For as long as I've been getting my period, I have almost exclusively used tampons to manage my flow, save for a panty liner on particularly light days. They have certainly served me well (I rarely deal with leaks!), but I've 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 reusable menstrual disc, I decided it was time to add one to my shopping cart.
I'm not going to lie: I stared at the Cora Menstrual Disc ($39) for a good two months before taking it out of its package. Even though I had read literally hundreds of amazing reviews about menstrual discs and had talked to friends who use them every cycle, I was still filled with anxiety about the insertion and removal process.
I couldn't justify letting another full period pass by (plus I had run out of tampons), so on the second to last day of my period, I took it out of its tin, sanitized it, and got started. Note: I purposely chose a day where I had no plans to leave the house in the event 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. That's also why you can have mess-free 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 finger groove. This little divot is meant to make inserting and removing the disc easier. It's what you grab onto to untuck it from behind your pubic bone and pull it out.
To insert it, the instructions said to squeeze 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 will comfortably go." The last step on the brand's instructions pamphlet was to use an index finger to tuck 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 grand total of about two minutes to place it perfectly. I knew because I didn't feel a thing 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's stuck forever?" Logically, I knew that wasn't possible, but switching up your period care routine is understandably scary when you've only used tampons for nearly 18 years.
After a few hours of forgetting the disc was even in there, I decided to try my hand at removing it. I had to try a few times to catch hold of the groove, but the third time was the charm. After I got my finger tucked under it, I was able to pull it out in one fell swoop.
I decided to try my disc for the first time on a lighter day, so there wasn't a ton of fluid in the cup and the removal process was 100 percent mess free. However, I did have some trouble trying to keep the cup horizontal, so on heavier days, I will likely empty it in the shower or while sitting on the toilet.
Overall, the hardest thing about using the disc was just getting over my own personal anxiety, and I know that it will take practice to feel more confident in my abilities to take it out. But as of right now, that sure beats buying another box of tampons.