Reusable Period Products: Pros and Cons

Updated: Sep 12, 2019

I first started with a menstrual cup about two years ago for a few reasons:

1. Tampons scared me because of the toxic chemicals used in them, I did not want to put that in my body

2. I was about to embark on a trip to see Dan (I was still living in Ohio and he was in Japan at the time) and I did not want to pack an entire pack of pads. I was also going to Japan and knew I would be swimming

3. I just started living on my own and I wanted to save money

4. Even though this was before I was an environmentalist, the amount of waste each woman produces just from our periods disgusted me and I wanted to reduce my waste

5. I was a few months out from going to basic training and did not want to have to constantly worry about changing my pad when I could keep this in for the whole day

So, I spent around $30 for my first menstrual cup and thought it was the most genius idea ever!

Some of the pros I noticed right away:

- Of course, less money and less waste in the long run

- You could wear it safely for up to 12 hours unlike tampons

- The smell is almost nothing as compared to traditional pads

- It is super easy to clean and disinfect

While there are certainly a lot of perks about switching to a menstrual cup, I must be honest, there are some cons as well:

- It does take some getting used to; inserting and taking it out takes practice (but is simple once you get the hang of it)

- It is a little gross right away and you might get some blood on your hands (again, with practice, this improves as well)

- If you are not in the comfort of your home or anywhere where you do not have a private shower, it can be complicated to clean. A quick story time: I used my menstrual cup at Air Force basic training and it worked well. The only issue is that, unlike at home where I could just dump it in the shower or sit on the toilet and reach into the sink, I had to wash it out in a stall with my canteen. Not the most ideal situation but I made it work. This is why I would recommend getting two; one to wear and when you take it out, you can put in the clean one and then wash the used one once all is said and done

- It is hard to size. I ended up having to clip the little stem so it wouldn't hang out. No worries, though, I was still easily able to remove it

As you can see, all of the cons can be resolved. Do not ditch this idea after one cycle. Wear a panty liner for the first few goes and give yourself a chance to get used to it.

If I loved my cup so much, why did I stop? I got an IUD and apparently the suction created could move the IUD around. So, I had to find another option. It wasn't until probably a year after I had had my IUD that I thought of reusable pads. I get my period every now and then and it is light so these are perfect for me. If you are out and about, just pop them into the little bag it comes with, wash it off when you get home and throw it in the wash with the rest of your items!

Pros to the panty liners:

- They are easy to clean and don't stain (just wash them out gently before throwing them in the wash for maximum cleanliness)

- They are comfortable enough and still rather discreet

- The little bag makes it convenient to pack in your book bag, purse, or carry-on

But, there are a few cons as well:

- Since they are not adhesive, the back of mine tended to move around quite a lot and sometimes got uncomfortable

- They still show a little bit through pants

- There are two options for the snap, which works, but again, since they are not adhesive, they might slide around a bit

There are so many options for both menstrual cups and reusable pads. There are many brands, materials, shapes and sizes for each so find one that works for you. You can save yourself some money and reduce your waste significantly.

If I haven't changed your mind yet, how about some statistics:

- An individual goes through approximately 11,000 disposable pads and/or tampons in a lifetime

- They are made out of cotton (that just gets thrown away), the crop that requires the most water

- Both products contain plastic that cannot be recycled

- Pads and Tampons produce around 200,000 tons of waste per year

- The average user throws away an astonishing 125-150 kg (275-325 lb) of tampons, pads and applicators in their lifetime

I hope you at least consider switching to a product that it healthier for your own body, for the Earth, and for your wallet.


*disclaimer: I bought these items with my own money and was not sponsored for this review, therefore, please take it as an honest review of the product and company

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My name is Emma. I am a 20-year-old new to this sustainable lifestyle. I am here to give you my tips as I learn them and help beginners begin their sustainable life...


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