More and more reusable period products are popping up, and providing people with plenty of choices. With all bodies being designed differently, there are some period products that will suit each of us better than others. Both menstrual cups and period underwear offer a host of benefits, and they’re better for the environment. They will save you money in the long run, they are comfortable, and require minimum effort to use. They can also help to normalise periods; many people are conditioned throughout society and cultures to be ashamed of menstrual bleeding, but this is perfectly normal and even sacred in some cultures!
Benefits of using reusable period products
If you’ve never used period underwear or menstrual cups, or any reusable period product, they can be a little intimidating at first. But they have a lot to offer when you give them a chance. I’m sure that at one point tampons were intimidating as well, but then you get the hang of them and it becomes a part of the monthly routine. It is the same with reusable products, but instead of throwing them away, you are able to save money! And you’ll never run out.
All reusable products are good for the planet, especially period products. The average person who menstruates will use anywhere between 11,000 to 16,000 disposable period products in their lifetime. When you think of each person, this quickly adds up, and the Marine Conservation Society says that for every 100 meters of beach cleaned, almost 5 pieces of period product-related waste are found.
Reusable period products can be expensive up front, but the total cost over time is cheaper. With more options being released, they are becoming more accessible for all types of budgets. When properly maintained both menstrual cups and period underwear can last up for years. They can be a wise investment, and save you money across a lifetime.
When you are thinking of switching to a menstrual cup for the first time it can be intimidating. They look big, they’re unfamiliar and, paired with rumours, this can make your mind run wild! But, don’t fear! We will go in to the pros and cons of menstrual cups, how they work and if they are the right choice for you. First, cups are usually made with 100% medical-grade silicone, so they’re unscented, and some are even made without any dyes. They are flexible, and easy to insert once you get the hang of it.
Multiple sizing and firmness options
Menstrual cups come in multiple sizes to make sure that you can find the best fit. We are all built differently, in terms of depth, girth and even sensitivity. The same goes for periods - some are super heavy, and some are barely noticeable. So you may have had your fourth child and need a small size cup, or might be a virgin and need the largest size. Often there is a stigma with having a ‘loose’ vagina, but we assure you, that is just a myth. The vagina is a muscle and can easily stretch and return right back into shape. In fact, vaginas can be so strong that you might need a firmer cup if you have very strong pelvic floor muscles. If you do have a strong pelvic floor, you can squeeze your cup out of place! So an exercise-based cup, or a firm cup, might be a better choice for those who are athletes or gym enthusiasts.
Holds heavier flows for longer
The bigger the cup, the more it holds. And those with extremely heavy periods understand the frustration of using traditional period products - changing tampons or pads every hour or two can be annoying, or, depending on the situation, impossible! Depending on the size of cup and your flow, menstrual cups can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time. Then they are simply emptied, rinsed and reinserted. They can also work with a tilted uterus, and an Intrauterine Device (IUD), but always check with your doctor first.
For most people menstrual cups are comfortable, and once they’re put in correctly you shouldn’t be able to feel them at all. This means for road trips, exercise routines, or even a day at home, you’ll stay comfortable all day long! If for any reason your cup is uncomfortable or painful, remove it immediately. It most likely means it was inserted incorrectly, or you need a smaller or less-firm option.
Can be a learning process
It can be tricky to get the hang of inserting and removing a menstrual cup. But don’t give up hope - there are plenty of tips and tricks to help you get the hang of putting your cup in. Don’t be afraid to look for guides or videos to help you.
Can be messy
Periods are a normal part of life, and blood is completely natural. However, if you’re new to the period cup game it can get messy whilst trying to get the hang of it. You might have spillage at first, or drop the cup in the toilet by mistake, but with practice, it will get better and easier!
There are lots of options for period underwear on the market, and they are just what they sound like: underwear with built-in absorbent layers to absorb your flow. They come in a range of styles and sizes, and can be effortless to use. They feel as close to free bleeding, without the free bleeding.
They are super comfortable just like wearing traditional underwear. With the flexible nature of the fabric, it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a nappy, and they are breathable and don’t bunch up. What’s more, they still stay leakproof! With the absorbent layers it won’t feel wet against your skin either, which is always a plus.
Easy to clean
You can wash your period underwear on the delicate setting of your washer, or hand wash them. You are also able to wash them in the same cycle as your clothes. Alternatively, they can be washed separately, then just hung out to dry. They’re fine to take camping or hiking as long as you have access to some water to wash them and somewhere to hang them. And there will be no lingering smells!
Only for lighter flows
One of the downsides of period underwear is that most don’t have enough absorbency for those with very heavy periods. When trying out period underwear for the first time, stay home for the day to get the idea of when you need to change your underwear. They are usually recommended for those with normal to light flows, or days when your period is lighter. They can always be worn as extra security if you have frequent leaks too!
All in all, reusable period products help the environment, save money, and offer options that traditional period products can’t. Which one will you be choosing?