Once a month, most people between the ages of 13 and 50 have a menstrual period for 3 to 7 days when blood from the uterus is released through the vagina. With a total duration of about 450 menstrual cycles in a woman’s lifetime. The important thing is to think about the products you use during your period.
Today, due to the changes and growth of many products, there is also raising concerns about the sustainability and the right choice of products to use during the period. Here are some product choices you may find it’s useful.
Sanitary pads are probably the most commonly used products that have been in business for over a century. They are attached to the inside of your pants and work by absorbing menstrual blood through a layer of cotton. It is usually made of rayon, cotton and plastic. Over the decades, the design of pads has evolved to be more absorbent and comfortable with the wide range of layers available to suit different amounts of menstrual blood.
However, this type of pad can be used regardless of the environmental impact, as it must be changed every four hours to prevent odors and bacterial growth. In addition, it can make people spend a lot of money to buy it on a monthly basis. The good thing is that now women can also have another option, washable sanitary pads which can be reused many times, saves the environment and costs less.
Tampons are different from sanitary pad as a form that is used internally by inserting it into the vagina. This method works but not all women find it convenient to use. Tampon works by absorbing menstrual blood inside (although some leaks are not uncommon, so extra pads may be needed) and can be used for about 4 hours, when it is removed, gently pull on the attached string.
Many consumers prefer tampon because it seems to be more comfortable than sanitary pad because of its small size during use (i.e. it is not visible on the pants). In addition, it can feel more comfortable compared to sitting on a pad that is left too long can be irritating. Similar to sanitary pad, tampon is disposable and non-biodegradable. So, it is not an environmentally friendly product or the least expensive option.
Another consideration is the symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Along with absorbing menstrual blood, tampons can also absorb the natural lubricant and bacteria of the vagina, leading to the risk of TSS. It can be a rare case but can be life threatening. To reduce the risk, use it with the lowest absorption rate that fits your menstrual blood flow.
In recent years, many people have abandoned traditional options such as pads and tampons in favor of menstrual cups. This elastic menstrual cup works by folding and inserting it inside. So, it will be on the vaginal wall where the menstrual blood collects. It takes a little practice to get the right position, then, it should not be a problem anymore and it is usually comfortable.
The menstrual cup can be used for up to 12 hours and it should be removed, emptied, washed and reused as needed. Menstrual cups can be used for up to a decade (only 10 years), making them an eco-friendly and bag-friendly option. It has been noted that there is a lower risk of symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Menstrual disc is less well known. It is made of plastic or silicone and is inserted into the vagina and rest over the cervix. Like a menstrual cup, it can be used for up to 12 hours and works by collecting blood in a disc and taking some time to figure out how to use it properly.
When you used it, remove it and pour the menstrual blood into the toilet. However, it differs from menstrual cups because most discs are not reusable, so they are not environmentally friendly or cost-effective.
One of the major benefits of a menstrual disc is that it can be used during sex (unlike tampons and menstrual cups), and some people even say that they experience mild pain during menstruation when using it.
The latest new product is underwear. It looks like normal underwear except it has a special absorbent layer that prevents menstrual blood from leaking onto the clothes and it is washable that is one of the most sustainable options. A good pair will prevent odors and will make you feel comfortable.
Underwear is not the least expensive option, but it is definitely worth it compared to spending years on a regular pads or tampon. The downside is that some people experience a leak on the first menstrual day with heavy bleeding. So sometimes, they use it with other menstrual products. However, this innovation is evolving rapidly and is also popular in the marketplace.
In conclusion, remember that you have many options to using any products during menstruation. The choice depends on your preferences, comfort and environmental considerations as well as the budget you spend on them.