6 Excellent alternatives to sanitary pads

With summer in full swing, you may be looking for an alternative to your sanitary pad. Don’t sweat it – we’ve got you covered! Here are some great alternatives to see you through the summer and beyond.

6 best alternatives to your pad

1.  Tampons

Tampons are the most obvious option and they’re the easiest to get your hands on. You get different sizes to suit your flow, from mini to super and super plus, and they’re easy to carry with you. It can be a little awkward to insert one at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s super easy and you won’t feel it inside you.

You can swim, shower and bath with tampons in, and you won’t even know they’re there. Remember to change your tampon at least every four to eight hours, or you may face the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a rare but potentially fatal illness associated with tampon use. Never go longer than eight hours without changing your tampon.

2. Menstrual cup

This is fairly new to the SA market but quickly growing in popularity. It’s a silicone or rubber cup that you insert into your vagina to catch menstrual blood. You can rinse menstrual cups and reuse them, making them economical, eco-friendly and gentler on your body.

Menstrual cups can be messy at first, and tricky to insert, but people who use them swear by them. They’re a great option for those who are conscious of their carbon footprint, and/or want to avoid the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

3. Washable/reusable cloth pads

Cotton pads are a great alternative to the regular disposable variety. They’re made up of cotton layers and encased in waterproof fabric so you don’t have to worry about leaks. They also have wings that help keep them in place, just like regular disposable pads. They’re comfortable, environmentally friendly and healthier than other options (i.e: like with menstrual cups, there’s no risk of TSS), and also lighter on your pocket since you simply reuse them.

4. Panty liners or thinner pads

Not all pads are big and bulky. These days, there’s a wide variety to choose from, and you can find incredibly thin options that you barely know are there. The same goes for panty liners. If your period is particularly light, panty liners may suffice.

5. Period panties

Finally in South Africa, period panties have absorbent fabric built into the lining and can absorb up to two tampons’ worth of blood. They’re ideal for women who don’t necessarily know when their period may begin (like girls who have just started menstruating), and they’re comfy and easy to wear. They also come in different absorbency levels. So clever!

6. Menstrual sponges

Very similar to normal sponges but with an entirely different purpose, these special sponges are designed to be inserted in order to absorb menstrual blood. They can be reused for up to 12 months, making them light on your pocket and the environment. They may be a bit messy until you get the hang of them.

Have a question about your period? We can help 

If you’re concerned about your period or need help finding the right options, we can help. Find your nearest Marie Stopes centre and make an appointment online, or simply give us a call on 0800 11 77 85.

Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)

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