PERIOD PRODUCTS AND THEIR EVOLUTION
Periods are part and parcel of life for half of human-kind. Humans’ period habits have evolved from just using a cloth and staying back home scared of leaks to using leak-proof underwear. At the beginning of industrial production of period products, there were expensive and non-sustainable products in the market. With almost 450 period cycles, the average woman spends nearly 3500 days in her lifetime on periods. Consequently, sustainable products became a necessity. With further research, new products that are long-lasting and sustainable and cost-effective have come forward in the market. This dramatic change has also led the general population to look at periods and period products in a different light.
Sanitary pads/napkins are one of the most popular and have been around for over a century. One can stick sanitary napkins inside the underwear. It helps to absorb menstrual blood through layers of absorbent material mostly made of cotton and the outer cover made of plastic. The pad’s design has evolved over the years, making it more comfortable to use, but sanitary pads’ disposable nature has made it non-sustainable. It has to be changed every few hours making it difficult for people to buy a lot of the product and it is not very cost-efficient.
Tampons are as popular as sanitary pads and made with similar materials, but tampons are inserted in the vaginal canal, unlike sanitary pads. A small string hangs outside that can be used to access the tampon when changing is required. Tampons might be slightly uncomfortable in the beginning but are more discreet than sanitary pads. It comes in smaller packaging and is more comfortable than sanitary napkins.
Menstrual cups have gained popularity in the last few years because of its long-lasting, environmental and cost-friendly features. Menstrual cups are of a conical shape and made of medical-grade silicone. They may be difficult at first to use but once mastered, they are leak-proof. There are several guidelines for choosing a suitable menstrual cup from different sizes and how to use it. One can wash and reuse them after every 6-10 hours(depending on the size and flow).
These are the relatively lesser-known period products out there, and they work like menstrual cups. The menstrual disc is inserted inside and is held by the cervix, and the menstrual blood is collected inside. Menstrual discs let people engage in sexual activity even while wearing it. However, menstrual discs are not sustainable and non-reusable.
It is also known as period underwear. It is gaining popularity these days because of its sustainable features and comfort. These are mainly made of cloth and look like regular underwear and do not cause any discomfort like a pad. The multiple layers present in them prevent leaking onto the clothes. More absorbent variants of the product are coming out. The variety and the features make them one of the best period products out there. This leak-proof underwear does not cause any discomfort while sitting, nor does it cause any leakage. It is one of the best sustainable options out there because of its reusability.
Choosing period products that suit one the best can help make the uncomfortable times feel better. With the availability of a variety of products out there, one might get confused about what to choose. However, period underwear is proving to be the best option among them, considering its reusability and comfort factor.