Not something I’ve really talked about on the blog before. I’m not sure why, to be honest.
I guess a lot of it is because I am insanely lucky (yep, there I go, jinxing it!) with periods in that, other than the first couple of years after they started, when I was 12, they’ve never really caused me any bother. They’re regular to the point I know down to the hour that they will start, they’re not heavy, they last about 3 days, and other than a bit of a backache, I’m not in any pain with them. I do, however, suffer from the most horrendous PMT about 5 days before. Breathe next to me and I will either shout at you or cry like a baby at that point.
Anyway. I’ve really been trying to cut down on the plastic and the general waste that we as a family produce lately, and well, my period was one of the things that I realised created a lot of unrecyclable waste. I’ve been having periods for 20 years, bar the 30 months I was pregnant/breastfeeding. That’s…(hang on whilst I do the maths) about 210 periods, give or take a couple. That’s a lot of waste.
I decided that I would have a look at some eco-friendly alternatives to disposable pads and tampons, and it turns out there are quite a few!
Now, you’ve probably heard of other brands of cups before. I’d been quite curious about them, but the ‘ewww that’s minging’ childish side of me was too strong to try one.
Now I have one and OH MY GOD!
I literally want to grab anyone that has periods (and anyone that doesn’t to be fair!) and tell them ALL about them.
They are revolutionary.
Ok. So yes, you do need to get the ‘ew, grim’ thing out of the way, because yep, you need to deal with the shizzle that comes out of your body. But think about it. It’s from your body. It’s perfectly normal. If you use tampons, you’re basically sticking a wodge of bleached cotton wool up your foof, which absorbs it all, and then you chuck it in the bin.
The Enna cup, and ones similar are basically flexible silicone cups, a bit like an egg cup shape and size, that you sort of fold up and stick up there. Once in place, it opens up and fits very nicely, collecting all the fluid. You can keep it in for up to twelve hours, and when you need to empty it, you pull it out (it has like a little cord, like a tampon string), empty it down the loo and give it a quick rinse under a tap before either reusing or popping into the little sterilising container that comes with it. There are two cups in the pack, making it even more convenient.
It can be a little fiddly to get in at first. The first attempt took me about five minutes, but once it is in, you can’t feel it at all. This one (I don’t know if they all do) comes with an applicator to help you get it in, but to be honest, I found it more fiddly with that. I’ve used the Enna cup for two periods now, and not had a single leak. It’s also stopped that horrible sort of ‘dry’ feeling that tampons can give. To be honest, it’s made my periods even less hassle – I just stick it in and forget about it until later.
They come in different sizes. Which one you need depends on your age and whether you have given birth, but if you need any advice, Kate from Refined Prose has a great post about menstrual cups, which you can find by clicking here. They cost about £25 from Amazon, which is a bit of an investment to start with, but saves a fortune in the long term – and the environment.
Modi Bodi Pants
Again, one of those things you might need to get over the ‘urgh’ moment first. They’re really not disgusting or grim in any way though so hear me out.
Modi Bodi pants are ‘period, pee and perspiration proof pants’. Essentially, knickers (in all shapes and sizes and designs) and swimwear that can be worn on your period, or if you’re prone to the odd ‘oops’ moment without any added protection. Now, as I said, I have really light periods, so I reckon that I could get away with these the whole way through (not the same pair, obvs!), but whether you could or not if you had heavy periods, I don’t know. I would probably use these as a back up rather than the only thing, but it’s all down to you and your period. They apparently hold up to 20ml of liquid, which is two tampons worth, on average. I’ve worn these the day I’m due and at the end, so that if I am caught unawares, I’m got something in place. They’re also really good for night times.
The top layer wicks away the moisture, fights bacteria and stops any smells, the second layer absorbs the fluid and locks it away and the third layer is extra waterproofing. It does kind of sound weird to get your head around, but honestly, they didn’t feel grim on.
Far from it, in fact.
They were SO comfortable. Like, ridiculously so. I have worn them even when I don’t have my period. They’re super soft and really quite flattering as well. There is a huge range to choose from. I have the sensual hi-waist bikini style, which are £23.50 per pair. Again, an investment, but one worth doing.
Cloth Sanitary Pads
Ok, so this is something I haven’t personally tried, but if I wasn’t so in love with the Enna cup and the Modi Bodi pads, this would be in my Amazon basket! My friend Louise from Birds and Lilies has tried them, and she absolutely loves them. They’re made of soft, absorbent microfibre and come in a range of pretty designs and patterns. I mean, no one other than the wearer is going to see them, but it’s nice to make periods a bit prettier, I guess! They usually have wings which have a snapper button to hold them in place, and the layer against your skin is bamboo charcoal fibre (so very much like cloth nappies for babies!). This draws the moisture away from you and neutralises any smells. When you’re done, you simply put them in the washing line, dry, and then they’re ready to go the next month. Not only are they so much better for the environment, but they feel (apparently) much cleaner and nicer, and there’s nothing there to irritate your bits. Let’s face it, no one wants irritated bits! These ones are pretty good value – £17 for 9 pads from Amazon.
Some of these more eco-friendly alternatives might not be for everyone, and it does take some getting your head around, to begin with, but I’m pretty sure that most ladies, once they’ve tried them will never go back to traditional tampons and pads! Give them a go!
*I was sent some of these products free of charge for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and words are my own and have not been influenced in any way. Contains affiliate links.