A Quick Guide to Eco-Friendly Periods
March 11, 2019
Reusable, Eco-Friendly Menstrual Products
I have few regrets in life, but one of them is that I didn’t
I’m not sure how I didn’t figure this out. Part of it might have been that these products just weren’t that popular 10 years ago. Perhaps advertising budgets for these companies were small? Or, maybe my friends were using something like the Diva Cup, but just not talking about it.
Whatever the case, the day that I did hear about menstrual cups, I immediately ordered one online and have never looked back!
Besides menstrual cups, there are a few other products out there that you might consider trying, including cloth pads, period panties and the Ziggy Cup. I’ll give you a brief overview of each, and why you might consider using them.
Here’s to a healthier, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly period experience!
#1: Menstrual Cups
Menstrual cups like the Diva Cup, Lunette Cup or Mooncup have a number of advantages over tampons. Although some companies recommend replacing it every year or two, most people find that the top-quality ones made from silicone can last for around five years.
When compared to tampons, menstrual cups are better for the environment, cheaper, reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals, and also lower your risk of toxic shock syndrome. There isn’t much not to love about them!
When you’re buying your first one, here are a few things to consider:
- Most people have better luck with a cup that has at least an average firmness because these ones are easier to insert.
- Stick with a smaller cup if you haven’t given birth vaginally, and a larger one if you have.
- You’ll have to spend $20+ USD on a top-quality cup. The cheaper ones are often so flimsy that they don’t work that well, plus they’re not made with medical grade materials and should be avoided.
- Cervix height is important. Check on YouTube for a video on how to measure this. If you have a high cervix, stick with a cup that’s at least 70 mm long. If a short cervix, one that’s less than 60 mm.
- If you have a heavy period, you may want to consider one of the higher capacity menstrual cups that can hold 30+ ml.
#2: Reusable Cloth Pads
The next reusable period product you might want to consider is the reusable cloth pad. Reusable pads are very similar to disposables but are made from cloth, charcoal, bamboo, and other natural, biodegradable materials. Instead of having a sticky backing, they stay in place with snaps on the wings.
Like menstrual cups, cloth pads can last for 5-10 years, making them cheaper and more environmentally-friendly than disposables. They come in a wide range of absorbency levels and sizes.
The bad news is that there are a few disadvantages. The first is that they can sometimes shift around a little bit when you wear them while exercising.
The next is that you have to wash them. Most people find that this isn’t a big deal, and it really isn’t if you don’t care about staining. Just throw them in with your regular laundry. If you do care about that, soak them in cold water first.
#3: Period Panties
I’m sure you’ve heard of Thinx. You know, the ridiculously expensive menstrual underwear? The good news is that there are far cheaper options out there that work almost as well. You can see some of them here: The Best Period Panties.
Most people use them as a replacement for something like pantyliners to deal with spotting, light incontinence, or vaginal discharge. The ones with just a leak-proof layer in them work reasonably well for this.
There are also some period panties that have a more absorbent padding to handle a bit more than that, including a light flow or serious discharge issues. Be clear about what kind you’re buying to avoid disappointment!
#4: The Ziggy Cup
The last reusable period option on our list is also the newest one. If you want to have non-messy sex during your period, you might have been using something like the Soft Cup or the Flex Disc. These things work quite well, but they are single-use products so can get expensive, and are also not great for the environment.
The Ziggy Cup has a similar design, but it’s made from medical-grade silicone, the same material as most menstrual cups. It’s a flat, flexible disc that fits right up under your cervix. Most people report that they find it very comfortable to use while having sex.
It’s the product that people have been waiting years for!
Reusable Period Products: Let’s Sum This Up!
I personally think these reusable feminine hygiene products are kind of the best thing since sliced bread. They’re great for the environment, better for our health, and are far cheaper over the medium- to long-term.
What’s not to love? Not much!
Tammy Ford is a sexual health expert who resides in Vancouver, Canada. Her hope is that a reusable period product will one day be found in the hands of every single menstruating person in the world.