Today we are talking through Periods! And thank GOD it is 2018 and not those back in school days when talking about periods was an alien thing, almost taboo. Nowadays, the market is flooded with products in the name of menstrual hygiene. It is like entering a war zone where you can hardly think straight; what to use, how to use & when to use. So let’s start with the what, how & when.
There are 5 types of menstrual hygiene products:
1. Sanitary Pads
Sanitary pads, also known as sanitary napkins, are the most convenient method available commercially in the Indian market. These menstrual pads are believed to be an earlier form of a feminine hygiene product.
Sanitary pads come in various sizes, thickness & absorbency limits. They all depend on your personal preference and on what is best for your body and the flow. They come in regular sizes, XL, XXL & XXXL with different thickness and absorbency limits.
Your flow is not the same so there is no use of using the same absorbency napkin throughout your periods. Use two different type of napkins for your heavy flow & light flow days. It saves money and the uncomfortable feeling that comes with using the wrong sanitary pad.
There are a few things that you need to know:
- If you are changing your sanitary pad more frequently then choose a better absorbency sanitary pad with a longer size.
- For the first time, use a regular size napkin and then shift to longer size depending on the flow.
- There are pads with a wider back for a heavy flow to prevent leakage that is good for the night time
Why Sanitary Napkins? Because they are the most convenient method of all. I think they are the best possible option when you are travelling and have close to none hygienic washroom at your disposal. And most importantly, you don’t have to worry about any toxic shock syndrome like with tampons.
- The most common is rashes because of the top sheet that is made of a plastic polymer.
- Made of plastic, they are not bio-degradable hence lead to health & environmental hazard. The soiled napkin contains many harmful bacteria & toxic that are released into the environment if not disposed of properly.
Tampons are a small cylindrical shape of absorbency material such as cotton or rayon that is inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual flow. Tampons come with a small string that hangs outside the body to help to change or remove the tampon. They come with a plastic applicator for a smooth insertion.
Just like napkins, they come in various sizes & absorbency limit. They are so convenient that you forget if you are on your periods just like with menstrual cups. You can go about your day doing physical exercises even swimming with a little caution as they have great absorbency that lasts for 5-8 hours depending on the tampon size.
Tampons are associated with toxic shock syndrome. It is advised to use a lower absorbency tampon to reduce the risk of any.
Start with lower absorbency tampon to see if it suits you.
- Travel-friendly comes in a compact size.
- Absorbs better than pads as it absorbs the flow before it exits the body. Hence, odourless.
- Lower chances of staining & leaking.
- You can wear whatever you want as they are undetectable in cloths.
- Believed to be reducing the time of your periods.
- A single tampon cannot be used for more than 8 hours or overnight due to the risk of toxic shock syndrome.
- It can be difficult in the beginning to get used to it.
3. Menstrual Cup
Menstrual cups are small soft cups made of silicone that can be inserted into the vagina to collect the flow of menstrual blood. As it is a cup, needs to be emptied every 8-12 hours before washing & reinserting. It needs to be washed and boiled for a few minutes to prepare it for the next month use.
Being made of silicone, they can be used for 5-10 years depending on the manufacturer. After that, you can dispose of the cup as per manufacturer instructions.
It comes in three sizes – small, medium & large. Size small is for girls in their teen, the size medium & large is for women who have and have not given birth.
Menstrual cups are not the cheapest option out there. But in long run, it is cost effective if you come over its one-time investment. And with many companies manufacturing menstrual cups, the cost is now almost competitive to reputed sanitary napkins pack.
- It is, by all means, the best option for women hygiene out there.
- They are chemical free that can cause any irritation, rashes or toxic shock syndrome.
- Environment-friendly as it can be easily used to 5-10 years.
- It cost more than any other feminine hygiene product.
- Menstrual cups are not easily available in local stores.
- In the beginning, it is not so easy to use.
4. Reusable Panty/Pads
Reusable pantry & pads work exactly like cloth pads except for the fact that these can be reused after washing & sanitizing in the sun. The absorbent layer of these panties is made up of cotton or polyurethane laminate material depending on the manufacturer.
These are not so good at absorbing the heavy flow and preventing the leakage. Because these are way more similar to normal panty with some protection. So, you might need a few in your stash.
- Inexpensive and environment-friendly.
- These are comfortable and non-irritating. So women with sensitive skin might get benefitted from these.
- First and the foremost, do not provide enough protection against leakage.
- Need to be changed every few hours followed by washing and sanitizing.
5. Panty Liner
The panty liner is not your usual menstrual hygiene product. It does near to nothing during periods. But why I included this in the list because it helps when in the start and last when your period is light. You can use them just before you expect your periods to avoid any stain. Now what this does is cut the cost of your sanitary napkins & tampons.
- It is cheap compared to sanitary pads & tampons.
- The panty liner is more comfortable and flexible.
- It can also be used during spotting in pregnancy or during ovulation to collect vaginal discharge.
After all this through talk, at the end of the day what matter is your comfort. The best way is to try & use 2-3 different feminine hygiene product that suits your need for the office, party, home, gym and all.