For many women, pads have been the go-to option for menstrual care. While pads are widely used and readily available, they may not be the best choice for you.
Feminine hygiene is an essential aspect of every woman’s life, and finding the right products to meet individual needs can lead to improved comfort, convenience, and overall well-being.
What other options do we have?
here are the various alternative feminine hygiene products that may better suit your lifestyle and information on their benefits and usage:
Tampons – Comfortable and discreet
Tampons are a popular alternative to pads, offering enhanced comfort and discretion. They are inserted into the vaginal canal to absorb menstrual flow directly, preventing discomfort often associated with pad usage. Tampons come in various sizes and absorbencies to cater to different menstrual flows and are either applicator or non-applicator types. For active and on-the-go women, tampons are an excellent choice as they allow for unrestricted movement during sports, exercise, and other activities. Remember to follow the guidelines to change your tampon every 4-8 hours to reduce the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS)
Menstrual Cups – Eco-friendly and cost-effective
Menstrual cups have gained significant popularity in recent years due to their eco-friendly nature and cost-effectiveness. Made from medical-grade silicone or other materials, menstrual cups are reusable. They are flexible cups that are inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual blood and can be worn for up to 12 hours before needing to be emptied, washed (boiled), and reinserted. For budget-conscious women, menstrual cups can save money over time, as they can last for years with proper care.
Menstrual discs – Discreet, suitable for any flow
Similar to menstrual cups, discs are inserted into the vagina to collect blood. The design differs from cups in that discs are flat and can be worn during intercourse. They sit in a lower position compared to tampons, making them comfortable and discreet. Menstrual discs have a higher capacity, making them suitable for heavier flows. Once in place, menstrual discs collect menstrual fluid for up to 12 hours.
Period underwear – Leak-proof and easy to use
This innovative product is a pair of underwear with a built-in absorbent layer to hold menstrual flow without feeling wet or uncomfortable. They offer leak-proof protection and are easy to use – simply wear them like regular underwear. Period panties are reusable and come in various styles and absorbency levels, catering to different preferences. They can be used alone or as backup protection with other menstrual products.
Cloth pads – Soft and environmentally friendly
For women seeking a more sustainable option, cloth pads are an excellent choice. Made from soft, breathable fabrics, cloth pads are washable and reusable, reducing waste and environmental impact. They come in various sizes and absorbencies, providing a comfortable and personalized experience. Cloth pads are easy to care for and can last for years with proper washing and storage.
Free bleeding – Natural and free
This is a practice in which individuals choose not to use any menstrual products to manage their period and let their menstrual blood flow freely. Some people who choose to free bleed do so at home or in places where they feel comfortable, perhaps using dark-colored or absorbent materials to sit on to prevent staining. While it may not be a widely adopted practice, some women choose free bleeding for various reasons, such as environmental concerns, embracing natural menstrual cycles, and challenging societal taboos.
Regardless of the method chosen to manage menstruation, it’s crucial to do what is most comfortable for you and your lifestyle. There’s no one “right” way to manage your period. What matters most is that the method aligns with your comfort, health, and lifestyle needs.
Other feminine hygiene products
Beyond menstrual products, there are other items used for maintaining cleanliness during your period.
- Feminine wipes: These are similar to baby wipes but designed for adult women. They’re often pH-balanced to maintain the natural acidity of your vagina. Always choose fragrance-free wipes to avoid irritation
- Cleansing washes: Specially designed washes can help cleanse the external vaginal area. Like wipes, it’s essential to select a product that is pH-balanced and free from irritants like fragrances
- Panty liners: Similar to pads but thinner and smaller, panty liners are designed to absorb daily vaginal discharge, light menstrual flow, or as a backup for tampons or cups
Remember, what works best for you will depend on your comfort, lifestyle, menstrual flow, and personal preferences. Always consult with a healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns about your menstrual health. No matter which products you choose know that they’re all part of a normal menstrual experience.
Dr. Sirichet Anekpornwattana (Fertility doctor) (30 August 2023)