Public conversation about menstruation has changed dramatically since the days of women isolating themselves for a week out of every month. How we talk about and handle menses are very different today than it was even a decade ago. That’s a good thing. Normalizing menstruation opens the conversation to how people can address taking care of this very natural occurrence.
Dr. Garritano and Christina note that, as with everything in the human body, menstruation looks and feels different for everyone, so there is no one best way to care for this monthly happening. Her Wellness is here to explain that today, menstruation can be handled using a variety of products to best suit your lifestyle, flow, and comfort.
Single use products are items such as tampons and sanitary pads or napkins. Their convenience has kept them leaders in the market for many decades.
Pros: Because tampons are inserted into your vagina, they help avoid rashes on your genital areas. You can keep a tampon inserted for six to eight hours, depending upon flow. Many people use tampons every day of their period. For people who swim, tampons are a very good option. Many people use them during exercise such as running or strength training and yoga as a tampon will generally not move out of place during strenuous or large movements.
Cons: There is a small risk of developing Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) because of the chemicals used in creating the products when a tampon is left in place too long. You do have to be mindful of changing the tampon every six to eight hours to avoid TSS.
Pros: Sanitary napkins or pads are a good option for people who are not comfortable with inserting a product inside of them, and they are the go-to product to use after childbirth, when inserting a tampon is not recommended.
Cons: Similar to tampons, pads do have chemicals that can produce an odor if worn for too long. They also may move out of place, causing leakage on your clothes. Depending on the size of the pad, it may also feel bulky and uncomfortable. In some cases, they can cause skin irritation.
Many people are increasingly concerned about waste and sustainability and for them, single-use products are just not the answer. Reusable items are gaining popularity, with the benefit of reducing waste and their absence of chemicals. Certain brands of products require a higher upfront cost, but rewards you with financial savings for the long-term. Also, because these are not “one and done” products, there is an extra step of upkeep required.
Pros: Menstrual cups give you the same freedom that tampons do, but with a lower risk of TSS, as cups are made from rubber or silicone. Menstrual cups can be work for up to 12 hours at a time and can have a lifespan of to 10 years with proper care.
Cons: It also may take some practice to insert the cup properly; using a menstrual cup should not be painful or uncomfortable. You must wash your hands and the cup thoroughly before use to prevent infections. Menstrual cups may cause vaginal irritation if inserted dry, so it is recommended to use a water-based lubrication to help with insertion. There are also different sizes of menstrual cups, so ask Christina or Dr. Garritano how to determine which size will be right for you.
Pros: The feel of period underwear is similar to wearing a bathing suit bottom; it wicks away moisture and absorbs the blood from your period. It does not have any extra bulk that is often associated with pads and does not produce an odor due to the lack of chemicals used. These items can be used during workouts or during times of incontinence.
Cons: These items are a larger upfront cost, but you do save money long term. These items need to be changed every 8 to 12 hours depending on flow, and should be rinsed in cold water when you take them off and then washed and rinsed thoroughly.
Pros: These items combine the best of period underwear and disposable pads. They are convenient to carry in case of emergencies, wick away moisture, and reduce waste. They are also one of the reusable products that are becoming more commonly available in stores at a reasonable price.
Cons: These items may share the best qualities of disposable pads, but they also share the cons. These items still carry some bulk and reviews report that they don’t stay put. This means that there is a greater chance of leakage and of product movement.
Still not sure what product is best for you? Call Her Wellness at 203-409-2539 to talk to Dr. Garritano or Christina. They are here to help.