Despite what TV commercials may try to tell us, disposable pads and tampons are not the end all and be all when it comes to menstrual products. Stained sheets and sweaty crotches can become a thing of the past with these lesser known but potentially superior options to managing your flow.
1.) Reusable Tampons
Who knew reusable tampons even existed? Like disposables, they provide the convenience of internal protection while being environmentally friendly.
There are two types of reusable tampons. The first has a tube-shaped pattern that can be stuffed with absorbent material.
As with disposables, you can choose from different absorbency levels to match your cycle days. There’s also the option of using organic fabrics, like cotton, bamboo, hemp, etc. reducing the risk of chemical exposure to your sensitive lady bits.
The second type of reusable tampon is similar to a flat hand-knit coaster that can be rolled into your preferred shape, then inserted.
With this style it may be easier to tell when the tampon is completely cleaned, since you can inspect both sides of the fabric.
Alternatively, if you fall into the category of adventurous/borderline crazy you can attempt to make a reusable tampon from the item below:
That’s right… baby socks.
Some women have admitted to purchasing cotton baby socks, thoroughly washing them, then using them as tampons. For added absorbencies they wear both pairs to contain the flow on heavier days…
On the plus side, if you have a bunch of old baby socks lying around the house, maybe you’ve just found an alternative use for them.
Or maybe not. If you don’t like the idea of shoving baby socks up your vag, just accept that your efforts to save the planet aren’t as hardcore as you thought. At least the next time someone gives you the side eye for trying an alternative menstrual product, you can inform them that things could always get worse.
2.) Sea Sponge Tampons
Ever wondered what Ariel did when she got her period?
Well now you know, she used what nature naturally provided – sea sponges. Sea sponges are highly absorbent, in nature, they are known to absorb 20,000 times their volume in water in just 24 hours.
Their incredible absorbency and smooth as silk feel when wet, makes them the perfect contender for containing the heaviest flows. In fact, sea sponges may be a great product for you ladies that experience excessive bleeding due to endometriosis.
Natural sea sponges are hypoallergenic, toxin-free and odor-resistant. It’s a renewable resource that is sustainably harvested. Imagine fishermen pruning an underwater tree that goes on to regenerate and increase in size.
Sea sponge tampons are available in different sizes, and can be trimmed to obtain a more personalized fit. With proper care, one sponge tampon can last 6 months or longer.
Using the sponge is as simple as wetting it under the sink until its moist and soft to the touch, squeezing out any excess water, then inserting the sponge into your vagina.
The smooth texture of the sea sponge helps it glide easily during insertion. And trust me, this is a big deal for anyone who has ever inserted a tampon and swore it was trying to rip them a new one.
If you currently rely on tampons, consider giving sea sponges a try. They last for a similar time frame, 3-4 hours, after which you remove it, rinse it out then re-insert.
As an added bonus, you can safely have sex with the sea sponge in. But for the sake of your sheets, please don’t do it with a sponge full of blood… rinse it first.
Price - $15
3.) Soft Cup
Remember those Livestrong bracelets that were all the craze back in the day? That’s basically what a soft cup is, a Livestrong bracelet with a plastic pouch attached to it. The ring is positioned around the cervix and the blood collects in the pouch.
Once positioned correctly, you can enjoy leak-free protection for up to 12 hours. They offer two disposable product options; you can choose between the SoftCup that is disposed of after each use, or the one that is used throughout your cycle then tossed at the end.
There is a learning curve involved, namely knowing when the cup is positioned correctly, but you’ll find few other menstrual products that can safely offer you 12 hours of protection. Plus it’s also period-sex approved.
Price: $14.49 for 24 count
4.) Menstrual Cup
Does putting a sock up your vagina seem a little less weird now that we’re about to talk about putting a cup in it? Well, this is a silicone cup that was specifically designed to be worn internally for up to 12 hours. It’s like the more hardcore version of a SoftCup.
A menstrual cup can last anywhere from 1-10 years, so if you want to test the waters before making such a long commitment, start with a SoftCup. You’ll need to learn some of the same positioning skills, i.e. placing the cup below your cervix. The main difference arises when it comes to removing the cups.
Menstrual cups come in different sizes, shapes, colors and lengths, while SoftCups are all the same size. To remove a SoftCup you have to squeeze the rim of the cup, which is the firm part. Since the entire menstrual cup is firm, it is removed by pinching the bottom of the cup.
Here is where things can get tricky. Every woman’s body is different, your cervix can be close or far from your vaginal opening. If you have a low cervix and choose a menstrual cup that’s too long it won’t fit, or if you have a high cervix and choose a cup that’s too short, it may work it’s way higher than your fingers can reach.
This is why you’ll read about women trying to find their “Goldilocks” cup, not too short, not too long, not too soft, not too firm, but just right. Don’t worry, with our guide you’ll be one step closer to finding your best fitting cup.
5.) Cloth Pads
These aren’t your run of the mill abrasive, sweat inducing, coochie choking pads. Reusable cloth pads were designed to breathe! They are snapped around the seat of your underwear, and worn for the same amount of time as disposables. Only this time instead of sending more bloody plastic to the landfill, you’ll wash and reuse your pads for years to come.
Wearing a reusable pad feels like you’re sitting on a soft, fluffy pair of thick underwear. They also come in an array of fabric options that allows you to pick a pad to suit your mood.
6.) Period Panties
We all have some raggedy looking but oh so comfy undergarments that have earned the title of “period panties”. Well one company took things further and literally created underwear that we can bleed onto… on purpose.
Thinx has created cute, sexy and comfy-looking panties that are both stain resistant and absorbent enough to hold 2x as much menstrual fluid as a tampon. They can be worn on their own, or as backup protection for any of the other products mentioned above.
Making it through the night without staining the sheets may actually become a possibility with these undies. Bleed on your Thinx, cold wash, air dry then wear again.
Have you tried any of these menstrual products already? Share your experience below and revolutionize someone's period life.