dlyjrnl (dlyjrnl) wrote in menstrual_cups,
dlyjrnl
dlyjrnl
menstrual_cups

Instead Softcups (US) have changed

Hi all! New here, etc. etc.

So just to get it out of the way,  here's me:

* 25 yrs old
* Married over 4 yrs, sexually active since we became engaged 6 yrs ago.
* Endometriosis, diagnosed in my early 20s even though it has been bleedingly obvious since my mid teens.
* Mirena IUD, which also helps with the endo. For the record, the string is cut very short, and I've had it for a year and a half thus far with no issues.
* Used pads for most of my teenage years, started using tampons later, but have always had to keep a backup pad on because tampons - and I've tried every conceivable kind - always still leak.
* Really thought I already knew my body, but finding out there’s so much I was ignorant of!

I have been lurking here for about a month. I am planning on getting a reusable cups, but I don't know which one yet. So I picked up a box of Instead Softcups at my local CVS. I know they are a different animal than reusable cups, but I wanted to get familiar with using a collection, rather than absorption, device for my flow. I also wanted to get familiar with my own body - I may already have explored and grown comfortable with my vulva, but I had no idea whether my cervix was high or low, how it changes over the course of a cycle, etc... I took a couple dry runs, and have been using them for the period that just started a week ago. (It "just started" a whole week ago because my periods are quite long now, though incredibly light and with far less pain, thanks to my Mirena.)

But when I was walking around another drugstore and looking to see if they carried them - they did! -  I noticed that the packaging was different. It said "New Package" up in the corner, and I figured, oh, it's a "New Look, Same Great Taste!" sort of change, where the product itself remains the same. But when I had to buy a second box a couple days ago, I was surprised to see a sticker I hadn’t noticed the first time - "Fits Even Better” - and when I opened the wrapper, indeed, the cup itself has changed!

Below the cut, some pictures and description.

The entire gallery, including descriptive text, can be found here.

Two boxes of Instead cups. The top one is white with a smattering of colored dots, some with photos set inside. The only noticeable text is the "Instead" logo. The second box is white, pink, and dark purple. It reads, "No strings (Sans Liens). Instead Softcup, 12-Hour Period Protection (Protection Menstruelle Pendant 12 Heures)" and has a picture of a hand holding one of the cups.  Two boxes of Instead cups. The top one is white, green, and purple, with the "Instead" logo, reading "12-Hour Feminine Protection (Protection Feminine Pendant 12 Heures), Instead, 14 Softcups, A proven alternative to pads and tampons (Une alternative aux serviettes et tampons hyieniques)." The bottom one is pink, white and dark purple, and reads "No Strings (Sans Liens), 14 Softcups, Instead Softcup, 12 Hour Period Protection (Protection Menstruelle Pendant 12 Heures)."  Two boxes of Instead Softcups. There is a good deal of text on both. The prominent logo on the top box is the "Instead" logo, while the prominent logo on the bottom box is the "Softcup" logo.  Two boxes of Instead Softcups. The old box (top) shows a diagram of four illustrations showing insertion of the Softcup into the vagina, then has instructional text below. The new box (bottom) has a bright pink background, and reads "A proven alternative to pads and tampons: Softcups are non-toxic, hypoallergenic, latex-free and safe when used as directed," and then has a chart titled "How Do Softcups Compare to Pads and Tampons?"  Two boxes of Instead Softcups. The top box has a warning about IUDs in small text on the bottom; the bottom box has the same four-picture diagram illustrating insertion as is on the back of the old box.  Two boxes of Instead Softcups. The top has the same warning about IUDs as on the left side, but in a different language. The bottom box has the same insertion diagram as on the left side, but in a different language.

As you can see, the boxes are the same in size, shape, function etc. but now it's a lot clearer exactly what the product is. It seems, in my opinion, more competitive seated next to the pads and tampons in the "feminine hygiene" aisle (I hate those euphemisms). 

Here's the wrapper. It's identical for both the new and old cup:

The wrapper remains the same on both old and new. It is a bright bluish-purple, rectangular, approximately 3 by 4 inches (7.5 by 10.5 mm). 

Now for comparisons of the cups. Here is an overhead view, showing the old cup on the left side and the new cup on the right:

Two Instead Softcups. The old cup is on the left and the new cup is on the right.  Two Instead Softcups. The old cup is on the left and the new cup is on the right. 

Now to show the differences. I've put the cups side-by-side here and taken the photos from the side, straight on. In the first picture I had to weigh down the cups with their respective boxes, to get them to stay flat, to show the difference in rim height:

Two Instead Softcups. The old cup is on the left and the new cup is on the right. Each cup is weighed down by its respective box, in an attempt to show the change in height of the pink rim. The new cup is somewhat thinner. 

And here are photos of the cups with the plastic collection part poked out all the way (tried to get it to preserve its shape as much as possible). The shape is different, with the "tip" (like the collection tip on a condom) less pronounced in the new version - now more just a rounded cup shape compared to the old cup's flared bell shape.

Two Instead Softcups. The old cup is on the left and the new cup is on the right. I am holding the cups in my hand side-by-side to show the change in rim height and the plastic collection material. They appear to be about the same in capacity though the new plastic material is shaped somewhat differently, with a less-pronounced "tip" (imagine the collection tip on a condom).  Two Instead Softcups. The old cup is on the left and the new cup is on the right. They are set upside-down on the table to show the slight change in the rim and the size/shape of the clear plastic material. 

Here now is a close-up (macro) of the two cups next to each other. This is an attempt to show the difference between the two plastic materials. The clear material has changed to something that is more plasticky, stiffer and less flexible, but also thinner, such that the feel ends up very similar to the old one.

Two Instead Softcups. The old cup is on the left and the new cup on the right. This is an extreme close-up shot to attempt to show the change in texture of the plastic "collection" material. The new material is stiffer/more plasticky/less flexible than the old material, but thinner, so the effect evens out. 

Now here are the cups stacked, with the old cup on the bottom and the new cup on the top. You can see that the new cup is shorter in height in the rim:

Two Instead Softcups. The old cup is on the bottom and the new cup on the top. They are stacked directly atop each other and viewed from the side in an attempt to show the change in height.  Two Instead Softcups. The old cup is on the bottom and the new cup on the top. They are stacked directly atop each other and viewed from the side in an attempt to show the change in height. 

And an overhead view of the stacked cups, showing that the diameter is more-or-less identical. In the first picture, you are seeing the new cup on top of the old cup. In the second picture, I have flipped them, so that the new cup is on the BOTTOM and the old cup on the TOP, from the underneath side:

 Two Instead Softcups. The old cup is on the bottom and the new cup on the top. This is an overhead view to show that the diameter is pretty much identical.  Two Instead Softcups. The old cup is on the TOP and the new cup on the BOTTOM (flipped). This is an overhead view to show that the diameter is pretty much identical.

And finally, the cups by themselves, showing measurements. Rim height:

The old Instead Softcup, viewed from the side, with a metric measuring tape held up to show the rim height measurement (about 9mm).  The new Instead Softcup, viewed from the side, with a metric measuring tape held up to show the rim height measurement (about 7mm).   

About 9mm for the old cup and 7mm for the new.

Diameter:

The old Instead Softcup, viewed from overhead, with a metric measuring tape held up to show the diameter measurement, which appears to be identical.    The new Instead Softcup, viewed from overhead, with a metric measuring tape held up to show the diameter measurement, which appears to be identical.

About the same for both cups, around 6 3/4 cm.
  

Right now I have in the first new cup, used up the last old cup yesterday. It doesn't feel any different - that is, I still don't feel it at all. I will see what it is like when I remove it tonite - I'm also wondering if the thinner rim will improve the experience of PIV sex (mainly for the P in the equation). My husband was ok-enough with it in to have sex - but he did mention that he did notice it and it was uncomfortable. So the thinner new cup may be an improvement. I'll have to test it out. ;-)

*EDIT* OK, I've now had a couple days with the new softcups. They are much, much easier to insert. Before, I had to sit down on the floor all the way (squatting wasn't good enough) to get it in, then stand/crouch or sit on the edge of the toilet to check it and reposition if needed (usually needed!). Now, it's easy to just put it in while I'm sitting on the toilet, or on a chair.

Just get the tip in, immediately angle it straight down, gentle slide backward a bit, insert a finger on the top side between the cup and the vaginal wall, touch the cervix, and slide the cup the rest of the way in. That middle part is just so I can know that the cervix is where it's supposed to be - covered by the cup - without having to insert it blindly, then go back to check, then reposition, then check again, etc... It takes all of five seconds now, whereas it took a few minutes and a lot of pain (I have fibromyalgia, and especially the morning insertion was extremely difficult when I had to get all the way to the floor in a cramped bathroom, then get myself back up without waking the husband).

So far, I'm a fan!
Tags: diagrams & pictures, instead, news
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