If you don't menstruate, you may want to give this article a miss. We're not holding back. But if you do menstruate, rejoice! The days may be gone of digging for menstrual cups, awkwardly inserting tampons at the wrong angle and nappy-like pads: a New Zealand company has introduced a world-first on the period product market - a menstrual disc with a removal tab.
The Hello Disc has been more than a year in the making, with months of research, testing and refining. It is the latest product created by New Zealand period company Hello, founded four years ago by registered nurse Mary Bond and her longtime friend, Robyn McLean.
The brand first made waves internationally with the launch of its Hello Cup, a reusable menstrual cup designed by Bond and McLean from scratch and made here in Aotearoa, boasting high quality, medical-grade materials.
But menstrual cups aren't always smooth sailing. They can be fiddly to use and tricky to get the hang of. Also, sizing is important - for the best fit, the gals at Hello recommend using a cervix measurement guide to find out where your cervix sits, which will determine whether your little friend is low, average or high.
Alternatively, the Hello Disc is the world's first menstrual disc with a patent-pending, double-looped removal tab, allowing for easy-as-pie removal without the mess. The tab is specifically designed to make the disc more accessible for people who struggle to remove menstrual cups and tampons, McLean and Bond say.
Like menstrual cups, menstrual discs also collect period blood. Unlike the cups, menstrual discs tuck behind the pubic bone, rather than holding on by suction. Inserted correctly, a menstrual disc will provide leak-proof protection for eight to 12 hours.
As it doesn't require suction, the Hello Disc is a great option for those with an IUD and unlike the menstrual cup, one size fits most and it's made to suit all cervix heights. Perhaps most importantly, it allows for no-mess period sex (grow up, everyone) as the disc sits high and behind the pubic bone - so there's nothing in the way of penetration!
The Hello Disc is made from premium, medical-grade silicone and is reusable for around five years. Plus, it can be left in for up to eight hours and does the same amount of work as five regular tampons or pads.
A design collaboration with US-based period product expert Kim Rosas, the Hello Disc came to fruition after a successful Kickstarter campaign which saw the product fully funded in six days.
"There's been little innovation in the period care industry over the last 40 years. The Disc changes that big time," McLean says.
With more than 45 billion tampons and single-use sanitary pads ending up in landfills globally each year, reusable period products make for a far more sustainable alternative.
"When we started we had no idea whether people would be willing to try something different but we knew that sustainable period products were not only better for the planet, but they were also better for the person using them," McLean adds.
There are a number of other menstrual cups and discs on the market, including the pioneering Intimina Ziggy Cup - the first reusable menstrual cup that could be worn during penetrative sex - and the Lumma reusable menstrual disc, made by our trans-Tasman neighbours.