Check out these 3 sustainable period products! Mother Earth will thank you and you’ll likely save some moola in the long run.
As an ob/gyn and someone who has used period products for a few decades now – I can tell you there have been a lot of changes in this industry in the past 10+ years. There are so many more sustainable options now and options that make our period a bit easier to handle.
Here are 3 period products to consider with this in mind:
They come in cute fabrics and patterns and are made of material designed to absorb period blood just like a traditional disposable pad. Depending on your flow, they should be changed every 4 to 6 hours. You can wash them out in the sink with soap and water or just throw them in the wash with the rest of your laundry. Some like GladRags Organic Day Pads have 2 parts – one piece that holds the pad in placed around your underwear and another absorbent pad piece that can be doubled up on heavier flow days. Others, like Aisle pads and liners or Eco’s Organic Reusable Cotton Pads are just one piece that snaps around your underwear. The downside of these is when you’re out and about you do need to have a container to put them in so you can bring them home to wash. One suggestion – they make cute cloth diaper water proof bags that can be used for this instead like Alvababy wetdry bags from Amazon which can be easily carried in your purse.
These were initially introduced in the 1950s believe it or not but are becoming much more popular just now. For the lowest environmental impact, go with a non-disposable silicon cup like DivaCup, Flex, or Lena. Menstrual cups are designed to catch period blood before it exits the vagina so they are much more discreet and potentially have less period odor. Another benefit is you can wear them for much longer than most other period products – up to 12 hours depending on your flow! The downside is there is definitely a learning curve to placing these and getting them in the proper position in the body. Otherwise you can have some pretty significant leaking and think they don’t work for you. They can also be a bit messy to remove until you get the hang of it. Our suggestion – try it for the first time on a weekend or when you have easy access to a private bathroom. You also will likely want to use a pantiliner or pad to catch any leaks before you become more confident with it.
These are underwear that basically has a built-in pad of extra absorbent material. There are different absorbencies for different flow days but in general can be worn for up to 8 hours. They are popular because they’re underwear. They are comfortable to wear and easy to take care of – just wash them and hang them dry. As with all clothing, different brands and styles have different fits and feel. Some options to check out include Thinx, Innersy, or Ruby. The main downside is cost – typically one pair of period underwear runs $15 to 40 bucks a pair. Also on your heavier flow days you may have to change them more frequently than 8 hours which can be annoying if you’re away from home.
As with everything in life, your period will change with time and so will your needs surrounding it. So if you’re looking for a more environmentally friendly solution, I’d encourage you to give one of these a try. How great would it be to find something you may like even better than traditional pads and tampons and with the added benefit of world preservation?! 😊
Dr. Quimby is the co-founder of FemEd – a female health education platform that educates females of all ages about their bodies.
She is also a former professor at USC Keck school of Medicine where she led the OBGYN clerkship. She is passionate about education and empowering her patients and her students through knowledge and shared decision making.
She is currently a full time OBGYN at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles.
Dr. Quimby has received accolades for teaching and leadership. She has been named Top Doctor by both Pasadena and Los Angeles Magazines. She is a regular speaker throughout the community giving talks to both the public and other physicians. She has contributed to LAist, SELF, and several other news media sources.
Her special interests include: preconception counseling and improving sexual health
When she’s not educating the public on all things female health she can be found traveling with her 2 young daughters and ever supportive husband.