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Sometimes I have to question what “put a sock in it” actually means. Look, don’t get me wrong, I totally understand the fact that "it" in this case is referring to the mouth. But it can easily be referring to your hoohah, just the same. And that brings us to my point; if you could... (hypothetically speaking of course), put an actual sock in your hoohah, would the sock potentially cause toxic shock syndrome the way a tampon might? Because let me just tell you, when I get my period, I am ready to shove a cork in there just to stop it from bleeding. Sadly however, the closest thing to a cork thats available on the feminine hygiene market today, can also kill you.
Yes, tampons can actually kill you. If you were not aware of this just look on the side of any box of tampons, it's written there in tiny print somewhere by the word "Warning."
Tampons are associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). TSS is a rare but serious disease that may cause death. Please consult the product insert for further information.
Most of us disregard the possible dangers of tampons the minute we see the word "rare" written in the warning. I can safely say I use tampons all the time, every month during my period as a matter fact, and during those five days of every month, TSS rarely crosses my mind. That was at least until hearing the life changing story of model and activist Lauren Wasser and her gut wrenching experience with tampons. She was just 24-years-old, barely starting out in her career as a model, when her entire life flipped upside down, all thanks to using tampons. One minute she’s buying Kotex Natural Balance tampons at the market, and the next minute she hanging on for dear life as doctors do everything they can to save her. Luckily, the doctors succeeded; they were able to save Wasser, but sadly, not all of her.
She had developed gangrene in her leg as a result of the severe TSS infection and in order to save her life they were forced to amputate her leg. She is using her life changing experience to raise awareness about TSS, and to let other women know that tampons are dangerous and can cause devastating results. You can learn more about Lauren Wassers’ story here.
After hearing Laurens horrific experience with tampons, the thought of using one ever again started to give me major anxiety. Especially because the only other feminine hygiene product available on the market is a pad, which is nothing more than a giant diaper if you ask me. My periods are super heavy and the thought of sitting in my own pooled blood is anything short of enticing. I’m always worried about leaking through the pad and getting my clothes stained, not to mention the fact that it looks like I crapped my pants cause the pad is so damn thick. And don’t even get me started on trying to work out while wearing that thing, now your’e not only sitting in your own pooled blood , your also dancing around in it. That thing does not stay in place, even if you secure the wings, it somehow always seems to fly away.
I’m pacing up and down the feminine hygiene isle at my local CVS and think to myself: “So now what? If using tampons can kill you and the thought of using pads makes you wish you were dead, what’s a girl on her period supposed to do?” And just as I’m about to reach for the pads I notice something I thought for sure was in the wrong section. “What the fuck is FLEX? Oh great, some new stupid fitness tracker, someone must have left here by mistake," I thought to myself. Out of curiosity, I grab the box and start reading the description: “disposable menstrual disc? Flex is a flexible disc that comfortably forms to the shape of your body to prevent leaks for up to 12 hours?”
What??? When did this happen and how come nobody told me about this? Have I been living under a rock all of this time? Yep, while I’m over here having to wear an oversized human diaper with stupid little wings, basting away in my own endometrial lining, living under this here rock, the rest of the world is shoving a disc into their vagina and calling it a day for the next 12 hours? Screw this rock, I’m moving.
I mockingly stick my tongue out at the pads and flick off the tampons as I head over to the cashier with my vaginas’ new best friend, FLEX. Shockingly, there’s only one checkout stand that’s open, and the line is a million people long. I know what you’re thinking, “No way, not at CVS." I know, right? Those were my thoughts exactly!
May as well make use of my time in line and read the box to these bad boys. Not only is this thing completely safe, it even forms to the shape of your body, preventing leaks for up to 12 hours. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better than that, it gets better. The box claims this thing even reduces period cramps. At the rate this line is moving however, it wont even matter cause I’ll be menopausal before its my turn to pay. Finally, it’s my turn to pay and not a hot flash too soon. I thank the lady at the cash register for making me wait in line for only an hour this trip, (that’s record time for CVS)... and grab my scroll of a receipt. Gotta love those extra care card coupons I never use.
Time to put the FLEX disc to the test and see what it’s all about. Looks like a giant version of a condom but with thicker cartilage at the rim and more of a plastic consistency. I must have read the directions a thousand times and even looked at the pictures from every angle and yet I can’t seem to get the stupid thing in place. Every time I think I’ve got it in where it is supposed to be, it starts popping right out. I knew this was too good to be true! Had my mama raised a quitter, I’d chuck the discs in the trash and convince myself that pads deserved another chance. Instead, seventy four flex discs and 34,528 tries later, I finally get one to go where it’s supposed to, and I’m pretty sure it was by accident. I give the disc a one out of five stars in terms of ease of use. You need a map to find where this thing is supposed go, and once you have that map, just go ahead and toss it in the trash cause it ain't gonna help you find squat. Getting this thing into place is like flipping a coin, there is no skill involved. Even with the detailed instructions and diagrams provided it was still virtually impossible to insert the disc into place and when compared to using a tampon, it was way more time consuming as well.
Once I finally succeed in getting that thing up there, I was able to go about my day as per usual and was comfortable with the disc inside me, the entire time. I barely felt it, except for a few times when seated in a certain position. Going to the bathroom was also not a problem. I was able to pee normally without jeopardizing the placement of the disc aside from some slight spotting, had no issues. In regards to comfort the disc gets a five out of five stars from me.
But working out was the best part of my day, and the best thing about the disc. No soggy pad glued to my ass or sandwiched between my ass cheeks, and no blood stains on my pants either. I was able to wear the disc for several hours before I started spotting/ leaking and needed to change discs. Just as I am about to order a lifetime supply of the flexi discs, my experience with the disc takes a nose dive and crashes to the ground when I learn the complexities involved in changing one.
That part was no fun at all and was super messy. My bathroom looked like a crime scene and had I been forced to do this in a public bathroom I probably would have been arrested on suspicion of murder. You’re supposed to hook your finger into the side of the ring to dislodge it out from wherever the hell it sits against and then once its out , pour the blood out and toss the disc into the trash (it’s not flushable). Expectation versus reality in this case is like expecting an orange and realizing you have a hippopotamus eating an apple. I have trouble hooking the ring, and even more trouble dislodging it. By some miracle of G-d I finally get the sucker loose and seven paper towel rolls later, it's finally in the trash. I’m covered in blood at this point, along with my floor, trash can and toilet.
This place could use some yellow caution tape to put up around the entire bathroom just in case anyone comes by while I’m in the shower washing off all the bloody evidence. Four bath towels, a bottle of bleach and another three paper towel rolls later, the crime scene is spotless and free of all menstrual evidence. Definitely not the ease of use I was expecting out of a feminine hygiene product.
I would like to conclude that although the FLEX disc may seem like a great idea on paper, much like communism it does not actually work when put into practice. The ideal feminine product should be easy to use, and with minimal effort and time expenditure. The product should also be safe, comfortable, and non-toxic. It would also help if the product was not messy. Although I was initially extremely excited about the flex disc, after actually trying it out, I am rather disappointed. On the bright side however, I have a new found appreciation for pads and will gladly take a soggy diaper lodged between my ass cheeks over a messy crime scene any day! I do not recommend the flex disc nor would I ever try using one again unless it could drive itself into my vagina like a Tesla. Perhaps now would be a good time to look into the possibility of "putting a sock in it."