21 Oct Eco Period
Almost every month we’ve got to go through the same thing, periods. There are so many options out there now for collecting the blood and we at Diamond Dance think it’s time to help you way up the pros and cons of each option.
Pads & Tampons
I think Pads are almost everyone’s first experience with periods. They’re disposable, less daunting to an 8 to 15-year-old and are a nice $5-10 at your local Woolies. Unfortunately, wearing a pad comes with a little smell, a little discomfort and that wet feeling when it starts to fill up. We’ve all been there. It also means no swimming, which is a nightmare in an Aussie summer.
Tampons are another teen staple when it comes to periods. They are also disposable, also $5-10 from Woolies except you can go swimming. Perfect. If you insert them right, it’s like you aren’t bleeding at all. Unfortunately, Tampons don’t just absorb the blood, they absorb all vaginal fluid, including the good bacteria that’s needed to maintain pH levels which helps avoid yeast infections and the like. Tampons must also be taken out more often and there’s a risk of Toxic shock syndrome.
Pads and Tampons both contain non-biodegradable plastic that take 500 to 800 years to breakdown causing major environmental concerns. Imagine roughly half the population of the world all using at least 14 pads per month, every month. That’s a lot of plastic. There are some biodegradable Pads and Tampons on the market which cost around the same amount, however, aren’t as popular and sometimes quite hard to find.
Reusable pads take away the plastic problem and are a lot more comfortable between your legs because of it. Because they are made of fabric, they fit better and move around less. They start at around $20 and go up from there, depending on pattern, brand etc. That is $20 for one reusable pad, which means you’ll end up paying possibly 7 times that depending on how many you want. That might seem like a lot of money, but you won’t have to buy pads again for a long time after that. It works out cheaper to buy the reusable Pads, rather than disposable ones.
A downside is washing them. As they will have blood on them, some brands suggest hand washing or soaking them. Others say to just put them in the washing machine, separate to your clothes (especially whites). This can be a draw back if you don’t like blood or you don’t have a place to store them (where the odour won’t waft) until you’re all done and ready to wash them. When out and about you also must remember a wet bag of some sort for if your Pad needs to be changed. As they are Pads, they still come with the wet feeling when they are filling up.
Now Sea Sponges are like the reusable Tampon. They can only be reused 3-5 times BUT they are biodegradable. When inserted, unlike disposable Tampons, they need to be wet. This means that also unlike disposable Tampons, they don’t take the good bacteria with them when taken out. As they are a Tampon it means happy swimming and with these ones you can have sex with them in. They also need to be washed, which has all the same problems as the Reusable Pads situation and they are approximately $30, working out to be more cost effective than disposables.
Reusable Interlabial Pads
These are the birth child of a Pad and a Tampon. They are an absorbent Pad that is held in place by the labia in a sort of leaf shape. They are sometimes used in conjunction with an inserted product and are around $20. They must be washed and removed just at the right time or you accidentally drop it in the toilet. I read that I swear. They are a strange feeling to get used to but not the worst and cannot be used for swimming.
These are reusable, eco-friendly, cost effective, silicone cups that get inserted and catch all the blood before it comes out. As it does catch the blood before it reaches the air, it doesn’t let the blood create an odour, doesn’t mess with the vagina’s pH levels and you can have sex or go swimming with it in. What a great cup. Prices start $28 with many variations available and it has a 12-hour drainage time. If you have an allergy to latex, make sure you buy a purely silicone one. Then, just like everyone else, you won’t be able to feel it. If you have IDU then speak to a doctor before using it. They’ll give you little insider hacks to make sure you don’t dislodge your IDU.
The menstrual cup can be very messy when pulling it out as the blood will flow out of the cup, but apparently, it’s all about practice. It can also be difficult to insert by those who haven’t had intercourse, are still new to puberty and if your uterus has dropped or if you have fibroids. The cup must be serialised in-between cycles. This one is definitely the favourite for the Diamond Dance instructors. Watch this video for tips on getting it in and out.
Period Underwear is good on its own or in conjunction with other products. These aren’t just that old pair of underwear you don’t care if you get blood on them. This Period Underwear is kind of like the reusable pad but as entire underwear. They stay in place like normal underwear and have also been said to be good for postpartum bleeding. They are around $3.50 at Woolies and go up from there depending on brand as there aren’t that many pretty designs (YET!). They are more comfortable then both disposable and reusable Pads and pretty much do the same thing.
You can’t swim with these on, they need to be washed and you will still get the odour from the blood.
If you have a heavier flow then you might need to change them during the day, in that case you will need a wet bag sorted.
I had never heard of these before research. They are disposable, condom/frisbee looking things that collects blood at the base of the cervix. They can be worn for up to 12 hours and when inserted correctly, you can’t feel them at all. You can swim with these, have sex with these in and is a god send for those with endometriosis and PCOS. Some women even have a more intense orgasm while wearing these as it rubs on the cervix, while their partners don’t feel the disc at all. The pelvic floor is more tense then usual during sex however as the vagina knows that there’s something else up there. They’re around $30 and are single use.
The discs also are a little fiddly and therefore difficult to insert but really easy to take out. They can also slide down the vaginal fornix every couple of hours but easy to re-adjust in the bathroom.