Softcup – an alternative to pads and tampons


Softcup reusable is placed inside your vagina, under the cervix. It collects the menstrual flow inside the cup. You can use it for up to 12 hours, at which time you need to take it off, empty it, wash it and reinsert it for another (up to) 12 hours. One cup can be used for one menstrual cycle.

Advantages:

  • easy to put on and take off
  • you can have sex with it with very little or no mess (and you and your partner don't feel it)
  • since it doesn't absorb blood, like tampons, it has a lower risk of TSS or other infections (it doesn't significantly change the bacteria levels normally present in your body; tampons and pads, because of the absorvent materials, can create a good environment for the growth of bacteria)
  • no odor because the menstrual flow is not exposed to air
  • no strings and no messy pads
  • you don't need to carry pads or tampons with you all the time
  • more ecological (you only need one cup per menstrual cycle)
  • you can wear it up to 12 hours
  • it doesn't make you dry like tampons do because, unlike tampons, it doesn't absorb your vaginal natural lubrication fluids
  • you can wear it also before your period comes (to be prepared) and on your last days when it's almost gone and you have very little flow (you shouldn't wear tampons on these days)

Disadvantages:

  • taking it out, emptying it and washing can be quite messy and disgusting but with time you get the hang of it and find out how to make it simpler and with the less mess possible. As an alternative there are also the disposable softcups which you just throw away and put a new one but they get much more expensive, specially if you prefer to change them within less than the 12 hours (you should empty it/get a new one before sex for instance, and I also prefer to empty it before lying down for a while).

Risks to health:
Softcup has been in the market for 10 years and so far no risks to health have been found. The Associated Pharmacologists & Toxicologists filed a petition with the FDA saying that softcup and other menstrual cups can theorectically increase the probability of endometriosis (see here a video explaining their concerns). However the FDA declined to remove menstrual cups from the market, saying that there was insufficient evidence that the risk was more than merely theoretical (see the FDA response here). In fact, the FDA says there was only one reported case of a woman who had endometriosis and used a menstrual cup but the link between the two was merely a theoretical possibility and was not proved.
You can read about endometriosis here.
All woman have retrogade menstrual flow (while they are lying down for instance) but only 6-10% of women have endometriosis so, even if it can be proved that menstrual cups increase the probability of retrogade menstrual flow, it is far fetched saying that they can cause endometriosis in my opinion.
My gynecologist agrees that it's unlikely that menstrual cups cause endometriosis.

Where to buy the reusable sofcup:

The disposable softcups are sold in many stores (like Walmart) and websites (including Amazon). To check some by country see here

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