DR. JANE ANSWERS : I Have Endometriosis. Can I Use Menstrual Discs?

DR. JANE ANSWERS : I Have Endometriosis. Can I Use Menstrual Discs?
Reviewed by Dr. Jane van Dis MD, a Board Certified Obstetrics & Gynecologist

If you have endometriosis, getting your period can mean heavy bleeding and debilitating cramps that disrupt your life significantly, affecting school, work, relationships or all three! Even worse, traditional period products can contribute to your misery, as tampons disrupt vaginal PH and can exacerbate cramps, and may require constant changing with heavy bleeding.

People with endometriosis cramps might consider usingmenstrualdiscs for a variety of reasons. We consulted with gynecologist Dr. Jane van Dis, who helped develop our menstrual discs, on how menstrual discs are ideal for those with endometriosis pain and heavy bleeding.

Unlike Tampons, FLEX Menstrual Discs Do Not Increase Endometriosis Inflammation

Endometriosis is a complex condition. One characteristic of endometriosis is excess inflammation in the reproductive tract (uterus, tubes, ovaries and pelvis) that causes endometriosis pain. Women with endometriosis have more prostaglandins and more leukotrienes (neurotransmitters that up-regulate inflammation) that are released, and one of the hallmarks endometriosis is the formation of scar tissue after inflammation occurs.

This scar tissue can be VERY painful and can lead to difficulty with fertility for some women. While other products have properties that may accelerate inflammation, increasing endometriosis cramps, or disrupt the pH of your vagina, menstrual discs have no effect on inflammation.

Menstrual Discs Accommodate Heavy Bleeding

Women with endometriosis often have heavier periods. Because FLEX menstrual discs capture three times as much blood flow as a super tampon, you’ll be changing your disc less often and shouldn’t need to worry about the leakage that plagues heavy bleeders.

FLEX Can Reduce Endometriosis Cramping

The vagina is widest at its most superior (highest) portion: where the vaginal fornices posterior (back) and anterior (front) are. FLEX Disc sits against the cervix in this area. Tampons, in contrast, occupy the lower and middle portions of the vagina, which are the more narrow parts of the vagina.

The cramping sensation that many women feel during their period is a result of blood and tissue moving through the cervix into the vagina, as well as the inflammation described above. This cramping can be exacerbated when the lower portions of the vagina are expanded as a tampon fills with blood and vaginal fluids. Often, women with heavy endometriosis bleeding can feel when their tampons are soaked with blood.

FLEX Disc sits at the top of the vagina, and 70% of our users report less cramping. The lower third of the vagina is innervated by the pudendal nerve, which has more sensory fibers in it than the nerves innervating the upper portions of the vagina. Many women who can feel the pressure of a tampon expanding while cramping in their lower vagina, cannot feel FLEX in the upper vagina due to the differences in innervation and shape of the vagina, and then the shape of the respective products. Those with endometriosis pain could especially benefit from a product that does not exacerbate cramps.

Still on the fence with howmenstrualdiscs might work for you? Check out this article which addresses common questions people have about switching to FLEX.

For more information, you can watch Dr. Jane discuss more about FLEX & endometriosis here.