When you haven't tried reusable period products, or even internal ones, it is really hard to know which will work best for you.
We thought we would share some of the differences of both and provide some resources out there that can help you figure this out.
The thing we do love about the journey to using reusable/internal menstrual products is that- you will learn so much more about your body, your health and feel empowered by what you discover.
Having a period is so normal and we want every menstruator to feel this. There is definitely power in knowledge!
To begin with- what even in the difference between a menstrual cup and a disc?
We recommend checking out our video tutorial here that shows you exactly what these are. In a nutshell, it comes down to the fact that they sit differently inside the vagina, their shape and flexibility is different and they are held in place differently (cups rely on suction while discs do not).
Benefits of Using a Menstrual Disc Over a Cup
Higher capacity. Menstrual discs typically have a higher capacity than menstrual cups, meaning you can go longer between changes. This is especially beneficial for people with heavy periods.
The Hey Zomi disc has a capacity of 52ml of fluid.
Generally, this holds about 3-4 tampons worth of menstrual fluid, meaning you can leave it in all day without worries.
No leaks. While lots of people have success using cups, there are still a large majority that end up leaking while using a cup. A disc however is an easier alternative to ensure leak free period care. If you do experience leaks while using a menstrual disc, have you ensured that your disc is actually in the right position? We have a tutorial to help you with figuring this out.
Can be worn for mess free pleasure. Menstrual discs can be worn comfortably for pleasure and play, making them a good option for people who want to have the action on their period without having to worry about leaks. It is a completely mess free experience. Find out more here.
Cups are like plugs - so it isn't a good idea to be using a cup while having penetrative play.
Less messy to remove. Menstrual discs can be less messy to remove than menstrual cups. This is because they don't have a stem, so there's no risk of tipping them over and spilling menstrual fluid. For some people, they find using internal menstrual products much messier compared to using pads and it can take a little getting used to. But your menstrual fluid is clean and sterile.
More comfortable for some people. Some people find that menstrual discs are more comfortable to wear than menstrual cups. This is because discs sits right under the cervix (vaginal fornix) rather than suctioning to the vaginal canal like cups. Cups are also much firmer or stiffer and so a disc can be more comfortable for people with sensitive bladders or who experience cramps. Discs are softer and more flexible.
Easier to insert and remove. Menstrual discs are inserted very similar to a tampon, this makes it easier when you are used to doing this. Some menstrual discs do not have any removal aids, but we designed the Hey Zomi disc to have a unique handle that helps make removal a total breeze. Sometimes, cups can get a little irritating by day 3 or 4 of using it because of the firmness and suction.
Undetectable. You really can't feel a menstrual disc once it's in the right place. Sometimes, cups can apply pressure internally and it is common that most people can feel their cup is indeed inside them. If you are switching over from a cup to a disc, you will notice the difference right away- A disc is like wearing nothing, which is amazing!
One size fits most. A menstrual disc size is generally one size, because this part of the vagina is the widest section of this internal space. Cups sit in the canal and it really does depend the height of your cervix to what cup suits your body. You are more likely to find a disc that works for your body easier than finding a cup.
Can be used safely with all activities. You can run, jump, dance, climb, scuba dive, ride a horse, surf, swim, ski, skateboard, weight lift, do yoga. All of these activities have been tested with discs and it is completely safe to do any activities on your period that you normally would, free from the worry of leaks.
IUD safe. Menstrual discs are completely safe to use if you have an IUD. Because they don't use suction like cups, discs will not pull or dislodge your IUD. Yay!
Saves you money. It may seem like a big investment to manage your monthly period. But actually, it saves you lots of money long term. For example, you spend only $55 on the Hey Zomi disc and it lasts you for up to 5 years.
How much do you spend on your monthly period over 5 years?
The average menstruator spends $20 a month on period care (this does not include chocolate) each month. This equals $1200 spent over 5 years!
What about the drawbacks of using a menstrual disc/cup?
Which one do you buy? It is hard when there are lots of choices available online. Cups are harder to choose, because you do need to know how high or low your cervix is. This isn't hard to figure out and there are some great resources out there to help you. A disc is generally easier to find a fit that suits you. Just keep in mind that a firmer disc can be more challenging to insert or remove. A disc without a removal aid like a loop or a handle can also be tricker to remove, but you figure this out quickly.
More expensive initially. It seems expensive to pay a larger upfront cost to get a period care option like a menstrual cup or disc. But it can really save you a lot over 5 years!
- Generic brands of cups or discs. It is important to consider that if you buy a cheaper quality disc like some that you find on big online retailers, these a generic brands that are most likely not using medical grade silicone, or mixing the silicone they use in manufacturing. We have found some of these generic brands can end up having weird smells after use, sterilisation can affect the overall firmness or quality of the product and pigments or dyes used are not medically approved by governing bodies like the Australia TGA or FDA. It is important to know the brand and the quality of your product, so that you have peace of mind with what you are inserting into your body.
There are some great educational websites out there if you are looking for a chart that compares cups and disc brands. We particularly like Period Nirvana's resources. Kim Rosas also created a quiz to help you figure out what product may suit you best.