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Menstrual cup vs disc: Pros and cons to choose the right period product

Menstrual cup or menstrual disc? Wondering which period product is better for you? We tell you how to pick a winner in this menstrual cup vs disc battle.
View All Images Menstrual cup and disc for period-friendly world
Menstrual cup and disc are popular period products. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Shruti Bhattacharya Published: 28 Apr 2024, 04:30 pm IST
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Menstruation brings along period pain, mood swings and food cravings. While sanitary pads are still favoured by a lot of women, period products such as menstrual cups and discs have also gained popularity for their convenience and safety of use and for being earth-friendly. But which one is more effective? Read on to know the pros and cons of menstrual cups and discs before taking a decision.

What is a menstrual cup?

Menstrual cup is a reusable period product. It is a small, flexible funnel-shaped cup made of medical-grade rubber or silicone that you can insert into the vagina to catch and collect period fluid.

menstrual cup
The menstrual cup is an environment-friendly period product! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Benefits of using a menstrual cup

1. Eco-friendly

Menstrual cups can endure for years with careful care unlike disposable pads and tampons which significantly increase waste. This makes it a more sustainable option by lowering the environmental impact of menstrual waste, according to a 2022 study published in the Cureus Journal.

2. Safe for longer periods

Menstrual cups can hold more blood than other products such as tampons and sanitary pads, so they can be worn for up to 12 hours, depending on the flow, which means fewer changes throughout the day, as per a 2019 study published in The Lancet journal.

3. Cost-effective

Menstrual cups are reasonably priced. While the initial cost may be higher than purchasing disposable products, the long-term benefits are significant. With careful maintenance, a single menstrual cup can last for years, eliminating the need for monthly pad or tampon purchases.

4. Complete leak protection

Menstrual cups, when used correctly, are quite successful in preventing leakage during periods. This can be especially helpful for activities such as swimming, working out, or travelling. So, you can swim with a menstrual cup, and even travel, and do intense workouts.

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Disadvantages of menstrual cup

1. Difficult to find the correct size

It can be difficult to select the appropriate menstrual cup size and shape. Some users may need to try several brands or sizes before finding one that fits well and prevents period leaks.

2. Leads to potential discomfort

If not inserted correctly, it may cause discomfort or even pain. So, it requires a lot of patience and practice to insert the menstrual cup to avoid discomfort or pain.

3. Messy removal

It might be messy to remove a menstrual cup, especially for first-timers. Spills and leaks might happen if removed carelessly, which can cause discomfort.

What is a menstrual disc?

A menstrual disc is another type of menstrual product that collects menstrual blood. It is larger and typically worn at the base of the cervix, behind the pubic bone.

Advantages of using menstrual disc

1. Safe for sex

Some types of menstrual discs can be worn during sex without leakage, unlike the menstrual cups. So, it is a perfect and safe way to have sex during periods, says the expert.

menstrual disc
Menstrual discs can make your periods mess-free. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock.

2. Comfortable

Some users find discs more comfortable than cups due to their positioning. Discs sit in the vaginal fornix and lay snugly behind the pubic bone to stay in place. Unlike menstrual cups, they do not use suction, and their efficacy is not dependent on the strength of the pelvic floor muscles.

3. Works for heavy flow

Discs often have a higher capacity than cups, making them suitable for heavy flow days. According to a 2023 study published in the BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health journal, test results showed that menstrual discs held the most blood at 61 ml as compared to the absorption of sanitary pads, tampons, and menstrual cups. So, if you have heavy periods then use menstrual discs.

4. No messy removal

A menstrual disc is removed by pushing it out horizontally. This disc can be removed to reduce the chance of spills by hooking a finger under the rim.

Disadvantages of menstrual discs

1. Limited options

There are fewer brands and styles of menstrual discs compared to cups. Also, menstrual discs are not as common or popular, so the first choice of most women who want a reusable product tends to be the cup.

2. Infection risk

Good hygiene is essential to lower the chance of infection, just like any period product. Before handling the disc, wash your hands according to the cleaning guidelines provided by the manufacturer.

Choosing between a menstrual cup and a disc depends on personal preference, lifestyle, and comfort level. If comfort during sex and high capacity are priorities, a disc may be preferable. However, if eco-friendliness and cost-effectiveness are more important, a menstrual cup might be the better choice.

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About the Author

Shruti Bhattacharya is a content writer and editor for over 2 years. She specialises in writing on a variety of topics such as wellness, lifestyle, beauty, technology and fashion. Her current focus is on creating factually correct and informative stories for readers. ...Read More

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