Both a menstrual cup and a menstrual disc collect your menstrual flow instead of absorbing it like a pad or tampon. An average large-sized menstrual cup will hold approximately the same amount as a menstrual disc. They each can be worn safely for up to 12 hours before needing to be removed, thrown out or rinsed and reinserted, depending on your flow. All types of internal birth control can be worn at the same time, including the IUD and ring. Neither the cup nor disc will interfere with the delicate pH balance of the vagina.
The similarities between the two end there.
Menstrual cups are normally bell or funnel/V-shaped.
Menstrual discs are shaped more like a diaphragm. They have an outer ring with a soft center.
Menstrual cups come in all sorts of different shapes, sizes, diameters, firmness, and even colors, to suit many different people.
Menstrual discs follow a “one size fits most” system and, therefore, may not be comfortable for all people because the diameter of the rim is quite large.
Here are some more key differences between menstrual cups and menstrual discs.
Most are made of some type of silicone. You can find a few that are made of TPE (thermoplastic elastomer), and at least one made of gum rubber.
Made using a polymer blend.
Can be folded several different ways, allowing the user to control how small the insertion point will be. Some find that holding a certain fold allows the person a better grip while inserting it. Others feel that a certain fold with a particular cup will help it to open more easily within their body.
Folded by pinching the rim together at the center, making something like a taco.
Can be worn below the cervix, or it can sit higher with the rim completely nestled in the vaginal fornix. A slight seal or suction may be created depending on the cup and your body, which may help the cup stay in place better.
Placed under your cervix to rest in the vaginal fornix closest to your anus, and then tucked behind your pubic bone. Because the disc does not create a seal, some find that certain movements such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or bearing down in any way, may dislodge the disc and allow menstrual fluid to leak or gush out.
A single menstrual cup purchase can last up to ten years with proper care. It is meant to be washed and reused, which means no need to restock your disposable menstrual products each month.
While most, if not all, menstrual discs were created to be a one-time use item that is thrown out after each use, there was at least one disc in the past that was reusable for the duration of your period. However, it was still meant to be thrown out when your period ended. With a disc, you will need to continue to restock your supply each month.
Most menstrual cup companies recommend against using their menstrual cup while having penetrative sex. However, not all of the companies are against it. Use cups at your own discretion and at your own risk. Many have successfully used a menstrual cup during penetrative sex without any issues. If you have any concerns about it, check with the company to see what they recommend.
Menstrual discs were created to be worn while having penetrative sex during your period.
Because menstrual cups are more like a cup, some find it easier and less messy. Using two fingers to pinch the base, the cup is walked or slid out and held upright with the contents contained. The contents are then emptied into the toilet.
Can be a little trickier and messier for some. When removing the disc, a finger is inserted to hook the ring that was tucked behind the pubic bone. The disc needs to stay parallel to the ground to avoid spillage. Some find that as soon as they dislodge the rim, it allows blood to gush over if the “bag” of the disc did not expand fully during use.
Washed and stored or reinserted, so there’s no chance that blood and odor will linger in your trash.
If not rinsed well before being discarded, it can potentially cause a foul odor until the trash is emptied.
While using either the cup or the disc, practice will be needed to figure out the best way to insert and remove the device FOR YOU.
Anakalia aka Red Herring got an early start in the medical field at 15 years old when she was hired by Kapiolani Hospital (Hawaii) to public speak about teen sex and the hardship of teen pregnancy & parenting.Testing out of high school early, she then went on to be valedictorian in college (medical studies).During and after college, she worked for the very OB-GYN who delivered her first child.In 1996, while searching for another product, Red Herring came across a menstrual disc.While she didn't use them consistently, it opened her eyes to alternative menstrual products for the future.
Red Herring has been sharing her experience and knowledge of menstrual cups on YouTube since 2015. She has worked on or with several menstrual cup companies but chooses not to be credited.
"I want to help people find the right menstrualcup for their situation.Not pressure them to buy a menstrual cup [that I might have helped with] for the sake of sales."