I started using reusable menstrual pads when my periods returned. Because I was already in the routine of storing and washing my son’s reusable nappies it was easy to simply add a little to this pile with these pads. I found them comfortable, soft, easy to use, absorbent and efficient, so added to my small stock by buying a number of organic UK made cloth pads, which came in a wide selection of patterns and colours, shapes and sizes. The added bonus is that these pads are commonly made in the UK by stay-at-home Mums, a great alternative to funding big corporations.
I found Moon Times offered a range of beautiful sanitary products and good customer service. However, this is one of many companies who supply these products. Regrettably, these products, like most other alternative products, are not commonly sold in the high-street, only online. However, awareness and use of these products is increasing, so hopefully in the future it will be easier to buy them!
Other reusable menstrual products
In searching online for reusable towels I came across a whole range of different menstrual products. Such a wide variety of products means it is more likely consumers will find a product which matches their needs. For instance, not all women are happy to wash reusable menstrual towels; they want something which is more convenient. Even though I didn’t mind washing these towels, I decided to try a few other products as a source of comparison.
I tried Jam Sponges, natural sea sponges which are alternatives to tampons. This interesting natural alternative to tampons has, according to the Museum of Menstruation and Women’s Health, been used by women to absorb menstrual discharge for thousands of years. I personally didn’t get on with them, finding they leaked and were slightly uncomfortable. However, this was perhaps because I didn’t give them a long enough trial run and had no-one face-to-face to talk to or offer me support in using this new product.
A little later I discovered the Mooncup, the reusable menstrual cup, which I decided to try, as it seemed a simpler product to use. The Mooncup is made from silicone, worn internally lower than a tampon is worn so menstrual fluid is collected instead of absorbed. It is removed, rinsed and reinserted up to every eight hours, instead of the more frequent changing of towels or tampons. I soon became a convert to this and have not looked back! Mooncups are very comfortable and as long as inserted correctly will cause no leakage. It only cost me £20, but will last for years and years, as opposed to reusable towels, which have to be bought in larger quantities and washed, thereby using more resources than menstrual cups (still minimal compared to disposable products however). Another similar alternative, which I have not tried because I am so happy with my Mooncup, is the Diva Cup.
I have shared my dawning consciousness of the impact of disposable sanitary wear and my search for a gentler alternative, in order to raise awareness of the negative impacts of disposable sanitary products, as well as the wonderful array of reusable products available on the market. By spreading the word I hope that more women will try out one or more of these products, and in doing so feel as positive about them as I have. We can then spread the word to our families and friends, which in the long-term will contribute to a shift into more mainstream thinking.
I know I am using a product which is far kinder on the environment and on my person. This makes me feel proud and empowered. I feel more aware and in-tune with my body, as well as less negative about my period returning each month. Although I haven’t yet reached the stage I feel I can celebrate my period, in time this may come as I accept this is a natural cycle and a healthy indicator of my fertility. If I am ever fortunate enough to have a daughter, I shall teach her to be proud of her growing body, guiding her to touch a little more gently. Using reusable menstrual products is one way of contributing to this more gentle impact.
The kinder we are to nature, the kinder we are to ourselves. I therefore urge you to try out some of these products out, spread the word, and maybe drop me a line to let me know how you get on.