In 2023 there are many more period products available on the market in the United States than there was ten years ago. Today’s blog is going to be discussing the variety of options for women who are menstruating, however I think another blog is warranted to discuss how much money we could spend on different period products. The cost of period products has increased by 10% over this past year as stated in this Harvard Article, and that inflation is a problem for many women across the globe. Let’s chat about that next time.
So let’s chat about the fun stuff, period products! Your options used to be only tampons and pads back in the day… Now we have been blessed to have an array of options from tampons, pads, period cups, period discs, and period underwear. In efforts to help reduce the amount of waste we are putting on our planet some of these products have become reusable! Which is amazing!
Disposable tampons are a cotton or rayon-based material that is designed to be inserted into the vagina for the purpose of absorbing blood from a menstrual cycle. They come in a variety of sizes and absorbencies in order to accommodate women in all phases and flows of their period.
If you have been having a period for more than 10-15 years then you probably remember the tampons that had the cardboard applicators, and they still exist today. However, plastic type applicators were then offered for a more comfortable insertion experience. The cardboard is a more economical step away from using plastics, however the comfort level is different. For individuals struggling with pelvic floor dysfunction, inserting a tampon can be a painful experience and sometimes not tolerable at all. So this is where a plastic applicator may be more desirable than a cardboard one, at least until the painful dysfunction is treated and resolved!
Disposable pads have also been another good option for a long time in our country. They come in a variety of sizes and absorbency that you can select based on how heavy your flow is. They normally have an adhesive on the opposite side to put on your underwear to help keep in place. These are a great option for women who are either uncomfortable with an inserted device or who have pain with inserted devices. So these can be great options for a variety of women in different age ranges!
Tampons have been the primary option, along with pads, for a long time in the United States. It was brought to light in this article: “In the United States alone, approximately 12 billion pads and 7 billion tampons are discarded each year” (Stanford article 2017). That is a lot of waste for our planet. In effort to be more economically conscious we have seen an increase in new companies that are making products out of more organic materials, and the new invention of cups, discs, and absorbent underwear.
Let’s talk about menstrual cups and discs next. I am going to loop these two together since the method of use is the same, however the shape is what differs (as in the name). Reusable cups and discs are made of a flexible medical grade silicone, and occasionally do have latex in them. They are shaped with minor differences such as some longer, shorter, wider, or narrow. This is to help accommodate for different human anatomy and to allow for greater comfort while wearing the cup/disc.
You would take the cup or disc and squeeze or “fold” it up in order to insert and then when you release with insertion it will unfold into its proper shape to catch blood flow. Then once it’s time to remove it, you would then use a stem if available, or grab the disc and remove it.
These can be a little tricky for inserting and removing, however they do make cups with stems on the end to make this an easier process. For more cup/disc-experienced women, they have reported overall satisfaction with using these reusable products versus buys disposable tampons and pads.
Next up, we have the washable and absorbent underwear. Popular brands such as Knix and Thinx have made this new concept very popular! Think of it like panties with a built in super pad that is more comfortable. The panty is made from a polyester, polyamide, and polyurethane to help seal and contain your flow. Most websites now have flow charts to help you figure out which type of panty is correct for your level of flow. I have honestly heard great reviews over these products! It is a wonderful, eco-friendly concept that is going to save you some dollars!
As you can see, there are many different products out on the market now to help with your period flow. There are more traditional choices, and now we have some more modern options as well. The good part about this, is that there are viable options for every girl or woman who wants help containing their flow!
If you have any questions about a particular period product, or maybe you have another one that was not included on this list! Please feel free to comment down below 🙂 I would love to hear any and all thoughts on all these cool flow products!
Until next time ✌️ Dr. Ally
There is no right or wrong choice, just the choice that makes the most sense for you.