While there are MANY period products I have yet to try out, I’ve still had my fair share of variety and use over the past few years. Today I wanted to take you through the progression of my period products, and share my thoughts on them now.
Disposable pads (various sizes)
This is where it all began — stealing pads from my older sister’s stash because I didn’t want to tell anyone I had gotten my period. I used these for a few months before working up the courage to try out tampons.
Pads are a good place to start, but they’re pretty limiting when it comes to activities like swimming. Not to mention I found them bulky and uncomfortable, much like wearing a diaper.
Needless to say I was more than ready to use tampons when the time came.
Cardboard applicator tampon
Yup. I’m including my one failed attempt at using one of these monstrosities. This was in high school at a wrestling tournament, and of course I was never prepared for my period when it showed up. I had asked around for a pad and this all I could find.
Let’s just say it didn’t help that I didn’t know where my vagina was at this point, or how to put a tampon in, so as you can imagine how well that went — I ended up tossing the tampon and wadding up some toilet paper in my underwear.
Plastic applicator tampon
These were my product of choice for many years. I used various brands, my favorite being the Platex Sports.
I went a number of months not understanding how tampons “worked”, and recall listening to a friend explain through a bathroom door to another friend how to put one in. And with that information I gave them a whirl the next time my period came...
The first time I tried to put one in I only put it in about half way before pulling the trigger and pushing it in, which meant that the tampon was literally only halfway into my vagina. Uncomfortable and I knew I had done it wrong.
Problem was, I couldn’t get it out. You’ll understand this if you’ve ever tried to pull out a dry tampon.
I had to fill up my bathtub with a few inches of water, squat down low enough for the tampon to make contact with the water, and was able to pull out the saturated tampon.
Finally got one in correctly a few days later, but then couldn’t get it out, no matter how hard I pulled. I brought a friend into the bathroom to reassure me that it wasn’t stuck.
Once again, I hadn’t waited long enough before trying to pull it out and it was still too dry.
Problem with these were that I never had them when I started my period. Bad planning on my part. So I had half used boxes all over the place.
When I studied abroad in Thailand I had to pack five months worth of tampons because I didn’t know if they would have my brand there.
I was constantly worried of TSS, I had heard horror stories of moldy tampons and such over the years. And on two separate occasions I unknowingly put in two tampons. (Long story).
Eventually I wanted to try something else that would create less waste and was made out of less harmful materials.
Disposable panty liners
I used these in combination with tampons and my menstrual cup at first because no matter what “internal” product I use I leak a little so I need back up. I got fed up with them because they created a lot of waste and they irritated my poor lady bits.
I got a few of these from a friend when I was at my facilitator training in 2014. While I love the concept of them I found that they were too bulky and didn’t stay in place for me. I’m also very impressed with the girls that can get the stains out of theirs.
I want to give these another try in the future because I know they work so well for so many girls and women.
I think these are a great alternative to disposable pads for those starting off with their periods.
When I first heard that such a thing existed I thought, how the hell is that supposed to go into your vagina!?
— Lunette Cup was my first, and I think it’s a great starter cup. It was a nice size (comes in 2 sizes). I gave myself three cycles to get the hang of it, and then it became second nature. There was slight discoloration after use, but not bad, and I don’t care about that.
— RubyCup came next. I got far too excited to try different types of cups. This is my current favorite, with Lunette in a close second. Flexible, but structured enough to pop open. I love that for every cup you buy they send a cup to a girl in need. The most discoloration I’ve had, but I use it the most, and I don’t really mind it. Plus I was able to get rid of most of it with a good scrubbing.
— Mooncup/MCUK. I wanted to try this one because one of my best friends uses this cup. It’s one of the more affordable cups. But I was’t a huge fan of the rim of this cup. And it’s quite firm, which some people prefer, but I like a little more flex in my cup.
— OrganicCup is similar in firmness to the Lunette cup, folds up to a similar size to the RubyCup (small). I need to test this one out more, but I like it.
I first heard about this one when I was reading “Wild”. She uses one while hiking the PCT. I got two of these at the same time that I got my reusable pads. I joke that they are "nature’s tampon" because they work in much of the same way. It’s actually quite easy and comfortable to put in, you just have to wet it, squeeze out the water, and push it in like a tampon. You’ll just want to make sure you put a piece of string or something through it because I struggled quite a bit getting this out the first time (when I had no string in). Just imagine taking a tampon out without the string. There’s quite a bit of digging involved, which resulted in me having to get into the bathtub to pull it out because it was making a bit of a mess. I think these are a great option for those lighter days.
I got these to replace my need for panty liners, which was great since I didn’t enjoy those or the reusable pads. I’ve only used the Thinx brand, but I’m in search of new brands to try out (I’ll talk about this soon on the blog). I find period underwear incredibly secure and comfortable. I use them as back up for my cup, and on their own on light/spotting days. Mine are starting to get some discoloration in the crotch as well as some fraying of the elastics. But this could be because I throw them in the dryer instead of hang drying them.
Phew, Ok, that’s what I’ve tried over the years. Any recommendations or products I’ve totally missed out on?