Anyone who gets iffy about talk of menstrual issues might want to click the little “x” in the corner of this tab, ’cause we’re going to talk about “that time of the month.”
When I first got my period, there were tons of books, websites, and various informational pamphlets on what to expect, what to do, and what to use. While useful, the “what to use” portion of these was limited to pads, and tampons. And while both are useful, I never really knew about any other options.
When I started running, one of my first questions (beyond, “what shoes do I get?”) was, what do other runners use during their periods? And the answers…well, there wasn’t much information that I could find. I assumed the answer was just tampons, which I used unhappily. They never felt entirely comfortable, and produced way too much chafing for my taste, even after removing that annoying little string.
Then, several months ago, I saw a note on another runner’s blog that she had gotten a sample of a menstrual product called Softcup to review. And she LOVED it, saying it was much more comfortable and convenient to use than tampons or pads. So I asked if I could be included in the sample pool. (Full disclosure: they also offered reimbursement for a race entry fee…but I was honestly more interested in the product than the perks).
A Softcup is a flexible plastic cup that can be worn internally for up to 12 hours. It collects menstrual discharge without leaking (once you get it settled correctly), and is hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and doesn’t mess with your body’s natural pH balance (which helps reduce the risk of yeast infections). They’re approved by the FDA and have been on the market for 10 years.
It comes in a box of 24 (or a box of 2 if you choose the version that can be reused for an entire cycle). Thankfully, some wonderful person decided to package them without cutesy designs or figures of women running around.
From left to right: Softcup, tampon, overnight pad. Note the absence of cutesy designs.
When you open it, the Softcup seems a little larger than a tampon.
Looks a little large compared to a tampon.
But, once you squeeze the sides of the Softcup for insertion, they’re about the same size.
I found the Softcup extremely easy to use, very comfortable, and absolutely essential for good runs while on my period. During the LA Marathon, I carried a tampon in my sports bra in case of emergency (which was good, since I ended up being out there for 6 hours). If I’d had a Softcup, I would’ve had nothing to worry about. This is my new favorite product for “that time of the month” and I won’t be going back to pads or tampons any time soon.
I will admit though, that when I first got my sample, it sat in my bathroom cabinet for awhile before I could get up the courage to use it. It just seemed a little too different from what I was used to. Trust me, getting up the courage to try it is a good thing, and I felt pretty stupid for waiting so long.
Check out the Softcup website for tons more information on both use and ordering! And feel free to leave a comment or send an email with any questions you might have for me. I know people often don’t like to talk about these kinds of topics, but I think that the more information we all have, the more we can all find the solutions that work for us. Besides, runners seem to have a higher threshold for squeamish topics than most!