Written By: Lacy Bundy
Ladies, we’ve come a long way in sexual and feminine health since the days of the sanitary belt our grandmother’s had to wear. Can you believe the first adhesive sanitary napkin wasn’t available for consumers until the 1970s? Say what?!
While we may not be rocking the feminine hygiene products of yesteryear, the typical go-to when Aunt Flo arrives is still the standard tampon or pad. These options are definitely reliable and convenient, but that comes at a cost. Along with the obvious environmental concerns linked with one-time use products (they all end up in landfills or water treatment facilities and plastic takes a long time to break down), there are also legitimate concerns about the effect on a woman’s body. Studies have shown links between the chemicals in tampons, cancer, and Toxic Shock Syndrome.
But don’t fret! Nowadays, we have more options than ever to control our flow and be mindful of both the environment and our bodies.
1) Soft Menstrual Cups
Fun fact: These little wonders have been around since the 1930s, but have only recently become a wildly popular menstruation alternative. The menstrual cup works similarly to a tampon, but unlike the tampon, the silicone or latex rubber cup is inserted and collects the blood rather than absorbing. Since the cups hold about twice as much as a tampon or pad you only dump it every 10 to 12 hours (Hallelujah for fewer trips to the bathroom)! Many brands like DivaCup and Lunette are readily available and most are reusable. A total win for the environment.
2) Period Panties
Who’s a fan of ruining their favorite pair of panties with period stains? Not today, girl! I give you, the period panty! Although the idea of not using a tampon or pad and just bleeding into your underwear seems strange, these panties are made to be washable, stain resistant, odor-controlling and all around comfortable. Not only that, but many companies have a range of panties from the everyday brief to a sexy thong, so you’ll be covered for any occasion
3) Menstrual Sponge
When you hear the word sponge, I’m sure your vagina and period isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but you can actually use a natural sea sponge as your period protection! Probably the most natural crossover from a tampon, the sponge is inserted and absorbs your period, but without any harsh chemicals, bleach or fragrance found in cotton tampons. And since the sponges can be used for six months or longer with proper cleaning and care, you won’t be shelling out money every month on pricey pads and tampons.
4) Organic Pads & Tampons
The vagina is a sensitive and delicate area of a woman’s body and absorbs toxins and chemicals even more so than your skin. So, even if you aren’t ready to make the leap to a more unique alternative, try organic tampons and pads to limit any harmful exposure. Working in the exact same way as traditional tampons, many brands like Honest and Cora use 100% organic cotton that hasn’t been treated with pesticides, dyes or toxins to create their tamps. Win! Still care about the environmental waste? Try using your organic tampons with a reusable tampon applicator by DAME to limit the plastic waste.
So the next time Shark Week rolls around, try reaching for one of these comfortable and natural period protection alternatives. Your body will thank you, period.