The Flex menstrual cup was something I was quite eager to try. Mainly because of its unique and revolutionary design. Indeed it’s the first menstrual cup to feature an easy pull-tab removal system. Thus, making it less threatening for first-time cup users. And, those with disabilities that struggle with using traditional menstrual cups. I found this whole approach intriguing. Especially, since initially I struggled with removing my Saalt cup. I became curious as to how this process could be simplified with the Flex menstrual cup. Furthermore, how reliable would it be in terms of protection, comfort, and ease of use? Hence, why I decided to give it a try. Since my initial purchase a few months back I’ve had the opportunity to use it for 4 consecutive periods. And while there is still a learning curve involved when using this cup. I do believe that it’s a great sustainable menstrual product. Especially, for beginners and users with accessibility challenges.
What is the Flex Cup?
A simple way to define the flex cup is a reusable menstrual cup designed with an easy removal system. Thus, making it more accessible for cup beginners and those with accessibility issues. It’s made of 100% medical-grade silicone and is offered in two different sizes: the Slim fit and the Full fit. Furthermore, it can be purchased online at the company’s website linked here. Or, it can be purchased from many Target locations. The average price is $39.99 not including tax.
Similar to a majority of cups on the market the Flex menstrual cup can be worn for up to 12 hours. Another trait of the Flex cup is its sustainability. Since it’s reusable you don’t need to worry about having to replenish it monthly. While many cups advertise that they last for up to 10 years with proper care and maintenance. The Flex cup promotes that many of its users replace their cup every 1-3 years depending on wear and tear. Your individual results and decisions regarding how often you replace are up to you.
Choosing the Size of Your Flex Cup
The size cup that you choose will be based on your body’s unique dimensions. And, flex provides its customers with two different sizes to choose from. As mentioned above your options are the Slim fit, which is lower capacity and smaller. Or the Full fit which is a higher capacity and larger. But, thankfully the Flex website provides some guidelines and specifications on each cup to help you determine which cup is best for you.
This cup is advertised for beginners and those new to the world of menstrual cups. Yet, if you’re not an absolute beginner you may find that this size is right for you if you have the following:
- Light to normal flow
- Low to medium cervix height
- Have NOT had a full-term pregnancy
Furthermore, when it comes to capacity the Slim fit holds 22 mL of period flow. Flex advertises this to translate to the equivalent of 2 super tampons. Its dimensions are 43 mm wide and 46 mm tall.
In the case of the Full fit it’s recommended for those that are experienced cup users, or that need a higher capacity cup. For example, those with a normal to heavy flow. It’s also a good option for women who have had a full-term pregnancy. As it pertains to capacity this size holds 30 mL of menstrual flow. Which is advertised on the Flex site as being the equivalent of 3 super tampons. The dimensions are 46 mm wide and 53 mm tall. And might be beneficial for those with a high cervix.
Using & Caring for the Flex Cup
Every menstrual cup will recommend which folding method and insertion technique will work best for their cup. I highly suggest that when you are trying a new cup for the first time that you experiment with the different folds and insertion techniques as recommended by the manufacturer for the best results. As for the Flex cup, there are 3 main folds that they recommend: the punch down fold, C-fold, and 7 fold.
Additionally, the Flex cup comes with detailed instructions on how to fold, insert and remove the cup. Furthermore, they have information listed on their website regarding how to use and care for the cup.
My Experience with Flex Cup
For the most part, my experience using the flex cup has been pleasant. I decided to purchase and try the flex cup after struggling with removing my Saalt cup on multiple occasions. And, while I understood that as a newbie I would encounter a learning curve using cups. I also knew that as a person that truly wanted to make a lifetime transition to cups and sustainable menstrual products. It was imperative for me to feel comfortable traveling and removing them. Consequently, I just didn’t feel that with the Saalt cup. It wasn’t something that I felt I could travel with and could confidently and easily remove from a public restroom. Hence, why I decided to make the Flex cup my back-up cup for such occasions.
And I must say that it definitely serves its purpose for me in this area. I’ve traveled with it on multiple occasions and only had to step into the restroom twice to empty and re-insert. It was relatively easy to do so and I felt comfortable and confident. Another benefit is that the Flex menstrual cup has a slightly higher capacity than the Saalt cup. The Flex cup holds 22 mL of menstrual flow whereas the Saalt cup holds 20 mL. Now, I know it’s not a dramatic difference. But, it’s definitely beneficial on my more moderate flow days. In turn, I transitioned to using the Flex cup on heavy flow days and overnight when my flow tends to be the most. But, as with any menstrual cup, there’s going to be some wins and losses as you learn how it’s going to work best for your body.
Flex Cup Wins
Let’s start off with the positive. First off, I was surprised that I found the Flex cup to be so comfortable. It has a spherical shape that is supposed to aid in easier insertion. And, while I’ll discuss the insertion process in just a minute. The shape in and of itself was more comfortable than I believed that it would be.
Secondly, a win for me was the dark color. While I love colorful menstrual cups and find them pretty. I do question their longevity in regards to staining, and retaining odors. While of course properly cleansing your cup with either a cup wash or gentle cleanser is imperative for basic disinfecting and odor reduction. It’s still common for clear and lightly colored cups to stain a bit more. Hence, why I believe the black color will be helpful at safeguarding against this. Thus, improving the longevity of the cup in the long haul.
Finally, and the most obvious would be the simplified removal process. If you read my prior post detailing my first experience with using a menstrual cup. You’ll know first hand how I struggled to remove the darn thing. In the end, I had to contort myself in a weird position (nicknamed the turtle) to remove it! Well, I had zero issues with removing this cup. It’s so painfully simple it’s astonishing.
Flex Cup Losses
All in all my experience was overwhelmingly positive. Yet, there were some challenges I faced during my Flex cup learning curve. For starters, the insertion process was a hot mess. It was not as easy as inserting the Saalt cup. While the company advertises the spherical shape makes insertion easier I’d have to disagree. And, I’m in pretty good company when it comes to this opinion. Various bloggers and content creators have expressed similar sentiments when it comes to the insertion process. A key issue that makes insertion difficult is the added bulk from the pull tab removal system. This makes folding it for insertion a bit awkward. After trying multiple folding methods I achieved success with the punch down fold. And, gripping it as tightly as possible while slowly inserting it.
Another loss was my difficulty to get the Flex menstrual cup to pop open. While it was fairly easy for me to get my Saalt cup to pop open and I could actually feel it do so. I didn’t have the same experience with the Flex cup. This again was most likely due to the pull tab removal system contained within the cup that made this difficult to achieve. Additionally, my not being able to determine if the cup was open or not led me to have issues with leaking.
Next, I found that I occasionally had issues with my menstrual flow leaking through the hole of the pull tab during removal. This made removal a little messy. Which can be a problem if you’re squeamish about menstrual flow. In my case, it was a minor issue but still annoying.
Finally, the keyhole loop from the removal tab can feel awkward. With traditional cups, the purpose of the stem is to be helpful in finding the cup for removal. But, since my cervix is medium to low I have to trim my stems off. Yet, you’re not able to do this with the Flex cup since the keyhole loop is an integral part of the removal system. Now, the awkward sensation doesn’t last. After a little bit, my body adapted to it and I didn’t feel it anymore. But, there is the initial little sensation from the keyhole pull tab before your body adjusts.
Recommendations for First Time Flex Cup Users
Regardless of what you do, there’s going to be a learning curve associated with any new menstrual cup that you use. This goes for the Flex cup as well. Yet, knowing in advance things to be mindful of can help decrease your transition time. And, make your experience that much more enjoyable.
Who Should Try Flex Cup?
I believe that the flex cup is perfect for two types of people. The first being those that are new to menstrual cups and are a little squeamish about the removal process. Whether it’s fear of not being able to remove the cup. Or, being squeamish about your menstrual flow. The Flex cup is a great starter cup that can help you overcome these obstacles and make switching to sustainable menstrual products easier. Furthermore, Flex cups are ideal for those that want a reliable cup for travel, long commutes, and those who are actively out and about and may need to empty their cup. Having a cup that’s easy to remove can decrease fear and worry of encountering awkward situations in public restrooms.
Tips for Preventing Leaks and Disasters
Most of the leakage that I experienced with Flex cup was due to my cup not opening up properly and general user error. But, to accommodate these little missteps you can opt to use a back-up method such as pantiliners, or menstrual undies. This way if leaks do happen you don’t have to worry about them ruining your clothes before you have the chance to fix the cause.
Also, it’s important to create some sort of schedule for emptying your cup. You can do this as you become more aware of your flow, and the rate in which you fill up your cup over the course of your period. A good starting place is to empty it every 4 hours.
Traveling with The Flex Cup
Another tip is to keep some essentials with you if you plan on being out and about for an extended period of time. And by essentials, I mean hand sanitizer, small water bottle, unscented feminine wipes, and lubricant (optional). For me packing these items ensures that emptying, cleaning, disinfecting and reinserting my Flex cup is a breeze.
My process goes a little something like this: I thoroughly wash and sanitize my hands before I remove my cup. Afterward, I remove and empty the cup and use the small water bottle to rinse it off. Then I use my unscented feminine wipes to wipe off and lightly cleanse the cup. Finally, I cleanse and sanitize my hands again; lube up the cup and reinsert. This is the process that works best for me. You may find another process that works better for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Switching it Up
My final take on the Flex cup is that it’s an excellent cup. It performs magnificent and has excellent capacity for my more moderate flow days. Additionally, I feel completely confident wearing this cup out and about for extended periods of time. I know that if I need to empty it that I won’t struggle with an awkward messy removal. And, that for me makes the Flex cup worth it. Let me know if you plan on giving the Flex cup a try. Or, have you already tried the Flex cup? What was your experience like? I’d love to know if you feel comfortable sharing.