End of last year, I decided to take control over my period. I want to share the story because some people asked me about the changes and just because I want to speak on it. The whole period life I have been using period pads until 2 years ago (quite late) I decided to try tampons because I lead a relatively active lifestyle and pads are not always convenient. What shocked me was how much plastic I was wasting to use each tampon (especially the throw-away applicator). There is also the question of where how under what conditions the cotton was created just to be thrown away. There is also the matter of comfort because if I didn't apply the tampon the right way, it became uncomfortable and I would have to re-install it, but that would mean using a new tampon.
I knew about the cup for some time but was terrified of the look (it looked plastic and not flexible, how on earth do you shove that in?! - scary). When I got the courage to get it, it was the most empowering thing I've done in a while. I had invested into the reusable tampon applicator before, but it was taking so long to be developed (at the time it was still in the creation process) that I gave up waiting and ordered the cup. Besides learning how to apply it (apparently you shouldn't try to use it when you are far from your period otherwise it may get lost there in the realms of your vaj-j), a struggle for one or two periods and leaks (not major) because of wrong application, there is liberation. Firstly, you can use it for 5 years (and it costs £14-21), you can leave it up to 12 hours, so I insert it in the morning, wash it in the evening, and for the night I use Thinx pants. This means I do not have to stress out about changing it in public, I don't have to stress out about leaks taking into consideration correct application, which is not hard anymore, I also don't have to worry about chemicals in tampons or their cost. The cup also leaves no smell! Big yay from me. The best of all on my journey to reduce my environmental impact, I am not creating waste from my period anymore! The only question I have is why this is not screamed about because it is revolutionary, simple, practical, better than both tampons and pads (for me anyway). To support the cup, I have period pants.
Now, I know a lot of people cringe when I say period pants or washable pads. I am not sure why people are disgusted by their own blood when it's so natural. I went to a Birdsong pop-up where they had Thinx representatives there. I have seen other period pants brands, but Thinx is my gem. The reason for that is because they create sexy, cute designs in different shapes and colours that will probably satisfy your needs. They don't look like grandma pants either! I swear! Pants are a more expensive option, but they also last for 5 years, and you need 3-5 pants set. I have 5: 3 thongs (can hold 1 tampon) to support the cup and bigger pants for the night (3 tampons). If you wear them, even if they last longer, I do suggest changing them after 12 hours of wear if you can (they do start smelling otherwise, but that could be very personal). Thinx are fun, they have an engaging blog, bring out great high-quality products, are stocked in Selfridges, have very supportive customer services, and it's a female enterprise, so I do not see the reason not to support them.
If you do not feel comfortable with either (but I do suggest you give it a try to see if it can liberate you as much as it did me), try organic cotton pads and tampons or reusable pads (it's really not that gross).
In other thoughts, I really wonder why instead of collecting moon cups or reusable pads, we collect throw-away doubtful brands of pads for homeless people and people in so-called less-developed (says who and to whose standards) countries. I may be well unaware, it might be due to lack of water supply etc. But I feel like women are made slaves to their own biological systems. Also, I am shocked at how many women themselves find periods disgusting, but why. Obviously, because we have been conditioned to be terrified of leaking and the following shame of having a stain between our legs. Some people in some countries are still bullied for that. And that is crazy to me, but that's a theme for another day. Coming back to my environmental footprint, having a product that doesn't have to be thrown away, not having to worry if my supplies are all 'in stock' makes me feel really empowered.
P.S. There are many brands of cups, organic cotton pads and tampons, so you can find the ones you prefer and try different ones. I have only linked the ones I know of and either tried myself or heard good things about.