On the rag. Aunt Flo visiting. Lining the drawers. Surfing the crimson wave. Riding the cotton toboggan. Monthly subscription. Red rainstorm.
Whatever you call “that time of the month” menstruation is part of life for many of us. There are just as many products on the market as there are code names for this monthly visitor. Whether you are concerned about the environment, comfort, toxicity, convenience, or health, there is sure to be an option that suits your lifestyle!
Tampons are commonly used during menstruation and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, absorbancies, and materials. They are conveniently available at most stores and generally easy to wear. Some alternatives to conventional tampons include:
- Seventh Generation Organic Tampons
- CORA Organic Tampons — a monthly subscription
- LOLA Organic Tampons — a monthly subscription by women for women
- Reusable/washable crocheted tampons — available on Etsy
Pads are easy and convenient; however, many find them bulky and uncomfortable. There are many brands, sizes, absorbancies, and materials. Pads are great during the postpartum period when other options are not recommended.
- Domino Pads — made of organic bamboo velour and with multiple sizes, shapes, and absorbancies, these reusable pads are a great option
- Lunapads — a lovely reusable pad option for menstruation, pregnancy, bladder leaks, and postpartum. For every eligible product you purchase at Lunapads.com, a student in need will be provided with a Uganda-made AFRIpad to support her education. One for you. One for her.
- There are also several options available on Amazon.com
Menstrual cups offer one of the best alternatives to tampons and pads. They offer maximum protection, comfort, and environmental impact; however, they can be inconvenient when out and about. ProTip: Carry disposable gloves and remove the cup and wrap the glove around the cup and place in a wet bag or ziplock until you are home to rinse.
- Instead Cup — this is a FAVORITE among our Stars and Stripes Doulas! It is easy to wear, comfortable for most body types, and disposable! (Side note: some of us rinse and reuse for one cycle and find it to be no big deal!)
- Diva Cup — the diva cup is well known among menstrual cup users and seems to be the first one many try. It has two sizes and offers 12 hour protection.
- The Flex — much like the Instead Cup, the Flex is a menstrual disc, designed to be disposable and convenient.
- Sea Sponge — Reusable, natural, and absorbent sponges that last approximately 3-6 months. Insertion is simple – wet the sponge, squeeze the excess water out, and then insert it while in a comfortable position like sitting or squatting. When it’s time to remove it, gently grasp it and pull it out, then rinse thoroughly and allow to air-dry.
- Thinx Underwear — They absorb up to two tampons worth of blood and can be worn alone or as a backup for other menstrual products. They are reusable and come in many shapes and sizes for all menstruating people. A portion of every THINX purchase helps fund their giveback initiatives for Vs near and far with the Global Girls Club.
- Freebleeding — that’s right! You can ditch all of the products and let things flow! We practice nonjudgmental support in ALL areas of your life!
What alternative menstrual products have YOU tried and loved? We’d love to hear your best suggestions!
Written by: Melissa Nauss, Owner & Lead Doula of Stars and Stripes Doulas of New Orleans