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Soft Cup Vs. Diva Cup
on January 18, 2012
I suffer from a horrendously heavy 1st and 2nd day of my period. As a teacher, I don't always have the option to run to the ladies room when I need a "swap out" break. I dreaded when my first couple of days coincided with my back-to-back schedule.
By chance, I was sitting in my doctor's office reading a natural health magazine and saw an add for Diva Cup. When I got home I instantly researched it and thought it sounded like a potential life changer - or a potential disappointment. I read the reviews and decided I should give it a go. I went to the local store that was supposed to sell it and was disappointed that they were out of stock, but they did have the disposable "Instead- Soft Cup". So I bought that because I was just about to start my period and I didn't want to have to deal with my double protective measures anymore! I ordered the "Diva Cup" here and had it shipped 2-day express mail.
So, I've tried both out. Here's what I have to say about each.
Both are amazing in terms of the volume they can hold before needing to "dump" or replace.
Where I once had to change a super plus absorbency at least once an hour (with a heavy flow pad back-up), I can now go 4-5 hours. Both products also handle endometrial tissue and blood clots without any problem. On my normal flow days, I can leave them in for 12 hours without fear of leaking! When both are positioned properly, you will not know either is there. If you can feel either of them, you haven't inserted it correctly.
Here's how they differ.
The disposable "Instead- Soft Cup" is only one size. It consists of a sturdy bendable plastic ring with a plastic baggie-esque cup. Think of it like half of a female condom, only the internal ring is sturdier. The Instead Cup is exponentially easier to learn and put into proper place. It goes in farther into your vagina and you need to make sure you pop it behind your pubic bone (the bump with a ridge-like texture just north of your vaginal opening). The baggie part sits underneath your cervical opening and your flow collects into it. While this cup won't leak if inserted properly and are having a normal flow, it is common to see a some blood if you urinate or have a bowel movement. Since you're engaging your muscles, you'll displace a little flow in the process. This won't affect the efficacy of the cup after you use the toilet. No need to readjust.
The Diva cup is a completely bendable but sturdy cup. It's a similar material to a diaphragm, I instantly snipped off half of the stem after having read the comments here. I'm glad I did. Anyhow, the Diva Cup is extremely uncomfortable when you are learning how to insert it. The instructions tell you that you shouldn't insert it farther into your vagina than 1/4" from the base of the stem. This is true BUT - the labia extend deeper inside and some of your internal space isn't the vagina at all, but space between your labia. How I realized I got it right was when 2 things happened, the first was that I was actually able to rotate the cup with no problem and the second was I heard a suction-noise. The Diva cup goes in deeper than you would think, but you definitely shouldn't be trying to shove it as far as you can. The cup sits lower in your vagina than the Instead cup. It isn't directly blocking the cervix. Rather it forms a collection blockade. Unlike the Instead cup, you won't see any blood upon using the toilet. If you do, you might need to remove, dump, clean and re-insert.
This is a biggie for me and one that makes me favor the Diva cup. The Instead Soft Cup requires you insert your finger and find the loop then you pull out. Because the cup is so flexible and bag like, it's a disgusting mess. Unless there is a garbage can next to the toilet, it can be awkward having to remove, dispose and put in a new one. Your fingers will get bloody! If you are squeamish, you shouldn't get this brand.
The diva cup is easier and much cleaner! The sturdier material holds its cup shape and blood won't spill out of it accidentally. It's quick to wipe out with toilet paper if you aren't next to a sink. If you push down on your muscles you can easily grab the bottom of the cup. It's easier to grab the base than the stem. (In fact, if the stem irritates your vagina, it's not an issue if you cut it off entirely).
INTERCOURSE & Other sexual activities:
You can have sex with the Instead Soft Cup and neither party will be affected by it. Because of where it is positioned, your partner won't be hindered and you won't be hurt or "rubbed the wrong way". It's a great solution to when you want to get intimate but don't want a bloody mess on the sheets (or the couch, or the rug).
Lastly, the Instead Soft Cup is also being used to aid in fertility. Rather than boosting your tush up in the air on pillows after sex, you can place the instead soft cup inside to prevent gravity from having its way with that precious male-mix!
You can't have intercourse with the Diva Cup and it won't prevent semen from slipping away from your cervical opening.
Clearly, one is disposable and one is reusable. However, you use far less of the Soft Cup than you would tampon's and pads.
Personally, I'm going to keep both on hand. I'll use the Diva Cup for my menstrual issues and the Instead Soft Cup for when my husband and I need some grown-up time during that time of the month.
PS - Instead Soft Cups are cheaper at your local pharmacy.