Although menstrual discs have been around for a while, they’ve recently been increasing in popularity. Both menstrual cups and discs have their advantages and disadvantages, and the best product for you will depend on several different factors. While discs can be a little messier than cups, many users love them because they don’t form a seal inside the vagina, they can empty themselves (more on that in a bit), and they can be worn during sex.
Both cups and discs involve a bit of a learning curve. Menstrual discs are inserted and worn entirely differently than menstrual cups, so even if you’ve been a cup user for years, a disc may take a little getting used to. If you’ve tried switching to a disc and haven’t quite gotten the hang of it, don’t get too frustrated! It may take a few cycles to get it right.
Because of the way discs are positioned, they are mostly one-size-fits all. While discs are available in varying sizes and degrees of firmness, these attributes matter less than they do with a cup – but they may affect how comfortable your disc is.
Personally, I find discs much more comfortable and easier to insert and remove than menstrual cups. After several months of using a disc, I will probably never go back to cups! But, I still sometimes experience leaks, and I always need to remind myself which way it should be facing when I insert it (open towards the front, so that the back end goes in first).
If you haven’t quite mastered the use of a menstrual disc, take a look at some of our top tips for menstrual disc issues.
Problem #1: Menstrual disc is uncomfortable
You should not be able to feel your menstrual disc once it’s in place. If you can feel it or it’s uncomfortable, it may not be inserted correctly or positioned high enough in the vaginal canal. A disc should sit directly under the cervix, in the upper part of the vagina known as the vaginal fornix.
You may notice that the fit or feel of your disc can change depending on where you are in your cycle and the position of your cervix at the time. During menstruation, the cervix is usually low, but its position can change from day to day, so you may find that your disc is more or less comfortable on one day versus another. If you have a low cervix, you may need a disc that is smaller in size.
The disc can also cause discomfort if it becomes untucked at the front and slips down into the vaginal canal. This can also cause leaks.
Side note: if you have a tilted, or retroverted, cervix, you may not be able to use a disc as there may not be enough space in the vaginal fornix to tuck the disc behind the cervix. But you won’t really know until you try. If you do have a retroverted cervix, try using a scooping motion as you insert the disc to get the disc underneath the cervical opening.
Problem #2: Menstrual disc is pushing on bladder
Because of where a disc is placed, which is higher in the body, it typically will not have full contact with the bladder. While feeling bladder pressure or a frequent need to urinate isn’t unheard of with a menstrual disc, it’s less common than with a menstrual cup. However, if your disc feels like it’s pushing on your bladder, it could be that you need a smaller disc or a disc that is less firm. A disc that is firmer will create more pressure.
Problem #3: Menstrual disc is falling out / keeps slipping
You may notice your menstrual disc falling out or slipping if the front comes untucked, which can happen if you aren’t pushing the front of the disc up high enough. In order for your disc to stay in place throughout the day, it must be tucked up behind the pubic bone.
New disc users may especially feel some apprehension about pushing the front of the disc too high. Try to really tuck the front rim over the pubic bone as high as you can, which should become easier as you get more comfortable using a disc. If you have a high cervix, it may feel like you’re pushing the disc higher than it really needs to go. However, if you don’t tuck the disc up as high as possible, it will likely slip out of place during wear, especially during activities such as exercise. So don’t be scared to take your finger and tuck the front rim as high as you can, as long as it isn’t painful.
Some people may not have a very pronounced pubic bone, in which case a a disc may not be the best option.
Problem #4: Menstrual disc keeps leaking
Again, leaks may happen if your disc isn’t properly inserted or if the front rim becomes untucked. If you’re experiencing leaks, make sure to get that front rim tucked up as high as you can.
If you’re tucking your disc up as high as you can and it still leaks, you may need a different disc that fits your body better. Leaking isn’t necessarily a sign that your disc is too small; a disc that’s too big may not have enough room to sit properly in the vaginal fornix.
Many disc users notice that their disc leaks quite a bit when they’re on the toilet – a phenomenon known as “auto dumping.” This happens because the pelvic muscles you use when going to the bathroom compress the disc enough to cause it to release fluid.
While some people find auto dumping to be bothersome because it can be messy, other disc users love it, because it keeps the disc from becoming overly full, so you can wear it longer without removing it. (A word of warning: auto dumping can also happen during sex, so you may want to empty your disc before having sex with a disc in.)
Because a menstrual disc sits so high in the vaginal canal, some users may find them harder to remove than a menstrual cup. Many discs, including the Pixie Disc, have a string or a tab at one end to make removal easier – simply grab the string and pull the disc out. A disc doesn’t form a seal the way a cup does, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the seal. (This is one reason I love using a disc. I have a high cervix and have sometimes had difficulty breaking the seal on my menstrual cup.)
If you’re using a disc with no string, you may find it a little harder to remove. Try hooking a finger around the rim and dragging it out. If you can reach the rim with a thumb and forefinger, try pinching the rim and pulling it out. If you have trouble reaching your disc, try bearing down very gently, or get into a squatting position, which should make your disc easier to reach.
If you have a high cervix and your disc is consistently hard to reach, use a disc with a string or a stem, and make sure the stem is at the bottom when inserting. You want the stem to be in the front when the disc is in place, so it will be lower in the vaginal canal. (Be aware, however, that even if you insert your disc with the stem at the bottom, some disc users find that their disc tends to rotate during wear.)
Ready to try a disc? We’re here to help you make the switch to a sustainable period by giving you our worry-free, 100% happiness guarantee. If for any reason your Pixie Disc doesn’t end up working out for you, just contact us for a full refund, even if it’s months later.
Menstrual cup stains are super common and are a badge of honor in a way… It shows a lot of use, how you’ve dedicated your cycle to less waste (think of all the products you’ve kept out of landfills!), and that you’re making healthy decisions for your body. Still, they can be an eyesore. So if you love your cup and want to keep it looking like new, don’t worry — it’s possible to remove menstrual cup stains and prevent them in the future!
How do I clean off any staining?
If your cup is dingy or has staining, scrubbing it alone probably won’t be enough to get it looking fresh again. You’ll need to use a product specifically for stain removal. Fortunately, there are several stain-removing solutions that are safe to use, environmentally friendly, and easy on the wallet.
Hydrogen peroxide is an effective stain remover for protein-based stains, which includes period blood. Hydrogen peroxide is simply water with an extra oxygen molecule attached. That extra oxygen molecule is what gives it its stain-fighting power. The 3% solution sold as a first-aid antiseptic can also be used to remove period stains from your cup, as well as from other materials such as cloth pads, sheets, and underwear (but test it on colored fabrics to make sure the colors won’t fade).
To clean your menstrual cup with H2O2, soak it at room temperature for an hour in a glass container or jar with 1/3 cup hydrogen peroxide and 2/3 cup water. This should eat the stains away on its own, but if there is anything remaining, take a toothbrush or washcloth and give your cup a good scrub.
Sodium percarbonate, also known as sodium carbonate peroxide, is a salt that also contains active oxygen, which makes it excellent for stain removal and cleaning. Sodium percarbonate can be considered an alternative form of hydrogen peroxide; when added to water, it releases hydrogen peroxide. The Environmental Working Group gives sodium percarbonate a safety score of 1-2, meaning it has the lowest possible health hazard when used as directed.
We developed our new Pixie Cup Dust stain remover with sodium percarbonate for both its effectiveness and convenience. It’s a powder, so it’s easy to use, takes up hardly any space in your bathroom, and has a long shelf life. It also contains sodium carbonate, another gentle cleaning agent made up of sodium and acid. Sodium carbonate also has an EWG rating of 1, making Pixie Cup Dust safe for you, safe for your septic system, and safe for the environment.
Here is a video showing the before and after footage of using Pixie Cup Dust on a stained cup.
How do I prevent menstrual cup stains?
Sterilize your cup regularly. The best way to keep your cup stain-free is to do your best to prevent staining! In addition to washing your cup each day and sterilizing your menstrual cup before and after each period, make sure you are giving your cup a scrub in the areas that often experience buildup such as around the rim and in the grooves of the stem. Also, try to minimize the amount of time the cup is exposed to the air without a thorough cleaning because this can lead to the darkening of the silicone.
Give it a good scrub. You may think your cup is beyond saving, but we want to assure you most stains can come off! Are you ready for one of our best stain-removal hacks? Here we go: grab an old toothbrush and scrub your cup with a little warm water and some silicone-safe cleaning solution! You will be surprised how much of the “staining” comes off with this technique!
Let it soak. We all need a steamy bath sometimes, even your menstrual cup! Squirt a little of the cleaning solution mentioned in Step 2 into a bowl or your Pixie Cup Cup with some hot water and let it soak for a few hours! Pair this with a good scrub and you can say goodbye to some tough stains!
Sunsoaking your cup. Placing your menstrual cup in a sunny location (preferably outside) for a few hours will do a world of good for any discoloration. Sun bleaching has been around for centuries and has never let anyone down yet.
Grab some Pixie Cup Wash and an old toothbrush and go to town scrubbing! Your cup will be sparkling in no time.
Menstrual cups have taken the market by storm. They are easy to clean, reusable for up to a decade and one of the most comfortable things you’ll wear on your period. Period discs are rising in popularity because they are comfortable, easy to use, great for women with a low cervix and you can even wear them for no-mess period sex. We explore today why using a menstrual disc will change your life for the better.
How does a menstrual disc work?
A menstrual disc is designed to hug your cervix, but up by your vaginal fornix and then get tucked behind the pubic bone. This situation is ideal for someone with a low cervix as there is nothing actually in the vaginal canal that could poke out or cause discomfort. No more having to worry about what menstrual cup will work for you!
Are menstrual discs better than menstrual cups?
In short, only you can answer that! They both have their perks, it’s up to you to figure out what works best for you. If you’ve struggled with feeling your menstrual cup and being uncomfortable, you might want to try a Pixie Disc. Because the disc is designed to touch your vaginal fornix, you shouldn’t be able to feel it at all.
Another perk you will have with a disc that you physically don’t have with a menstrual cup is mess-free period sex. This fact alone is setting period discs apart in the period community! Discs are designed to hug the cervix and be tucked behind the pubic bone. Because of this, your disc is not obstructing the vaginal canal and shouldn’t be felt by either partner during sex. [insert mind blowing emoji here]
Another point for period discs is the fact that it’s one size fits all. No more worrying about what size menstrual cup will work with your anatomy. (Isn’t this getting better and better?)
What is the difference between discs and cups?
While the concept is similar to each other (silicone cup-like objects in the vagina) menstrual cups and discs do differ slightly. A menstrual cup is bell-shaped and sits in the vaginal canal, creating a seal to the vaginal wall. A menstrual disc is, well, a disc-shaped silicone catch that fits back into your vaginal fornix, where the cervix meets the vagina.
Are menstrual discs safe?
The short answer to this is yes. The concept is similar to a menstrual cup – a medical-grade silicone cup-like device that is designed to be worn inside the vagina and collect menses. Pixie Discs are approved to wear up to 12 hours between emptying and washing! Washing your menstrual cup or disc is crucial to the life of the cup and also to your health. The Pixie Disc fits perfectly in our UV Sterilizer or Pixie Cup Steamer!
How do you insert a menstrual disc?
Wash your hands, friend!
Use your thumb and pointer finger to squeeze the rim of Pixie Disc so it looks more like a figure eight.
You’re going to want to position yourself so your cervix is easy to reach. This is best achieved by sitting on a toilet, one leg up on the shower ledge or in a squatting position. Use your pointer finger to insert the rim of the disc and push as far back as is comfortable. Angle the disc back and down so the rim of the disc tucks around the backside of your cervix.
Move your finger to the front rim, and push up, tucking the rim behind your pubic bone. This will secure the Pixie Disc and catch your flow.
What about removing a menstrual disc?
You can wear Pixie Disc for up to 12 hours. We recommend that you empty your disc no less than 2 times per 24 hour period. You might need to empty more frequently on your heavy flow days.
Make sure you wash your hands and sit over the toilet. (hint: a lot of us like taking it out in the shower!)
Make sure your hands are freshly washed.
Relax your body, and remember Pixie Disc is one of the few period discs on the market with a removal pull-string! Feel around for the thin silicone string and gentle pull. You should feel the disc dislodge.
If you have cut off your string, insert your finger and hook it behind the front rim of the disc
Pour your menstrual fluid into the toilet, wash your cup thoroughly with Pixie Wash, and reinsert. If it’s not possible for you to wash your cup, like you’re in a public restroom or camping, you may reinsert as long as your hands are clean. We recommend not going more than 24 hours without actually washing your cup though. This will keep bacteria, odor and staining at bay.
Troubleshooting a stuck disc
First off, relax. If you’re tense, your vaginal muscles will be tense and will make the process difficult. I learned the term ‘Flabby Face, Flabby Fanny’ from @thenakeddula on Instagram. Meaning, if you purposely relax your jaw and face, your pelvic region will respond in a relaxed state as well.
It’s natural to have a learning curve when adjusting to your Pixie Disc.
If you find that you cannot find the pull string or the rim that you tucked behind the pubic bone, try squatting, as this will bring your cervix closer to your reach.
Pixie Disc comes with a silicone pull string! We totally understand that using a disc might be a new experience for you and we wanted to make it as stress-free as possible.
You can cut off and remove this string if you find it bothers you, similar to trimming a stem on a menstrual cup. We recommend leaving the string attached until you have mastered removing your Pixie Disc by the rim.
We’re confident that you’re going to absolutely love your Pixie Disc and we’re so excited you’re interested in making a switch to a mess-free, life-changing period! All of our products come with a 100% Happiness Guarantee, which means we are here on the journey with you every step of the way.
You’ve already made the switch from single-use tampons and pads to reusable menstrual cups/discs and that’s big! Congratulations! A couple of things: you’ve made the world a greener place and you’ve changed a woman’s life too. Kind of crazy, right? We all ditch the disposable menstrual products for different reasons. Some gals switch because reusable menstrual products are more convenient or more cost-effective. Others choose a period cup or a period disc because they are better for your body and the earth.
No matter what made you switch, we’re so glad you did! There are a few reasons you could be looking up how to recycle a menstrual disc or cup such as: using period-stopping birth control, pregnancy, medications, menopause or it’s been well-loved and needs replacing! Most menstrual cups and discs are made out of medical-grade silicone, which can be safely disposed of in a few different ways. Continue reading for a couple of suggestions on how to recycle a menstrual cup.
What is medical-grade silicone?
More technically referred to as medical-healthcare grade, class VI silicone tested for biocompatibility, this type is typically the material of choice for a wide range of products, including menstrual cups, baby bottle nipples, scuba mouthpieces, menstrual discs and food and skin contact products. Silicone creates watertight seals, it has antimicrobial properties, is hardwearing and withstands UV light sterilization.
When should I recycle my menstrual cup or disc?
Menstrual products are safe to use for up to 10 years… technically. That being said, the care and keeping of your cup/disc plays a heavy role. Depending on the soap (and if it contained drying agents like alcohol) that was used on it regularly can cause damage. If you notice any sort of cracking in your reusable period product or the outside has become tacky to the touch, recycle immediately. At this point, the silicone has been damaged and shouldn’t be used any longer.
What do you do with menstrual cups and discs that don’t fit?
Menstrual discs and cups come in the same general shape but some are wider or thinner to get the perfect fit. Our bodies change especially after pregnancy or childbirth and what menstrual products fit you before, could very well not be the right fit after. What do you do with old menstrual cups/discs? If the cup/disc is in good shape, it can actually be passed on. If there is light staining or slight odor, there are a few ways to get rid of those! Once your reusable disc or cup is sterilized, it’s germ-free and ready to be used… by you or someone else!
How do you recycle a menstrual cup or disc?
Chop it up. Medical-grade silicone is safe. Safe to be inside your body as a menstrual product, safe to eat off of, doesn’t give off any sort of toxins and is free from hazardous ingredients. You can chop up (or grind down) your menstrual disc/cup and add to the soil of a potted plant or scatter in your garden!
Check with your local hospital. Hospitals use instruments all the time that are made of medical-grade silicone and eventually, they will need to be disposed of. Asking them if there is a procedure or method in place could be really helpful!
Burn it. If you don’t have time to contact facilities for local recycling advice, a super simple solution would be to burn your menstrual cup and reusable menstrual disc! Sounds crazy, we know, but it burns to simple ash and doesn’t give off toxic fumes. Keep in mind that silicone is heat-resistant up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit so it does take some time to break down. Placing it in a wood stove or in the embers of a bonfire is perfect!
How was your menstrual cup or disc journey? Which way will you choose to recycle your menstrual products? Did you wear it out and you need to replace it now? Check out our store for different sizes and styles or read this post to determine what size is right for you!
Have you noticed an odor coming from your menstrual cup? The truth is, if you use your cup at all, there’s a risk that you could end up with a stinky menstrual cup on your hands. While a menstrual cup smell doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with your cup (or with your period), it can be annoying. The good news is, there are some steps you can take to make sure that your cup stays sparkling clean and smelling nice even after years of use, and it’s really not that hard to do!
Is it normal for my menstrual cup to smell?
Yes! It’s completely normal for a menstrual cup to develop an odor with regular use. This odor may be completely different from the smell associated with your menstrual flow. Some people have described the smell as similar to eggs, broccoli, or sulfur. Others have described the menstrual cup smell as sour. But don’t worry — it’s unlikely that other people will notice the smell of your menstrual cup or the smell of your period. But if it bothers you, here’s how to fix it!
How do I get the smell out of my menstrual cup?
The tips below will help remove both smell and discoloration from your menstrual cup. It’s always a good idea to read your manufacturer’s instructions for your specific cup brand. The following is what we recommend for Pixie Cup menstrual cups. If you have a cup from a different manufacturer (such as a Diva Cup or a Lena Cup), they may recommend different cleaning and sanitizing procedures.
Prevent or remove menstrual cup smell with deep cleaning
If you’ve noticed that your menstrual cup has a weird smell, or if you just want to prevent it from smelling in the future, make sure to keep your cup sparkling clean. It’s really important to take good care of your cup and keep it clean at all times, and this will help decrease the likelihood of any unpleasant odors.
We recommend deep cleaning and sanitizing your cup before and after each period, and giving your cup a quick rinse when you change it at least once a day. This will dramatically reduce the likelihood of unwelcome smells.
Menstrual cups are safe to wear for up to 12 hours. Ideally, it’s best to remove and empty your cup even more frequently — every 4 to 8 hours if possible. Leaving your cup in for longer than recommended can increase the chance of an odor developing. If your cup already has an odor, leaving it in too long could make it worse.
Rinse with cold water first
You may be tempted to wash your cup in hot water right after you take it out, but hot water can actually cause odor and stains to set in. When you remove your cup, wash or rinse it in cold water first. You can follow this by washing it in warmer water. The same is true for underwear or other clothing that gets menstrual blood on it: Give it a good scrub in cold water to keep stains from setting.
Give it a good scrub
Set aside a toothbrush that is designated just for your cup. After rinsing your cup under cold water, give your cup a good scrub with soap. We recommend our Pixie Cup Wash. Avoid using soap or other cleaning products that aren’t intended specifically for menstrual cups — they may contain oils, fragrances, or other chemicals that can increase the risk of odor or harm the silicone. When you wash your cup, make sure you get in between the grooves and clean the air holes around the rim to remove any residue that can build up in those areas.
If you’re changing your cup in a public restroom and can’t wash it, it’s fine to just wipe it off and reinsert. Keep some menstrual cup wipes in your bag or pocket for this purpose, and just make sure to give your cup a good wash the next time you’re at home.
Steam or boil your cup before and after your period
Before and after each period, we recommend sanitizing your menstrual cup by steaming or boiling it. You can boil it on the stove for 2-10 minutes. Or, to make sanitizing your menstrual cup easier, we created our menstrual cup steamer. The steamer sits right on your bathroom counter and sterilizes your cup in just three minutes!
Give your cup a sun bath
Find a nice sunny spot and let your cup soak up some rays for a few hours! This will help with both odors and discoloration. Just don’t leave it where it may get too hot or melt.
Use a naturally scented rinse every month or two.
Sometimes your cup needs a little more than soap and water to keep it smelling fresh. You can create an all-natural menstrual cup rinse with just some lemons and vinegar! Make sure to boil or steam your cup before use to remove any lemon or vinegar residue.
One last note…
Keep in mind that vaginal infections and yeast infections can cause unpleasant smells. If you notice an unpleasant or unusual odor that isn’t just related to your cup, it may be time to see your doctor.
Check out our online store to purchase our menstrual cup wipes, wash, steamer, and other products that can help you keep your cup clean and odor-free!
This content was originally written on May 28, 2019, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
Which is better, steaming or boiling your menstrual cup? Does it matter? It really comes down to which one is more convenient for you. Not sure which one you prefer? Keep reading!
First, we want to start out by telling you a little about menstrual cup cleaning. It’s so important to keep your cup sparkling clean at all times because your vaginal canal is one of the most sensitive parts of the body.
There are two different things you should do each cycle to keep your menstrual cup clean: clean your cup between each use, and sanitize your cup before and after your cycle.
Sanitizing is completely different than cleaning, but equally important! Before and after each cycle — both when you get your menstrual cup out for your period and when you put it away again — you need to make sure all bacteria is removed from your cup. This keeps your cup clean and stain free. It also helps prevent odors.
There are two different ways you can sanitize your cup. The most common method is boiling your cup, but many cup users find that they prefer steaming. They both do the same thing, so the best option for you just depends on which one you prefer!
Why do you have to boil your menstrual cup?
Boiling your menstrual cup sanitizes it and makes it safe to use. Any time you put a foreign object into your body, there’s a chance you could be exposing yourself to bacteria. Infections from menstrual cups are rare, as long as you use your cup correctly and clean it properly. Boiling your cup before and after every cycle, and washing it between uses, will help keep bacteria at bay.
It’s also important to wash your hands before inserting or removing your cup. You’re more likely to get an infection from bacteria on your hands than from the cup itself.
How often should you boil your menstrual cup?
Boil your menstrual cup twice a month: when you get it out at the start of your cycle, and when your period is finished.
How long should you boil your menstrual cup?
We recommend boiling your cup for about 10 minutes. If you boil your cup for too long, it could cause the silicone to thin and soften over time.
How to boil your cup
Simply put a pot of water on the stove to boil and turn it to high. When it reaches a boil, insert your cup. Make sure there’s enough water to completely cover your cup. Some cup users like to put their cup inside a whisk to keep it from touching the sides of the pot. If you don’t like the idea of using a pot that you cook with, consider buying a small pot to use just for this purpose.
It’s a good idea to stay close to your cup and keep an eye on it while it boils. You might be tempted to wander off and do other things, but we’ve heard stories of people who left their cup on the stove and forgot about it! If this happens, you could burn your cup and ruin it. If you do need to walk away, set the timer on the stove so you don’t forget to come back.
Can you boil your menstrual cup in the microwave?
Many people like the idea of boiling their menstrual cup in the microwave. Using a microwave is often more convenient, especially if you’re living in a dorm room or otherwise don’t have access to a stove.
The answer is yes … sort of. You can sterilize your menstrual cup with water that’s been boiled in the microwave. Don’t put the cup itself in the microwave, or it could damage it.
Fill a large mug with water – not too full or else it could boil over – and put it in the microwave. When the water has reached a boiling point, take it out and drop your cup in. Make sure your cup is submerged and leave it for a few minutes.
Our Pixie Cup sterilizing container was made just for this purpose! It’s collapsible, so it’s discreet and easy to store. It’s also microwave safe. Simply fill it with water and place it in the microwave for a few minutes. Or, you can plan your menstrual cup in the cup and pour boiling water over it. Your cup will emerge sparkling clean and germ-free!
Steaming your cup
Steaming is a relatively new option for menstrual cups. While it has been used for quite some time now to sterilize other silicone products, steaming is new to the menstrual cup world!
Steaming is a hassle-free way to remove 99.9% of germs from your menstrual cup. Our Pixie Cup Steamer makes sterilizing your cup easy!
Steaming your cup has several advantages over boiling. For starters, you don’t have to use your cookware to sterilize your cup. In fact, you don’t have to take your cup into the kitchen at all! This is especially great if you share a house with other people and you don’t love the idea of them seeing your menstrual cup on the stove. The steamer has the appearance of a small humidifier or diffuser, and can be tucked away in the corner of your bathroom counter when not in use.
When it’s time to sterilize your cup, simply place it in the steamer with 5ml of water, replace the cover, and push the button. Your cup will be sanitized in 1-3 minutes while you put on your makeup or brush your teeth. No more worrying about burning your cup if you forget about it on the stove! The more water you add to the steamer, the longer it will run.
The next time you get your period, pop your cup back into the steamer, and it’ll be good to go.