For many years, tampons and pads have been the only source of menstrual products available for women, but today, new innovation has brought forth a variety of products that are safe and effective. Many can even hold a greater volume of blood than pads or tampons, requiring them to be changed less often in addition to having much lesser risk of toxic shock syndrome than tampons. To find out which products you would like to be using, here are the common alternatives seen on the market today.
These days, free bleeding has become a more commonly heard term. Pads or tampons can be uncomfortable to wear, so some women have voiced the desire to wear neither and deal with the cleanup themselves. In response to this, companies have started making underwear products that are specifically designed to soak up menstrual blood without the risk of leaking out onto clothes, or the discomfort of other products. This can free you to wear many types of clothes without having to worry about pads being noticed.
Soft and flexible, these cups are designed to sit snugly inside the vagina to collect menstrual blood until it is removed. Though these cups can look intimidating by their size, users claim that they are comfortable and unobtrusive during the entire use. The cups must be rolled up in order to be inserted into the vagina but will expand back into shape once in the correct placement. The cups also have a nub at the end to grip when removing them. Some companies may even offer different sizes in order to accommodate women with different needs, such as those who have never given birth vaginally or those with weaker pelvic floor muscles. Because menstrual cups can be easily cleaned, they are also a great eco-friendly option for those who want to reduce the amount of waste they are producing with menstrual products.
As a newer product on the market, vaginal discs might be puzzling to some upon first glance, but they are surprisingly easy to use after learning the technique. These rings are generally made of a very flexible, often plastic material that can be pinched closed in order to ease it into the vagina. There is also a plastic film throughout the ring to catch menstrual blood and allow for a way to remove the disk. Once properly inserted, the disc will regain its shape facing the cervix, providing a seal inside the vagina until it is removed. These products sit further back inside the vaginal canal than menstrual cups and are sometimes a bit messier to remove, but they can be quite comfortable. In addition, many types of discs are disposable, making for easy cleanup, but there are a few reusable options on the market that require similar care to the menstrual cups. As with both products, taking proper care of cleaning and storage can allow you to use them for up to ten years.
Many today are becoming increasingly concerned with the environmental impact of the dairy products they buy, often opting for options with little to no plastic, or that can be recycled or composted. This mindset is also present for menstrual products as many have been seeking out some of the longer-lasting alternatives above. But for those who may not be a fan of cups or discs, consider applicator-less tampons as a more eco-friendly option. These often use less packaging and some companies that produce them also keep to higher standards of using organic or unbleached cotton in the finished products, which can be beneficial to those who find the traditional products irritating.