Updated: Jan 17, 2022
In the Western world we now find ourselves in , it is now common to overshare about pretty much anything except when it comes to bleeding. Interestingly, periods have remained stubbornly taboo which is rather odd given that it is as natural as breathing. It seems that times are a changing though as we are hearing more and more about the products used and to a certain extent, attitudes towards periods are becoming a little more forgiving. Selfridges recently created an entire window display to all things menstruation with the backing of Thinx, the brand making period knickers that absorb blood without the need for a pad or tampon. I myself find myself talking to my 10 year old daughter about the changes her body will go through and trying to instill in her the pride that will behold her as she starts to transition into a young lady. We discuss the now many options that she has to choose from with curiosity and excitement alike. Many of these products are new to me due to a sudden surge in technology advances and we are exploring them together to try to put an end to the clandestine approach of old.
The history books are full of now amusing stories and the media has started to make companies really think about their responsibilities when it comes to how we see periods, bleeding and menstruation as a whole. Back in 2014, Apple launched a health tracking app and simply forgot to add a section for the menstrual cycle; they swiftly corrected themselves. In 2019,Fitbit also fell foul by not including a menstrual tracker to their newest technology but they also quickly altered their technology to include an app that would enable women to keep track of their cycle successfully.
It is often joked that if men were to menstruate it would become an 'enviable' status and they would compare how much blood they lost or how long they bled for. The word 'period' is also hardly ever used and instead people opt for euphemisms - there are more than 150 words used around the world! The more periods come out of the dark, the more they can finally become part of normal life. And this would mean that we are able to talk about them, moan about them, laugh about them and in turn, be accepted for natural beings going about our everyday lives as best we can. Our take on the alternatives to pads and tampons: 1) Menstrual Cups - A rubber cup that you insert into the vagina to catch the blood. We found that these were tricky to get the hang of but once you master the insertion technique, they made converts out of some of the users. You can wash and re-use so they are highly economical, eco-friendly and gentle on the body. 2) Washable/reusable cloth pads - These are a great alternative for those who like wearing disposable pads. They are made of cotton layers encased in a waterproof fabric which means no leaks. They are also available with wings to help keep them in place. They are comfortable, environmentally friendly and healthier to the body. They are also economical so good for the pennies too. 3) Period pants - Pants that have an absorbent fabric built into the lining. They come in a variety of absorbency levels and can absorb up to 4 tampons' worth of blood. Ideal if you don't know when to expect the start of a period or (and this is why we love them the most) for young girls that are just starting their periods and their cycle can be a little bit unpredictable. They act like a normal pair of pants so are comfortable and very easy to use. They come in quite a few designs so if you love a deeper brief or live in thongs, you can find a pair to suit you. We think they are very clever and seem to be the most user friendly!