I’ve been meaning to write this post since I started my blog back in November and I’m finally getting around to it. I just find it so mind-boggling that people still think there are only two feminine hygiene products for women to use while on their periods. I want to make it very clear YOU HAVE OPTIONS OTHER THAN TAMPONS AND PADS! Up until I made the switch those two products caused me so much stress and anxiety. After switching there is no way I will ever go back. Today I want to talk about environmentally friendly products that are so much better than the traditional. I am only going to go into depth on 3, fairly commonly used products but there are many more out there if you’re willing to search for them.
Before I get started I want to say that I’m not going to tell you why you shouldn’t be using traditional period products in this post. However, there are many issues that come with using traditional tampons and pads and I suggest you do some research into why they are harmful to your health and the environment if you are interested in learning.
The Menstrual Cup
I’ve been using my cup now for about 2.5 years and I’ll never turn back. I currently use the DivaCup but there are plenty of other brands out there and each one is slightly different. If you try one and you don’t love it, it might just be the wrong shape or size for you, don’t give up! To use one all you have to do is insert it and make sure it’s in place, leave it for up to 12 hours, empty it and clean it, then re-insert it and you’ve got another 12 hours of leak proof protection. Note: if you have a heavier flow you may need to empty your cup more often, however, they will still need to be emptied less often than you need to change a tampon. Check out Put A Cup In It for a quiz on which cup best suits you!
– A menstrual cup can stay in for up to 12 hours without leaking.
– It is made of medical grade silicone and there is no risk of toxic shock syndrome.
– You only have to purchase one and it will last you a few years (if you take care of it).
– There is a learning curve and it may take you a few cycles to get used to wearing it.
– You need to be comfortable with your body, it can be a little messy when you’re getting used to using the cup.
The Reusable Pad
A reusable pad is very similar to a disposable pad other than the fact that you wash it and wear it again. I have yet to actually try a reusable pad as I am so satisfied with my menstrual cup but I would love to get a few to have on hand. A reusable pad comes in many shapes and sizes, there are so many Etsy shops selling ones with cute patterns, and they usually have some sort of clasp on the bottom to hold them in place as there is no “sticky side.” It is worn the same way as a disposable pad and when it needs to be changed it can be rinsed with some cold water and then washed as usual in a washing machine.
– There are no harsh chemicals in reusable pads and they will not irritate your skin.
– Once you have your initial collection you can reuse them for years without having to worry about buying more.
– They come in a ton of different shapes, sizes, and patterns so you can find the style that perfectly suits you.
– There is an upfront cost, you need enough pads to last you at least one day so you’re not constantly running the washing machine.
– You have to rinse the blood out of the pad yourself and that may gross some people out (although it’s really no big deal if you’re worried!)
Period panties are something I only found out about recently and I cannot wait to get my hands on some. They’re underwear that look totally normal but (some styles) can hold up to two tampons worth of blood. If you have a light flow you may be able to just wear period panties and have absolutely no issues. I personally plan to use them as a back up for my menstrual cup incase I have any leaks. Similar to the reusable pads you simply wear the underwear and when they need to be changed you rinse them out and wash them normally. Check out THINX if you’re interested.
– You can wear them alone without any other product, you don’t have to worry about bringing a cup or pad with you.
– They carry different styles of underwear to suit your needs, they even have a thong!!
– Like pads, once you have your initial collection, you can use them for years.
– They are expensive, one pair costs between $20-$30. You’ll need at least 5 pairs if this is going to be the only product you choose to use.
– Similar to pads, you have to rinse the blood out yourself (but it’s really not that bad, just do it in the shower).
As you can see there are so many viable options other than traditional pads and tampons! They’re environmentally friendly, healthy for your body, and honestly more practical than you ever thought was possible. I would suggest trying out a bunch of different products to see what works best for you! That might be one of these, something completely different, or a combination of multiple products. Don’t give up if the first thing you try doesn’t work out for you! I think that once I get my hands on some period thongs I’ll be hooked on those as a back up for my menstrual cup!
If you use any of these or another type of sustainable period product let me know in the comments below! Let’s start a dialogue about feminine hygiene, it’s about time it started to change.
“Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.” – Cheris Kramarae