We all know that whatever your situation that periods are a pain, even though they are a very natural part of life for a pretty damn long time. It really is a shame we don't talk about them more.
Whether you're an 11 year old girl just getting her's for the first time, a woman in her 30s who's well used the seemingly never ending cycle or someone soon to transition into menopause, it's still nice to know of new products and innovations that can make our lives a little easier when that time of the month rolls around. Which is why we thought we'd do a round up post of some alternatives to the standard tampons and sanitary pads that are available in the shops.
A lot of people swear by menstrual cups. The idea is that they sit in you while collecting your blood and when it's time to empty - you pull it out and tip the blood into the toilet. They can last up to 12 hours but if you have a heavy period and you're out and about and need to use a public bathroom, take a bottle of water along so you can rinse it out. They can last for a year to to ten years which in comparison with the landfill waste from sanitary products is a LOT kinder to the environment. They have two sizes - one for before childbirth and one for after. This is probably the most cost effective out of all the period product options.
Now, be aware that similarly to tampons these can cause toxic shock - while it's not impossible for it to happen the cases are rare and many people use them safely on a very regular basis, much like tampons. So if you're interested in these we recommend doing some research on how to best use these and to keep your body in mind while using them.
We've written about period pants before, they're pretty great even if a little expensive. You wear them like normal underwear and they soak everything up, they can usually hold around 2 tampons worth of flow and they have a moisture wicking layer which stops anything coming through the other side. They can get a bit smelly which is the only downside but when using them on a light flow makes it feel like you can forget your period altogether which is a win.
Tampons in the shops can contain a lot of things: DPA, Dioxin, Fragrances and Chlorine. These chemicals can be harmful and while there haven't been any studies on the long term effects it's needless to say if you can go without putting these chemicals in your body you'll be better for it. So perhaps check out some organic brands.
Much like the period pants, you can get reusable pads if you prefer using towels. Easy to change up if you need and you simply throw them in the washing machine. Much kinder to the environment and as with the tampons above - you can avoid some nasty chemicals.
This is relatively new and designed by a gynaecologist. It's a combination of a tampon and a liner if you're prone to leaking and want some extra protection - we've been there. The tampon goes up and the liner sits at the base near your pants. They're organic and free from nasties too so win win.
These are a bit like a menstrual cup and work in a similar way by collecting the blood and last for a similar amount of time - these don't actually sit in the vaginal canal like a tampon or cup, but in an area called the vaginal fornix. They aren't reusable like a cup but they are also one of the few internally worn products which aren't linked to TSS as of yet. They've been recommended for ladies who would like mess free sex on their periods (which can have a lot of benefits for your body such as oxytocin release and help with cramps).
If you like using tampons but prefer using applicators to get them up there you can get a reusable one which should cut down on paper or plastic waste from tampons that already come with applicators. This one is BPA free so teamed up with some organic tampons would be a good mix. https://wearedame.co/
As well as these individual products you can also get subscriptions to monthly deliveries of products and goodies that are designed to make your period more fun - think tampons and chocolate. It might be nice to treat yourself once in a while, or could be a really handy kit for any young girls on their journey to ladyhood. Some great ones to check out are Hello Flo, Freda, Totm, Lola, and Kali.
And for any mamas out there with daughters coming to the age where a period might make an appearance, Lola have a First Period Kit with organic products and a handy guide with all the information to help you and your daughter feel more comfortable navigating this new experience.