Three Ways Your Period Product Could Be Affecting Your Vaginal Health

Three Ways Your Period Product Could Be Affecting Your Vaginal Health

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About the author

This blog post was written by Flex.

About the Author

This blog post was written by Flex.

1. Odor

First of all, your vagina is supposed to smell like a vagina, not a rose or some scented feminine wash. Odor is actually one of the ways you can self-diagnose whether your vaginal flora is healthy.

Just as vaginas have a natural odor, your period does, too. If you feel like your period odor is “off”, consider consulting your physician and perhaps exploring a new period product. Period products that absorb your menses, like tampons or pads, expose your period blood to oxygen allowing more bacteria to grow, causing a strong odor. A period product that collects your menses, like a FLEX menstrual disc, does not expose menses to oxygen and may actually help to reduce odor.  

It’s also worth noting that a fishy odor could be a sign of a bacterial infection like BV, which leads us to our next point.

Alternative methods for preventing and managing chronic UTIs are emerging.

2. Infections

Your vagina is like it’s own perfect, self-cleaning ecosystem.

A healthy vaginal pH is acidic and ranges from a pH of 3.5 to 4.5. This means that there is a healthy balance between good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria thrives in the vaginas acidic environment. However, when an imbalance in pH occurs, bad bacteria can grow and you can develop irritation, odor, and infections such as bacterial vaginosis, the most common vaginal infection for menstruating women.

So how does your period product affect your pH? Tampons absorb everything in your body, not just your menses, which can throw off your pH creating an environment where bacteria thrive. And even after your period is over, tampons can leave traces of their fibers in the vaginal canal that can continue to grow bacteria. Your body might not be able to fight off this bacterial overgrowth on its own leading to infection.

And if you’re worried about the ultimate infection, Toxic Shock Syndrome, it may be best to avoid tampons altogether. Pads are a great option or try menstrual discs, like FLEX, which are the only internally worn period product not linked to TSS.  

3. Cramping

There’s a reason you don’t squeeze yourself into that corset-t-shirt-look on your period. Cramping, bloating, and period poops (you know what we’re talking about) all require comfort and a period product that isn’t constantly threatening to pop out at even the smallest of sneezes.

You might be wondering how tampons and cups can make cramps worse. Let us break it down for you:

Different areas of the vagina have different levels of sensitivity. During your period, that sensitivity can be heightened due to normal hormonal changes or as a result of specific medical conditions like endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease. The lower third of the vaginal canal has the most nerve endings (hello G-spot), which is exactly where menstrual cups and tampons both sit, putting pressure on the vaginal walls, also known as vaginal distention. Vaginal distention can actually cause additional cramping and discomfort on top of your typical menstrual cramps.

So how do we alleviate cramping? At the very top of the vagina, the vaginal canal gets wider to accommodate the cervix. This cushy area around the cervix is called the vaginal fornix and is the widest part of the vaginal canal. FLEX menstrual discs were designed by women to fit in the fornix for a more comfortable period. And apparently it works, 70% of people who use menstrual discs said they experience less cramping.

Count us in.

Bonus: Other ways your period product could be ruining your life

Having to run to the bathroom

Are you constantly running to the bathroom to check on your tampon? Who has time for that? You are a human on the go and you need a product that can keep up with you. Running errands, running board meetings, or just...running. Cups and discs can both be worn for a full 12 hours so you can get time back to do whatever is most important to you.

Not being able to have sex

Look, you’re a modern woman who’s not afraid of period sex but you’re also a busy woman who is not interested in washing blood out of her sheets. Since menstrual discs like FLEX sit around the cervix instead of in your vaginal canal, you can wear them for mess-free period sex. You period blood stays contained and your vaginal canal is clear for whatever tickles your fancy.

Pee string

You know what we’re talking about. Enough said.

Thanks, FLEX! Give FLEX a try—a 3 month trial for only $12 + free shipping with code UQORA at