Women around the world are seeking alternatives for dealing with their periods. They're tired of buying and tossing mountains of disposable tampons and sanitary napkins. They want something greener and cheaper but don't want to give up the convenience of conventional menstrual products. In response to a growing demand, several companies have created reusable, natural, eco-friendly, and super-convenient feminine hygiene products that are gaining in popularity.

Reusable Pads and Panty Liners
Lunapads and GladRags are two of the best known brands. The pads are made of ingredients like organic cotton, flannel, nylon, and fleece.

  • Lunapads have a soft fabric pad base with projecting "wings" that fasten with a snap around the underwear, and the removable liner is secured to it with bands. A thin nylon lining prevents leakage. GladRags consist of a pad and two inserts, and can be customized to your needs.
  • Reusable pads come in a variety of sizes, including day pads, pads for nighttime or heavy flow, and one-piece panty liner-style pads.

When a pad is saturated, just remove it, replace it with another, then either hand- or machine-wash it, and dry.

What Are the Advantages?
In addition to saving money and doing your part for the environment, reusable pads may reduce your exposure to the chemicals, dyes, and plastics that disposable products contain.  

Let's just call it the "ew issue." It may take a while to get used to washing your pads, but pretty soon, you'll be comfortable with it. After all, women dealt with reusable products for thousands of years before disposables were invented.

Reusable pads require an initial investment of $50-$250 dollars to stock up enough to get you through your period, but they'll last for years.

Menstrual Cups
Menstrual cups are soft, flexible cups that fit in the vagina and collect menstrual fluids. They're made with non-toxic silicone and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Unlike pads and tampons, you only require one menstrual cup. You fold it and insert it into the vagina, where it can stay for up to 12 hours. When it's time to remove it, grasp it by the flexible stem and wiggle it free. After emptying and rinsing or wiping the cup, reinsert it.

Since menstrual cups don't absorb fluids, they won't dry out vaginal tissue. The cup won't leak, either. And because menstrual fluid collected in the cup isn't exposed to air, odor isn't a problem.

Menstrual cups are comfortable, and can be worn overnight as well as during exercise, including swimming.

There's that "ew issue" again, but it won't take long before you're used to inserting, emptying, and rinsing your menstrual cup.

Menstrual cups are available in two sizes, one for younger women who've never had children, and one for women over 30 and those who've had babies. Popular brands include DivaCup®, Lunette, and LadyCup. Prices range between $25 and $40, but these products should last for years.

Reusable products aren't for contraceptive use and they're not for everybody. Ask your doctor whether there are any reasons a menstrual cup or reusable pad wouldn't be good for you.



DivaCup.com. "The DivaCup®." Web. http://divacup.com/products/the-divacup/

GladRags.com. "GladRags Cloth Pads." Web. http://gladrags.com/category/28/GladRags-Cloth-Pads.html

LadyCup.eu. "Usage." Web. http://www.ladycup.eu/Usage.

Lunapads.com. "Pads and Liner Inserts." Web. http://lunapads.com/pads-and-liners/pad-style-lunapads.html

Lunette.com. "Lunette-A Menstrual Cup." Web. http://lunette.com/