What is a menstrual disc and how do you use one?

Choosing a period product that suits you can be a challenge.

You want comfort, as well as practicality. Ease, as well as speed. Sustainability, as well as the ability to hold an acceptable amount of blood.

While many have turned to menstrual cups to be more environmentally friendly, few have heard of another period product slowly becoming ever more popular – the menstrual disc.

A menstrual disc is a flexible ring with a soft bag-like middle that collects blood during your period. It is placed higher in the vagina, right below the cervix, and can apparently hold even more blood than other period products on the market. The disc’s ring adjusts itself when inside the body to shape and mould to the curves of the vagina, so it shouldn’t leak or shift during use.

How do you put it in?

Inserting a menstrual disc is similar to using a diaphragm, which means that if you haven’t done it before, it might take a bit of practice.

The disc is folded in half and inserted like a tampon. Once it’s in, the back of the rim should be placed at the widest and upper part of the vagina (the back) and the front of the disc right behind your pubic bone. You shouldn’t be able to feel the disc inside you if you’ve placed it correctly.

Most menstrual discs are made from silicone, rubber, or body-friendly polymers, and are either single-use or reusable. Once full, you reach up into the vagina and pull the ring down. You should probably do this over a toilet as you will end up with some spillage as the disc comes out.

By comparison, a menstrual cup is positioned right below the cervix and sits in the vagina collecting blood. All cups are zero-waste products, meaning that after a bit of cleaning you can use them over and over again.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki / Pexels

So, why are we hearing about menstrual discs now?

Menstrual discs have grown in popularity in recent years due to their discreetness, but also because of how beneficial they can be for people who have heavy periods. A recent study found that menstrual discs may actually be better at absorbing large quantities of blood compared to more classic period products like pads and tampons, and even menstrual cups.

Findings, published in the BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health, showed that on average menstrual discs held approximately 61ml, where cups, tampons and pads held between 20 and 50 ml each. One brand of menstrual disc (Ziggy) actually held 80ml. Impressive!

What’s more, is that you can actually have penetrative sex while using a menstrual disc. As the product sits higher in the body, and closer to the cervix, it doesn’t have to be removed before penetration like a menstrual cup would.

Menstrual discs may become more common, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll be readily available in your local pharmacy. Here in Ireland, you’ll probably have to order them online if you’re interested. Ode To Earth is currently selling an eco-friendly menstrual disc for €33.95, while Amazon carries disposable menstrual disc brand, Flex for around €17.

As always, your choice of period product is completely up to you (those with certain health conditions or sexual-based trauma may not be able to use cups and discs at all), but the steady increase in period products available on the market can only be a good thing.



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