Tampons and pads have come a long way. For decades, women have been using them during their menstruation period, and the reason they are loved is that they work. Tampons tend to be common, with an estimated 70 percent of menstruating women in America using tampons. However, for various reasons, women are now shifting their focus to tampons and pads alternatives. Whether you’re concerned about the chemicals used in feminine hygiene products, the effects of these chemicals on the environment, or the cost of these items, don’t worry. We’ve done the research for you and uncovered natural alternatives to pads and tampons.

Menstrual Cups

These might sound strange if you haven’t heard about them already. Menstrual cups are exactly what the name implies – a reusable soft-sided cup that you insert inside the vagina to collect menstrual flow. These reusable menstrual cups are leak-proof and, (according to a majority of women who use them), more comfortable than regular tampons.

What’s more, they don’t carry the risk of TSS that tampons do and can safely be worn for up to 24 hours. While it may take some experimenting to get used to using a menstrual cup, once you get used to it, you’ll become a convert!

Menstrual cups are made from flexible, medical-grade silicone. When inserted into the vagina, they form a seal which captures all of the menses. The advantage of using menstrual cups is that they can hold more than a tampon, meaning you can wear them longer.

The downside of using these cups is that you have to get used to sticking your fingers up your vagina, and for those who are not comfortable seeing their blood, cleaning them can prove to be a challenge and even weird
There are different types of menstrual cups, like Luna Cup – and they all come in different sizes.

Reusable Cloth Menstrual Pads

If you’re not convinced about using menstrual cups, you might find using cloth menstrual pad to be more ideal. The cloth pads are applied just like regular pads, but rather than plastic, they are made with reusable cotton. They have a waterproof liner and are more comfortable than plastic-based pads. Plus, they are also leak-proof. Cloth pads are washable, making them not only eco-friendly but also a cost-saving option. ”

Period Underwear

The idea of bleeding directly into your panties might not seem appealing at all. The truth is, period underwear is way more comfortable and work surprisingly well. Thinx and Knixwear are well-known brands of these undergarments. These period panties are leak-proof and are lined with a multi-layer of ultra-absorbent material that is capable of absorbing up to two tampons’ worth of blood. Many women who use them say that they are good for going to the gym, hiking, or running. The underwear is designed in a way that reduces the appearance of stains, on top of the fact that they are easily washable. However, if you experience heavy periods, it’s advisable to wear another type of menstrual protection as a backup. Period panties come in various shapes, designs, fabric, and holding capacity. Whether you prefer thongs or control top, there’s something for everyone. Dear Kate even makes Go Commando Yoga pants that you can wear without underwear or pads!

Menstrual Discs

Another great alternative to pads and tampons are the menstrual discs. Similar to menstrual cups, menstrual discs are inserted in the vagina where they will collect period blood. But rather than the cup, these tampon alternatives use discs. What differentiates the two is their placement. The menstrual discs sit at the vaginal fornix, which is deeper into the vaginal canal, where the menstrual cup sits (it’s also where the tampon sits). The placement of the discs means that they can be worn during sex while at the same time blocking the flow of period blood, something a menstrual cup cannot do. Unlike menstrual cups, which are washable and reusable, menstrual discs should be disposed of after use, and should not be reused. ”

Reusable Sea Sponges

You might be wondering what sea sponges have got to do with your periods, right? Sea sponges are actually great alternatives to pads and tampons. Since they are sustainably harvested from the Mediterranean Sea, the sea sponges are 100 percent natural. Say goodbye to the dyes, chlorine, synthetic materials, bleach, and dioxin, among several other chemicals found in women’s hygiene products, and start a new journey of safety and environmental awareness. Reusable sea sponges look like your bathroom sponge, but a bit smaller. The downside of sea sponges is insertion. They are not exactly soft and must be inserted completely dry into the vagina. However, according to reviewers, once the sponge is inside, it’s comfortable and extremely absorbent. It lasts longer than a tampon would, and when it’s full, you simply remove it, rinse it out, clean it with water and vinegar solution, and re-insert it. One sea sponge can last up to six months before you can replace it, so it’s quite economical. Sea sponges come in three different sizes and two levels of firmness. So you can be sure to get one that perfectly fits your needs.

All images by Shutterstock


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