There’s a new product on the menstruation scene and periods might never be the same again.
Despite being a normal, natural bodily function of half the people on the planet, many women still spend a quarter of every month uncomfortable and self-conscious because of their period.
Luckily, these days we’ve at least got more options than previous generations when it comes to managing menstruation, with tampons the first choice for many.
However, as fuss-free as they are, tampons can have their downsides, with many women finding them uncomfortable and prone to leaks during heavy flows, as well as being unhappy about the link to toxic shock syndrome – not to mention the environmental impact of getting through thousands of single-use cotton products.
Which is possibly why new product Flex is making waves, promising fewer leaks, more comfort and even blood-free sex.
Although it sounds blindingly obvious that feminine hygiene products are probably best created by women, aka the people using them, most aren’t.
Founders Lauren and Erika came up with Flex after being dissatisfied with their own period protection, inventing a menstrual disc which sits at the base of your cervix. The disc collects blood and is safe to use for much longer than a tampon, being able to collect three times more blood (meaning it can be worn through the night). The website claims just one disc should last you 12 hours, after which it should be disposed of in a sanitary bin and a new one inserted.
According to Lauren and Erika, the risk of leakage is minimal (great news for your bed sheets and underwear).
Though this might sound similar to the Mooncup, a well-known eco-friendly alternative to tampons that works in a similar way and has been around for years, there’s one major purported difference: mess-free sex.
While some report that products such as the Mooncup can get in the way of sex or feel uncomfortable, reviews so far claim Flex is fine to be worn during sex, and doesn’t leak.
The founders say their mission statement is to “create a world where every woman loves her body” – certainly a calling we can get behind.
Previously the product has only been available in the US, but for the first time it’s available to order for women in the UK. The only thing that may hold you back is the delivery nature of the service, meaning you can’t pop to the shops to grab yourself a Flex when caught short.
The product works on a subscription basis with each box providing eight Flex discs, which is how many the brand estimates the average woman will use throughout her cycle. Trial boxes start at £13 for three cycles’ worth (24 discs).
Reviews for the product show a mix of opinions, with many even claiming that their cramps lessened after moving away from tampons.
One user who suffered from “agonising” period pain writes: “The discomfort/cramps that tampons caused was no more! Because of Flex my paranoia of my period is over! I might still have pain, but the confidence and peace of mind that Flex has given me is life changing. I plan to never use tampons again.”
A second user agreed that the product was “life-changing”, writing, “It feels weird to call this a ‘life-changing’ product, but I went from my period being incredibly annoying every month to being just another day. It’s pretty awesome.”
But many of the reviews point out that removing a disk full of blood from your vagina is still a messy business, and it sounds like something you would only want to do in the comfort of your own home, possibly in the shower.
Another reviewer writes: “It was actually easy to put inside, I didn’t feel it at all while it was in there. The claims on no leaking even while making love are true… BUT taking it out was so messy, I ended up covered [in] mensies and it was super uncomfortable.”