Lunette Cup

Does It Work? A Look At The FLEX Menstrual Disc

Menstrual discs are something we’ve been asked about more times than we can count, and usually it comes in the form of a confusing question about menstrual cups … and then we realize they’re talking about an Instead Softcup or a FLEX.

Menstrual discs are NOT the same as menstrual cups!

Menstrual disc and menstrual cups share exactly one feature. They both catch menstrual flow. That’s it.

They differ wildly in material, shape, insertion, fit, removal, cost, and environmental consideration.

So does it work?

That answer depends on a couple of factors. Does it function? And do we like the way it functions? Check out our video review for all of the details.

As you can see, we aren’t fans. While they do work for some — and that’s great! — they just aren’t a good fit for us. Wear was comfortable but removal was anything but. Amanda found it painful to remove and poor Kim ended up in a horror show situation as a result of a moderate flow day. (If you recall from our Heavy Flow video – we aren’t all that heavy, so we cannot imagine what a disc might be like for someone with even more flow than us!)

The Cost

In addition to our removal discomforts, we aren’t all that impresses with the cost of using a disc. They are not approved to be safe for reusing (though some do use them for a full cycle before trashing them) which poses a problem for your wallet, as well as the environment.

FLEX costs $20 per month for 8 discs that are meant to be worn for 12 hours. This assumes #1 that you have a four day cycle and #2 that you can go a full 12 hours before needing to change. If you are heavier or longer than this, you’ll need more of them. At $2.25 per change – the costs really add up. By contrast, one quality menstrual cup can cost $20-40 depending on the brand — and you only need one. Organic tampons are also cheaper, with most costing around $10 per cycle.


This is just our two cents. If you use a disc and love it — let us know. We would love to hear about your experience with discs and why you feel that they are the best option — especially if you’ve also used a cup.






Put A Cup In It

Menstrual education with a twist by Kim Rosas & Amanda Hearn. Thanks for being here!

- Kimanda

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12 thoughts on “Does It Work? A Look At The FLEX Menstrual Disc

  • Tamsin

    I had the same issue with removal but I only had one disk (which I signed up for before Flex launch) but thought it was me causing the issue!

  • Stevie

    I tried a disc years ago (before kids, and before cup) because I wasn’t ready to say “fuck what my social circle says, I want a menstrual cup!”, but still wanted an alternative to tampons and pads. I hated the disc. HATED them. I never got it in right, it did fall out (which I thought was normal…?), and was SUCH a mess. It actually scared me from trying a menstrual cup for about 2 years.

    Now I’m an exclusive menstrual cup and washable pad (for the last day of my period) lady.

  • Sarah

    I have used them. They take bit of work, I will use less of them then a pad. I used Instead Softcup (before they went bankrupt) (also in Canada- which means we get Diva Cup and that is it!!!!!) (not bitter)
    As a soft entry into disc/cup use, they are great, I found that you can get used to placing cups or discs into your body. Leak wise, depending on the day and the flow. I often found that they would leak after about 4-6 hours.

    Stil trying to find my cup !


  • Olivia Lovag

    I have used it and I’m gonna cut straight the point: flex and softcup are good for having sex during your period, period.

  • Angella

    I have tried both a menstrual cup (Diva Cup) and the Flex. I am relatively new at both – I’ve done one full cycle with the cup and like it. I’m still working through my trial box of Flex and I’m not very confident about where I am on the learning curve with it. I have been able to easily remove the disc each time but that’s because it doesn’t seem to stay behind my pubic bone very well. I’m not sure if I’m just not getting it in there quite right in the first place? Anyway…ideally I’d like to use both a cup and a disc to completely replace pads and tampons. I travel on business a lot and I would much rather travel with disposable discs than a cup I needed to keep clean. However, when I’m at home doing my normal routine I like the zero-waste aspect of the cup.

    I have a friend who absolutely loves Flex. She did say there’s a definite learning curve when taking it out because it’s messy but she had no problem with placement – but she had the NuvaRing as birth control for years whereas I’ve been a Pill user forever. Neither of us have tried the mess-free sex yet. Me…mostly because I don’t think I’ve mastered placement yet.

  • Elizabeth

    I’ve used the softcup. I didn’t like it at all. Always felt like it was too big. Hard to get in and out. Often was very uncomfortable. No idea how someone could have sex with it in?

  • Dunemi

    I use Soft Cup, which is identical to Flex, I think. It’s great. I’ve tried menstrual cups for 20 years, but the Soft Cup works better for me because I have a heavy flow. The reason why I love it is because you can squeeze your vag muscles while you are peeing, and it will bend the cup enough, inside you, to pour out the contents. So, you don’t need to remove the cup at all during the day – just pee! With the menstrual cup, I would have to empty it at work, and wash it out and re-insert, and it was a whole thing. Too much trouble.

    And I definitely do not throw it out after one use. A doctor friend of mine told me that there’s absolutely no reason to throw it out – just wash it with soap and water and re-insert. I use one cup per period. My doctor friend said that the FDA forced the Soft Cup (and Flex presumably) to say it’s for only one use because they didn’t want women washing them in public restrooms. Material-wise, it’s perfectly fine to wash it and reuse it.

  • Tina

    Crazy! I love the softcup. My sister mentioned it to me and though at first i was scared to use it i have it a try. Never going back. Like Dunemi my sister mentioned that when you flex your muscles as if youre going per it empties itself out and guess what, it does! But unlike Dunemi I only use new one per 24 hrs. So far I haven’t had trouble with it and I’m going on my 5th month I think. It did take me 3 days of putting one in to finally get it right and another cycle to get it where even my hands come out clean! Lol. I love this things and the convenience. Some people do think theyre over priced but for me I’m paying extra for convenience, comfort, less stress and cleaningness.

  • Angie

    I actually got started on disks. I have a low tilted cervix, and a cup (any cup) simply would not work for me before delivering my first born. After having a baby I can now use small cups under 2 inches and I must trim all stems off to the nub, or else I become irritated, inflamed, and sore within 24 hours. Menstrual disks are great for me. I adore them. If it weren’t for menstrual disks I would have had to use only expensive and leaky sea sponges, drying tampons, or smelly stinky pads that cause chafing before I delivered a child.

    I dont have prolapse issues, I am a healthy woman, who has an extremely low and tilted cervix. Wearing a cup before the baby was not a possibility. My OBGYN even scoffed at the idea and turned me towards disks. After the baby, I can wear something small and extra soft.

    INSTEAD actually produces an FDA certified reusable menstrual Disk that will last you one complete menstrual cycle. I thought you should know. I noticed that you did not.

  • Angie

    I see a lot of questions about the placement of the disks. In order to properly place them, squash them together and hold in the middle with two fingers. Insert using a “scooping” motion as if you’re going to scoop somwthing from your bottom side. With the disks, you go BACK during placement unlike with the cup where you go up. These positions are needed due to the size of the contraption. Disks are flater and wider so you want to go more towards the back then up, cups are longer and more narrow so you want to go more up then back. To remove the disks properly you literally just hook one finger under the rim and ease it out. When using the re-use able softcup, I reach in and grab the ring with my ring finger, and use my thumb and pointer to squeeze in a GENTLE nature on the sides to help elongation of the device to aid removal. Disks are not as high volume as a cup is due to their design. You must empty every few hours.

    After you know what you’re doing, and establish the skills needed, wearing a disk is a GREAT thing. These allow people who can’t wear cups to wear menstruation collection devices and reap all the health benefits they have to offer.

  • Mummaof6

    I find flex comfortable, but removal is a murder scene.
    I really only use flex for mess free sex. And am glad I have it as an option now. So one box lasts for months. Worth it in my opinion. Cup hands down for normal use though

  • Tried Everything

    So it’s wild to me that so many people are so negative about these. They are my absolute favorite. Tried a cup for two years and thought “this is a game changer”. Not having to going through 15 tampons a cycle was awesome (and the horrible mess and discomfort and suffocation from pads) but it took a long time to find one that fit. No Diva cup would work because it was way too large and the stems stuck out. Moved to the Femmy cup teen size and it started awesome. Then I noticed how many infections I was starting to get. And trust me I watched videos on how to wash and did everything I could to keep clean, but have a sensitive pH balance and it just didn’t work. I also had an IUD 6 months prior to cup use with no problems. Got a cup and the suction removed it…three times. The doctor asked about cup use and said no more. It was causing too many problems. She suggested I try these instead and they were SO much more comfortable. Significantly easier to insert, and, screw my partner, I WANT mess free sex. I have loved these and the softcups brand from Walgreens is somewhere between $7-$12 dollars and I use one cup for an entire cycle. Like another reviewer said, totally fine to wash, but it is sanitary when you start a new cycle. Zero infections, zero pH problems, zero problems with insertion, relatively mess free sex, easy to clean in the shower. It was a totally win for me. We are all made differently so don’t be afraid to try it! And yes, I wish I was waste free, but 12 a year is WAY less than tampon waste. And using 12 a year, I am totally fine spending $1 a cycle.


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