Dr. Jessica Shepherd, an obstetrician-gynecologist and chief medical officer at VeryWell Health, has written an article titled, ‘You’ve heard about the menstrual cup, but what about the menstrual disc?’ posted on the online portal of USA Today.
She said, “Alternatives like cups and discs… are great ways for people to have options that are not necessarily in the pad or tampon range.”
Another article on the online portal of Yale Medicine, titled ‘Women and the Post-Modern Period,’ declared, “Environmental impact can be reduced by switching to reusable sanitary pads, which are becoming more popular, or to a menstrual cup or disc. Made of silicone, rubber, or latex, these are inserted into the vagina during a woman’s period, similar to a tampon.
Blood is collected in the receptacle, which should be emptied every four to 12 hours. (It’s recommended that menstrual cups and discs be sterilized after each cycle; properly cared for, they can last for up to 10 years.) Women can also purchase disposable, single-use menstrual versions, though these are not as environmentally friendly.”
Dr. Lubna Pal, MBBS, MS, Director of Yale Medicine’s Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Menopause programs, says, “Reusable cups are safe, but there’s an art to using them; women have to learn how to insert and remove them correctly.”
Now that we have established menstrual discs are safe and that there are benefits to them, you might be curious, what are menstrual discs? Today we answer all your questions.
What Are Menstrual Discs?
A Menstrual disc is an alternative insertable period product that provides 12 hours long protection from all your bleeding woes, allows you to have mess-free intercourse while you are on your period, and might even help minimize cramps (or so they claim). Sounds like a dream product?
These discs are similar to menstrual cups in that they can both be inserted into your vagina and help collect blood.
If that does not clear your confusion, one of the first disposable menstrual cups to enter the market has rebranded itself to manufacture menstrual discs. But it makes sense once you break down the features of these products and understand the work they do.
So basically, a cup looks like a cup, and a disc looks like, you guessed it, a disc. A cup can sit in your vagina right below the cervix, extending into the canal, depending on which type you are opting for. A disc alternately fits back into your fornix, the place where the vaginal canal meets the cervix.
How To Use It?
It takes some trial and error before you get the hang of using this tool. But once it gets inserted completely, you will know because you don’t feel any sensation of it being inside your vagina.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use a menstrual disc or a vaginal disc:
- Firstly, wash your hands. You are about to invade a delicate and sensitive part of your body.
- Figure out a position that works for you. It could be sitting over the toilet, standing with a leg up, or plain squatting.
- Squeezing the sides of the disc make it look like a tampon.
- Insert this pinched disc pointing downwards, back into your vagina. You want to make sure it sits at a vertical angle so it covers your cervix entirely.
- Keep in mind that you must push it past the pubic bone as far as it can go so the rim can tuck in just above the bone.
- And you are all set!
How To Remove It?
When it comes to removal, menstrual discs are known to be messier than cups. Your maneuver has to be such that the disc is as level as it can be so that the collected blood does not spill.
Here is a step-by-step guide to removing a menstrual disc:
- Make sure you wash your hands.
- Stay seated on the toilet. You do NOT want to be anywhere else in case your disc spills over.
- Reach into your vagina with your index finger and hook it under the rim to pull it straight out.
- If you have trouble reaching the disc, bear down with your pelvic muscles like you’re trying to poop. This will “untuck” the rim from behind your pubic bone, and you can pull it out easily.
- Empty the contents into the toilet, wrap the disc in toilet paper if needed, and place it in the trash.
Read Also: How To Get Periods Overnight
How Long Can You Wear Them?
Each Menstrual disc can be worn for 12 hours, but depending on how heavy your flow is, you may have to change it more frequently.
Is Sex Really Possible With These?
Menstrual discs will not hold up too much space in your vaginal area, which makes it pretty ideal for period sex. That said, if you are looking for particularly deep sex, it could cause the disc to shift and mess up your experience. A few reviews for two of the most popular menstrual discs have had reports of sensing the disc and consequent leakage.
The disc truly sits at the base of the cervix, like a diaphragm. So long as you insert it correctly, neither you nor your partner should be able to mess it up.
Read Also: Can You Ovulate Without A Period?
Do They Reduce Cramping?
They are supposed to reduce a fraction of the period-related pain, but not cramps for sure.
Flex, one of the companies producing menstrual discs, claims that it reduces some pain because the disc sits in the widest part of the vagina.
Whereas tampons sit in the lower part of the vaginal canal, which is more narrow. The tampon fills up with blood, expanding and eventually causing cramping.
This may sound logical until we realize contractions happen in the uterus. They have pretty much nothing to do with the vagina. Also, the vaginal canal is designed to expand just enough to pass a human baby.
Yet there have been several reports of women experiencing less pain. And this could mean that menstrual discs are simply more comfortable than stiffer tampons.
There are way too many products in the market today to help you go through your periods with minimal mess, pain, and hassle. A menstrual disc is no exception when it comes to claiming it helps with all three. It all comes down to what practically suits you the best, and a menstrual disc vs cup is not the way to find out.
If you are looking to use a menstrual product that has no sensation, gives you the freedom to have penetrative sex, and can also help with heavy flows, the menstrual disc is worth giving a try.
If you have questions to ask or thoughts to share, leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you.
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