Will FLEX work for me if I have endometriosis?
Actually FLEX is an ideal period product for women with endometriosis. Here's why:
- FLEX does not contribute to any inflammation
Endometriosis is a problem in which a woman has excess inflammation in the female reproductive tract. Women with endometriosis have more prostaglandins and more leukotrienes (neurotransmitters that up-regulate inflammation) that are released and one of the hallmarks of women with 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 or disrupt the pH of your vagina, FLEX has no effect on inflammation.
- Heavy flow
Women with endometriosis often have heavier periods. FLEX, because it captures 3-4x as much blood flow as an average tampon, means that you'll be changing your FLEX much less often.
- Position in the vagina
The vagina is widest at its most superior portion---where the vaginal fornices (posterior and anterior) are. FLEX sits against the cervix in this area. Tampons, in contrast, occupy the lower and middle portions of the vagina--- 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, but this cramping can be exacerbated when the lower portions of the vagina are expanded when a tampon fills with blood and vaginal fluids. Often, women with heavy periods and endometriosis, can tell when their tampons are soaked with blood.
Because FLEX sits at the top of the vagina, many women report less cramping. This is also due in part to the fact that 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 (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.
Watch Dr. Jane discuss more about FLEX & endometriosis here.
Written by Dr. Jane van Dis
MD, a Board Certified Obstetrics & Gynecologist