This post contains a product review for menstrual products. It will contain references to blood, menses and scenarios of a more graphic nature, and/or something that not all will care to read. This is your warning, stop here if this does not apply to you or you have no interest in this topic.
*Also – not a paid endorsement – just my own review of the product. I am speaking strictly from my own perspective and the input of others I know personally. This is not representative of all, nor all encompassing. What works for me, may not work for others, so please speak to your obgyn, and find what works for you!
Check out the Flex website here
As a 35 year old Cis woman, I have experienced periods (aka menses, menstrual cycles, shark week or whatever else you call them) since I was around 15 years old. Now, with a solid 20+ years of experience under my (literal) belt, I find myself enthusiastically endorsing this new (to me) product.
Background – I have been on and off the Depo shot for over 6 years, so recently I decided to give my body a little break from the hormones and make sure my uterine wall was still able to shed itself as nature intended. Sure enough in November, it took about 6+ months of anxious waiting, I had a period FINALLY, for the first time in about 2+ years. This “first” period back was a doozy and I was super unprepared. I was feeling EVERY period symptom you can imagine the week before and during the week of, and it hit me hard. On top of the symptoms that were happening outside of my pelvic region, I QUICKLY remembered why I really disliked having periods before the Depo shot. I went through the November period using traditional tampons and pads, as I had in the past, but I wasn’t happy about it/with it. I had briefly tried menstrual cups in the past too, but didn’t find them to be super effective (for my body), a nuisance to clean/sanitize and gave up on them quickly.
NOW. Thanks to the wonder of my phone, and its ability to apparently constantly listen in on my conversations, I was inundated with ads on social media for various alternative period products. I did a little looking, and settled in on the Flex, mostly because I liked the disposable nature of it, as well as the aspects I will be diving into further below.
- Availability – I’m certain there must be similar products sold in stores, but in the time of COVID, and coupled with the fact I don’t enjoy making trips out, I appreciate that they are discreetly delivered to my doorstep. The delivery box doesn’t even say “flex”, just some random ambiguous name that could be a tupperware inside for all any delivery driver knows. I’m not incredibly shy about my life (clearly, as I write blog posts about it), but for those who hate checking out in person with a box of tamps/pads for all the world to see, this might be useful information for you and slightly reassuring.
- Price – These are constantly on sale, and of course you can do the “10% off your first order” option, etc. I find them to be no more egregiously priced than a box of tampons/pads, and for the OTHER areas in which I find them an improvement, they are WELL worth it in my book.
- Comfort – I don’t care what anyone says, you will not change my mind that traditional tampons and pads are gross and uncomfortable. I have never used a tampon and been like “oh goodness, I just totally forgot that was even in there” or a pad and not felt like I was genuinely wearing a wet diaper most the time. With the Flex discs, I feel nothing after I put them in.
With that, I also hated feeling like I was sort of pushing out my tampon anytime I needed to go #2…this is real, and not just for me, and it’s awful because THEN what? Am I supposed to reach in and push up this half used tampon, and hope it stays put? Um no thank you. OR on the other side of things, constantly taking a tampon out JUST to comfortably (and cleanly) go #2, and then reinserting a new one was always 1. a waste of money and 2. not fun, especially if the tampon wasn’t fully “used” enough and then felt like I was removing a freaking dry, who knows what, torture device from my vagina and then turning around and trying to shove a new one in. All in all, not fun. With the Flex, I may see some blood come out if I push a bit during a #2, but that is expected (the company explains this on their site as well in more depth) and completely only happens when going #2 (for me). I don’t have to worry about later touching a disgusting, dirty tampon string either. Whew, ok, that rant is complete.
BONUS – You can have sex with the Disc in! I haven’t had the opportunity to test run this – but I am glad that when that day comes, I can do so without feeling super icky. I have also worked out vigorously with no feeling of it moving around, or leakage!
- Smell – There is none!!! OMG. Praise! One (of clearly many) things I HATED about traditional tampons and pads was. the. smell. *gag* I CONSTANTLY felt insecure about it. I felt like the WORLD (or anyone within arms length of me) could smell this weird, period smell, and even though it is my body/blood, I still just abhorred that smell that happened from the collection of the blood into a tampon or pad. With the Flex, I have no smell! The blood is contained/kept in the cup area of the Flex, and during this recent period, had ZERO moments of “omg I smell like a period!”. Also, I noticed that my trash can doesn’t just reek of used products. Of course there is residual blood on the Flex Disc, but most of the blood is dropped into the toilet before I throw the disc away, so there’s no lingering scent.
- Cramping – My cramping feels SO much less!? I wasn’t sure if that was normal but the company addresses it on their website as well, and apparently, when using a cup/disc of any nature, since it’s more malleable and sits up PAST the vaginal canal (nearer the cervix), the body can move/cramp itself more, but won’t hurt as much. I really felt last month was so painful, but with the Flex Disc, it has been way less cramping.
- Longevity – Traditional tampons/pads and their timetables have always weirded me out. I was always secretly fearful that I was going to give myself the old, dreaded TSS (toxic shock syndrome) and I was forever afraid of being left with intense leakage. With the Flex Disc I have only had the most minimal of trace bleeding, and that’s ONLY been before/after removal/insertion of a new disc, which is TOTALLY to be expected, or during/after a #2 potty break. The Flex is meant to be worn for 12 hours, and I have put it to the test! I even went so far as to wear panty liners during my heavy flow days to see the red, if it appeared, and it did not. They say that the Flex Disc can hold the equivalent of three (3) super tampons worth of liquid, so I think most of us can rest easy with that, even overnight.
- Waste & Safety – Even though it is a “disposable” option versus a “reusable” (such as a cup), it reduces the global footprint/creates less waste by about 60%, compared to the use of tampons and pads. I’m not going to say I am the most environmentally conscious person to walk this earth, but I do like when I can find small ways to improve. It’s also BPA, latex-free, hypoallergenic, phthalates free and FDA registered.
NOW the ONLY thing I have yet to master, but I would not even call it a “negative” is the mess of removal. I won’t lie, I def ended up with a lot of blood on my hand each time I removed the disc, so if you’re a bit squeamish about that, it may be a little bothersome. The company does have loads of “how to” videos, pamphlets and such for educational purposes, and acknowledges it will be a bit messy. They recommend removing it over the toilet, or even in the shower, and I can surely see why. I have no issue with it though, and I feel it’s a really understandable byproduct of this device.
Also, it takes a little practice to get it in there just right, and the company even sends an extra for “practice” run, in the first delivery, so rest assured, it can be done. Don’t let the size of the disc frighten you either, as it’s very bendable and truly (for me) is not even noticeable.
All in all, I give it 5 stars, and I am SUPER happy with this little revelation.