I read a lot of reviews on Amazon and I even watched a couple YouTube videos. I didn’t insert it correctly the first couple times and had to take it out and redo it at the office (not that fun) because I was leaking a little. The first couple times I suggest putting it in while in the shower. That way you can completely squat down to get the cup in at the right angle. You want to squeeze the sides together (making sure that the cup is right side up – that should be self-explanatory when you look at it) and insert it at a downward angle. Push it back with your finger(s) until it sits right behind your pubic bone. DO NOT PANIC – it will not be that hard to get out. I had a moment of, “oh sh*t what did I just do and how the hell is it getting out?”

To take it out… this I suggest doing the first couple times in a squat position in the shower because, as I will cover below, it’s a little messy. The directions say to stick your finger up there and hook it around the lip of the cup and pull it out. This didn’t work for me (causing another moment of panic complete with the thought of #1 having to tell hubster that I have a cup of menstrual blood stuck inside me and then #2 having to go to a hospital to get said cup taken out… yeah I know I sometimes go from rational to crazy in zero --> .5 seconds). I had to take my middle finger and instead of hooking it under the lip of the cup I had to pull the cup down a little and stick my finger INSIDE the cup to get a grip to pull it out.

Then it comes out.

Second – you have to be ok with getting your menstrual blood on your hands… because you will. It’s a little messy. That’s why I suggest taking it out in the shower. You are not supposed to leave it in for more than 12 hours and I don’t know about you but I usually do not take 2 showers in a 12 hour timeframe (unless I work out in the evenings versus the morning). Taking it out in the shower is one thing, taking it out while sitting on the toilet is another. I suggest doing this at home the first couple times. I had to do it at the office twice (because I didn’t put it in correctly, see above). That was a mess. Thankfully we have a handicap stall with a sink in it where I was able to shimmy my way over with my pants down around my ankles and wash my hands without having to touch anything (automatic water and soap dispenser- phew). When you take it out, wrap it in TP (or put it in the pouch if you are inserting another) and toss in the trash. Do not flush these- they are in no way flushable. Even though the package says one time use, some people online have said that they rinsed the cup out and reused it… that brings to mind all of the junk that could be in our water that will now be in this cup inside my body. No thank you. I also don’t want to rinse this thing in anybody’s sink be it at home or the office (omg could you imagine someone walking in and seeing you rinsing this while at work? Hello, HR). There are cups that you can buy that I believe are a lot more expensive that are made to be reused (Diva Cups maybe?) but once again, the whole rinsing them is a turn off for me. I’m ok with wrapping them in TP and tossing them. But I have not researched those cups so I am not sure what the deal is with them.

The first few times I used it (and didn’t have it in correctly) I was cursing out every reviewer on Amazon who was saying how awesome these were. I was going to the bathroom and having a good amount of blood on the TP and/or in the bowl. Depending on your flow (mine is very heavy the first day or two) I would suggest wearing a panty liner, just in case. That first period was tough because I was still trying to figure out how to insert them correctly. Once I got the hang of inserting them, checking to make sure that it was in fact behind my pubic bone, I really liked them. It was so nice to insert it, slap on a panty liner, and not have to think about it for the rest of the day. Yeah sometimes I would go to the bathroom and there would be a little pink on the TP but as long as it wasn’t on the PL I was ok with it. There isn’t an airtight seal on these babies so expect that, once again depending on how heavy your flow is, you might see a little bit of pink on the TP. Use your own judgment as to if you want to change them more than every 12 hours. I’ll be honest that the first night I did use a tampon because of how heavy my flow is. I could definitely tell the difference between using a Soft Cup and using a tampon. I never felt the Soft Cup (except for when it wasn’t in correctly) and pulling out the tampon (when it’s slightly dry)… cringe. It did take two cycles for me to appreciate them so if you are willing to give them time, I think you might like them.

Now for trying to conceive… this is the main reason why I got them in the first place. After you have sex, before really moving, insert a Soft Cup (I keep a couple in my bedside table). No mess. No wet spot. No all-night/day leaking (you all know what I’m talking about). The idea is to keep all of the semen close to the cervix (kind of along the same line as putting a pillow under your butt and having your legs in the air and letting gravity do it's job). There were people singing their praises all over the interwebs and swearing up and down that these are why they got pregnant after such a long time TTC. Ok, duh, I know that once the sperm is inside you, the strong swimmers start the journey up through your cervix and towards the tubes (in my case, tube) and all the other weak ones and fluid eventually make its way out of you. I do not think that with having the cup in there that after an hour a couple sperm are going to be like, “you know what – let’s see what’s up there!” What I do know is that I can go to sleep without having to change my underwear in the middle of night because everything is coming out (once again, you know what I’m talking about). In the morning, before my shower, I take it out (you can see the collection of all the goods in it), wrap it in TP and toss it in the trash.

Now, if you have a history of UTI’s and need to pee after sex or risk getting an infection… these are probably not for you. I’m not sure about using them for your menstrual cycle with that kind of history either… but when in doubt, ask your doctor. There are some people online who said that for one reason or another they were not able to use tampons (due to medical reasons) and these work for them. But once again, I would talk to your doctor first if you have any concerns or a medical history.

So, in a nutshell, if you are (1) not comfortable sticking your fingers inside your body (2) getting all sorts of bodily fluids on your hands (3) seeing all sorts of bodily fluids up close and personal (4) have a history of UTIs… then this may not be the product for you. When in doubt – ask your doctor. But why not give it a try? I got a box of 24 for (I think) $13 (free shipping with Amazon Prime). You might find yourself pleasantly surprised like I did.

Has anyone else had any experience with these? What did you think? Have you been thinking about trying them and something is holding you back? I’d love to have your input!

1 comment:

  1. I tried them for TTC, not for regular period mainly cos I thought it would be 'messy' as you say! They were pretty easy to use and was looking at getting some more the other day for our TRC journey. If I was to use them for monthlies, I think I'd rather get a reusable (I know messy!), but my reasons would be environmental, I'm not keen on flushing tampons and less so of chucking plastic (I assume non biodegradable) soft cups in the bin. Probably very misguided in this though!