Feminine Hygiene Alternatives 101

By Kara Reynolds | Aug 12, 2016

So, you’re tired of your go-to brand of tampons. We’re not sure how you could be, since they expand just as gracefully as a girl twirling in a skirt — you’ve seen the commercial — but somehow that’s not enough to keep you around. Are your pads dragging you down, too? Again, you’ve probably seen the commercial where they soak up all of that beautiful blue liquid. However, they’re still somehow not comfortable to wear during your period, when, you know, they’re not responsible for absorbing cerulean waters. Okay, okay, we’ll stop with the sarcasm now: It’s clearly time for a change. There’s a lot to fix within the feminine hygiene industry, and it’s not just the fact that advertisers hardly have a clue how to market their products. Fortunately, though, there are new alternatives on the horizon that take your comfort and convenience into the utmost consideration. Read on to find out why you should forego your traditional tampons and pads for a new-wave product, and which ones to try.

Why Traditional Hygiene Options Aren’t the Best

Aside from the constant changing required when you wear a tampon or pad, your choice can also lead to environmental damage. Of course, there’s no shame in the fact that you’re a woman and you kind of have to create this type of waste. However, there are alternatives that cut down on your environmental footprint, should you want to make the swap. If you’re looking to get an idea of just how much trash a period creates, first keep in mind the fact that women typically have their periods for about 40 years. Four decades of menstruation typically causes a woman to produce about 300 pounds of waste. That sounds like quite a bit of garbage to pile up over a lifetime, but you should also know that the typical adult woman ends up creating 62,415 pounds of waste in total during this same time frame. That means your period products make up only 0.5 percent of the waste you’ll create during the years you’re menstruating. Half a percent doesn’t sound like much, but that’s the same amount of waste you’ll create in the category of plastic plates and cups — think of how many parties and office water coolers you go to, and you’ll realize that 0.5 percent over 40 years ends up being a pretty big pile of garbage.

Here’s What to Try Instead

Whether it’s the environmental footprint, the cost of your period or the sheer annoyance you feel with traditional products, you might be feeling inspired to try something different… something better, at least, for your personal situation. If so, here are a few products to try:

  • The Diva Cup: Users of the Diva Cup have sung its praises for years — it could be your turn to join in. The Diva Cup is just as it sounds: a small, bell-shaped cup you wear internally. It’s thoughtfully made, too, so that it’s easy to insert and won’t introduce harmful plastics into your system. Rather than dealing with tampon changes all day long, you simply insert the Diva Cup and go about your business for up to 12 hours. You can boil or wash it with drinking water and reuse it for every period.
  • Period Panties: Another trend on the rise: underwear designed to wick away your menstruation. Brands like Thinx have engineered undies that absorb liquid, and you won’t feel like you’re wearing a grown-up diaper. You can even wash and reuse this specific brand of period panties, and it won’t interfere with the fabric’s ability to absorb. You won’t have leaks, and they’ll keep you clean and dry during your future periods.
  • Cloth Pads: Here’s an alternative to traditional feminine hygiene products that makes a clear, earth-friendly conversion. Rather than use manufactured products with manmade materials, an organic cotton panty liner or pad removes chemicals from your period equation. They work just like regular pads, too, so there’s not much to explain about how they work.
  • Sea-Sponge Tampons: The same goes for the sea-sponge tampons, which is just as it sounds, although, fortunately, a lot gentler on your sensitive areas. Obviously, you wear them just like tampons, but you get the added benefit of rinsing and reusing them like the Diva Cup. This might just be the best middle ground as you transition from traditional to new-wave feminine products.

Before You Go

So, now you have further inspiration to ditch your tampons and pads — they’re just going to sit in landfills — and an idea of which products will make your period at least a bit more enjoyable than it’s been in the past. No matter what, the best way to handle your monthly visitor is to find the best products for you and use them. Voila. 

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