Mastering menstrual disc removal: How to remove Flex Disc like a pro
If you’re reading this, you probably have a Flex Disc tucked comfortably in your vaginal fornix right this very moment. Or maybe you’re just trying to do some research in advance before you commit to a disc as your newfangled, string-less, circular period sidekick.
Either way, if you’re wondering how on earth to remove a menstrual disc (which sits all the way at the back of your vagina), you’re in the right place. And trust us: The whole “you need a string to take things out of your vag” mentality that the tampon industry bestowed upon us is a complete fallacy. Your fingers are magic!
But how do you remove a menstrual disc without spilling blood all over your pristine bathroom rug? What about removing Flex Disc right after a manicure? Or after sex? And what should you do if it feels like your disc is just out of reach of your longest finger?
Re: The latter instance, don’t panic! A menstrual disc (or cup, or tampon, or any period product, for that matter) cannot get “lost” inside your body. Your vagina is not a black hole, thanks to your cervix. In most cases, all it takes is a little relaxation and some command over your pelvic floor muscles to get literally anything that might happen to be stuck inside your vagina back out of your body.
So, without further ado, we present to you:
The step-by-step guide to removing a menstrual disc
Maybe you’re new to the period cup or disc game. If so, it’s normal to feel a little anxious or weirded out at the idea of sticking a finger or two up your vagina to insert or remove a product—but we promise there’s nothing gross about your own period blood! And, more importantly, it’ll all be worth it in the end.
Let us take this opportunity to remind you of the benefits of a menstrual disc: No more pee string, no more nails-on-a-chalkboard dry tampon removal, a happier and healthier vaginal pH, reduced uterine cramping, mess-free period sex, and 12-hour wear. Worth a temporary learning curve? We think so.
If you need tips on Flex Disc insertion, read our complete guide here. Otherwise, if you’re just looking for the deets on removal, keep your eyes glued to this page.
Step 1: Relax
When we say “relax,” we mean both physically and mentally. If you’re nervous or anxious, your muscles tend to tense up without you even knowing. Your vagina is surrounded by muscles—your pelvic floor—so it’s not surprising that loose, relaxed muscles make for an easier removal process.
Our favorite way to relax both mind and body is with a technique called box breathing. It’s used by Navy SEALs, so you know it has to be effective. Just breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of four, breathe out for a count of four, and hold for a count of four. Repeat as many times as you want.
This breathing technique helps to slow down your autonomic nervous system (which regulates things like your heart rate and respiratory rate). Use it during any stressful situation and you’re pretty much guaranteed to feel more relaxed.
Step 2: Wash your hands and get in position
Clean hands are always a must! Wash with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds.
Next, pick a position. There are a few different positions you can try when removing a menstrual disc. The most common is removing your disc while sitting on the toilet, but you can also try:
- Standing with one leg elevated (i.e. on the edge of the bathtub or the toilet) *highest likelihood of success*
- A low squat (feet positioned wider than hip’s width apart, bum a few inches off the ground)
- Either of the above positions, but done while you’re in the shower (less mess! warm water!)
- Laying on your back, knees up
- If you’re on the toilet, it might help to open your legs up a little wider, lean back a bit, and scoot your seat bones forward for easier access
Step 3: Insert a clean finger and bear down
When Flex Disc is inside your body, it’s held in place by your pubic bone—that’s the hard “edge” you might feel when you stick a finger inside your vagina. To pop the rim of your Flex Disc out from behind your pubic bone, it can be helpful to engage those muscles we mentioned earlier: Your pelvic floor!
To do so, just bear down as if you were trying to poop. You don’t have to push crazy hard, just a little bit—and try to do so while you have a finger inserted (index or middle finger is usually easiest), so you can feel the rim of your menstrual disc move forward and get ready to hook it and pull it out. Sometimes it helps to take a super big breath, filling your lungs all the way, before you bear down.
If you happen to have a high cervix or you’re trying to remove your menstrual disc right after having sex (when your cervix tends to be higher up in your body), you might need to bear down a bit more than usual in order to comfortably reach the front rim—alternatively, try another one of the positions mentioned above. PS: We have more tips on post-sex disc removal below.
Whatever you do, try not to stress out during this step! That nervous energy will make it tougher to control your pelvic floor. If you feel yourself getting anxious, take a break, wash your hands, and return to the box breathing technique described in Step 1.
Step 4: Hook that disc
As your pelvic floor muscles engage, you’ll feel your menstrual disc move forward and pop out from behind your pubic bone. Once it’s within easy reach, hook your inserted finger under the front rim of the disc and begin to slowly pull it out.
Sometimes, it’ll be easier to grab onto the rim of the disc by hooking it sort of “off-center”—i.e. getting your finger in there, hooking it under the disc, and then bracing against your vaginal wall on the right side or the left (depending on whether you’re right- or left-handed) to maintain a solid grip.
If the “come hither” isn’t quite working for you, you can also try flipping your hand over and hooking your finger over the top of the rim. Imagine you’re reaching for a light switch to flip it down. This might require a bit of arm acrobatics depending on your height, but some folks find that the disc is easier to grip over the top than from underneath.
Lastly, you can also try the two-finger approach if things are a little slippery in there, which can happen on heavier period days. We recommend a thumb and index finger or your index and middle finger. Just get one finger under the rim and the other finger over it, grasp that disc, and pull slowly to remove.
Step 5: Remove slowly, then dispose
Unless you’re in the shower, make sure to keep the disc parallel to the floor as you remove it to avoid any accidental spillage. You can also switch hand position midway through your removal process to pinch the disc in half as it makes its way out of your body (some folks find this more comfortable).
Dump the contents of the disc into the toilet (or let it rinse down the shower drain), then place your used disc back in its wrapper (if you saved it) and toss it in the trash. That’s it! You’re done! Wash your hands, give yourself a pat on the back, insert a fresh disc, and get back to doing whatever you were doing before you Googled “Flex Disc removal” and wound up on this blog post.
Removing Flex Disc when you have a fresh manicure
New set of nails? You don’t have to ruin them when taking out your menstrual disc (or cup, for that matter). All you need is a cotton ball and a pair of latex or non-latex medical exam gloves. Both are easy to find at your local pharmacy—add them to your shopping list when restocking on Flex® products!
First, tear off a bit of cotton from the cotton ball and wedge it under your index or middle fingernail (whichever finger you usually use to hook your disc). This will “round off” your fingertip and prevent any sharp poking action. Next, put a glove on that same hand and proceed with removing your disc as usual.
The best part? You can turn your glove inside out around your used menstrual disc when disposing of it for a totally mess-free, spill-free experience.
Removing Flex Disc after sex
Make sure you wait at least 15 minutes after having sex before you try to remove Flex. Arousal can make the vaginal canal twice as long as normal—making it way harder to reach your disc than usual! Give your body some time to “cool off” and let your cervix return to its normal height. Perfect time for cuddling, if you ask us.
Removing Flex Disc when you’re on the go
Removing a menstrual disc in a public bathroom (or at your BFF’s house) isn’t all that different from doing so at home.
However, if you’re new to the disc, we recommend getting familiar with it—at least for the first couple of days—at a time when you’re not super busy or planning to be out of the house all day. This is mainly because it’s much easier to relax in the comfort of your home than in a port-o-potty or other less-than-ideal public restroom situation.
In terms of clean-up, you can remove Flex Disc in public without getting period blood on your fingers by using a disposable medical exam glove (latex or non-latex) or one of our specially-designed Flex Removal Pouches.
Just put the pouch over your hand before you insert a finger to remove your disc. Once it’s out, simply turn the pouch inside out around your used disc, pull off the liner strip to reveal the sticky seal, and seal the pouch shut. You can say goodbye to that embarrassing wad of toilet paper wrapped around your period product in your friend’s bathroom wastebasket.
To make cleanup easier in a public restroom, throw a pack of Flex Biodegradable Wipes in your bag before heading out. You can use the wipes to clean off your fingers in case a pouch or glove isn’t your style—plus, they’re great for wiping away any errant drops of blood from your labia or elsewhere. They’re 100% safe to use on any and all body parts!
What to do if it feels like your menstrual disc is stuck (it isn’t!)
If you’re having issues removing your disc, have no fear! We have a team of Flexperts at the ready to help you anytime you need it. Just give us a call at (800) 931-0882, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or send us a message online. We’re available over the phone Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST and Saturday/Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. PST.
In the meantime, here are a few additional tips and tricks to help with disc removal if you’re having trouble:
- One of the key components to removing any period product is relaxation! If you tense up, you’re more likely to experience an issue. Return to the box breathing technique mentioned in Step 1 (above) to calm your autonomic nervous system.
- Use those pelvic floor muscles and push down (like you’re taking a poop) when you’re ready to remove your menstrual disc. Take a deep deep breath and try saying “moo”—yes, like a cow—while you bear down. It may seem silly, but this tactic helps to relax your diaphragm and keeps your pelvic floor from tensing up.
- OB/GYN and Flex medical advisor Dr. Jane Van Dis recommends using the Valsalva maneuver to help with tricky menstrual disc removal. Basically, you just take a deep breath (as big as you can) and then push down without exhaling that breath. The Valsalva maneuver helps to bring your cervix closer to the opening of the vagina.
- Try alternating between the “moo” and the Valsalva technique. The Valsalva works to push the disc down further into the vaginal canal; the “moo” technique engages the pelvic floor while keeping it open so it’s easier to reach the disc.
- Switch up the finger you’re using to hook the disc (or try two fingers).
- Switch up your body position to something a little less “traditional”—like laying on your bed with a towel down, laying on the floor with your knees pulled up to your chest, sitting on the toilet with your legs propped up on a stool, kneeling on all fours (in tabletop position), or moving from a squat to standing.
If you have a known pelvic floor dysfunction (i.e. your pelvic floor muscles are difficult to control, overly tight, or weak), it might help to chat with your healthcare provider or get in touch with a pelvic floor physical therapist to work on restoring and conditioning those muscles. Check out this recent article to learn more about your pelvic floor.
Still struggling? Take 30 minutes to an hour to relax, say some positive mantras, and try again when both your mind and body feel ready. Flex Disc can stay in your body safely for 12 hours, so you generally don’t need to be in a rush to get it out. However, if you’ve attempted to remove your disc using our tips above multiple times and are still unsuccessful, please reach out to our team of Flexperts ASAP so we can help you out:
CHAT WITH A FLEXPERT:
- Call us: (800) 931-0882 — Monday thru Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST; Saturday/Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. PST.
- Email us: email@example.com
- Send us a message online
What if it’s late at night or a weekend evening? Don’t be shy about contacting your healthcare provider or OB/GYN over the phone for assistance (though they are likely to recommend the same tips that are mentioned here).
And remember: A close friend, family member, or partner may be able to easily reach in and remove a menstrual disc (or condom…or vibrator…or yoni egg) that you’re struggling with—we’ve seen it done in the movies, we’ve done it ourselves, it’s not as embarrassing as it sounds!
Tell me you’re an incredible friend without telling me you’re an incredible friend? Helping out in these ^ exact situations. #IYKYK
This article is informational only and is not offered as medical advice, nor does it substitute for a consultation with your physician. If you have any gynecological/medical concerns or conditions, please consult your physician.
© 2021 The Flex Company. All Rights Reserved.