Here are all your options for period products so you can make an empowered choice
There’s a lot more to these clever little pants than meets the eye. Not only are they useful everyday underwear, but they will also provide all the period protection you could ever need. It’s all thanks to the ultra absorbent, anti-microbial and anti-odour material they’re made from, providing all day freshness and protection. Still not convinced? Read our full review here.
PROS: Zero waste, reusable, easy to use and non-invasive. CONS: Can be expensive to buy and unpleasant blobbing sensation for some.
Menstrual cups like the Mooncup have soared in popularity in recent years, not only for their zero-waste, environmental benefits, but also because they are much more cost efficient (one cup can last 10 years!). The flexible silicone cups fold up for easy insertion into the vagina, and provide a suction once inside to safeguard against leaks. The menstrual blood collects in the cup, and all you have to do is empty it every 4-6 hours, depending on your flow. And yes, we’ve tried this one too – read all about it here (and trust us, it’s not as gross as you may think!).
PROS: Zero waste, reusable and cost effective. CONS: Slightly hard to use at first and can be quite messy.
Chances are you’ve used a sanitary pad at some point in your life. Many people’s first port of call was the humble sani pad, while some prefer them as an external period option. One considerable benefit is that they don’t pose a risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, TSS, which can occur from the use of internal period products like tampons and menstrual cups. The single-use, absorbent pads have a sticky side that adhere’s to your underwear and another side that absorbs period blood. They come in many shapes and sizes, allow you to choose one to suit your flow – and your underwear.
PROS: No risk of Toxic Shock Syndome, easy to use, and one pad can last up to 6 hours. CONS Can feel bulky to wear and aren’t very leak-proof.
It may come as little surprise that tampons are the most popular sanitary product in the UK. The small, single-use absorbent product (usually made of cotton or rayon) is inserted into the vagina, and absorbs menstrual blood before it blobs out, meaning many prefer them to pads or pants, where you can feel the blood coming out. As an internal period product, they do present a small risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, so it’s recommended you change your tampon regularly, never leaving the same one in for more than 6 hours.
PROS: Undetectable feel, non-bulky and convenient, especially for activities like swimming. CONS: They present a risk of TSS, they are not environmentally friendly as they are not biodegradable.
Within the category, there are a number of different options to pick from, each with their pros and cons.
Applicator tampons are just tampons that are sold encased in either a cardboard or plastic applicator. The purpose of the appliactor is to make insertion into the vagina easier (rather than shoving a finger up there, you retract and push the applicator to propel the tampon into place. While this makes the process marginally less messy, applicators dramatically exacerbate the problem of pollution, being yet another single-use, non-biodegradable component.
A naked tampon that is inserted by putting your finger on the base (where the string is) and pushing it inside your vagina. Yes you might get some blood on your finger, but you were going to wash your hands anyway.
This month sees the launch of the world’s first reusable applicator from eco-innovators DAME. The non-porous applicator is made of medical grade, BPA free material and can be reused thousands of times.