What Are Menstrual Discs?

What Are Menstrual Discs?

What is a menstrual disc?

A menstrual disc works similarly to a menstrual cup in that it sits in the vaginal canal and collects menstrual blood.  A menstrual disc works differently because they don't suction into place in the vaginal canal. It sits length ways under the cervix and tucks under the public bone.
A menstrual disc can be a great alternative for those with higher cervix or those who are more sensitive and struggled with more traditional cups.

Cups & Discs Similarities & Differences

For more than a decade there has been a huge explosion in the range of alternative period products. Cups and discs have become leading reusable menstrual period products.

Taking menstrual discs and cups as separate period products could be compared to glasses and contact lenses. Both are effective in correcting vision, but the product is completely different and used in many ways.

The menstrual cup and disc are a period product intended for collection of menstruating fluid. However they are used in very different ways in the body. .

There are a few key differences between a menstrual cup and a disc.


  • Cups and discs both collect menstrual blood
  • Cups and discs both sit in the vaginal canal
  • Cups and disks both can be worn for up to 8 hours
  • You can insert both before your period starts
  • Both mentrual cups and menstrual discs uk are made from medical grade materials


  • The main difference between menstrual cups and menstural discs and is how they fit in the vagina. A period cup sits in the vaginal canal below the cervix. A menstrual disc sits much higher and fits back into the vaginal fornix behind the cervix.
  • The size, shape and removal are very difference. The shape of a menstrual disc is similar to that of a diaphragm contraceptive.
  • Menstrual cups can be folded in many different ways, a menstrual disc is folded by pinching the rim together and inserting lengthways.
  • Mensturual discs have a more flexible body with a firmer rim, menstrual cups are more structured
  • Menstrual cups are easier for mess free emptying, menstrual discs are a bit more fiddly and therefore potentially messy
  • Menstrual discs are well known for their mess free period sex (but it's advised to empty it first)
  • Menstrual cups CAN NOT be worn during sex
  • Menstrual discs don't create a suction, they are held in place by the pubic bone.

Menstrual discs are available as reusable or disposable menstrual discs however reusable discs are more far more popular due to being more economical and environmentally friendly. At this time The Period Lady does not stock disposable discs. With both types of discs the period blood is stored just under the cervix, higher up in the vagina than a reusable menstrual cup.

How does a menstrual discs work?

Menstrual disks are worn internally as a tampon but they do not absorb period flow. The disc body is very soft but the rim is firmer to ensure the disc holds it's shape. It is held in place behind the public bone and allows you to go about your day as normal.

You can go walking, swimming or even have penetrative sex.

Discs are usually safe for wear for 8-12 hours and will collect menstrual blood during that time. You must ensure you empty and clean your disc within this time frame to minimise the risk of toxic shock syndrome. When you practice good hygiene there is very low risk of infection and the disc or cup can be safely worn for every period.

Which is better a menstrual cup or disc?

There isn't a right or wrong answer, test both options and see which you prefer. You can use both at night, during exercise and light-flow or heavy-flow days.

Read our guide "can I  use a menstrual cup if tampons don't work for me" you are worried that a cup or disc won't work for you.

Can you have sex using a menstrual disc or cup?

Sex has been shown to be the major difference between menstrual discs and cups.

The menstrual discs sit on the upper end of our vagina, under the cervix.

Many people who feel uncomfortable with period sex find they are happy to partake as the menstrual disc leaves them feeling cleaner and more confident.

Please be aware that even if menstrual discs lie below the cervix like diaphragms they can not be considered as birth control.

It is important to note that you can ONLY have sex with a menstrual disc and not a menstrual cup. The menstrual disc sits much higher than a cup so it is out of the way. A menstrual cut sits lower, is firmer and blocks the vaginal canal.

Can a guy feel a menstrual disc?

Discs are high in the vagina and largely out of the way during sexual penetration so it should not be easy to feel. However if you have a shorter vaginal canal or your partner has a larger than average penis then these might be the exception.

There is only one way to find out so take it slow and gentle and see how you get on. The menstrual disc will collect period blood leading you to have mess free period sex.

Can you use menstrual cups or discs with an IUD?

Yes you can use most menstrual discs and cups however be careful when removing so that you don't pull on the strings.

Do menstrual cups or discs reduce cramps?

Both menstrual cups are inserted into the vagina, however cramping happens when the muscles in the uterus contract. Although some reviewers believe menstrual cup discs improve cramps and period pain, no evidence has been provided to support these claims.

Is a menstrual disc worth it?


If you buy a reusable menstrual disc you only need one. If you care for your reusable disc carefully it will last you many many years saving you the cost of monthly disposable menstrual products.

How much does a menstrual disc hold?

Menstural discs such as the Nixit period disc offer exceptionally high containment, much higher than even a super tampon. Far higher than most menstrual cups or pads.

Saalt menstrual disc offers a variety of containment levels so you can match your flow exactly to the size of cup.

For people with very heavy periods menstrual discs give them back the freedom to go about their day without worrying about leaks. Some people also use period underwear such as period pants to give themselves extra confidence until they are used to the level their menstrual disc can hold and the length of time between changes. It is always a learning curve when you start with a new period product as you learn how they work and gain confidence in them.

Menstrual cup vs disc: Doubts dispelled

Join our private Facebook community group to discuss how other people have got on with their menstrual discs and menstrual cups. Tell us what you've been using and why?