How Do Period Discs Compare To Menstrual Cups?

Products like period discs and menstrual cups are soaring in popularity, with a community of over 69 million users on TikTok watching tutorials on these menstrual products. It's estimated that 800 million people menstruate globally every day, while the U.S. sees $2 billion spent on menstrual products every year — most of these disposable items like sanitary pads and tampons (via Forbes). With discriminating pink taxes and unrelenting period poverty, goods like discs and cups provide a more sustainable and affordable option for people who menstruate. 

Both period discs and cups serve the same purpose — to collect blood — but each apparatus operates differently. First, you need to consider their shapes which determine how they're inserted and removed. Then you may want to consider their ability to be sex-friendly or not. But one of the most common questions about these instruments is: "How long can I wear them for?" The length of time a person can wear a period disc and menstrual cup is a deal-breaker for many people. Both products can contain blood for up to 12 hours. However, this depends on the weight of the flow. According to the founder of Period Nirvana Kim Rosas, period discs have a higher capacity for heavy flows but lack in various sizes (via Period Nirvana).

While they both do the same thing and last for similar durations, period discs and menstrual cups are actually quite different.

Period discs vs. menstrual cups

A period disc is inserted by folding it into the shape of a tampon to fit snugly around the cervix and removed using an index finger to hook the rim to steadily pull it out (via Healthline). This process can be messy so the trick is to keep the disc horizontal and sit on the toilet to avoid spills. A menstrual cup is inserted by folding and pushing into the vagina underneath the cervix. It works by sealing the circumference of the vagina and providing suction that prevents leaks (via Period Nirvana). It's removed by pinching the bottom of the cup and pulling it down until it comes out of the vagina with all contents intact — a lot cleaner than discs. 

Many may wonder what sex is like wearing a period disc versus a menstrual cup. Since period discs sit at the top of the vagina, there's plenty of space for penetrative sex. One experimenter said that while the period disc was more detectable during certain positions, it stayed inside and leaked no blood on the sheets (via PopSugar). A menstrual cup, on the other hand, must be removed before sex as it occupies the entire vaginal canal leaving no room for internal escapades (via WebMD).

Moreover, period discs are also known to not interfere with period pains as they sit at the widest part of the vagina where it cramps less, as opposed to menstrual cups that inhabit the entire vagina (via Healthline).

Are period discs and menstrual cups reusable?

Most period discs are disposable after one use, which makes them a less favorable menstrual product (via Healthline). However, the Intima Ziggy Cup is a reusable cup that resembles a menstrual disc and is also sex-friendly. This means you get the benefits of affordability with a sustainable period product and you have the option to be intimate as well. Menstrual cups are a popular option among users that help to combat period poverty, as this flexible rubber chalice is easy to clean for your next cycle and can even last up to 10 years (via WebMD). The removal process is also less messy, which is a bonus for those menstruating on the go

Both period products offer many pros and cons that ultimately depend on the user. While some people may want to prioritize sustainability, others might want the option to be sexually active during their flow. If you're still unsure after weighing up these comparisons, the only way to determine which is right for you is to try them on for yourself. Happy period!