If you’re considering a tampon alternative after reading my experience with menstrual cups, I have further proof that you should: a Q&A session with two of my dearest friends after their first months using alternatives as well.
Q: How/when did you learn about tampon alternatives?
M: I discovered Flex while scrolling social media.
A: Just googling other options.
Q: So you were actively wanting something different?
Q: For a specific reason?
A: Yeah because I was feeling like tampons are unhealthy and they still leaked a lot, even just a little bit, and I was annoyed how often I’d change them.
Q: What were your initial thoughts when you read about the cup/disc?
A: I had heard of the cup like 2 years ago and was like EW. Then I re-read it again this week and was like ‘hm that sounds like a really good idea’. So I don’t know what changed.
M: I had heard about the cup about 4 years ago and thought it was kinda gross (mostly because you reused it and had to clean it). I came across the disk which is similar to the cup in concept but has a different shape and is disposable. I was super excited to try it!
Q: So you did your research and made the plunge. What were your first thoughts when your cup/disc came in?
A: I was excited and it was exactly what I expected. With the silicon it never gets gross and I feel cleaner actually on my period. I noticed that.
M: I couldn’t wait for it to get here! (I got it this morning so we’re only 3 hours in) So far I really like it! No leaking or mess like with a tampon.
A: I would get so annoyed because I’d have some small leak with a tampon so I’d think it was full, change it and it’s not full at all. Drove me crazy.
Q: How did your first attempt at putting it in go? Did you research how to put it in? Was there a good instruction manual that was helpful?
Small and large sized Lena
A: Yeah, I found tons of research and just followed it and it was super easy.
M: The website had a video you could watch, reviews from users and pictures. The instructions were super easy and I did it right on the first try!
Q: How do you feel with it in during your period? Confident? Leak-free? Uncomfortable?
A: I felt super excited it was working and it was comfortable. I wasn’t confident though because I was super paranoid the whole time, but it worked well so next time I’ll be way more confident. A few times I didn’t put it in perfectly and there were a few small leaks but I had a panty liner on and that handled it all just fine. It wasn’t even really leaks it was just like a few drops. But I know I’ll get the hang of it. I was glad it really wasn’t gross and it was quick and easy and gave me major peace of mind that I could leave it in all day and not watch the clock to change my tampon every 3 hours.
M: Currently paranoid haha. But only because its my first time using it. So far no leaks and I can’t even tell I have it in. The real test will come during the softball game tonight. If Flex lasts all day without leaking it will be a real game changer. Also can I just say that I would often forget to change my tampon because I would get super busy (or i didn’t have an extra one, yesterday being a prime example). This would result in a mess due to leaking and paranoia that I was going to get TSS. Flex is FDA registered and not linked to TSS which gives me peace of mind.
A: Yes I agree. Or long days in busy season I couldn’t get away at convenient times to change it. really annoyed me having to always think about it.
M: Fun fact. Flex is supposed to help alleviate cramps. I do feel some discomfort, but I do not feel like my insides are falling out per the usual.
Q: Any tips, comments, recommendations for someone who is considering a tampon alternative?
A: Oh, totally do it – it’s so worth it. Multiple good options out there. My experience was good, not perfect, and I still prefer it over tampons.
M: Do your research, read reviews, and if there is a trial option, give it shot. There are multiple options out there, you just have to find what works for you.
A: Also this isn’t a tip, this is just one thing I liked. I sleep in pads because tampons that long is bad for you and that was so gross in the morning. This was clean and easy.
M: Yes, sleeping in a pad is disgusting! So I usually slept in tampons but thats not good for you.
Q: Okay last thing: Any tips or tricks for a first time user?
A: I feel like the instructions are so much better than other things and the instructions were very clear and helpful. I guess just read about different folding methods and try them out until you find the one you like.
M: Read the instructions, they are very helpful. You probably won’t do it right the first time, but most people don’t, so wear a panty liner the first couple times just in case.
It can’t hurt to try some alternative options! If you have any questions, tips, recommendations, drop them in the comments below!
**Update as of 11/2/18** Interviewee A above had used Lena for the first couple months, then noticed a few leaks because the walls of the cup were bending. After researching what could cause this, she found that it can happen from stronger pelvic floor muscles (common in women who were heavily in athletics). She then ordered a Yuuki cup and has been even happier with this brand: it’s meant for those with stronger pelvic muscles so it’s firmer and holds much stronger for her.