As long as I have had my period, I have used almost exclusively tampons to control my flow, with the exception of a panty liner on particularly light days. They have certainly served me well (I rarely treat leaks!), But I have been interested in switching to or at least trying a menstrual disc for a few years now. So when I saw that my favorite tampon brand, Cora, was launching its very first recyclable menstrual pad, I decided it was time to add one to my shopping cart.
I will not lie: I stared at the Cora Menstrual Disc ($ 39) for well over two months before taking it out of the package. Even though I had literally read hundreds of amazing reviews about menstrual discs and had talked to friends who use them every cycle, I was still filled with anxiety over the insertion and removal process.
I could not justify letting another whole period go by (plus I had run out of tampons), so on the second to last day of my period I took it out of its can, disinfected it and got started. Note: I deliberately chose a day when I had no plans to leave the house in case of messy leaks.
Unlike menstrual cups, which take up space in the vaginal canal, menstrual discs sit at the base of the cervix to collect blood. This is also why you can have rootless period sex while wearing one.
What initially drew me to Cora’s soft silicone disc, besides the fact that I was already a fan of the brand, was the disc’s fingerprints. This small divot is intended to make it easier to insert and remove the disc. This is what you intervene to loosen it behind your pubic bone and pull it out.
To insert it, the instructions said to press the disc together to form a figure-8 with the finger-width groove facing away from the body. Then the brand recommended guiding the menstrual disc into the vagina “as far as it goes comfortably.” The final step in the brand’s instruction booklet was to use an index finger to stop the rim behind the pubic bone.
The corresponding illustrations made these instructions super simple to follow and I was shocked at how easy the insertion process was. It took me a total of about two minutes to place it perfectly. I knew it because I did not feel anything while standing, sitting or walking around. A few minutes later and much to my surprise, I had a mini-meltdown about having to remove it later: “What if it gets stuck forever?” Logically, I knew it was not possible, but changing your menstrual care routine is understandably scary when you have only used tampons for almost 18 years.
After a few hours of forgetting that the disk was right in there, I decided to try my hand at removing it. I had to try a few times to grab the groove, but the third time was the charm. After my finger was hidden under it, I was able to pull it out for a moment.
I decided to try my disk for the first time on an easier day so there was not a lot of liquid in the cup and the removal process was 100 percent rootless. However, I had some trouble keeping the cup horizontal, so on heavier days I will probably empty it in the shower or while sitting on the toilet.
Overall, the hardest part about using the disk was just getting over my own personal anxiety, and I know it will require practice to feel more confident in my abilities to take it out. But right now, it definitely beats buying another box of tampons.
Image source: Cora