General questions

What is a menstrual disc?

A menstrual disc is a receptacle designed to collect menstrual fluids from the vaginal fornix and is simply held in place by the pubic bone, without suction or help from the perineum. When it’s made from 100% medical-grade silicone, it’s reusable for years and can be worn for up to 12 hours between cleanings.

What is the difference between a menstrual disc and a menstrual cup?

A menstrual disc is positioned in the vaginal fornix located at the top of the vaginal canal and is simply held in place by pubic bone, without suction or help from the perineum. For some people, it is possible to practise controlled self-emptying of the disc in the toilet, which is very convenient when the menstrual flow is heavy.

A menstrual cup is positioned in the vaginal canal and holds in place with the suction effect on the vaginal walls supported by the perineum. If the perineal muscles are weak, the cup will have less support and it will tend to drop out of the vagina. To empty it, it must be completely removed from the vagina. To remove the cup, it is important to pinch its base to break the suction.

What is self-emptying?

For some people, it is possible to practise controlled self-emptying of the disc in the toilet, which is very convenient when the menstrual flow is heavy.

In most cases, the disc repositions itself by relaxing the muscles used to go to the toilet. If not, just push it back into place with a clean finger.

How does it work?

By contracting the muscles used to go to the toilet, the menstrual disc untucks from above the pubic bone.

The front of the disc drops slightly into the vaginal canal and menstrual fluids flow out of the disc.

Sitting on the toilet with your knees elevated contributes to successful self-emptying.

For some people, it’s easier to do this when the disc is filled with menstrual fluids because the weight helps push it down. However, self-emptying will not be possible for everyone.

If I have weak perineal muscles, can I use a menstrual disc?

Yes. This is one of the main advantages of the menstrual disc. Unlike the menstrual cup, the disc is simply held in place by the pubic bone and does not rely on the perineal muscles.

I have already tried another menstrual disc and it was causing cramps. How is the Fornix Menstrual Disc different?

First, here are some possible causes for this type of pain.

Since the cervix is often very sensitive, pressure on or stretching of the walls can lead to pain. Note that the walls of the vagina and cervix are the same.

This sensitivity is often the cause of the cramps felt at the start of menstruation. The first menstrual tissues that pass through the cervix stretch its inner walls. Once the cervix is fully open, this type of cramp disappears. Heat helps dilate the cervix.

When the menstrual disc is too large for your needs, it can stretch the walls of the vagina and those of the cervix.

If the disc basin is not deep enough or too hard and thick, this can also put pressure on the cervix.

This is one of the reasons why the Fornix Menstrual Disc has a smaller diameter and rim thickness than the majority of other menstrual discs on the market. In addition, its basin is deep and its entire membrane is thin (including that of the notch), which reduces the risk of experiencing pain.

Do I need to know how high my cervix is to choose my Fornix Menstrual Disc?

No. The Fornix Menstrual Disc has been designed to fit most people whether the cervix is low or high.

Note that the position of the cervix in the vagina varies according to hormonal changes and sexual arousal.

Is silicone a type of plastic?

No. Silicone is made from quartz, a natural stone, and its composition is very different from plastic. Silicone is sustainable, non-toxic, odourless and easy to clean.

Plastic, on the other hand, is made from elements that are less respectful of nature and can decompose into dangerous microplastics. It sometimes contains toxins, such as bisphenol A (BPA), and generally doesn’t last as long as silicone.

Can I use the Fornix Menstrual Disc if I am allergic to latex?

Yes. The Fornix Menstrual Disc is made of 100% medical-grade silicone and contains no latex or toxic substances.

How long will my Fornix Menstrual Disc last?

The Fornix Menstrual Disc is made of medical-grade silicone and can be reused for up to 10 years with proper care. The better you maintain it, the longer it will last. Before using your disc, always check that it is in good condition. As soon as you notice any sign of deterioration or tearing, it’s time to replace your Fornix Menstrual Disc.

What can I do with my Fornix Menstrual Disc at the end of its useful life?

To ensure that your disc leaves no trace on the environment, you can burn it without danger, since silicone does not emit toxic fumes. However, we recommend that you place it in a fire made in a safe way, for example a wood stove or a campfire.

You can also drop it off at a facility that recycles silicone if there is one near you.

Otherwise, you can throw it in the garbage, as municipalities generally do not accept silicone in recycling or compost.

Using the Fornix Menstrual Disc

What can I do to make it easier to insert my menstrual disc into the vagina?

Although water serves as a natural lubricant, you can also apply a little water-based lubricating gel on the part of the rim that you first insert into the vagina. Never use oil-based products with your disc, as they may irritate your vaginal mucous membranes or damage the silicone.

Can I use a menstrual disc if I have never inserted anything into my vagina?

Yes. Anyone who wants to use a menstrual disc as a period-management option can do so worry free. The Fornix Menstrual Disc folds to the size of a tampon and a water-based lubricating gel can be used to facilitate insertion. The important thing is to feel comfortable with the idea of using a menstrual disc before you do it for the first time.

If I have a heavy menstrual flow, will the Fornix Menstrual Disc work well for me?

Yes. The Fornix Menstrual Disc can hold much more than a tampon, although it is difficult to state its exact capacity. The 36 ml capacity is theoretical only (so you can compare with other discs) because in reality the menstrual disc basin crushes when inside the vagina. Disc capacity is calculated when the basin is not crushed.

For some people, it is possible to practise controlled self-emptying of the disc in the toilet, which is very convenient when the menstrual flow is heavy. This allows you to empty the disc without having to use your hands to remove it completely.

What can I do if the stem of the tab protrudes from my vagina?

Depending on your anatomy, the stem of the tab may protrude from your vagina. If so, you can leave it as is or fold it and place it inside the vagina. You can also shorten the stem by trimming it with scissors, but be sure to remove the disc first.

Since the stem is very thin, you don’t have to cut it in one of the indentations. We recommend that you cut it in a straight line to the desired length and then round the corners afterwards. You can also smooth the cut end with a clean nail file.

Can I cut the entire tab?

We don’t recommend cutting the entire tab, as it’s hard to do it right without creating bumps that might irritate you. This is one of the reasons we offer the With Handle model.

Is it possible to wear a menstrual disc during penetrative sex?

Yes. The menstrual disc is worn in the vaginal fornix and leaves the canal free for engaging in sexual activity. We recommend emptying your disc before wearing it during sex.

However, other discs on the market do not all offer the same level of comfort: the lower part of the rim of some is sharp, which can be very uncomfortable for your partner.

Also, if your disc has a tab with ring, your partner may feel it, even if the tab is positioned completely in the vaginal fornix. This is one of the reasons we offer the With Handle model.

Important: If you use a condom during sex, remove your disc to avoid any risk of damaging the condom.

Can I use the Fornix Menstrual Disc on its own, without an additional menstrual product?

Yes. Fornix Menstrual Discs have been designed to reliably prevent leaks without the need for other menstrual products. However, the first few times you wear your disc, you may prefer to wear a second product to ensure that you are familiar with its use and that it fits you.

Can I wear a menstrual disc before my period starts to avoid staining my underwear?

Yes, you can wear the Fornix Menstrual Disc before your period starts. This is one of the benefits of menstrual products that collect instead of absorbing. The important thing is to wear your disc for a maximum of 12 hours between cleanings.

Can I bathe, swim, scuba dive or fly in a plane while wearing a menstrual disc?

Yes. The menstrual disc is worn in the vaginal fornix and is waterproof. It prevents leaks even when you are underwater or when the pressure outside your body is high.

Can I wear a menstrual disc while sleeping?

Yes. The round shape of the Fornix Menstrual Disc creates equal tension all around the walls of the vaginal fornix and prevents leakage even when you are lying down. The menstrual disc can be worn for a maximum of 12 hours between cleanings.

Can I wear a menstrual disc while doing yoga or any other activity that involves being in an inverted posture?

Yes. The round shape of the Fornix Menstrual Disc creates equal tension all around the walls of the vaginal fornix and prevents leakage even when in an inverted posture.

Can I wear a menstrual disc while practising Pilates or any other activity involving the contraction of perineal muscles?

Yes. The menstrual disc is held in place by the pubic bone and does not rely on perineal muscles. It is by contracting downwards the muscles used to go to the toilet, that self-emptying occurs. During a Pilates session, it is mainly the perineal muscles that are contracted upwards and not downwards. Note that being seated on the toilet with the knees elevated contributes to the success of self-emptying.

Can I use a menstrual disc if I have endometriosis?

Yes. The Fornix menstrual disc does not block the exit from the cervix and allows menstrual fluids to flow naturally. It is safe and is made of 100% medical-grade silicone, without toxic substances.

How do I know if my disc is positioned correctly?

When your disc is positioned correctly, you should have the feeling of wearing nothing. Your pubic bone should be located under the disc rim and your cervix in the basin. If not, remove your disc and reinsert it. To check the positioning of the disc, touch your pubic bone with a finger, then your cervix through the basin membrane.

How do I avoid staining my underwear after reinserting my menstrual disc?

When you reinsert your disc, remove excess menstrual fluid from your vaginal canal. This will prevent blood stains on your underwear. Wash your hands before and after.

Cleaning and Care

If I choose to sanitize my disc in a pan of boiling water, how do I prevent it from burning?

To avoid burning the disc, we recommend that you place it in a whisk or closed tongs.

How can I clean my menstrual disc in a public restroom?

When you remove your disc between cleanings and don’t have access to water, you can simply wipe it down with toilet paper before reinserting it. Another option is to bring a bottle of water into the stall and rinse it over the toilet. Wash your hands before and after.

What type of soap can I clean my menstrual disc with?

To clean your menstrual disc, choose a mild (pH-balanced), fragrance- and oil-free soap.

Avoid scented, strong or oil-based products, including (but not limited to): perfume, hydrogen peroxide, dishwashing liquid or dishwasher detergent, hand sanitizers, antibacterial soap, antibacterial agents such as povidone-iodine, Castile soap, vinegar, tea tree oil, silicone lubricant, petroleum-based substances, baking soda, caustic materials such as bleach, whitening products or any other harsh chemicals. These products may irritate the vaginal mucous membranes or damage the silicone.

How do I preserve the colour of my menstrual disc?

To better preserve the colour of your disc, rinse it with cold water before washing it with warm water. However, gradual disc discolouration is normal and varies from person to person.

My disc is stained: is it dangerous?

No. It’s normal for menstrual fluids to stain your disc over time. If the discolouration bothers you, use a soft cloth to remove bloodstains from your disc.

Where can I store my Fornix Menstrual Disc when I’m not using it?

When your disc is clean and completely dry, store it in the pouch provided or in a well-ventilated area to avoid the formation of mould or bad odours.

Important: Keep your Fornix Menstrual Disc out of the reach of children or pets.

Precautions

What do I need to do before using my Fornix Menstrual Disc for the first time?

Read the user guide carefully before using your Fornix Menstrual Disc for the first time.

The Fornix Menstrual Disc is not sold in a sterile condition, and so it is necessary to sanitize it before using it for the first time.

To sanitize it, place it for approximately 5 minutes in boiling water, holding it in a whisk or closed tongs, or clean all its surfaces with 70% isopropyl alcohol and a soft cloth,

then allow it to dry thoroughly.

Can I use my Fornix Menstrual Disc with long nails?

Yes, but make sure your fingernails are smooth, as they could scratch your vaginal walls or damage your disc during insertion or removal. If your fingernails are very long, point them towards your disc when inserting to avoid hurting your vaginal walls.

Can I use a menstrual disc if I wear an IUD?

Yes, but if you wear an IUD, consult your doctor before using your Fornix Menstrual Disc. Your doctor may decide to shorten the IUD string to reduce the risk of moving it when you remove your menstrual disc, although this complication is rare.

Can I use the Fornix Menstrual Disc as a method of contraception?

No. Although its shape looks like a contraceptive diaphragm, Fornix Menstrual Disc is not a means of contraception and does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Is it possible to wear a menstrual disc to collect prenatal, postpartum or post-abortion or gynecological surgery bleeding?

No. In these situations, the risks of infection are high with internal menstrual products. Please consult your doctor before using your Fornix Menstrual Disc.

Can I use a menstrual disc if I have irritation, itching or discomfort in my vagina?

No. If irritation, itching or discomfort occurs in the vagina, stop using your Fornix Menstrual Disc and consult your doctor.

Can I use a menstrual disc if I have a yeast infection?

No. Do not use internal menstrual products if you have a yeast infection.

Is there a risk of getting toxic shock syndrome from menstrual discs?

Although toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is mostly associated with absorbent tampons, it is also linked to all internal menstrual products, including menstrual discs. This rare but serious infection can be fatal if not treated immediately. Stop using your Fornix Menstrual Disc and see your doctor if you experience any symptom(s) of TSS, including (but not limited to): fever, sore throat, diarrhea, dizziness, fainting, vomiting, muscle aches or skin rash similar to a sunburn. If you have ever had TSS, please consult your doctor before using the disc. The best way to reduce the risk of infection is to use the Fornix Menstrual Disc according to the user guide and wear it for a maximum of 12 hours between cleanings.

Fornix

What does Fornix mean by menstrual independence?

What menstrual Independence means to Fornix:

- having access to menstrual products in all circumstances;

- having the financial resources to purchase our favourite menstrual products;

- knowing all the period-management options available and their advantages and disadvantages;

- being able to choose the period-management option that we prefer without fear of being judged, whatever our choice;

- being able to talk openly about menstruation without fear of being judged;

- not being afraid of being stigmatized because we have our period.

What are the sources of the information shared by Fornix?

Books

Frank H. Netter (April 19, 2022), Netter Atlas of Human Anatomy: Classic Regional Approach [8th edition]. Philadelphia: Elvesiern, 712 pages.

Hugh S. Taylor, Lubna Pal, and Emre Seli (2019 Aug 30), Speroff's Clinical Gynecological Endocrinology and Infertility [9th Edition], Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer, 1487 pp.

Isabelle Filliozat and Margo Fried-Filliozat (2019). Sexperience . Paris: Robert Laffond, 217 pages.

Nadia Okamoto (2018), Period Power . New York: Simon & Schuster, 354 pages.

Web sites

Health Canada https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada.html

Guide to zero waste https://www.recyc-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/sites/default/files/documents/guide-zero-dechet-adolescents.pdf

Justia Patents https://patents.justia.com/inventor/audrey-contente

Caya https://www.caya.us.com/

Reproductive Health Access Project https://www.reproductiveaccess.org/2013/04/a-history-the-diaphragm/

United Nations https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/en/

Quebec Action Network for Women's Health https://rqasf.qc.ca/lefilrouge/precarite-menstruelle/

https://rqasf.qc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Vivre-ses-re%CC%80gles-autrement.pdf

National Union of Public and General Employees https://nupge.ca/sites/default/files/documents/Period%20Poverty%20in%20Canada%20-%20Final.pdf

Questions?

Whether by email, phone, Instagram or Facebook, we’re here to help! We also invite you to join the Fornix Community on Facebook to get support from others who use our menstrual discs.