Menstrual Disc: Your A to Z Beginner Guide

Menstrual Disc: Your A to Z Beginner Guide

14 minute read

You’ve realized you want an upgrade from tampons and pads.

You want more out of your period days.

Allow us to introduce you to the menstrual disc.

It is a no-brainer alternative for people who are looking for safer and more sustainable period care, from teens to those entering perimenopause.

The benefits are endless: mess-free period sex, comfort, and reusability to name a few. A menstrual disc offers full circle period care for everyone.

New disc users will have to undergo a small learning curve but fret not, that’s why we’re going to cover all you need to know here - and we’re excited for you!

A quick note before we get started: at nixit, we strive to nix stigmas around periods. We’re also fueled by empowering people to make informed decisions about the products they choose to use. Let’s question, discuss, and tear down the taboo. If you are passionate about this too feel free to share and help spread awareness of sustainable menstrual products.

Now, let’s dive right into everything you need to know as a disc beginner.

What Is a Menstrual Disc?

A menstrual disc is an alternative period product to tampons and pads which offers 12 hours of protection. Similar to a menstrual cup, it’s an insertable menstrual product that collects blood, it’s just that it’s disc-shaped, instead of bell-shaped.

Unlike menstrual cups, menstrual discs sit in the vaginal fornix, a recess in your upper vagina and are tucked behind your pubic bone to stay in place.

Unlike tampons, which have been found to contain pesticides, parabens, and phthalates , discs are made from comfortable, body-safe materials, which makes them a better option for those seeking safer alternatives.

Which Is Better—a Menstrual Cup or a Menstrual Disc?

diagram showing vaginal fornix and vaginal canal

Source: nixit

Both menstrual cups and discs will spare you those extra trips to the loo. Just think of reducing your maintenance visits to as little as twice a day. While cups can be less messy to remove, discs are comfier to wear as there is no suction and less nerve endings in the fornix.

Your safest bet, however, is to do some testing. Experiment with each of them on your heavy and light-flow days to see which one fits your needs best.

While discs may be a less-known, eco-friendly menstrual protection, they share most of the benefits with cups. Below we shed light on just a few of them to help you move past your menstrual cup vs. disc debate.

  • Menstrual discs don’t require a suction seal, which is an excellent feature for those who wear an IUD.

  • Discs can hold more menstrual fluid than cups, which means less frequent toilet changes and more time to live your life. While a menstrual cup holds the equivalent of 2 regular tampons, most discs collect the equivalent of 3–5 tampons of period fluid.

  • Wearing a menstrual disc allows you to have mess-free penetrative sex on your period, whereas a menstrual cup needs to be removed in order to do so.

Featured Resource: Menstrual Disc vs Cup: How to Choose Your Fighter

How to Insert a Menstrual Disc?

how to insert a menstrual disc

To insert a menstrual disc, follow the 4 simple steps below:

  1. Squeeze a menstrual disc in the middle, then insert it into your vagina using one finger while guiding the front rim of the disc towards your cervix (much further than where a tampon sits).

  1. Once covering the entire cervix, tuck the disc behind your pubic bone. To ensure you did this right, push your disc up slightly while inserting. A few kegels can help here!

  1. After the 12-hour mark, it’s time to remove your disc. To do this, untuck it away from your pubic bone. Hook the disc rim with your finger and pull out keeping it level to avoid spillage.

  1. Empty, wash, and re-insert.

It’s stupid-simple once you get the hang of it but bear in mind you won’t immediately become a menstrual disc whizz. You need some experience under your belt first before you level up.

“I'll be honest, my first insertion was an epic fail. I didn't position the rim properly so I woke up with bloodied sheets. After stripping the bed and cleaning myself up, I tried a few more times before finally inserting my cup correctly. It was surprisingly comfortable- so comfortable in fact, that I forgot I was wearing it.

Then came time to empty it. Honestly, this was a little icky (initially). I made the mistake of NOT keeping the cup level when pulling it out so I ended up with more blood than I cared for on my hands. However, I eventually found my rhythm and I mastered the removal.”

Janelle King, MPH, BSN, RN, a registered nurse review

Featured Resource: How to Use a Menstrual Disc: Expectations vs. Reality

Are Menstrual Discs Safe to Use?

Menstrual cups and discs are considered a safer form of period protection. Since they’re made from medical-grade silicone you don’t have to worry the products will affect your natural vaginal flora.

There are some cases of TSS associated with using menstrual cups. According to Healthline, however, toxic shock syndrome is very rare in disc users. This risk is typically associated with using tampons because they absorb, NOT collect blood.

Worries about risks are normal, especially if you’re new to menstrual discs. However, below are some tips to help you dispel any scary what-if scenarios in your head and keep you safe.

Wash your hands well when inserting and removing your disc. Making sure you wash and empty your device at proper times will also reduce the risk of infection.

Why Switch to a Menstrual Disc?

It Gives You A Comfy Period Experience

To find the most comfortable menstrual product for yourself, choose according to the criteria listed below:

  • Materials used. Absorbent period products like tampons can cause vaginal dryness leaving you to deal with painful product insertion and removal. Menstrual discs cause no such symptoms as they’re made from more comfortable silicone materials.

  • Position. Menstrual discs are nested in the widest part of the vaginal canal, the so-called vaginal fornix. Once a disc is tucked up securely behind your pubic bone, you shouldn't even be able to feel it.

  • Sizing. The market is brimming with menstrual cup brands and for his reason, finding the right fit for you can be quite a hassle. Most discs, however, are about a standard size (60 mm – 70 mm in diameter).

  • Disc firmness. Choose discs that are softer in firmness, if your vagina is narrower or you just want the insertion to be as seamless as possible.

The rim of a softer disc will bend into a more narrow width and cause less friction during insertion and removal. This is why we made sure our nixit cup is soft, flexible, and comfortable to use for most wearers.

tweet reviewing nixit

Featured Resource: The 4 Best Period Products for Ultimate Comfort and Vaginal Wellness

It Gives You Freedom to Put Yourself Out There

girl on bicycle

Menstrual discs have been gaining popularity mostly for the unparalleled freedom that comes with using them.

You need to empty your disc at a mere 12-hour interval, which means you can go about your day doing the things you love.

You may need to empty and reinsert your disc more frequently if your flow is at its heaviest, but if you find yourself a higher capacity disc, you don’t even have to do that. Plus, did you know you can self-empty your disc by tilting your hips forward and gently bearing down to empty the contents into the toilet without having to remove it within the 12 hours?

This all translates into a life you’ve been wanting for yourself. How about sneaking out for a swim after work? Practising worry-free yoga, or mess-free sex? How about hustling all day without having your eye on the nearest loo 24-7? If this is you, then a menstrual disc will be life-changing.

It Gives You the Option of Mess-Free Period Sex

If period sex is your thing and you'd like the option of it being mess-free, discs are a great option for you. Discs take the mess out of period sex as your cervix stays covered while your canal remains clear.

You can relax, knowing your menstrual disc won’t leak during intercourse. But you may think to yourself how penetrative period sex is possible with a menstrual disc in?

Thanks to its flat fit and its position higher in the vaginal canal, there’s plenty of real estate for penetration to be possible, solo or partnered! Fun fact: your vaginal canal elongates when aroused!

picture showing nixit

It Holds 4x the Amount of a Super Tampon

Menstrual discs can hold PLENTY of menstrual fluid—and this is why many people switch to them in the first place.

Are you leaking every 2 to 4 hours even with a super tampon? Are light days as far-fetched for you as living on a remote island with 5 million bucks in your bank account? If yes, menstrual discs can be an answer to your problems.

Discs can hold up to 70 ml of menstrual fluid, beating most menstrual cups in capacity, since they plateau at around 10–38 ml. But we’ll break this down for you so you can get more clarity.

  • What about menstrual cups? To make this super-simple, imagine the amount of 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons of fluid. That’s how much they can hold. It’s double the capacity of a super tampon.

  • Conversely, menstrual discs can hold about 5 to 6 teaspoons of fluid. In other words, they hold four times the capacity of a super tampon. What a game-changer that is, right?

Featured Resource: How to Find a Good Menstrual Cup for Heavy Flow?

It’s Sustainable

tampons against a deep green background

Did you know single-use menstrual products create 200,000 tonnes of waste per year​? Worse still, they’re typically not even biodegradable, meaning they take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills.

Reusable menstrual discs can help you break this vicious circle. But aren’t most menstrual discs disposable? Not exactly.

Although there are many disposable discs on the market (typically made from medical-grade polymer), brands like nixit are introducing reusable, eco-friendly options.

Since our launch in 2019, nixit has diverted over 3.5 million pounds of period product waste from going to landfill. And if you make nixit a disc of your choice, you’ll be able to cut down your period waste by 99%.

menstrual products waste vs nixit as a sustainable option

Featured Resource: 8 Reasons to Switch to a Reusable Menstrual Disc

Troubleshooting Your Menstrual Disc Problems

Why Is My Period Disc Leaking?

Menstrual discs shouldn’t leak if you do the insertion thingy right. And this is exactly why they’re a slightly better option than cups. Namely, most cups come in a set of different sizes, which can be a downside. If a menstrual cup isn’t fitted correctly to you, it will leak.

Menstrual discs, on the flip side, are more flexible and they all come with more or less of a universal size, which makes the hunt for the perfect fit much easier. Once you have a perfect size and once you’ve positioned the device correctly, you should have a leak-free experience.

If you spot leaking in the toilet on your bathroom visits, this is nothing to be worried about. Like we mentioned before, it’s called a self-emptying feature and it works to your best interest.

What actually happens is that a disc can dislodge temporarily when you push your pelvic muscles on the toilet, resulting in releasing some of the menstrual blood down the drain. And yay, that means less manual work for you!

If you want your nixit cup secure down there, you can use your finger to feel the rim and double-check the disc is in place. Also, try different positions, for example, squatting over the toilet while standing on your tippy toes. Or sit on the toilet and spread your legs while tilting your pelvis up. This should help you place the disc correctly.

If you’re noticing leaking randomly throughout the day, send us a message and we’ll help troubleshoot with you to get your disc as secure as possible!

“This product is incredible! It worked from the first time I inserted it when other traditional cups still hadn’t worked leak free after 6+ months of use. Literally no leaks at all and so comfortable. Highly recommend!!” 
Grace B., Verified buyer

Featured Resource: 4 Leak-Free Menstrual Cups For Your Long-Term Peace of Mind

Are Menstrual Discs Messy?

So, are discs messy upon removal? We did mention they’re messier than cups.

Menstrual blood can end up on your fingers. This is because a shallow bowl-shaped disc will disfigure slightly while you’re pulling it out through the narrow vaginal canal. But this doesn’t have to be bad.

Once you get the hang of the disc removal technique, things will get less and less messy. But then again, menstrual cups can be messy to remove too and just like with cups, it takes some getting used to.

To minimize the risk of blood spilling over your fingers, keep the disc level as you remove it. Some users prefer removing in the shower too!

The self-emptying feature also comes at your rescue. If you self-empty your disc periodically, it won't be as full when it’s time to remove it. Consequently, you’ll have less blood on your fingers. But remember, menstrual blood isn’t dirty or anything to be ashamed of. Some toilet paper or a rinse in the sink will get it right off.

Can You Use a Menstrual Disc With Low Cervix?

The answer is yes. The way a disc sits in your body (higher up in the vaginal canal) allows you to use a menstrual disc even if you have a low cervix.

Moreover, a menstrual disc can be a good alternative for cup users who have had problems with cups being too long for them. Even cups with the shortest stems on the market might not be a good fit for those having a low or an average low cervix.

With a diameter of 70 mm, nixit can work for menstruators with either low or high cervix.

“The nixit shape works for both low and high cervixes, so with my cervix raising and lowering during my period, I can wear nixit throughout the entire cycle without issue.

Successfully wore it through a week of hiking and active adventures in Costa Rica last month—no leaks! It's on the pricier end for cups, but it's the cup that's been most effective and comfortable for me. If I ever hear this company is closing up shop, I'm stocking up.”
Reddit review

Featured Resource: How to Insert a Menstrual Disc in Under 3 Minutes?

What Makes nixit Stand Out From the Crowd?

nixit box cup and carrying bag

nixit is the synonym for quality, sustainability, and comfort in the menstrual product niche. If you’re looking for a device that solves most of your menstrual problems, then nixit is an option worth considering.

It’s a sustainable, mess-free reusable menstrual cup that lasts you up to five years. That’s truly remarkable value for your vag.

The soft, disc-shaped menstrual cup is made of body-safe materials designed to preserve the wellness of your vagina. This high-capacity device is your ticket for a worry-free period. It conforms to your

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