Core Memory: The school nurse held a meeting with all of the 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade girls and asked, “Who has gotten their period?” It seemed like every single hand went up while I debated lying to avoid the late-bloomer embarrassment I was feeling. I remember being entirely confused and scared as I listened in on what I assumed was my first taste of Sex Ed. By the end of that class, I was so glad I didn’t have my period yet and was in zero rush to get it.
Then, when it eventually came, it was brutal. I had what I thought were the heaviest periods imaginable, and I dreaded ‘that time of the month’ every month.
Getting my period now meant that I had to bring a box of pads wherever I went, just in case. It meant sneaking off to the bathroom, because that’s what we do as women, right? It meant praying that I didn’t bleed through my pants and making sure to pack an extra pair of underwear because 9 times out of 10 I did. It meant keeping a pocket-sized mirror to spot-check myself for leaks and sleeping with a hospital-grade pad on my bed to avoid ruining my sheets. From a very young age, I understood – without even knowing it – that there was a shame and stigma attached to having your period, and I tried to hide it as best I could.
As I got older, a few things changed: I started using Super-Plus tampons in tandem with Extra Heavy Overnight Pads with wings to avoid as many leaks. To be clear, I wore both of those in tandem, changing my pads every hour on my heaviest days to avoid any accidents. I wasn’t ashamed to ask whoever I was with if I had blood on my pants, and let’s be honest: accidents still happened.
Eventually, I was diagnosed with endometriosis through laparoscopic surgery, and it was both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it confirmed that my wildly heavy flow and debilitating period pain weren’t in my head. On the other hand, it felt like a lifelong sentence. I tried an array of birth control options to “fix” the issue, but it felt like I was just putting a bandaid on it, and the side effects brought on a whole other slew of problems.
Enter: Flex Menstrual Discs
After 20 years of awful periods that had me in a chokehold, I decided to try something entirely different: Flex Discs. I had seen their ads before and even considered buying them once or twice at the pharmacy when picking up an armful of ammo to get me through my next cycle, but I was skeptical. I thought, “There’s no way this disc is going to be able to handle my insanely heavy flow,” but then again, my current regime wasn’t working either, so I finally gave it a try.
I have been using Flex for a few months now, and my perspective has completely changed. Here are a few things I didn’t expect after switching to a period disc:
I’ve saved a ton of money on period care. One box of 12 discs is the equivalent of 72 super tampons, so I’ve spent way less than my usual monthly supply of pads and tampons.
It has saved me endless trips to the bathroom. Whereas before I was changing my pads every hour, I can now go 12 hours without worry. I’ve even learned how to make them self-empty when going to the bathroom. A few months ago, this felt entirely impossible.
I’m more comfortable during my period. While I initially had some trust issues with the disc, I now feel freer than ever before during that time of the month without the bulk of excessive pads and tampons making me feel completely un-sexy.
I have less painful periods. This one came as a surprise to me, but my cramps aren’t as bad using a menstrual disc. I’ve recently learned that this is because they sit in the vaginal fornix, the widest part of the vagina with fewer nerve endings than in the canal (which is where tampons go).
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I haven’t experienced any leaks for the first time in my life. While I’ll probably never stop asking for spot-checks after so many years of period trauma, since I’ve been wearing a menstrual disc the answer has consistently been, “No! You’re good!”
I love that they’re more sustainable. Did you know that Flex Discs create 60% less waste than traditional period products? They’ve made reusable discs and cups, too. All of their period products are body-safe, hypoallergenic, and won't disrupt your vaginal pH.
Long story short, I am a believer. I am converted. And I can’t believe I didn’t try a menstrual disc sooner. I have more control over my heavy flow, and that’s a win for me.
Jacqueline Solivan is the Director of Partnerships at Rescripted and the mom of two sweet girls.