Here’s something to remember about menstrual products for when it’s *that* time of the month.

Your body is a temple and deserves nothing but the best. You may take militant care of your skin, hair, and body but do you take time to consider your interior health? Literally? What about your menstrual products?

If you do, consider this: tampons have been known to throw off the delicate pH balance in the feminine reproductive system and the nasty ingredients in tampons are often the cause of scary health issues like Endometriosis and Toxic Shock Syndrome.

But I assure you there is a light at the end of the tunnel: reusable menstrual products are the wave of the future! Menstrual cups, cloth pads, and natural alternatives like sea sponges are replacing standard menstrual products left and right. Why? You’ll have to read on to find out.

Less Plastic Waste

It has been estimated that a single woman can use up to 16,000 tampons in her lifetime. Multiply that number by the approximately 2 billion menstruating women on earth… that’s literally tons of waste from plastic tampon applicators.

Standard plastics can take anywhere from 400 to 1000 years to biodegrade. That means that your great, great, great, great, great, GREAT grandchildren may dig up an old tampon applicator that was used decades before you were even born. And that’s a scary thought…

garbage can in nature

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Cost Efficient

From everything to plastic pads, tampons, Midol, new underwear, and birth control your period may be costing you upwards of $20,000.00 dollars in your lifetime! Your tampons alone are costing you nearly $2000 dollars of your hard-earned money.

Consider this: a single menstrual cup can range anywhere from $18 to $40 dollars and you only have to spend that once for the entirety of your menstruating life. The difference in price is obvious.

woman holding ceramic piggy bank

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Because tampons have been shown to dry out the sensitive skin on your vaginal walls they can cause chafing, friction, and irritation. Have you ever had to take out a dry tampon that you left in overnight? Ouch! Consider that feeling a thing of the past! Once you get the hang of the folds and method, a properly  inserted menstrual cup is nearly undetectable.

Cloth pads are often made of super-soft minky and fleece that do not rub against your sensitive areas in the same way that rough cotton and rayon do in standard pads. Plus cloth pads are silent and do not make that weird diaper-crunching sound when you sit down or move. That was my least favorite thing about standard pads.

woman in pajamas on bed drinking tea

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Change Less Often

Standard tampons need to be changed at least every 4 to 8 hours, depending on your flow. Sometimes it can be even more. And that is a real pain for women who are constantly on the go. And you always need to remember to pack a spare tampon if you’re going out for more than a couple hours.

A menstrual cup can be left in for 12 hours! That means you only need to change your cup once when you wake up and once before you go to bed. And the cleaning process for a cup is super easy. Rinse with water (and cup-safe soap if you’re so inclined) in between changes and boil once monthly for sterilization. It’s that simple. Other reusable menstrual products are easily changed on the go.

melting red popsicle

Photo: Erol Ahmed via Unsplash

They Last Forever

A single tampon can only last for the 4ish hours that you’re using it and then it must be properly disposed of in order to prevent infection and a whole other host of nasty things you don’t want inside you. That means that’s tampons are in the host family of single-use plastics. Single-use plastics are going by the wayside.

A single silicone menstrual cup can, technically speaking, last forever if you take proper care of it. If you do see any tearing or holes developing in your cup it is important to replace it. However, speaking from personal experience I have had the same cup and menstrual products now for going on eight years and have no intentions of replacing it anytime soon.

headless statue on black background

Photo: Mika via Unsplash

Less Chance of Toxic Shock Syndrome

Super-absorbent tampons carry a higher risk of things like toxic shock syndrome and the development of streptococcus bacteria. So what is Toxic Shock Syndrome anyway? Simply put it is a life-threatening bacterial infection of the blood.

Standard tampons can also cause micro-abrasions in the walls of the vaginal canal meaning that bacteria can more easily enter the blood stream (bacteria like streptococcus which is often the cause of Toxic Shock Syndrome).

All of this can be avoided with silicone menstrual cups which keep old menstrual blood away from the delicate walls of your vagina.

spilled bottle of pills

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Monitor your flow

For someone who likes to keep track of the goings-on in their body a standard moon cup is the perfect tool. Most cups have small raised indicators on their sides to indicate the amount of blood and uterine lining that have been shed in a day. This information can be important if you are tracking your fertility or trying a non-medical form of birth control.

Standard menstrual products just absorb the blood and therefore it cannot be measured and documented (if that’s something you’re into).

red liquid in mason jar

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Pretty Colors and Patterns

As opposed to the standard loud, crunchy, scratchy, glue-backed menstrual pads of your youth, cloth pads offer a variety of soft fabrics that button on to your underwear. While standard pads often look like diapers cloth pads are soft and can come in all manor of fun and exciting print fabrics.

I personally own a large collection of cloth pads with prints ranging from Alice in Wonderland prints to unicorns to Van Gogh’s Starry Night and even cranberries. Plus the cleaning process is totally simple.

rainbow assortment of cloth pads

Photo: Lee LJ via Flickr

You can make your own

While I often to buy my cloth pads many others simply use what they have and make their own DIY cloth menstrual pads. Talk about upcycling! It is easy to make these absorbent and long-lasting menstrual products. All you need to do is do a little research.

Plus is there any feeling more great than when you set out to start a new project and end up with a stunning finished product?

sewing machine with blue green textile

Photo: Volha Flaxeco via Unsplash

Won’t Dry Out

While standard tampons often dry out the delicate lubrication on your vaginal canal, menstrual cups will prevent that. The reason tampons dry out the natural lubricating fluids of your nether regions is that they are made of cotton and rayon which are two of the most powerful absorptive fibers. Yes, they may soak but blood but they soak up everything else too leaving you susceptible to micro-abrasions on your sensitive areas.

Menstrual cups however are usually made of medical-grade silicone. Food-grade silicone does not absorb the natural lubrication from your interior walls and therefore is unlikely to ever get “stuck” like a standard tampon.

wet rose petals

Photo by Tj Holowaychuk on Unsplash

With all the benefits of switching to reusable menstrual products the switch seems like a no-brainer!

Enjoyed that article? Also Read:

Practical & Easy Ways to Transition to a Zero Waste Lifestyle

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