Women menstruate since, well, forever. So there is no avoiding it, you have to turn to one of these 5 products that are on the market right now: sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups and period panties. All of these products have their advantages. From being easy to use to eco-friendly to 12-hour durability. But with the good, comes the bad. The pads are usually large, the panties leak, many of the tampons are made out of synthetic materials, menstrual cups have the ‘ew’ factor and a sea sponge… Well, it’s a sea sponge. Here is a run-down of all the products, inspired by this Vice article.
- Menstrual cups
Although it’s looking up for the cups, they are suffering from a serious PR problem. Women find them a bit gross. You are in direct contact with the blood and you have to empty it straight into the toilet. On the flipside, a lot of women think it’s the better choice for them, especially in terms of eco-friendliness, because less waste makes the earth happy!
- Sanitary pads
It is old-fashioned you might think, but surprisingly statistics show that only one third of women use it. You would think it’s less right? Pads work well, but a lot women feel they are uncomfortable. On top of that, the pads are usually made from synthetic materials that can cause skin irritation.
Dr. Philip Tierno researches tampons and Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). He is one of the few scientists who openly discusses the correlation between synthetic materials in tampons and TSS. The big tampon brands respond by using the research that refutes Dr. Tierno’s conclusions. They claim it not to be true that all cotton tampons are safer than tampons with rayon. Fun fact: biological cotton is definitely not the new guy at the party, the first tampon was made out of cotton, see also this blogpost.
- Period panties
THINX and Lunapanties make underwear that is ‘period-proof’. There are four layers that are absorbent, fight bacteria and can take up as much liquid as two tampons. For each panty sold, THINX sends money to Afripads, a company that makes reusable sanitary pads for girls in Uganda. For a lot of women, the thought of wearing period panties all day makes them a little uncomfortable.
- Sea sponge
Almost like a tampon, this small sponge is cost efficient and biodegradable, it is after all a 100% natural product. Another big plus is that they have a greater absorption capacity, so you have to change them only every 8 hours. The health risks when using sponges are not very well researched, although they can contain sand, grit and bacteria. The possible link with TSS has yet to be investigated. Some products currently on the market are Sea Pearls in the US and Jam Sponge in the UK.
The 5 products above are on the market now, but what does the future hold? There is already a patent developed that proposes an app which communicates with sensors in your tampon, alerting you to change it. Medicinal tampons could also be a good option. For examples to help adjust the pH level in the vagina or to detect early signs of cervical cancer. Then there is the plan to transform jellyfish into tampons. The jellyfish population is booming, but really? Talking about ‘ew’ factor…
Which product are we missing/did we forget? And which product do you prefer to use? Please let us know in the comment box below.