Reusable Period Products
For many women, having your period is synonymous with discomfort. But gone are the days of stiff tampons, bulky pads, and leaky panty liners. In the past few years, companies have revolutionized what it means to have your period and how women take care of themselves while Aunt Flow is in town. Here are 4 reusable period products that will not only take care of menstrual blood, but will help the environment, and your well-being.
1. Menstruation Cups
You might be familiar with menstrual cups; this reusable period product has been in the game for decades, but just recently gained popularity. A menstrual cup is a small, flexible funnel-shaped cup made of rubber or silicone that you insert as you would a tampon. But, instead of absorbing menstrual blood, like tampons, it caches and collects it. The cup is folded and inserted into the vaginal canal, where it seals itself around the cervix. You remove the cup by pulling on the stem or ring at the bottom of the menstrual cup. It is simply washed out with warm soapy water, rinsed and put back in, or stored for future use.
A feature that make menstrual cups a great option for women is they are reusable. Menstrual cups can save money and reduce the number of disposable tampons or pads you would ordinarily toss in the trash, making them eco-friendly. Menstrual cups also can come in different shapes and sizes, so everyone can find the most comfortable cup based on their own unique anatomy. The thought of using a menstrual cup can seem strange or intimidating to some women, but with any menstrual cup you buy, it will come with a lot of instruction on care and placement. It is important to note that menstrual cups are usually safe as long as you insert them with clean hands, remove them carefully, and clean them appropriately. If you have any questions regarding inserting a menstrual cup, please contact your Women’s Health Connecticut provider.
2. Menstrual Discs
Menstrual discs and cups are similar in that they are inserted into the vagina and collect blood, instead of absorbing it. However, menstrual discs are different in some important ways. Unlike menstrual cups, discs have not been around for very long, especially in a reusable form. Also, menstrual discs do not sit in the vaginal canal the way cups do. A menstrual disc is inserted further than the cup to just below the cervix, and rests behind the pubic bone to hold it in place. Since menstrual discs are flat and do not create a seal, they may be more comfortable than a menstrual cup or tampon for some women, especially if they have an anterior or low cervix. Since the vaginal canal isn't blocked, a disc can also be worn while having sex. A disc holds on average 4 times more liquid than a tampon and can be worn up to 12 hours, so you can sleep with it in place.
Menstrual discs can be tricky during insertion and removal therefore some women prefer to remove the disc while in the shower for easier clean up. Others find no trouble at all. If you have any questions regarding inserting a menstrual cup, please contact your Women’s Health Connecticut provider.
3. Period Underwear
With many companies developing new absorbent materials and products in the past few years, period underwear has really gained popularity with women. It is a comfortable, as well as an ecologically sustainable choice. Instead of managing period blood with a menstrual cup or tampon, period underwear is specifically designed to be worn to absorb menstrual blood. Depending on the brand of period underwear, each piece of underwear consists of an absorbent material that holds a certain amount of menstrual blood. A moisture barrier in the underwear keeps you comfortable and dry, and an additional layer is designed to prevent leaks. Period underwear is specifically made to look and feel like regular underwear and to be comfortable. The underwear can be washed and reused for many cycles.
Period underwear can be thought of as an investment since the underwear can be expensive, with some types starting at $30 a pair. However, if taken care of they can last a long time. A pair of period underwear can absorb up to two tampons’ worth of liquid. The exact amount depends on the underwear brand. Some women may be nervous about trying period underwear, especially when it comes to leaking. We suggest starting to wear your period underwear at night or on your light flow days to test them out for comfort. Period underwear is also a good back up for those with a heavy flow who might bleed through a tampon.
4. Reusable Pads
Another reusable menstrual product that has been gaining attention is reusable pads. Yes, it may seem like an odd option, but people all over the world use reusable pads to cut down on waste and cost. For those users of disposable pads, reusable pads may be a great option if you are looking for an environmentally friendly alternative. Reusable pads are used exactly like disposable pads, except there are snaps instead of adhesive to keep the pad in place. Instead of throwing your pad in the trash after use, you throw it in the washing machine. Reusable pads are made of material similar to period underwear, and they have special fabric that is ultra-absorbent and moisture-wicking. They come in different sizes to accommodate different levels of flow.
If you have any questions about your period or the use of menstrual products and how they may affect your body, please contact your Women’s Health Connecticut provider.