Women are always searching for ways to make periods just a little better, and choosing a menstrual product that works for your flow, cycle, and body can play a huge factor in your period experience. The two most popular options are obvious: tampons and pads. These are the products girls are taught to use and the ones they hear about the most often. The only problem? They aren’t perfect! Using a tampon can be confusing and sometimes painful. And, if we’re being honest here, pads can make you feel like you’re just sitting in a diaper full of blood. The good news is that these aren’t your only option! There are natural alternative menstrual products out there perfect for girls who hate tampons and pads – you just need to try them.
If you think dealing with your own blood is kind of gross, just remember that blood doesn’t just disappear with disposable tampons and pads — it still exists in the world, somewhere in a landfill, along with about 300 tampons/pads per year per woman. More natural options are available for girls who want to be more environmentally friendly and avoid potentially harmful chemicals, they just aren’t advertised as often as pads and tampons are. So if you can’t manage to use a tampon and you’re totally over pads, read on. Here are seven natural menstrual products you should try:
Period UnderwearThe immediate reaction most people have to period underwear is, "Ew." But period panties, especially those made by Thinx, are not as disgusting as you may think. There are several different versions and styles: some hold a light amount of blood, others a moderate flow, and there's even one for your heaviest days. They don't feel like diapers at all. These are much more comfortable than pads and they're great if you don't like tampons. They're also perfect for the last day or two of your period when you're not sure if you're going to bleed or not. They are supposed to be leak-free and last longer than disposables, and all you have to do is treat them like delicates when you wash the rest of your clothes. Image Source
Beppy SpongesBeppy Sponges aren't talked about a lot, but they can be a great option if you want to try out more alternative methods but are still feeling a bit freaked out about them. These are single-use sponges that are wrapped up like a tampon or pad. Some of them even come pre-lubricated so that they're easier to get in. You can wear them for up to eight hours and you can even have sex with one in. This is like a combination of a sponge and a tampon - and if you're having trouble getting tampons in, these should be much easier to deal with.
Menstrual CupsMenstrual cups can be trickier than tampons, but reportedly have better results once you get the hang of them. Their intention is to collect, not absorb, and they are generally made of silicone rather than plastic, rayon, or cotton, so there is zero risk of toxic shock syndrome and a much lower risk of getting one stuck in you. Brands such as The Diva Cup or The Keeper claim to be leak free due to suction technology and to last up to 12 hours. Yes, you have to pour the blood out after, but people swear by them!
A SpongeSea sponges, like tampons, absorb blood and don't fall out. However, unlike tampons, sea sponges actually conform to your body. It's because of this that they are easier to insert, but may be hard to retrieve, so if you try one be sure to modify it with string. And if you're not into putting something that was once a living, breathing creature into your vagina, artificial versions are available, like the Beppy sponge we talked about before. Image Source
Tampons Without ApplicatorsIf all of these natural options seem daunting, and you truly just need that tampon to stay in and stay comfortable, maybe try a tampon without the applicator. Instead of taking apart a tampon, try something like an O.B. for much cheaper. "O.B." stands for "one binde" in German, a term coined by Dr. Judith Esser, which means "without napkins." It may seem icky to just use your own finger at first, but it's significantly easier to place the tampon, and you don't have any pinchy plastic in your vagina (or a landfill). Source: iStock
Free BleedingYou don't always have to choose a product for your period. Of course, this may not realistic for busy weeks with things like school, sports, and parties, but there are moments of your menstruation cycle when it's perfectly acceptable to freely bleed, such as the shower or bath, or when you're relaxing somewhere you feel comfortable. Not using a foreign object in your most sensitive area during your most sensitive time is exactly as it sounds -- you feel a little more free.
Reusable Cloth PadsIf none of these options sound appealing to you, but you still want to do something different, try a reusable cloth pad. There are tons of options out there, and they can save you money while also helping the environment. Brands like Luna Pads come in lots of different styles with really fun patterns. These can be much more comfortable than pads that are loud and plastic and sticky.
Have you found the best option for you during your period? What is your preferred product? What freaks you out about periods? Tell us in the comments!