periods

A Pocket Guide to Alternative Menstrual Products

I am going to give an overview of some different menstrual products that you may not have heard of. The advantages of these alternatives include the fact that they are associated with contributing less to environmental waste and are not linked to health problems, such as Toxic Shock Syndrome. So, delve in to my handy guide for those who are curious about different menstrual methods:


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Reusable Instead Softcup / Instead Softcup

– Instead Softcup are disposable menstrual cups that can be reused numerous times. The cup is composed of a plastic sac attached to a firm ring, which is used to collect menstrual flow instead of absorbing it. Softcup is a good halfway ground between disposable and reusable menstrual products, and they can be worn while sleeping or during intercourse. Personally, I reuse regular Softcup for one period. (You need to rinse Softcup with water or wipe with a wet wipe between uses.) These still create waste of course, but they are healthier for your vagina, since they don’t suck up moisture like tampons, and a good stepping stone if you are considering reusable menstrual cups.

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Sea sponge tampons

– Sea sponge tampons or “pearls” are made from sponges, and are used like regular tampons. They are very soft and are reusable for about six months. They are also healthier for your body, and will cut down on how much waste you use.  However, like all reusable menstrual products, you do have to clean and take care of them.

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Menstrual Cups

– Menstrual cups are the big daddy of reusable products, because they can be reused for years and years (I know Catstello has already blogged about trying out a Mooncup a couple of times). They are bell shaped cups made of medical grade silicone that collect menstrual fluid. While they may look huge, they fold up to the size of a tampon before insertion. They need to been rinsed between uses, and cleaned between periods, but they are extremely comfortable and can be worn while sleeping. These are also healthier for your body and our planet. You can use this map to find out where you can buy a menstrual cup near you, but keep in mind menstrual cups are not one size fits all, although the Lunette brand is a great starter cup that fits many people with periods.

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Cloth Pads

– If you prefer not to use internal products while you’re on your period, but you want something that is reusable, cloth pads are for you. These are very comfortable and absorbent, and come in lots of different styles. They are also available in a variety of fabrics and styles. They are extremely easy to use, but do require cleaning after each use which involves throwing them in the washer and dryer, or soaking them beforehand if you want to avoid staining. The best places to buy cloth pads are from individual seamstresses on Etsy.

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Crochet tampons

I figured this type of tampons deserved an honorable mention on this list, although they are less popular than cups. These would be more familiar for anyone who is used to using disposable tampons, because they are tampons simply made of reusable absorbent materials or cotton yarn if they are knit or crochet. This means that just like cloth pads, you need to throw them in the wash, or soak them beforehand if you want to prevent staining. This is a great option if you don’t want to deal with the learning curve that can come with using a cup, but want to use internal, but reusable protection while on your period. You can find these on etsy sold by individual knitters or crocheters, or make your own!

I absolutely love using my menstrual cup and cloth liners, and I would never go back to disposable pads and tampons. They may seem a little gross at first, but they are super easy to clean, and are less likely to harbour bacteria because of the materials that they are made of. Give them a shot if you think they would work for your lifestyle.

 

Have you ever tried any of these menstrual products? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comment section below.

For more on menstruation products, visit Sarah’s blog, The Vagina Monologues. Alternatively you can follow her on Twitter and/or Instagram

 

Sarah Berro
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