Period Products

Fact checked

By SheCares Editorial Team | Updated: May 22, 2020

Period products are some of the few essentials all women need on a regular basis for 40 years of menstruation.

Without a doubt, dealing with the discomforts and messiness of periods is – for many – the least enjoyable part of being a woman. For this reason, finding comfortable and reliable period products can give women peace of mind and significantly improve their menstrual experiences.

Continue reading to learn more about the various period products so that you can choose ones that best fit your menstrual needs and lifestyle.

Period Products

Types of Menstrual Products

There are many different types of period products on the market, offering women a multitude of options and potentially leading to confusion about which products are best for their needs.

Period essentials can be classified into two categories: disposable and reusable.

Disposable Period Products

Up until relatively recently, disposable period products have been the only option available for menstruating women. They include standard sanitary pads, tampons, and menstrual discs.

Reusable Period Products

Once thought unimaginable, reusable menstrual products - washable pads, period underwear, menstrual cups, and sponges - are growing in popularity as convenient, cost-effective, and environment-friendly options. Some of them can serve a woman for as long as 10 years.

Choosing the Right Menstrual Product

Disposable period products

It is common for women to opt for one or two types of period products and switch between them depending upon which best fits their needs at the moment.

Generally, choosing the right product depends on several factors, including women's menstrual flows, lifestyles, product's cost, and period duration.

Menstrual Flow

The type of products a woman will use - especially in terms of their absorbency and quantity - will greatly depend on her menstrual flow. Those with scanty periods generally get by with thin pads or tampons, while women with heavy periods that exceed 80 mL of blood loss need high-absorbency pads and tampons or cups.1

Lifestyle

A woman's lifestyle, including level of physical activity, will influence her choice of period products.  Those with a sedentary lifestyle or constant access to a restroom may be comfortable using pads; whereas, those on-the-go or physically active would benefit from products that offer longer protection, like cups or discs.

Cost

When it comes to a monthly cost of period products, pads and tampons are cheaper ($4-10 per package) in comparison to menstrual cups or period underwear ($25-40 per unit).2 However, because the latter two are reusable and, thus, last longer, they are considered a more cost-effective option in the long-run.

Duration

Although specifics will depend on the flow, each type of menstrual product has its defined maximum duration. As such, disposable products are expected to be changed every two to four hours; period underwear worn no longer than eight hours; and cups and discs placed a maximum of 12 hours.3

Maintaining Menstrual Hygiene

Reusable period products

Regardless of the type of period products women choose, it is their menstrual hygiene that makes them either work for them or against them.

In order to stay fresh and healthy while on a period, menstrual products should be changed as often as needed, depending on a woman's flow. Leaving soaked pads or tampons may not only cause unpleasant scents and accidental leaks, but it might cause unnecessary infections.

Proper menstrual hygiene also consists of taking showers twice a day or more, using warm water, and avoiding harsh, scented cleansing products. Experts also recommend not douching as it can disrupt vaginal bacterial flora and increase the likelihood of infections.

Lastly, to optimize menstrual cycles and prevent irregular periods, women are encouraged to eat a healthy diet that is rich in phytoestrogenic foods, like oats, alfalfa, or mung beans. Moreover, women can keep their hormones in check with natural supplements, like Macafem Healthy Periods, to enjoy regular and hassle-free periods.

Key Takeaways

Undoubtedly, period products are some of the most frequently purchased essentials throughout women's lives. As a result, the market is full of different options for everyone woman's menstrual needs, lifestyle, and budget. Menstrual products can be either disposable - which include sanitary pads, tampons, and discs - or reusable, consisting of menstrual cups, sponges, underwear, and washable pads. Each comes with various absorbencies (low to high), prices ($6-40), duration (2-12 hours), and sustainability (up to 10 years). Nevertheless, having a variety of period products is one part on the path to healthy menstruation. Maintaining good menstrual hygiene, eating a balanced diet, and balancing hormones with supplements, like Macafem Healthy Periods, can also help women take the dread out of monthly menses.