Menstrual Discs and Menstrual Cups: Understanding the Difference

Menstrual Discs and Menstrual Cups: Understanding the Difference

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Menstrual products have come a long way, providing people with more options than ever before. Two popular options for managing menstrual flow are menstrual discs and menstrual cups. While they both serve the same purpose, there are some key differences between the two. In this article, we will explore how menstrual discs and menstrual cups work, their pros and cons, and how to choose the right option for you.

Menstrual Discs: How They Work

Menstrual discs are small, flexible discs made of medical-grade materials such as silicone or latex. They are worn internally, just like a tampon. However, unlike tampons that absorb menstrual flow, menstrual discs collect the blood in a disc-shaped reservoir that is inserted into the vagina.

To use a menstrual disc, you fold it in half and insert it into the vaginal canal, pushing it back and down towards the cervix. Once inserted, the disc opens up and stays in place against the vaginal walls, preventing any leaks. The blood is collected in and emptied from the disc and can hold a significant amount, allowing for longer wear time compared to tampons, pads, and some menstrual cups.

Menstrual Cups: How They Work

Menstrual cups, on the other hand, are bell-shaped cups made of silicone or rubber. They are also inserted into the vaginal canal but sit lower than menstrual discs, similar to where tampons sit. When properly positioned (the right size is key here!), menstrual cups create a suctioned seal against the vaginal walls, collecting the menstrual flow within the cup.

To use a menstrual cup, there are a variety of folds that can be used to insert it into the vagina, allowing it to open up and create a seal. It can take some time to work out which fold works for you and allows you to insert the cup and open it up in a way that a seal is created. The cup can hold more fluid than a tampon or pad, and it needs to be emptied and rinsed every 4-12 hours, depending on your flow. Menstrual cups come in various sizes and shapes, and it can take some trial and error to find the cup that fits your body well.

Pros and Cons

Pros of Menstrual Discs:

  • Menstrual discs can be worn during sex, providing mess-free period sex.
  • They have a larger capacity compared to tampons or pads, allowing for longer wear time. The nixit menstrual disc holds 2 times a standard menstrual cup (about 4 super plus tampons worth of flow).
  • Some users find them more comfortable to wear compared to other options - 86% of nixit users rarely or never feel their menstrual disc when it is inserted.
  • Although some menstrual discs are disposable, menstrual discs like nixit are reusable and an environmentally-friendly choice.
  • They may be a good choice for those with a high or low cervix.

Cons of Menstrual Discs:

  • Learning how to properly insert and position the disc may take some practice for new users - we usually advise that it can take up to 3 months to get used to using nixit.
  • Some people may find removal messier compared to cups. Many people like the ‘auto-dump’ feature of nixit which allows users to empty the contents of their nixit menstrual disc without fully removing and re-inserting it.

Pros of Menstrual Cups:

  • Menstrual cups can hold more fluid than tampons, reducing the need for frequent changes.
  • They are reusable, making them more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective in the long run.
  • Cups come in various sizes and shapes - this can allow for a more personal fit.
  • Many people find cups comfortable and report less odor compared to other options.

Cons of Menstrual Cups:

  • Some people may not feel comfortable inserting and removing cups, and can find the folding techniques awkward.
  • Finding the right size and shape may take some trial and error.
  • Emptying and cleaning the cup in public restrooms may be inconvenient for some users.
  • Menstrual cups rely on suction to stay in place which can be uncomfortable, and it can sometimes be hard to create or break the seal.

Choosing the Right Option

When it comes to choosing between a menstrual disc and a menstrual cup, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It often comes down to personal preference and individual factors such as cervix height, flow intensity, and comfort.

If you are interested in having mess-free period sex, a menstrual disc allows for that option.

It's important to do your research, read user reviews, and consider your unique needs before making a decision. You may want to try out both options to see which one works best for you. Remember, everyone's experience with menstrual products is different, so what works for one person may not work for another.

In conclusion, menstrual discs and menstrual cups are innovative menstrual products that offer an alternative to traditional pads and tampons. Both options have their pros and cons, and the right choice depends on individual preferences and needs. By understanding how they work and considering your own body and lifestyle, you can make an informed decision and find the best option for managing your menstrual flow.

nixit menstrual cup

nixit menstrual cup


At nixit, we make menstrual cups simple. Our disc-style menstrual cup is made from ultra soft silicone with a unique, one size fits all shape. No confusing sizes, no awkward folds.  A simple period cup design that conforms to you.… read more

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