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Tired of tampons? Here are 3 new menstrual products you should try

Nov. 15, 2017
Avatar kate hunker.jpeg9bafd63e 54a4 4a7e b802 5b37f3982c83

So you’ve decided to ditch tampons and pads—to banish them to the back of your bathroom cupboard or to leave them on the pharmacy shelf with all of their other menstrual friends. Your decision could have stemmed from many reasons. Maybe you don’t like the tampon expense you have to pay every month, or you’re starting a journey to being more environmentally conscious, or maybe you just don’t like tampons at all. Whatever your motive is, I’ve outlined some alternative menstrual products below (with prices!) to widen your horizons and give you more options for dealing with your period.  

The Diva Cup ($39)

Of all the products I’m mentioning today, the Diva Cup is probably the most mainstream. Some of my friends and I rely on this baby when that time of the month rolls around. It’s basically a silicone cup that is folded and then inserted into your vagina. Instead of absorbing blood like tampons and pads, it simply collects it. It has to be washed out after every use and sterilized after every cycle.

What’s so great about it?

  • It offers longer protection than tampons. It can be left in for up to 12 hours, which means it can be left in overnight. Amazing!
  • It’s reusable and therefore a lot more eco-friendly than regular period products.
  • They only need to be replaced about once a year and are super durable.

What are the cons?

  • The process of removing it might be a little messy for some. You do have to empty a cup of blood into the toilet, but if you’ve been removing tampons for years this shouldn’t be a problem.
  • They’re harder to use in public places since you have to wash it out after every use.
  • Practice makes perfect when learning how to insert a Diva Cup. In my own experience, there was a learning curve.

THINX Underwear ($34)

I have yet to try these myself, but there’s so much hype around these that I didn’t think twice about including them. THINX is a brand of underwear that catches your period. It’s like wearing a pad that’s built into your underwear, except countless reviews praise the company for making underwear that feels light, comfortable, and not at all like a diaper. 

What’s so great about them?

  • THINX is reusable and environmentally friendly!
  • They have a range of styles for different flows, and a good range of sizes.
  • According to many reviews, they’re more comfortable than pads or panty liners.
  • You don’t have to remember to take anything out or put anything in.
  • The underwear is actually CUTE.

What are the cons?

  • If you have a heavy flow, you may not want to wear THINX without backup protection, as their heavy flow underwear holds about the same amount as 2 tampons.
  • Each pair is pretty expensive, and even though you’ll save money in the long run, it is an investment.
  • They have to be washed after every wear (obviously), so you may not be able to wear them for every day of your period unless you buy a lot.
  • You have to rinse them immediately after use, but then you can wait to wash them with cold water in your wash machine.

Reusable Cloth Pads (Prices vary but around $16 per pad)

For anyone looking to replace regular pads and panty liners with something that doesn’t create waste, cloth pads are for you. They’re exactly what they sound like: cloth pads (usually in super cute patterns) that function exactly the same as a pad you’d buy from the pharmacy. The only difference is that cloth pads have to be put through the wash (with cold water) after use. 

What’s so great about them?

  • There are so many brands to choose from and so many patterns (this website ranks reusable pad brands) and many of these companies strive to make their products without synthetics and irritants.
  • They replace the waste that is created by throwing out regular pads after every use.
  • Many are machine washable which makes them easy to care for.
  • They’re just as absorbent (if not more so) as the regular pads.

What are the cons?

  • You know the drill: expensive in the short term, but saves money in the long run. And they have to be washed after every wear (because you now know that reusable stuff takes extra care!).
  • Although many companies boast about their ultra thin pads, they are still pads and may feel bulky.
  • They can shift around a bit more than stick-on pads.
  • They can stain if you don’t take proper care of them.

Now that you’ve learned the basics on a few choice alternative menstrual products, I’m passing the research torch onto you. If the idea of alternative period products interests you, there is so much more to learn online; we’ve only really scratched the surface. So I encourage you to take to Google and go wild! Find out everything you can about alternative ways to deal with your period. Ultimately, the products you use impact yourself, your wallet, and the environment, so switching up what you use might just change the way you view your period forever.