Periods 101: What You Need to Know

Let’s talk periods. Yep, periods. That thing that society teaches you to only discuss it behind closed doors, in hushed tones and to never let anyone know you have it. Unfortunately, that’s totally impossible because we do have them, and it happens outside of closed doors, and we have the right to discuss what’s best for us and our bodies.

Period care comes in the form of pain relievers, comfy clothes and most importantly of all, pads, tampons or a menstrual cup. Women have more options than ever on how to experience their periods today, but what’s the best method? Well, that’s up to you and your body, but we can list the popular options and see how they compare.

Old Faithful.

Pads and tampons are our typical go-to when it comes to period care. They are familiar, cheap (depending on the brand) and easy to use. There are multiple brands, absorbency options and compositions to choose from. Store brands tend to be cheapest and they may be made of cotton, rayon or a mixture of the two with some added materials and chemicals to increase absorbency. Organic options that only use pure cotton (prevents that pesky toxic shock syndrome, ladies) tend to be a tad more expensive depending on where you get them from.

The main downside of this option is the chemicals and non-organic materials used in the production of the items, and the risk of toxic shock syndrome. The cost of the products is also noted as an issue (average cost starting at four to five dollars), especially since you tend to have to buy a new pack at the beginning of each period or buy a large enough pack to avoid that (which typically costs more). The amount of waste that results, such as the plastic wrapping, applicator and the product itself, is also an issue because it contributes to the growing landfill waste problem the Earth has.

The Cup.

New age technology has brought us the menstrual cup, but what exactly is that? Well, it's a small, flexible cup that can be reusable or disposable and can be made of silicone or latex rubber. Unlike tampons or pads, this option collects your menses and you can dispose of it once you remove the cup (very horror movie-esque). You pinch the opening of the cup and place it within and once you release it, the cup opens and creates a barrier for your period. The waste created by this product can be non-existent if you choose the reusable options and they can be cost effective if you factor in the average cost of a period within the year (buying pads, tampons, liners, etc.).

As for the downside to this product, there are a few. The first is the cost, which can average $30 and go up from there. The next issue is that it is not beginner friendly and can be difficult to use on a day to day basis, which can become a hassle for the user. The next issue only happens if you choose the disposable option which is the waste produced after use (trying to save the planet here folks).

The incognito option.

These newfangled things called period panties have come from the gods to save us. These panties are made of multiple layers of specific types of fabric (composition will depend on the brand) that create a leak-proof guard for the wearer. They look and feel like regular underwear but do all the work of one to two tampons or pads. This option is easy to use and has an easy clean up afterward versus the previous options, and they come in multiple absorbencies and styles. The product price can also vary, so they can work for different budgets depending on where you purchase them from. The starting price can be as low as eight dollars and go up to $40, and they come in reusable and disposable options.

The cons of this option are the price and waste. These panties can be pricey depending on the wearer's flow; the heavier the flow, the more panties you need which requires more money to be spent, and the disposable options are of course not the most environmentally responsible option.

In the end, those are only a few of the options available to ladies today, and there is no wrong answer. It all depends on your body and your needs. Do you boo boo!

Images: 1,2, 3, 4