Everyone has different preferences when it comes to managing their periods. Of course, there are a few healthy and sustainable options to choose from that we’ve listed here. There is no ‘one-size-fit-all’ and it all comes down to experimenting and seeing what works best.
Where to get the not-so-common stuff?
- Re-usable pads from Lunapads
- Buy sustainable products in the shop from Erdbeerwochen (German-speakers have an advantage)
- Get a pair of period panties from She Thinx - for every pair you buy, one gets donated.
- Buy one give one - Ruby Cup a menstrual cup.
Some more information on the different products
Everyone has different preferences when it comes to managing their periods. Of course, there are a few healthy options to choose from that we’ve listed here. There is no ‘one-size-fit-all’ and it all comes down to experimenting and seeing what works best!
Pads are made of an absorbent material that stick to the inside of your underwear in order to catch the menstruation. They are commonly also referred to as a sanitary pad or sanitary napkin.
Nowadays, pads come in many different varieties and it is up to the individual to find out which one is best for them. Disposable pads can come with different strengths, heavy, light, normal, and night. Panty-liners are also another form of a pad for spotting or to protect against leaks when wearing a tampon or a menstrual cup. Again, it is up to personal preference to choose which one works for the user. Disposable pads can be worn for a few hours, after which they must be disposed of in trash bins or sanitary disposal units that are commonly available in women’s public restrooms - NOT the toilet! It is important to change a pad every few hours because failure to do so can cause infections.
Reusable pads are also becoming popular out of concern for the environment. These are available through brands such as LunaPads, and are made out of a washable fabric. These also should be changed every few hours. Sea sponges are also an enviornmental alternative to be worn in the underwear. As long as they are washed and cared for properly,sea sponges can last up to 6 months.
Tampons are a menstruation management tool that is worn inside the vagina as opposed to in the underwear lining. It is usually a soft and condensed piece of cotton that can be sold with or without an applicator. Similar to pads, these can be bought from different varieties such as heavy, normal and light. The benefits of tampons are that they can be more discrete than a pad, and also make it easier to do sport activities like swimming. As well as disposable tampons, there are also reusable tampons. These can be made out of sea sponge or knitted wool.
Tampons should only be worn for four to eight hours. Some disposable tampons can be flushed down the toilet, but in most cases it is recommended to throw them away in the same disposal areas as pads. Nothing is worse than an clogged toilet from a tampon! Toxic shock syndrome is a sudden illness that is still not understood, but has been linked to tampon use. It is thought to be caused by the buildup of bacteria in the vagina from not changing a tampon frequently enough. It is not as common anymore as it was in the 1980s, but it is still something to be aware of when using tampons.
A last thing to keep in mind when it comes to tampons is if they are used before having penetrative intercourse. For some people, inserting a tampon can affect the hymen which is a thin tissue that covers the entrance of the vagina for some women. In some cultures, an intact hymen is a symbol of virginity and is therefore important. However, some women are born without hymens, or they can be affected in other ways not including penetrative sex. Using a tampon does not affect anyone’s virginity, but it is still important to know about the misconceptions that there can be.
Menstrual cups are small plastic cups that are inserted into the vagina to catch the menstrual blood. Unlike tampons, cups are larger and must be folded to be inserted. After this, they sit against the cervix to catch the flow. After this, the user dumps the contents in the toilet and cleans the cup in the sink before reinserting it.
Cups can be worn for up to 12 hours, but might need to be changed quicker depending on the flow. Some women prefer these because they are reusable and therefore better than the environment and for their wallets, and cups can also be left in for longer than a tampon or pad.
There are many new options for reusable period-proof underwear. These are underwear that have different levels of absorbency that can hold up to two-tampons worth of fluid. These are best used as a replacement for panty-liners or a back-up support against leaks. Brands that have been recognized for this include She Thinx.
Sea sponges are another environmentally conscious alternative to disposable methods. When used and cleaned properly they can last up to 6 months. Sea sponges can be worn in the underwear similar to a pad or inside the vagina like a tampon.