A menstrual cycle is a set of changes happening in the body of women while it is preparing for a pregnancy. Hence, once per month, the uterus grows a new lining to be prepared for a fertilized egg. The bleeding occurs when there is no fertilized egg as a result of the uterus shedding its lining.
The monthly menstrual period begins at early teen years and ceases around the age of 50 during the period known as menopause. As the blood needs to be soaked up in some way, women opt for pads, tampons, or cups; however, it is not always straightforward and easy for them to find the most suitable method. This is why they need to be well-informed about the pros and cons of each product so they can make the right decision in accordance with their lifestyle.
Sanitary Pads: Pros and Cons
When it comes to menstrual pads, it is important to note that there are two different types, i.e. reusable and disposable pads. The former have a lot of great benefits like spending less money, helping the environment by reducing waste and release of chemicals from disposable pads, avoiding sweating and irritation that is common with disposables, a bigger air flow, which in turn prevents yeast infection, and last but certainly not least, there are a lot of different sizes, fabrics, and styles that women can opt for, which is not necessarily the case with the disposable options.
On the other hand, some women are against reusable pads because not everyone has the same tolerance for menstrual blood and many find it messy having to put them in a waterproof carry bag and carry it until they can soak and wash them. Also, some women dislike cloth pads because they cannot try them on before buying, hence, they risk buying pads that are not the best variety for them.
This is why the convenience factor is decisive for a large part of women worldwide who go with the disposable menstrual pads which can be found in any store, pharmacy, and even online. Even though saving more money in the long run is the case with the reusable models, you spend less to purchase disposable pads for one cycle.
Sadly, not everything is positive about this model of pads. Namely, there is the long-term higher amount of money spent on buying them, the negative impact to the environment as these synthetic products need centuries to degrade, and the fact that a lot of manufacturers add chemicals and pesticides to the pads, which can be problematic not just for the skin, but for the whole health, because they can penetrate the bloodstream.
Tampons: Pros and Cons
When talking about tampons, women prefer them as a soaking method for their menstrual period to pads because of the high level of comfort they provide and due to the fact that they help them stay active without having to worry about any complications that are common when wearing pads, i.e. leakage of blood. Others enjoy the cleanliness factor and the minimal worry about their flow, which is sometimes a problem with pads because they can release an unpleasant odor if worn for a longer period of several hours. Ladies who wear tampons appreciate the invisibility and the fact that they can wear any type of underwear without thinking about blood spills or stains. It is also important to mention that tampons allow women to swim during their period and also to be physically active at all times.
Nonetheless, not every lady has a pleasant experience with tampons. Namely, a lot of women are set back because they need to know how to insert it properly into the body, which can also be scary for some, especially for younger women. Others strongly oppose the usage of tampons because of the presence of some chemicals that are not biodegradable and can also trigger inflammation. In addition, a lot of women will opt for pads as they are not sure when they need to change it because it is not visible once inserted. Unfortunately, an overly-soaked tampon can easily cause staining. Bacterial infections have also been linked to tampon use because of the potential infective residue in the vagina. This elevates the chance of TSS characterized by dehydration, diarrhea, vomiting, and dizziness.
Menstrual Cups: Pros and Cons
Although it exists since the early 40s, menstrual cups, nowadays, they have become more popular than ever. This alternative blood-collecting item is made of rubber and silicon and it needs to be inserted properly into the vagina and then removed and rinsed after 12 hours and then reinserted. This option is the cheapest and the most eco-friendly and when adequately taken care of, it can last up to a decade. This means that women will spend much less on menstrual cups than on tampons and pads. Cups are also free of any harmful additives and chemicals and are a good option if you want to preserve your vaginal health. With certainty, cups are the recommended option for women who have heavy periods because of the amount of fluid they can hold and the risk of leakage is practically none because the cup creates a seal with the help of suction between itself and the walls of the vagina, thus, preventing the escape of blood.
Nevertheless, not every woman is satisfied with menstrual cups and they find the emptying part to be very messy and risk blood spilling and staining; this is why the stem should not be pulled, but the base needs to be pinched and then pulled; furthermore, younger girls and women who have not had intercourse yet can find it challenging to insert the cup. Also, there is a need of access to clean water and soap or wet wipes to clean both the cup (prior to reinsertion) and the hands, which can be problematic for women living in developing countries.
Final Thoughts on Period Products
Though we presented three major types of blood-collecting items that women can use during their menstrual period and every advantage and disadvantages, ultimately, this remains a personal choice that needs to be in balance with one’s preferences, way of life, and type of period. With certainty, menstruating should never be an unpleasant experience and regardless of the method which you choose, each will significantly better it and your overall quality of life too.