I started experimenting with alternative menstrual products two years ago. Though it has had its trials and errors, it has been so life-changing. I have better periods now than I have had my entire life. So I wanted to do a blog post about what I have found to work for me and things that have helped me change my period for the better.
Rewind to my teenage years. I had painful and pretty heavy periods. Cramps those first couple days were horrid, to the point I was skipping gym class and piano lessons because I just didn’t want to do anything but lie on the couch with a heat pad. Ibuprofen would only do so much as take the edge off of the cramping pain. I hated pads too. I hadn’t been brave enough to try tampons until I was 20 – I know, late bloomer haha. The periods themselves were bad enough, but the products available were not any better. I had allergic reactions to pads, causing rashes – picture a diaper rash… yeah. After I started using tampons, my periods started getting heavier. I just assumed it was because I had had a baby and that my body was changing. Whenever Aunt Flo came to visit, I was going through nearly half a box of super tampons in the first two days. It was getting ridiculous.
Fast forward a few years, another baby and many tampons later. Just before my second baby turned one, I heard a buzz about menstrual cups. A co-worker of mine had told me that she had switched to the Diva cup and that she loved it. So off to Amazon I went and purchased my first menstrual cup. I must admit that there is a learning curve with menstrual cups and they are all unique. Once you get the hang of it though, it is seriously a game-changer. If it is in right, you can’t even feel that its there. I have no fear of activity when I’m wearing a cup and I love how it has changed my periods. I wore my Diva cup with a pad for the first couple months – then I got pregnant with my third child so I got out of practice, and unfortunately you are not to use a cup until your first cycle after baby. So after having my third baby, and the return of my cycle, I practiced and wore a pad for a couple more cycles. The diva cup worked wonders. Eventually my periods started to get a little bit lighter and the horrendous cramping turned into an ache on the first two days. The only unfortunate thing about the diva cup for me, was that the little tip would cause irritation to me – I have really sensitive skin, add that to the already sensitive area and you get super sensitive. So after a little research I learned that you can cut that tip off. So I did, and although it helped, the diva cup has molded rings around the end to help you grip it so that you can take it out more easily. So I went to amazon once more and went shopping for a different brand of cup. I ended up with the Blossom brand. The grips are a lot less pronounced which helps with the sensitivity, but the cup is a lot softer so it is more prone to leaks. Nothing major, but once in a while I would have some spotting. I started using liners with this cup and cue the irritation once more. I went to Amazon again, looking to find yet another brand of cup, when I cam across… period-proof underwear.
I had mixed feelings about adding them to my cart, but the amazon reviews raved about them. To be clear, period underwear are not to be worn as your only period protection, rather as a backup for leaks on those heavy days. So I got a four pack to try and by George, if they aren’t amazing too. I usually wear them the first three days when I am more prone to leaks. After that, my flow slows down a lot and I don’t need them anymore. They are comfortable and feel like regular underwear. Granted they’re structured more like granny-panties, and they are far from sexy, but they do their job and they do it well. I have had disposable-free periods for nearly a year now and it has been the best year of visits from Flo that I’ve ever had.
I always carry my Diva cup in my purse for those just-in-case moments and my Blossom stays in the bathroom until I need it. I do have a small stash of pads in the bathroom just in case. I usually wear my underwear the day I am supposed to start. While nursing, I’ve had times where I was a couple days off and went early – and late – but having my backup cup in my purse solved that problem. I did end up getting another pack of underwear to have on hand if I ran out of clean ones. Having disposable-free periods is so much simpler for me, better for the environment and so much healthier for my body. I think it is pretty common knowledge anymore, that tampons – and pads – are covered in chemicals like bleach. No wonder my periods got so heavy, and I broke out in rashes. The cups are made out of medical grade silicone and the underwear are usually lined with bamboo between the cotton layers. No more chemical-laced products. Not to mention its cheaper too. Cups can run from 15-30 dollars depending on what you’re needing. Underwear are a little bit more expensive. I’ve found that these are really comfortable and totally leak-proof. They run at $31 for a 3 pack as I write this post. Though there are cheaper options, you get what you pay for. Just read the reviews and I’m sure they will be great. Though it may seem like a lot of money up front, you will never have to waste money on another box of tampons again. You will literally stop throwing away money. It is a total period game-changer.