First hand tips for those who are rethinking alternative menstrual products

An average woman gets on her period 13 times a year. That makes it 23 individual menstrual items (whether pads or tampons) that end up as waste every month. In a lifetime of a woman that makes for 11,362 period items on average. That’s a pile of waste that usually ends up lying around on a landfill. Is there any other way? I talked to women who already use alternative menstrual products to tell us about their experience, whether their product of choice is a menstrual cup, reusable pad or period underwear.

 

Maria

product: menstrual cup

Tell us about your experience. Why did you start using the alternative menstrual products? When? What changed?

I decided to use an alternative product for my period to save money, to reduce my environmental impact, and for the convenience of it. It happened that I also worked at a store that sold them and I got a discount so that didn’t hurt.

It’s been almost 2 years that I’ve used alternative methods. It was a little mentally challenging to get used to, but the pros definitely outweighed those small bumps. I watched YouTube videos on how to use the product and that helped. To be completely honest the first time was the scariest as I didn’t really know how to get it out, but with some googling, I was assured gravity was on my side and I wouldn’t have to go to the doctor.

The other thing that took a tiny bit of getting used to was cleaning it but it wasn’t a big jump from other products. I love that I only have to change it twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. And since I don’t have to be afraid of leaving it in too long my mind is at ease which is another great thing.

Also, I can’t forget it because it’s always with me which was a game changer for me. I was always forgetting other products and having to shell out even more money which was so annoying. It does look kinda big when you first get it, but it’s very comfortable and malleable.

Would you go back?

No way would I go back! I recommend it to all my friends! You save money, save the environment, and it’s more convenient to use. I know it can seem daunting but it is well worth it.

 

Lobke

product: menstrual cup

Tell us about your experience. Why did you start using the alternative menstrual products? When? What changed?

I started using them for two reasons actually: first was an interest in natural/ eco-friendly items and the adjsecond was that tampons are very expensive in Colombia, where I live. I started about 9 months ago. It took me about 3 months to get used to it, the first month was especially extremely hard to get it in and out. After getting used to it, it changed my life by not needing to think about my menstruation all day at work and not worrying about spotting. I am confident with the cup.

Would you go back?

Not really. However, dealing with the blood when taking it out is a thing. I honestly only like changing the cup at home so when I´m not certain that I can go to a toilet with a sink next to it I use tampons instead. I would recommend it to other women, as it is so worry-free!

 

Courtney

product: menstrual cup

Tell us about your experience. Why did you start using the alternative menstrual products? When? What changed?

I chose to at least give alternative products a try partially because I had recently traveled to Mexico City and found I had forgotten tampons and couldn’t find any anywhere. I had always wanted to try a cup and tampons always made me nervous with all the warnings about TSS and that trip just gave me the extra push I needed to at least try it.
I’ve been using a cup for about 6 months now. It definitely took some adjustment, but I found that I had less period pain while using it as opposed to tampons, which is something that never even occurred to me as a possibility. I don’t think I would go back to using tampons full-time, however, I am keeping a couple around just in case.
I will say that there are pros and cons to it. The cup can be a bit messy and you have to be in a place you are comfortable to be able to remove it and wash it out, which can be difficult if you are traveling to places where they advise against even drinking the water so you have to use bottled water and proper soap. So, it can be a bit frustrating at times.
Overall though, it is worth it to me. It is small and easy to keep and not have to carry around who knows how many tampons especially while traveling. I feel safer honestly knowing there aren’t weird chemicals going into my body and then into landfills and sewage systems. I feel cleaner and more comfortable.

 

Elana

product: menstrual underwear

Tell us about your experience. Why did you start using the alternative menstrual products? When? What changed?

I thought it would be good to try something different that didn’t require disposable pads. I thought the cause for the Be Girl panties was great – buy one and one is provided to a girl in a developing country where girls often miss school because they don’t have anything to control their periods.
I’ve been using it for around 2 years.
It wasn’t very difficult to get used to because they are panties, but I have always been worried about how much they can absorb. They come with two removable cloth pads that you can insert, or you can use any material you want – paper towel, toilet paper, etc. They’re meant for girls from poor regions of developing countries to be able to go to school while on their periods. So the idea is, you can use our cloth pads, but you can also use whatever you can stick in the mesh pocket, and the bottom is waterproof.
 
Would you go back?
 
I still use disposable pads. I only have one of the panties, to begin with. So that’s only one day I can use it. These panties are good for a medium or light flow, but not for heavier days. The reusable pads that come with them tend to bunch up in the wash and I don’t have an iron, so they feel a bit funny with all the creases in them. They are perfect for near the end of my period when I’m between a pad and a panty liner, and even when I’m at the panty liner stage I can use this without any liner or pad inside.
 
Would you recommend it to the others?
 
Sure. Just not if you have a heavy flow, or at least don’t use them on heavy days. The reusable pads do stain as they are cotton, but the panties themselves wash free of blood. I’d consider getting a 2nd or 3rd pair if I ever invest in an iron to get the pads straight.

 

Roberta

product: menstrual cup

Tell us about your experience. Why did you start using the alternative menstrual products? When? What changed?

I felt like using a menstrual cup would prove cheaper in the long run than disposable products. Better for the environment. And I knew multiple people who used Mooncups and had openly discussed their experiences of it (which were largely positive) and I was curious to try it. I can’t remember exactly how long I have been using a Mooncup for, but several years now. After a few uses, it became very instinctive. It did take those first few tries to get the knack of it, though. I feel like it’s really helped make my relationship with my menstrual cycle more positive and make me feel more connected to the whole thing. Now I actively like the menstrual cup in a way I don’t feel any particular liking towards Tampax or pads. Moreover, I appreciate knowing how much blood I’m losing. There’s something about the act of my blood pouring into a vessel which innately feels healthy to me. Currently, I still use pads now and then, but overall I really like cups.

Because I travel a lot there’s also a practicality of using a cup: less to pack. I would advise it to other women/people who bleed in general, as I feel it’s great environmentally wise and additionally I feel there’s a real benefit in the fact it can help teach one more about their own anatomy. However, I don’t think the cup is for everyone and I’d also like to respect that. It’s great that there are now lots of eco-friendly menstrual products out there to choose from: Thinx, washable pads, multiple brands of the cup.

 

Sarah

product: reusable pads & menstrual cup

Tell us about your experience. Why did you start using the alternative menstrual products? When? What changed?

I started with the cup a few years ago and within the last year, I got pads as well for lighter days. The pads I use are Asenappy reusable cloth menstrual pads. It was not difficult to adjust at all! If anything, it makes life easier because I just put the cup in for a long time if I have my period and don’t have to worry about it. Also, it’s super easy to throw in my bag if traveling instead of needing like a handful of tampons and pads! The cup is awesome for sleeping without worrying about leaks too. It changed my life because life got easier. Less to worry about the money and “supplies” and I feel like my choices are more positive for the world now.

Would you go back? Would you recommend it to the others?

I will definitely never change back and I highly recommend it to other women!! The pads are soft and comfortable, and the cup is safer and also feels better than tampons. I think if women are able to use them, it’s an easy choice to switch to!

 

What do you think about the alternatives? Is there a personal story you’d like to share?

For more information feel free to check out this article on alternatives and why we should rethink our female sanitary product choices.

One Reply to “First hand tips for those who are rethinking alternative menstrual products”

  1. […] like to hear other women’s experience with menstrual cups and reusable pads, you can find interviews I did with several lovely […]

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