What is the difference between a menstrual disc and a menstrual cup?
Both menstrual discs and cups offer many benefits over traditional period products: They can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time, have a higher capacity and produce less waste than traditional period products, don’t cause dryness or irritation, and are made with biologically inert materials that do not disrupt vaginal pH.
What’s the difference between the two?
A menstrual disc is a flat, flexible period product that collects blood while worn in the vaginal fornix. ICYMI, the vaginal fornix is your vagina’s ‘rear wall’—it’s the widest part of the vagina, just beneath your cervix. Menstrual discs are held in place by the pubic bone. They have a wider diameter than a standard (bell-shaped) menstrual cup, which is worn lower down in the vaginal canal.
The term ‘menstrual disc’ was coined by Flex Founder & CEO Lauren Schulte Wang in 2016—even before The Flex Company had officially launched. Not long after, Wang acquired Softdisc, a product then known as Instead Softcup and categorized as a menstrual cup. Even in the company’s earliest days, Wang recognized the need to create a distinct category for this unique product.
Because of their placement in the fornix, menstrual discs do not block the vaginal canal. This helps to alleviate common yet aggravating period symptoms, like cramping and irritation. In 2018, Flex conducted a survey of 357 customers in which the following was reported:
64.67% responded that they had experienced less cramping with Flex Disc compared to their previous period product.
79.94% responded that they had experienced reduced dryness with Flex Disc compared to their previous period product.
86.89% responded that they had experienced less irritation with Flex Disc compared to their previous period product.
The flat fit design also allows menstrual discs to be worn during period sex for an experience that’s completely mess-free.
Menstrual discs are either disposable or reusable. The first menstrual disc on the market, Softdisc—still a part of the Flex family of brands—is a single-use, disposable product. Flex Disc and Flex Plant+ Disc are also disposable menstrual discs. All disposable discs offered by Flex are made with medical-grade polymers and can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time (after 12 hours, they must be removed and thrown away).
Flex also offers a sustainable, 100% medical-grade silicone menstrual disc that can be washed and re-worn, just like a menstrual cup: Flex Reusable Disc. The Reusable Disc lasts for years and simply needs to be cleaned with a mild soap or cleanser in between wears and prior to storing.
Menstrual cups, on the other hand, are always reusable. Most are made with silicone (Flex Cup is made with 100% medical-grade silicone, just like Flex Reusable Disc). There are hundreds of menstrual cups on the market today—but all are not created equal.
Menstrual cups, including Flex Cup, are worn in the vaginal canal (the same place a tampon sits) and are held in place with suction. To insert a menstrual cup, you can use one of several different types of folds, like the “C fold,” shown below. To insert a menstrual disc, you simply pinch it in half. Both products pop back open once inserted, creating a seal that helps to prevent leaks.
When it comes time to remove your menstrual cup, it’s important to “break the seal” and release the suction before pulling it out. Traditional menstrual cups must be removed by inserting two fingers, gripping the base of the cup, and pinching to manually break the seal. Flex Cup is the only period cup in the world that features a patented pull-tab that breaks the seal for you—so removing your cup is as easy as pulling out a tampon.
Flex Cup is available in two sizes; Flex menstrual discs are available in one size designed to fit most vaginas. Keep in mind that only menstrual discs can be worn during penetrative sex; cups must be removed before sex.
Have any other questions? We've got answers! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org—we're happy to help!
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