The Menstrual Disc: What Is It and How Does It Differ from the Menstrual Cup?

Menstrual discs are similar to the cup in appearance, but there's a big difference between the two products. Find out what the differences are here!
The Menstrual Disc: What Is It and How Does It Differ from the Menstrual Cup?
Leidy Mora Molina

Reviewed and approved by the nurse Leidy Mora Molina.

Last update: 10 October, 2022

There are more and more followers in favor of sustainable products to contain the flow of menstrual blood. Such is the case with the menstrual cup. However, there’s also another method that’s budget-friendly, comfortable, and with an extra function. It’s called the menstrual disc.

This variation of the cup also means saving money in the long run because you stop spending money every month on pads or tampons; in addition, you contribute to the environmental cause by doing so.

The menstural disc is a sanitary item that offers everything you’re looking for during those special days of the month. Plus, the option doesn’t pose any health risks, is safe to use, and provides a series of other benefits.

What is the menstrual disc, and what are its advantages?

Menstrual discs are sanitary devices with this shape and reusable character. They’re similar to cups, although they’re flatter and wider.

They’re made of medical-grade silicone, defined by the Netinbag encyclopedia as a synthetic polymer whose properties allow safe contact with living tissue. Due to its design, it can be placed quite close to the cervix.

Some physicians compare its appearance and thickness to the petal of a rose. They also point out that the manufacturing material avoids the likelihood of changing the vaginal pH or developing infections.

The disc is hypoallergenic. In addition, it reduces the risk of blood leakage, since it adheres smoothly to the vaginal walls. This advantage makes it possible to have sexual intercourse during menstruation. It’s not that it was impossible before, but the rim of the accessory promises that there will be no blood loss during penetration.

In addition to these benefits, opting for the disc is a way to get rid of excessive plastic use. A report in National Geographic magazine shows that common menstrual products are made of any variety of plastic, come wrapped in plastic, with plastic applicators, with plastic strings, and with thin absorbent layers of the same element.

The differences between the menstrual cup and the menstrual disc

Although the two formats are part of the same family and the purpose is the retention of blood flow during a woman’s period, there are still some key differences, such as those discussed below.

Menstrual cup
The menstrual cup is somewhat different from the disc, but they share features, such as the fact that they’re both budget and environmentally-friendly.

Size

Contrary to the cup, which comes in different sizes, the menstrual disc is one-size-fits-all. In the case of women with weakness in the pelvic floor or who have suffered a mild prolapse, the device is a good alternative, given their special anatomy.

No annoying pulls or suction

The discs don’t have the grip pull of the cups. They don’t protrude a lower hook. Because of this, they don’t bother the user in the same way the menstrual cup may bother if it’s incorrectly placed.

Durability

The discs last a couple of years in use due to the ultrathin layer of silicone that composes them. Although this method is less durable than the cup, it’s still budget-friendly in the medium term.

Function

It’s true that they were designed to contain menstrual blood fluid, but the discs were also designed for women who wish to have vaginal penetrative intercourse on period days without it being so messy. This can’t happen with the cup.

According to an explanation from the Hospital Universitario La Moraleja, your period shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying intimacy with your partner. For users’ peace of mind, the discs store more substance than the cups, and the risk of leakage is almost nil.

It’s important not to consider menstrual discs as contraceptive methods, because they’re not.

Location

The discs are very close to the cervix, in the deepest area of the vaginal canal. In contrast, the cup is lower, almost in the middle of the vagina. Precisely because of its location, the disc minimizes the likelihood of leakage.

Capacity

While a cup has a storage capacity of 30 to 50 milliliters, the discs accumulate up to 75 milliliters. Due to their texture and double rim, they can stay up to 12 hours inside the body.

We think you may also enjoy reading this article: What is Menstrual Fatigue and How Can You Deal With It?

How to put the menstrual disc in?

Those who have experience with the menstrual cup have already gained some ground to adapt to the disc. They don’t have the hooking handle that the cups have, but with practice, you can put it in in a few steps:

  1. Fold it: With your fingers, bend the wheel into the shape of an 8.
  2. Insert the menstural disc: Bring it towards the top of your vagina, pointing towards the cervix.
  3. Adjust it: Once inside the vaginal canal, fix one of the ends backward and lead the other towards the front, where the pubic bone is located.

To remove the disc, reach around the contour with a finger and gently slide it down. This way, it will come out horizontally.

A uterus
Women with uterine prolapse could benefit from this method, which will cause them less discomfort than a menstrual cup.

When to use and when not to use the menstrual disc

It’s true that any woman can resort to the benefits of menstrual discs, but those diagnosed with severe weakening of the pelvic floor may find relief with this device. In fact, in people with this condition, the menstrual cups could slip or cause discomfort.

The discs offer a little more amplitude and are better supported by the internal structures of the female reproductive system.

As a contraindication, the particularities that restrict the use of the disc are recent childbirth or abortion since it’s necessary to discard the blood lost to prevent vaginal infections. Similarly, the disc is not suitable after medical procedures on the cervix.

Like this article? You may also like to read: How Does the Menstrual Cycle Affect Women’s Soccer?

Menstrual disc hygiene

The hygiene of these sanitary products is crucial, given their reusable nature. To sterilize the disc before putting it on for the first time, boil it in a pan of water for 5 to 10 minutes.

On period days, just wash the ring with soap and water each time you remove it. At the end of your period, boil it again. Store the disc in a cotton bag.

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