Nixit Offers a Radical New Menstrual Cup Design

Shaped like a diaphragm, this single-size round cup has no uncomfortable stem or strings.

Nixit menstrual cup
Nixit menstrual cup.

Nixit (used with permission)

Choosing a menstrual cup can feel like a daunting task these days. There are now so many brands, styles, and sizes on the market that it's hard to know what's right; and because the upfront cost isn't cheap, it's not surprising that some women succumb to "analysis paralysis" and fail to buy one at all. In fact, I delayed buying one out of a sense of overwhelm until a friend gave me an extra (brand new) Diva cup that she happened to have, thus making my decision for me. Now I regret not getting one sooner.

This was exactly what Rachael Newton experienced. The Toronto-based lawyer and entrepreneur said she had been looking at different menstrual cups for a while, wanting to buy one, but feeling that all the different shapes and sizes were a barrier for entry: "I felt like I would end up buying a few before I ended up with one that was the right fit. In the end, I never ended up committing to one."

So instead, she designed her own. The result is Nixit, a menstrual cup that looks unlike any other and is more similar to a diaphragm used for contraception than the usual cup with a stem. Newton told Treehugger over email that she got thinking about this design after a friend, who used a diaphragm, mentioned that "sometimes she didn't realize her period had started when she was using it." 

Nixit is perfectly round, with a double rim and thin medical-grade, BPA-free silicone bottom. It comes in one size and will conform to any body shape because it sits against the cervix, rather than in the vaginal canal, which can be affected by childbirth. Nixit does not have to be folded awkwardly when inserting. (Anyone who's used another menstrual cup knows the battle it can be to fold properly and ensure it opens fully once inside.) 

Nixit product line
Nixit (used with permission)

The cup stays in place naturally, without relying on suction, and tucks up behind the pubic bone. Because of this location, a woman can empty it simply by bearing down while on the toilet, then making sure it's tucked back behind the pubic bone afterward; there's no need to remove fully every time, which is convenient in public washrooms. 

Nixit can hold a greater volume of liquid than the average menstrual cup – 70 milliliters, compared to 10-30 milliliters, or roughly the equivalent of four super tampons. Because it has no stem or strings, many women find Nixit to be more comfortable – there's no heavy weight in the vagina as the cup fills – and better during swimming and exercise. Even more unusual (and awesome) is the fact that you can have sex while wearing it – but please don't think it can replace contraception!

As with all menstrual cups, Nixit is an eco-friendly substitute for disposable period products. It reduces waste by 93% and eliminates the 11,000 tampons (or 250 pounds of single-use menstrual products) that the average user will toss over the course of her lifetime. 

Newton's team sent me a Nixit cup to try earlier this spring, and so far it has lived up to its reputation. The insertion took some practice, but it's getting easier. At this point, I don't see why I'd go back to a traditional menstrual cup, with its stem that occasionally irritates or becomes dislodged, particularly during heavy lifting sessions. I have not had that happen with the Nixit cup.

Nixit is designed and made in Canada. It sells for $50 (CAD$67).