Instead Softcups


My friend, Cinnamonsticks has written about the Diva Cup. I am trying my own little experiment this cycle…something new and different for me.

While shopping at the local Walmart for my normal monthly necessities, I came upon the Instead Softcup. I believe it is similar to the Diva Cup in that when inserted, it catches menstrual fluids in a softcup that can be dumped out when removed. The main difference is that these are disposable and not reusable. I just bought a package of 14 at Walmart for $5.48 (online they are about $7.99) Granted, I tried my first soft cup on a heavy flow day, these were pretty comfortable and I hardly noticed it was there! I will be great for using on my long days at work because you may leave these in for up to 12 hours! This is a great relief for me considering pads and tampons need to be changed quite a bit more frequently and potty breaks aren’t always convenient at my place of employment.

Another interesting thing that the Mr. Nutmeg and I might need to try is period sex with these. According to the website, you can enjoy clean sex and he won’t even feel it in there! Hmmmmmm…… I may need to update this article in a day or so with the results! DISCLAIMER: please remember that this product IS NOT for birth control and DOES NOT protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

I was reading on another website something that I didn’t even consider using one of these for…getting pregnant! At the Fertility Shop, I was reading how if you insert one of these cups after intercourse, it helps keep the sperm closer to the cervix. I would never have thought of this, but if I were trying to get pregnant, I certainly would give it a try! There is no guarantee that you would get pregnant, though, even though there are very good testimonials on the site. I wouldn’t take it as the gospel truth considering there are only 7 testimonials.

Since I am rating this, though, on the basis of monthly visits and not pregnancy, I will tell you this. I do have a bit of leakage, but I think that is my fault for trying it on a heavy flow day. As I get used to inserting it and getting it in the right place, I would highly recommend this for anyone who is very active during their menstrual period and I would give it 4.5 out of five chili peppers!


  1. We have used the Instead Cup during intercourse and it works well. Hubby kind of felt it but not enough to bother him.
    It does take practice to learn how to insert it properly and I found when I was using it it got very uncomofortable after a while. (Almost like I was being bruised) The hard edge really dug into me. I wonder if now that I have had three children it would feel better and be easier to insert. (I’ll never know because the birth control I use and Instead do not mix)
    Another thing to note is that if you use an IUD for birth control Instead is not recommended as it can dislodge the device.

  2. Since this is a christian site I just wanted to note that IUD isn’t birth control. It is a form of abortion. Instead of preventing conception, it destroys concieved life. 😦

  3. What I learned as I have I researched this over the years is that many of the IUDs available today are not primarily intended to abort a fertilized egg, but hold the same risk for doing so as many of the other hormonal methods. A lot of the IUDs on today’s market are primarily hormonal. There is a much greater risk that it will mess with your natural hormones and have bad side effects than terminate a pregnancy. But I agree with you that the old copper IUDs should not have ever been used as they do interrupt implantation.

  4. Cinnamonsticks, thanks so much for your knowledge and awareness (and for not being afraid to speak up!). The misconceptions that often surround birth control in the Christian community drive me batty sometimes. We need more people like you.

  5. Thank you tea kettle.
    I wrote this article for the blog that focused on birth control options.
    Thought you might want to give it a read as it is a broader overview of our options written as non-biased as I could.

  6. Has anyone tried these, perhaps when not on the heaviest day? I’ve been thinking about them off and on for a few years, never brave enough to try them though. I always feel a little nervous with tampons, just because of the TSS warning paper mainly, but I CAN’T stand to just use pads. What are the pros and cons of these?

  7. I would really try them. The are fairly easy to insert, and once in, you really don’t know it’s there. I haven’t used them in awhile because of different issues inside my body, but I would really try them again if I didn’t have the issues I have.

  8. I just bought these and love them. I can’t feel it once it is in, and even had sex with no problem, though I didn’t want to climax because bearing down can cause it to leak. I really enjoy the clean feeling I have all day. Removing the cup is quite messy and I have to bear down and push a bit in order to get my finger under the ring…maybe because I have small hands? Anyway, I’d rather deal with that 2 or 3 times a day than pads and tampons all day and night!

  9. This is actually not true, the IUD’s that are used now do not allow for fertilization, as they block sperm from being able to get through the uterus and into the fallopian tubes, as well as secreting a low-dose hormone that prevents ovulation.

  10. Kim, I think with the Mirena IUD, fertilization of an egg is much less likely, because of the low amount of hormones, like you said. But it is still possible. (The IUD doesn’t claim to block all sperm, and the ones with hormones won’t prevent ovulation 100% of the time.) And in the case that an egg were to get fertilized, the IUD (both the paraguard copper T and Mirena) make the uterine lining thin so that it would not allow implantation. I have the paraguard, and have done extensive research to find out all the stuff my doctor didn’t tell me! (Should have done that before I had it put in!!) But the thing is, that there is just not that much research or studies done, to see how common an occurance it is for an egg to be fertilized with and IUD. We just know it’s a possibility. And some people suggest that maybe if an egg was fertilized, the uterine lining would “catch up” and hurrily prepare itself to allow the egg to implant. So some feel comfortable using the IUD until there is more conclusive evidence on one side or the other. And some don’t. I personally am getting mine out, but that is me. Not entirely for moral reasons, either, I have read lots of not good stories, and am afraid it will damage my fertility. I do not agree with the person above who called the IUD a form of abortion, though, because it isn’t most of the time. I like what cinnasticks said, that they hold the same risks of causing an abortion as many of the other hormonal methods.

  11. I was SO glad to discover Insteads while engaged. Wouldn’t you know–I got my period less than two hours before our wedding ceremony! We still were able to give our virginity to each other, without a big mess! These were so special to have right away. I have been using Insteads for almost ten years now. LOVE them.

    12 hours at a time are only on light days for me. Especially since having children, heavy days mean that I go through two boxes of 16 Insteads in a cycle now, rather than just one box. My last pregnancy was twins, and I think my body figures that I need to have enough of a lining to feed any future twin pregnancies!

    I also started using a diaphragm after my first pregnancy. They are very similar, but an Instead is not “fitted” to your body exactly, so it does go in and come out more easily.

    On messy days, if you are out and about and have to change in a public restroom, DO carry wipes with you. People tend to freak out about blood (and in days of awareness of blood-borne pathogens, rightly so!

    Put a fresh one on before sex, and bathe or use wipes, too–if you want to make sure to not have lots of blood around.

  12. There is always a slight chance of fertilization as with any form of birth control. The difference is what happens after fertilization. An IUD both old and new do not allow the fertilized egg to attach itself to the lining of the uterus, instead it is disposed of during the monthly cycle.
    I work in surgery and have seen what is suctioned out of a uterus after a miscarriage (our facility does not do abortions) believe me it is a baby!
    So for me anything that gets rid of a fertilized egg is an abortion. Whether it is an implanted device, or medication if it happens just once this is too high of a risk for me.

  13. Ugh. I absolutely hated these. I tried and tried and tried. Went through the whole box. They were painful and felt like they were completely obstructing my cervix. I felt pressure and like I to constantly go to the bathroom. Blech. So, I moved on the the Diva Cup, and all is well. =D

  14. It’s great how we are all so different 🙂

  15. Just want to mention–towards the end of my last period my cervix was SUPER low, and the rim of my softcup was NOT soft to my poor husband. This occasionally happens–wish I’d know before he got all scratched up, but I was obviously enjoying myself, so he did not say anything till we were done.

    Not a perfect solution, but most of the time a good one. Next time I will be more aware of how high or low my cervix is, and how deep or long we go! (And if he seems to be uncomfortable!)

  16. I would use one Instead for my whole cycle0just rinse and reuse. However, I have since tried Diva Cup, and like it so much better, especially for heavy days. I will still use Instead for days that I want to be intimate on a light day.

  17. the reason they might have not worked for you is because for some the softcup is to big and does not fit where it should so for people who want to try something like this and can not fit it in or are uncomfortable they can get a diva cup that is fitted by a doctor and is reuse able

  18. you are not supoused to reuse instead it can cause infection please all be awear of that an infection in the uterus is no fun at all I had one after I had my daughter so make sure to keep your hands clean and never reuse the instead softcups

  19. I tried the Instead cup and loved it until one day it somehow tipped while sitting down in the living room – and spilled – what a mess! I’m not sure if this happened because I’m overweight and things just move around more or what, but it was horrifying to think that this could have happened in public, so I never used one again. I’ve always been curious if anyone else ever had this happen and if it is due to weight issues.

  20. I’m part of a community on LiveJournal that focuses on products like the DivaCup or Instead. I have a small LadyCup (which I have yet to actually use but have practiced insertion and removal). Once I finally got it in right (mind you, this was practice) it felt really comfortable. It’s not as stiff as the Diva, but like all menstrual cups (with the exception of Instead) it cannot be in place during intercourse.

  21. Maybe it was too full or you didn’t have it in far so one tip upset the suction? Happened during my early practices with my LadyCup. I put it in and thought I had it in place and went back to sleep. Few hours later I woke up to a mess. Ugh. Not fun.

  22. There are sizing charts too. While the Diva and Instead are readily available in the U.S., they’re not for all ladies. Definitely not a one-size fits all.

  23. yeah i didnt feel comftorble about an IUD either, and i knew i didnt want any more children so i had my tubes tied. ( i have 1 child). now to the instead cup, i use the softcups and i really like them alot, i use them from start to finish and the only complaint i have is when i go to remove it i have to bear down so its less uncomfy. i am however going to buy a mooncup next month ( dunno why noone has mentiond it) its like the keeper only its latex free and clear. the instead takes lots of practice to get it in right, but once its in i dont have to worry about nothing. its comfy..i still run my 3 miles, work out, chase after lil one and camp and hunt ( which is why i want the mooncup…nothing to pack in…or out ). so to all considering instead softcups go for it, it never hurts to try something, and who knows you just may discover something great !

  24. And if nothing else, you’re saving a lot of money in the long run :). Menstrual cups, like the Diva, Ladycup, and the Mooncup can last 10-15 years with proper care.

  25. Absolutely LOVE Instead! I was a ballet dancer through college and could not have been more happy to have found them (thanks to my mom for my first box!). I always wore a panty liner with it just in case the seal would let a little leak out if I was stretching, but keep in mind I had to be doing stretches and poses that your typical person does not do in a typical day. My biggest problem it it was that it was easy for me to forget it was in there and I would end up wearing it much longer than recommended.
    It’s been 3 years (and 2 kids) since my last period and I had completely forgotten about them. Thanks for reminding me, and for the tip on the mooncup which I will probably order ASAP.

  26. An IUD is NOT a form of abortion.

    By definition abortion has to happen after the fertilised egg has implanted in the endometrium (womb lining).

    The copper coil may stop a fertilised egg doing this but so may many other contraceptive forms (the hormonal ones). For those who believe life begins at conception then only barrier methods or NFP should be considered for contraception but couples need to decide when they believe life begins and make an informed decision.

    Personally I find it hard to believe that life begins at conception and happily use hormonal contraception but I guess that’s a debate for another day.

  27. This is not a weight issue. The cup was too full. I ABSOLUTELY had a horrible accident too. Thank GOD I was wearing black pants. It was my first cycle wearing Softcup and on a heavy day. I was at a restaurant, sitting with my brother having lunch. Out of the blue I felt a lot of wetness and knew it wasn’t good. I threw my napkin on my seat and quickly went to the restroom. It was totally gross. I thought I’d never use another one again. However the benefits of 12 hours, no tampon problems, and being clean (other than the leak) were enough for me to try again. I’ve learned the trick! Everytime I go to the bathroom, I lean forward and bear down a bit to release the liquid in the cup. Once I stop bearing down, the cup slips back into place (although I always give it a little push back up just to make sure.) The cup stays mostly empty and I have excellent results. This is my second cycle and I’m convinced!

  28. Just wanted to add that the studies about copper IUDs and being able to flush out fertilize eggs are very old and out dated.

    There’s a reason why old copper IUDs were ‘retired’ because they did not have enough copper in them to kill the sperm and disable the egg from being fertilized (copper is bad news for BOTH gametes).

    And that’s the primary action by which it works – IUDs in the 60’s to late 80’s had highly variable amounts of not enough copper. IUDs nowadays almost ALWAYS contain 300+ square mm of copper. The current copper IUD approved by the FDA in the US contains 380 square mm of copper and NO fertilized are ever retrieved from studies using copper IUDs with more than 300 square mm of copper!

    i don’t think copper IUDs are abortifacients when they have this much copper in the to disable BOTH sperm and egg!!!

  29. Ok, just tried the instead cup for period sex – and definitely didn’t work out as planned! There was this awful suction noise!!! DH was so distracted he couldn’t orgasm:( Then, we still ended up with a mess, ugh. I don’t know if I just didn’t have it placed right or what. I think we might try it again tonight, if I can convince hubby to give it another shot!

  30. I am trying SoftCup for the first time. I think I am going to like them once I get used to them. I have definitely noticed a lack of odor that I normally get during my period. It’s so much easier to stay clean 🙂 Hoping to try during sex tonight. I will keep in mind the comment to put a clean one in before sex.

  31. Good to hear that the Instead might not always hurt my husband. We tried it once and he hasn’t been interested since. Very scratchy and uncomfortable. I also didn’t realize that there are times when the cervix is lower than other times. I have some learning to do about my own body. 🙂

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