As women we are given a monthly gift from mother nature. Whether it happens when we are 12 or 18 for the first time, one thing is for certain; it’s going to be around for the next few decades.
Before I dive into how we can make our periods as sustainable as possible, I think it’s important to address the stigma that society has placed on our natural bodily functions. From a young age many of us are ashamed when we are on our period, trying to hide the tampons/pads in our bags or up our sleeve as we make our way to the restroom. Society tells us that we are ‘weak’ and ‘unstable’ when it’s our time of the month. And to that I say, HELL NO. As women we are powerful beyond our imagination.
I hope that you too realize your inner strength and approach each day with a sense of empowerment and strength. Below are my top tips to make your periods sustainable from now until we enter menopause.
Menstrual what you might ask. Yes, a cup. Back in college I discovered how magical a cup could be for replacing tampons and/or pads. So why would you want to ditch tampons?
Dyes/ Chemicals: Most big brand tampons are full of dyes and chemicals and yet we still insert them into our bodies, into one of the most parts of our bodies. When you use a menstrual cup there are no dyes, no chemicals, and no worries. Most are made from 100% silicone which allows them to be safe and sanitary. Between each cycle you can clean your cup by boiling it in water to ensure it will be ready for the following month.
Changing: Some of us ladies have a heavier flow. Meaning that we are changing our tampons every few hours. Not only can this be frustrating, it can be a bit stressful if you are unable to find a bathroom. Another perk of the menstrual cup is fact that you are able to leave it in for up to 12 HOURS! 12 hours people! It is able to hold much more blood than a traditional tampon or pad AND you eliminate the risk of getting toxic shock.
Cost: A box of tampons costs about $7. Say you go through a box per month and you menstruate for about 30 years. That adds up to $2,520 on tampons ALONE, not counting pads or emergency tampon purchases. On the other hand, the Diva Menstrual Cup cost under $40 and lasts for multiple years. This drastically reduces your personal cost and makes a more sustainable option.
Plastic: Perhaps the most obvious reason a menstrual cup is sustainable is because it eliminates your plastic period waste. A majority of tampons come in plastic applications and even cardboard ones, as well as pads, are all wrapped in plastic containers. If you used 4 tampons a day for each period you have, that would amount to 10,080 plastic applications heading to the landfill.
And while I absolutely LOVE having a menstrual cup, and truly recommend it to anyone who will listen, I know that many women prefer pads or like having the option of not using a cup. Well ladies, I’ve got two words for you: period panties.
THINX UNDERWEAR: I’m sure there are a few different brands out there but I have experience using THINX underwear so let’s talk more about them.
Like you, my first thought was “ew…that just seems gross”. However, after using these for over a year, I can assure you there is nothing “gross” about it. Thinx looks and feels like normal underwear and can hold up to 4 tampons worth of blood. This makes them perfect for nighttime or those days when you can be bothered to use your cup.
Like tampons, pads can be quite costly which is why making an investment in a pair of period underwear is worth the cost.
Having a sustainable period doesn’t have to complicated. In fact, I find it much more simple than how periods used to be. It’s 2020, time to stop beating around the bush (literally and figuratively) and normalize sustainable periods for women. Below are some links to popular menstrual cups and period underwear and I truly hope you give them a try. Talk to other women, give it a try, and know that your small actions will make a HUGE impact.