Menstrual Products And How To Use Them

With approximately 450 periods in a lifetime, it is essential to consider the products we use to manage menstruation. In today’s rapidly evolving landscape, the variety of menstrual products available is greater than ever before. Let us explore the options, learn how to use them effectively, and embrace eco-friendly practices for a healthier planet.

A sanitary pad

  • Sanitary Pads: Comfort, Convenience, and Environmental Impact

Sanitary pads are very popular period products that have been sold for more than a hundred years. They stick to the inside of underwear and soak up period blood with layers of absorbent material like rayon, cotton, and plastic. Over time, pads have become more absorbent and comfy, with lots of options to fit different flows.

  • Usage: Proper placement and adhesive application for optimal comfort and protection.
  • Disposal: Wrapping used pads in toilet paper or biodegradable bags before disposing of them in waste bins.
  • Precautions: Changing pads every 4-6 hours to prevent bacterial growth and unpleasant odours. Avoid flushing pads to prevent plumbing issues.

Because they are thrown away after use, sanitary pads aren’t great for the environment. They need to be changed every four hours to prevent odor and bacteria growth, which can add up to a lot of pads every month. But here’s the good news: washable sanitary pads are now an option in many places. You can use them multiple times, which is better for the environment and saves money in the long run.

  • Tampons: Internal Protection and Understanding Risk Factors.

A tamponIn terms of how commonly they’re used, tampons come in second after sanitary pads. They’re made of similar materials, but tampons are inserted internally into the vaginal canal. This might take some practice, and not everyone finds them comfortable to use.

Tampons work by absorbing menstrual blood internally, although leaks can sometimes happen, so using a pantiliner may be necessary. They can be left in for about four hours, and then gently removed by pulling on the string.

  • Usage: Insertion techniques, including proper angle and depth, for comfortable and effective protection.
  • Disposal: Wrapping used tampons in toilet paper before disposing of them in waste bins. Avoid flushing tampons to prevent environmental damage.
  • Precautions: Using tampons with the lowest absorbency needed for your flow to reduce the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Changing tampons every 4-8 hours and never leaving them in overnight.

A lot of people prefer tampons because they’re more discreet than pads. They come in smaller packaging and are not visible when worn, unlike pads. Also, they tend to feel more comfortable compared to sitting on a pad, which can get messy if left on for too long. However, like most pads, tampons are not environmentally friendly or cost-effective because they’re disposable and non-biodegradable.

  • Menstrual Cups: Sustainable, Long-Term Solutions

In recent times, numerous individuals have opted for the menstrual cup over traditional choices like tampons and pads. This small cup, usually made of silicone or latex, is folded and inserted internally to rest against the vaginal wall, where it gathers blood. While it may require some practice to achieve proper positioning, once mastered, leaks are typically not an issue, and they are often very comfortable to wear.A menstrual cup

  • Usage: Folding and insertion methods to ensure proper positioning and a secure seal.
  • Disposal: Emptying menstrual cup contents into the toilet, rinsing with water, and sterilizing between cycles with boiling water.
  • Precautions: Avoiding leaving menstrual cups in for longer than 12 hours to reduce the risk of bacterial growth and TSS. After the menstrual cycle ends, they should be sterilized in hot water before being used again for the next period. 

The cups can remain inserted for up to 12 hours before they need to be taken out, emptied, rinsed, and reused as needed. With a lifespan of up to ten years, menstrual cups are one of the most environmentally and economically friendly options available. However, it’s important to note that like tampons, there is a slight risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) associated with menstrual cups.


  • Menstrual Discs: Versatile Options for Active Lifestyles

The less popular menstrual disc, typically made of plastic or silicone, is inserted into the vagina and rests against the base of the cervix. Similar to the menstrual cup, it can remain in place for up to 12 hours, collecting blood in the disc. However, like the cup, it may take some time to learn how to use it correctly.A menstrual disc

Once the user is finished with it, the disc is removed, and its contents are emptied into the toilet. However, unlike the cup, most menstrual discs are not designed for reuse, making them less environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

  • Usage: Insertion techniques and finding the optimal position for comfortable wear and leak prevention.
  • Disposal: Emptying contents into the toilet and disposing of used discs in waste bins.
  • Precautions: Ensuring proper removal by gently grasping the disc’s rim and avoiding excessive force. Using for no more than 12 hours at a time to minimize the risk of TSS.

A notable advantage of menstrual discs is their ability to remain in place during sexual intercourse, unlike tampons and cups. Additionally, some individuals have reported experiencing reduced menstrual pain when using them.


  • Period Underwear: Stylish, Sustainable Solutions

A recent addition to menstrual care is period underwear. These garments resemble regular underwear but feature a unique absorbent layer that prevents leaks onto clothing. Since they are washable, they are considered one of the most eco-friendly options. A high-quality pair of period underwear not only prevents odors but also offers comfort to the wearer.Underwear

  • Usage: Wearing period underwear as standalone protection or as backup with other menstrual products.
  • Disposal: Rinsing period underwear with cold water before washing in a machine or by hand. Avoiding fabric softeners and harsh detergents to maintain absorbency.
  • Precautions: Choosing the appropriate absorbency level for your flow and changing underwear as needed throughout the day. Checking for leaks and adjusting usage accordingly.

While not the most economical choice upfront, period underwear proves to be cost-effective when compared to the continuous expense of disposable pads or tampons over time. Although some individuals may experience leaks, especially on heavier flow days, they may opt to use them in conjunction with another menstrual product. Nevertheless, this innovative product is rapidly advancing, with more absorbent options continually entering the market.

Embracing Eco-Friendly Period Practices 

As we navigate the world of menstrual products, it’s essential to prioritize sustainability and environmental responsibility. By understanding proper usage techniques, disposal methods, and precautions for each product, we can minimize our environmental footprint while managing menstruation effectively. Let’s embrace innovation and eco-consciousness to create a healthier planet for generations to come.



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