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Menstrual discs versus cups which product is best for you? This can be a tough choice. And quite honestly it’s been difficult for me to choose which product I prefer. But after using both menstrual cups and discs I’ve realized there are advantages and disadvantages of both. And your needs will be the determining factor on which product is the winner.

Menstrual Disc Advantages

Higher Capacity

When it comes to capacity menstrual discs have a clear advantage especially if you have heavy flow. On average, discs can hold 30mL to 76mL and can be worn for up to 12 hours.  However, the disc brand and manufacturer will determine capacity. So, pay attention to the specifications of each disc when shopping around.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that the disc shape is slightly altered when inserted into the vagina. So, analyze different brands, shapes, and sizes before making a final purchase.

One Size Fits All

Another advantage of menstrual discs is that they don’t require a specific size. Whereas cups do require a specific size to form a seal around the cervix. Since discs are designed to rest beneath the cervix and pubic bone, it doesn’t need to form a seal to collect flow and prevent leaks.

woman holding clear menstrual cup in the battle of menstrual disc versus cup she chose the cup

Less Pressure & Beneficial For Active Lifestyles

Another advantage is menstrual discs exert less pressure than cups. Not experiencing excess pressure on the pelvis decreases cramping. This is beneficial for painful periods or increased cramping at the beginning of menstruation.

Additionally, a lack of pressure means discs don’t press against the bladder or rectum as much. This removes the urge to urinate frequently and makes urination and defecation easier.

Furthermore, discs are beneficial for those that lead an active lifestyle. Not having to worry about the possibility of accidentally “pushing” your cup out during sports or activities that require bracing the core musculature is definitely beneficial.

Menstrual Cup Advantages

Increased Awareness And Accessibility

Awareness and accessibility are essential considerations regarding reusable menstrual products. And it’s in this category that cups have the advantage. Cup manufacturers outweigh disc manufacturers, or at least it seems that way to me. It took quite a while before I realized menstrual discs were available when I was embarking on my journey to a zero-waste period.

The fact is there’s a variety of different cups on the market. And, their popularity has created an increased demand for these products, which encourages more manufacturers to develop and release cups. So, it’s natural for cups to be more accessible than discs.

Beginner Friendly

This is a debatable factor.  But I consider cups a better option for beginners. The first most apparent factor is that cups are less intimidating. Of the two the cup looks a little less intimidating. I know this was the primary reason I chose menstrual cups over discs when I started using sustainable menstrual products.

Furthermore, cup removal is less messy than disc removal. There’s little to no mess when removing a cup properly. And, it’s a bit easier to clean and reinsert in a bathroom stall. Carrying small travel-sized feminine wipes allows you to wipe and disinfect the cup before re-inserting.

Lastly, renovations in cup design have taken the worry out of the removal process. The Flex Cup is one such cup and has a soft pull tab removal system that creates less mess. This makes the Flex cup an appropriate option if you travel or you’re working and need to empty your cup on the go. Additionally, this innovative removal approach eliminates the worry many newbies have regarding the removal process.

african american woman sitting in white camisole with arms wrapped around her legs

Menstrual Disc Disadvantages

Menstrual discs are intimidating because of how they look. This makes them less beginner-friendly. Their appearance and concerns on correctly inserting, positioning, and removing the disc overpower the advantages.

Lastly, disc removal is a tad bit messy. For many, this is an automatic turn-off especially if you have to change it out on the go. And, no one relishes the idea of having a messy clean-up in a bathroom stall at work.

Menstrual Cup Disadvantages

Having to worry about finding the correct size puts menstrual cups at a disadvantage. Typically cups come in two different sizes. The first size is suitable if you haven’t given birth vaginally or you’re younger than 35. The second size is best if you’ve given birth vaginally or you’re over the age of 35.

However, this isn’t the standard for all cups. Some manufacturers go by capacity as opposed to the sizing method I mentioned earlier. And cervix height also plays a factor in choosing the cup that’s best suited for your anatomy.  This makes finding and purchasing a cup overwhelming.

In addition to sizing conflicts, you may experience discomfort caused by increased pressure and sensitivity. These complications can interfere with emptying the bladder fully when urinating and interfere with defecating. You may also find your cramps increase because you’re sensitive to pressure.

Lastly, cup insertion, positioning, and removal are tricky. Learning how to properly use a cup will take time. You’re going to go through a learning curve and experience a lot of mistakes along the way. So, committing to using a menstrual cup will take time and patience.

woman in grey lingiere sitting on bed with arms wrapped around one leg

How To Decide?

Choosing the option that works for you is a personal decision. However, there are fundamental factors you may want to consider. Primary considerations include understanding your flow and what type of coverage you need. If you have moderate to heavy flow discs will be an ideal option. Whereas cups may be a better option if you have a light to average flow.

Also, consider pelvic cramping and your sensitivity to menstrual products. If you’ve found tampons to increase menstrual cramps during your periods and create excess pressure on your bladder or made defecating uncomfortable, menstrual discs are a better option.

If you’re a beginner and find sustainable menstrual products intimidating, starting off with the cup can help ease you into the process. Learning how to use a cup and becoming confident with insertion and removal can increase your openness to giving discs a try.

On the other hand, you may find cups difficult and decide to experiment with discs to determine if they’re a better fit. Either way, from personal experience, I believe cups are a gateway product for those new to reusable period products.

You may consider additional options and preferences such as lifestyle, comfort level, how active you are if you travel a lot, etc. Regardless of what you’re looking for, transitioning to sustainable menstrual products is beneficial for your vaginal health and the environment.