In my opinion, the most intimidating part of tossing my tampons and permanently switching to a menstrual disc is the removal process. With no string or stem to rely on, the circular discs just seem slightly more difficult to handle. The good news: brands have anticipated this concern (and, in my case, potential panic) by providing a plethora of information on taking out the menstrual care product in addition to all those tips about insertion.
Ahead, some important tips to keep in mind while changing or removing a menstrual disc.
Relaxation Is Key
You may have heard that tensing up your muscles can make inserting a tampon difficult or even painful. Well, it can also make removing a menstrual disc more challenging than it needs to be. That's why brands like Flex — the maker of the disposable Flex Discs — recommend taking a deep breath and relaxing before trying to remove the menstrual care product. You might also consider trying to take it out for the first time at home and on a day when you don't have plans in order to feel comfortable and not rushed.
This is a tip that can be found on a variety of brand instruction pages. Nixit, specifically, notes that bearing down, "like you are having a bowel movement" is a trick for untucking the disc from behind the pubic bone, making it easier to latch onto and remove. That being said, the brand notes on its website that the disc can untuck while bearing down to actually use the bathroom. So, if you're not ready to remove it, you might want to check that it's secure before going about your day in order to prevent leaks.
Keep the Disc Horizontal
Both Intiminia and Flex recommend trying to keep the disc level or horizontal while removing it to help prevent spills. Sitting on the toilet might be helpful here too. However, Flex does note that some of its users believe standing with a foot elevated on the toilet seat or side of the tub, or simply squatting, helps with reaching the disc and taking it out.
Tuck Your Finger Under the Rim
Most menstrual discs feature a thicker rim. This rim helps keep the cup in place, but it's also the part of the disc that you hook on your finger during the removal process. After you hook your finger on the rim, Intiminia recommends gently pulling out the cup. Then, you can dump the blood that the disc has collected into the toilet.
Wait and Watch the Clock
If you're having trouble taking your disc out and are getting frustrated, Cora recommends waiting 30 minutes and trying again. However, there's a caveat to that. If your disc has been in place for more than 12 hours and you cannot get it out, the brand notes you should call up your doctor. Using menstrual care products for longer than recommended can increase your chances at developing toxic shock syndrome (TSS).