Because tampons are so last century
If you’ve been using pads and tampons as your period product staples since your pre-teen years, we’ve got news: It might be time for an upgrade.
It’s not that we have anything against traditional period products. They’ve served their purpose, much like payphones or cassette tapes, and brought a few generations of menstruators out of the Stone Ages (throwback to the sanitary belts of the early 1900s). But they’re definitely less than ideal.
With pads, you get that lovely “wet diaper” sensation a mere 30 minutes after your once-every-four-hours change. With tampons, it’s the uncomfortable “wad of cotton up my vag” feeling, the odor, the occasional pee string, and (for some) even yeast infections. Oh, and you’re still running to the bathroom every four hours.
So, if you’ve never heard of a menstrual disc before, let us introduce you to a product that very well could transform your life.
What’s a menstrual disc, again?
A menstrual disc is a period product that works similarly to a menstrual cup in that it collects period blood in a “catch” (rather than absorbing blood, like a tampon would). A disc, however, sits in a different part of the vagina than a menstrual cup: All the way at the back, just beneath the cervix, in a place known as the vaginal fornix.
There are a few different menstrual disc brands on the market today. Flex Disc (and its cousin, Softdisc—the OG of discs) is a disposable menstrual disc and can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time. It holds the same amount of blood as three super tampons and is a great alternative product for folks who love the convenience of something disposable but still want to reap the benefits of all-day wear.
25 reasons to give menstrual discs a shot
1. Reduce period cramps by up to 60%
Big news: Using a menstrual disc can actually make your cramps Irish exit. No, seriously. There are a few factors at play here, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that a disc sits in the vaginal fornix instead of the vaginal canal, and that it moves with your body while your uterus contracts (rather than being rigid, like a tampon).
Tampons expand as they absorb more blood, putting constant pressure on your vaginal walls. This pressure may worsen or aggravate existing uterine cramps. A disc, on the other hand, stays the same size—meaning no change in pressure—and flexes to conform to your unique anatomy.
2. Because… sex
Because a menstrual disc sits in the vaginal fornix (the widest part of the vagina, just beneath the cervix), it doesn’t obstruct the vaginal canal. This means you can have all the mess-free period sex™ your heart desires.😉 If you’re looking for more pointers, check out this article on how to use Flex Disc during sex.
Even better? The disc doesn’t interfere with your natural lubrication. Even though it sits below the cervix, most of the lubrication your body generates when aroused comes from the Bartholin’s glands and Skene’s glands, which are located near the opening of the vagina and alongside the urethra, respectively. Plus, some of the lubrication comes straight from the vagina’s epithelial lining.
Translation? With a menstrual disc, you’ll be able to have full-on penetrative sex, WAP and all, without the annoying stained sheets to deal with later.
3. You’ll throw away less plastic
While Flex Disc is still a disposable period product (meaning you’ll still throw it out in the trash after use), thanks to longer wear—a full 12 hours per disc—you’ll contribute less plastic to landfill than you would if you were using pads, most of which are made with plastic, or tampons with plastic applicators. Flex Disc has about the same capacity as three super tampons, which means you could potentially cut your plastic waste by two-thirds (depending on how heavy your flow is and what products you typically use).
4. Goodbye, wet tampon string
There is literally NOTHING worse than running to the bathroom in a rush, peeing, and then realizing you forgot to hold your tampon string out of the way while you did so. Either you’re forced to change your tampon ahead of schedule (which involves grabbing said pee string with your fingers) or you’re stuck with a damp and uncomfortable string clinging to your labia for the rest of the day.
With a menstrual disc? No string, no problem.
5. You literally won’t feel it
One of the best things about a menstrual disc is that you very well could forget that it’s sitting inside your body. That’s because a disc sits in the vaginal fornix, as we mentioned above—and the fornix has far fewer nerve endings than the vaginal canal. It moves with your body and conforms to your anatomy for a comfortable, leak-free fit.
Pro tip: To avoid actually forgetting about your disc (it happens!), set a reminder or an alarm on your phone for the 12-hour mark whenever you insert a new disc.
6. Mid-wear emptying means you can go longer without changes
Unlike a pad, tampon, or menstrual cup, a menstrual disc offers a unique feature that’s especially helpful for people with a heavy flow: Mid-wear emptying. Translation? You can dump out some of the contents of your menstrual disc while you’re using the bathroom without actually taking the disc out of your body.
Mid-wear emptying is a super simple, hands-free technique. While you’re on the toilet, just bear down with your pelvic floor muscles (almost like you’re trying to poop). This will push the front edge of the disc just out beyond your pubic bone, allowing some of the fluid to pour out into the toilet. When you’re done, simply do a kegel (pulling up and inwards with your pelvic floor muscles) to pop the disc back in place behind your pubic bone. You can also use a clean finger to double-check that it’s back in position.
7. Squat, run, or burpee like a champ
Flex Disc warms and forms to your body: When you move, it moves with you. That means you can get low (no, really), jump high, and run wild on any day of your period without worrying about leaks or discomfort. Just ask fitness influencer Lauryn Moss, who switched from tampons to Flex Discs and never looked back.
8. It won’t absorb water when you swim
Pro surfer Keala Kennelly can attest to this one: Flex Disc is a perfect alternative to tampons for any underwater athlete or casual swimmer. Since it collects blood (and doesn’t absorb), it won’t get waterlogged when you swim. As Keala tells us, “I tried Flex and it was such an amazing difference especially as a water athlete. It’s so comfortable and you just forget it’s there; you never have that waterlogged, gross feeling. It’s really been a game-changer for me.”
9. No bigger than a tampon
At first glance, a menstrual disc might look huge—but when you pinch it in half (which is step one of insertion) it’s the same size and width as a standard tampon. And once it’s inside your body, it finds its rightful place in the widest part of the vaginal canal, just below the cervix. So, we promise: It fits, it stays in place, and you won’t even feel it!
10. Because you can take out your disc in the shower
Taking out a tampon or changing a pad is never a fun experience. It’s damp, it smells funky, it’s awkward wrapping your used product in TP. One of the best things about a menstrual disc is that you can skip the off-putting, over-the-toilet removal process and take out your product in the shower (!). Which, if you ask us, is way more relaxing. Also, multitasking FTW!
Just pop a squat while you’re showering (which will help push the disc forwards for an easier removal), remove, dump the contents down the drain, rinse your disc, and put it to the side to toss when you’re out of the shower—relaxed and totally clean. Insert a fresh disc and get on with your day!
11. So you can (finally) sleep in
With tampons, you’re always taking a little bit of a gamble when you want to sleep in. Most tampon brands limit wear time to eight hours at the absolute max to avoid TSS. With a menstrual disc, you can wear the same disc for a full 12 hours. So, sleep in all you want, enjoy your rainy Sunday, maybe even whip up some waffles (or order delivery). You’re on your period—you deserve the break.
12. Perfect for travel
We love a menstrual cup as much as the next person, but emptying and cleaning your cup in a public restroom can pose a challenge. Unless you’ve remembered to tuck a pack of Flex Biodegradable Wipes in your bag, you’re stuck with awkwardly carrying your chalice of blood to the row of public sinks, rinsing it out in front of the 70-year-old lady glaring at you from the line, and then retreating back to your stall to reinsert.
With a disposable menstrual disc like Flex, you can skip the public rinse at the sinks and simply toss your used disc in the disposal bin. Reinsert a new one and you’re on your way.
13. No one likes a yeast infection
When you put any foreign object in your vagina, you run the risk of altering your vaginal pH balance—that is, unless the object is biologically inert. Your vaginal pH balance is important because it (in part) dictates the balance of good and bad bacteria that survive in the vaginal ecosystem. Too much bad bacteria or too much yeast, and you end up with an increased risk for a bacterial infection or yeast infection.
Wait: Let’s revisit that “biologically inert” part. Basically, any material that’s porous (like a cotton tampon) can harbor bad bacteria and throw off your vaginal pH. A material that is non-porous is biologically inert, meaning it can barely host any bacteria at all, and is unlikely to impact your vaginal flora.
TL/DR? A menstrual disc made of medical-grade polymers is less likely to impact your vaginal pH, which means you’re less likely to suffer a post-period yeast infection.
14. Heavy flow woes no longer
Did we mention that menstrual discs hold a lot more blood than the average tampon? Yup: Flex Disc, in particular, can hold a whole six teaspoons. So, if you have a heavy period, a disc might just be your new BFF. Refer back to point #6 for more tips for a heavy flow.
15. Because period underwear feels like a wet diaper
We get it. Menstrual discs aren’t the only new kid on the period product block. Period underwear have been getting a lot of time in the spotlight lately as a comfortable, sustainable alternative to pads and liners. But we’re here to point out something that most brands aren’t mentioning: Period underwear is more or less akin to wearing an adult diaper. A reusable adult diaper, sure. But still a diaper.
We love period underwear as a backup layer of protection on super heavy days, but worn alone, it can be a serious buzzkill—especially if you’re trying to do something active or you’re wearing it under a tight dress. Looking to step up comfort without the soggy feel? Try a menstrual disc.
16. One size for every day of your flow
Take a stroll down the tampon aisle and you’re sure to be overwhelmed. There are SO many brands—and within each category, SO many sizes.
But what if your period is heavy on day one but super light by day four? Instead of buying five different boxes of products to accommodate each day’s flow, just buy a single box of menstrual discs. They glide in on light days and are just as comfortable to wear during spotting as they are during the heaviest day of your period.
No need to analyze pad sizes or worry about width, absorbency, or circumference. Flex Disc comes in one size that holds as much blood as three super tampons, but it can be worn at any point during your cycle (even for non-menstrual spotting). The disc is sized to fit the majority of bodies.
17. Glides in, glides out
If there’s anything worse than the sound of nails on a chalkboard, it’s the feeling of a dry tampon being pulled out of your vagina (apologies if we just made you shudder). Say goodbye to that feeling altogether by switching to Flex Disc. Even if your period is almost over, a menstrual disc will glide in and out comfortably with zero effort and zero cringe.
18. Get to know your anatomy
With any menstrual disc, you’ll have to get hands-on with your internal vaginal anatomy in order to get the hang of insertion and removal. This learning curve can be a bit weird or scary at first—that’s totally normal and okay! We promise it gets way easier after only one or two cycles.
The cool part is that, once you’ve figured out how to insert and remove the disc with your fingers, you’ll be intimately familiar with how your vagina is oriented, what your vaginal walls feel like, and how your cervix changes position at different times and on different days of your period. This can, in turn, offer you unique insight into your overall health.
Another bonus? Knowing your body inside and out is one key to especially great orgasms.
19. Body-safe & hypoallergenic
We can’t speak for all menstrual disc brands, but Flex Disc is a body-safe, OB/GYN-recommended product. Did you know that Flex is a registered medical device company and regulated by the FDA? That means that we put in a lot of work behind the scenes monitoring and controlling every aspect of our materials and manufacturers to ensure they meet the highest standards of FDA Class II medical devices— the same standards as knee or hip implants.
Flex products are made without BPAs, PFOAs, PFOs, phthalates, latex (natural rubber latex, to be specific), or animal products of any kind.
20. Keep an eye on clots
This one might sound a bit strange, but switching from tampons to a menstrual disc or cup can help you gain valuable insight into your own health. Why? Because a product that collects your menstrual fluid will allow you to better monitor how much you’re bleeding, what the blood looks like, and how many clots you’re shedding.
Large period clots (larger than the size of a quarter) can indicate an underlying health condition. If you notice large clots, get in touch with a healthcare provider for further testing. Same goes for menstrual bleeding that suddenly increases in volume—i.e. a much heavier period than normal.
21. Delivered to your doorstep
Late-night runs to the drugstore can be fun—but not so much when you’re tired, achy, and crampy and you’ve just realized you’re out of period products. The solution? Set up a Flex Disc subscription.
Customize your plan based on your flow, pick your add-ons, and then forget about it altogether. Period products will arrive at your front door every other month. Pause, modify, or cancel your subscription anytime via your online account. Never run out again (and save the trips to the drugstore for fun stuff like ice cream and nail polish).
22. Works with an IUD
We always recommend that you talk with your doctor or OB/GYN first—but, in general, Flex Disc is safe to use with an IUD. Since there’s no suction effect (as there is with some menstrual cups), a menstrual disc doesn’t pose a large risk for IUD displacement.
23. Use up your FSA or HSA
Did you know you can buy period products, including Flex Disc and Flex Cup, with your FSA or HSA? This happened as of March 2020, when U.S. lawmakers passed a $2 trillion stimulus package (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities Act) that classified menstrual care products as qualified medical expenses. Find Flex Disc online at the FSA Store.
24. Flexpert support, whenever and wherever you need it
When you buy a box of Flex Discs or sign up for a subscription, you’re also getting concierge-level customer support with each purchase. Our Flexperts aren’t your average customer service agents: They’re true experts with firsthand experience to boot, and will answer literally ANY question you might have (trust us: there’s no such thing as a dumb or embarrassing question).
Call from the bathroom stall, the shower, or even your bedroom floor—or DM us on Instagram, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, chat with us, or fill out our online contact form. Flex Customer Support can be reached over the phone at (800) 931-0882.
25. 12-hour wear = period freedom
Our favorite thing about a menstrual disc? You practically forget you’re on your period. Put one in in the morning, go about your entire day, and take it out at night. It makes you think, “Maybe this whole time, it wasn’t my period that was the problem… it was the products.” 🤯
Don’t take it from us, though—check out some of the reviews from our customers.
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.
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