Menstrual discs, though similar in concept and sustainability to menstrual cups, function differently than their cup-shaped relative. The main difference between the two, aside from their shape and size, is their location inside the vagina. A menstrual disc sits in the vaginal fornix at the very back of the vaginal canal, just beneath the cervix. The vaginal fornix is also the widest part of the vaginal canal. The disc is then held into place by the pubic bone, which leaves the vaginal canal unobstructed. 

If you’re nervous about finding the vaginal fornix, don’t worry. It gets easier with practice. For now, we’ll walk you through how to safely and properly insert a menstrual disc (and remove it!) for hassle-free periods. 

woman holding a menstrual cup

How to insert a menstrual disc, step-by-step"

1. Pinch your menstrual cup

Well, technically even before this step, you should wash your hands! It's important to always practice good and safe hygiene.

Once you pinch your menstrual cup the long way, it becomes similar in shape and size to a tampon, which may help you mentally overcome the daunting size of the disc.

2. Take a deep breath!

Choose your position: a squat, seated on the toilet, or, perhaps, standing with one leg up on the toilet. Now, take a deep breath. This will help relax your body for the most comfortable insertion.

3. Insert the disc

Make sure the opening of the disc is facing upward as you insert it. You might find that using two hands makes it easier. This allows you to keep the disc pinched with one hand as you push it in with the other.

Once the disc is inserted, use your thumb or forefinger to push it back as far as it will comfortably go, just below your cervix. Then make sure to tuck the front rim of the disc up behind your pubic bone.

Lastly, push the front of the disc up as much as you can to make sure it is securely positioned. If your menstrual disc leaks at all, it is typically because the front was not securely pushed up as much as it could have been.

4. Go about your day (or night!)

Most menstrual cups have a 12-hour wear period, so it’s completely safe to wear all day or overnight. No risk of toxic shock syndrome, here! 

two women chatting over coffee

How to remove a menstrual disc: 

1. Sanitize and breathe!

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Much like the insertion of your menstrual disc, begin the removal by first watching your hands and taking a deep breath to relax your body.

2. Hook it, pinch it, or pull it

Assuming your most comfortable position, insert your pointer finger into your vagina until you feel the front of your disc. Once you feel the disc, hook your finger under the rim and begin to slowly pull it out. For the cleanest removal, try to keep the disc parallel to the floor.

You can also choose to pinch the rim of the disc with your finger and thumb. Some menstrual discs have a little “stem” on them. If yours has one, be sure it is toward the front of your vagina upon insertion. That way, when you are ready to remove it, you can simply pull it out by the stem. 

3. Be aware of messiness

Because of their thin, circular design, it's important to remember that some spillage may occur when removing your menstrual disc. For this reason, some people even recommend removing your disc in the shower. That way, any spills or messiness can be caught and cleaned off right in the running water.

As with anything, practice makes perfect — or, at the very least, more comfortable. Menstrual discs are not only safe, sustainable, and easy to use, but they also give you more time between changes. Because who wants to worry about changing their pad or tampon every hour? 

Brighid Flynn is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia where she lives with her husband and puppy. She is just beginning her journey toward motherhood.