Undies, pads, cups: What do you use for eco-friendly period management?

Okay fine, these aren't "period panties." But they are called "Yoni Chonies" and that makes me happy.
I was wondering if you had any advice for eco-friendly period management?

Namely I'm talking about special underwear you wear when you have your period or the cotton "pads" that you wash and reuse. I've seen a few ads but I have no idea where to start or good brands. -Stacey

I have been wondering the same thing too. So I reached out to the Homies on Facebook for their advice. And we got a veritable flood (flow?) of great suggestions for eco-friendly period management…

Menstrual Cups

The Diva Cup

Although you asked about period underwear specifically, I know that a lot of people swear by the Diva/menstrual cups. They're washable and reusable, can be used for years before a new one is needed, and it lets you track how much your flow is. Although a lot of Homies use a combo of the cup and cloth panties or pads…

Period Underwear

Thinx

I love Thinx. They hold a lot. I use them both on their own and in conjunction with my diva cup if I feel like I need backup.To clarify, I use my Thinx on light start/end days. Occasionally I use Thinx and the cup on day 2/3 when it's a nightmare. -Nicole

I love my Thinx, and use them frequently since I have a generally medium-light flow. -Anna

Diva Cup paired with Thinx panties on heavy days in case of overflow. This combo has LIBERATED me from my period! -Megan

Re-usable pads

GladRags Day Pads

Gladrags

Gladrags is a nice brand! They sell reusable pads and liners in fun patterns. -Melissa

GladRags are awesome. I have some pads of theirs that are almost 20 years old and still going strong! -Jenn

Lunapads Maxi Menstrual Pad and Insert

Lunapads

I’ve bought Lunapads and those are good. Very soft and comfy brand new. Though the fabric gets a bit rough after a bunch of washes. The Diva cup I LOVE. After using it I would never go back to disposable tampons. -Elisa

Also a Lunapads user here. I got them as pantie liners originally, cause disposable ones are drying as hell in a dry climate, and quickly ended up ordering more stuff from them. The fabric definitely does get rougher, but it doesn't ever anywhere near the feeling of disposables in my experience. -Suzy

Hibaby reusable pads

Other brands…

I have several of the top rated brands of cloth pads from amazon. Hibaby, Love My®, LBB, and Dahlia are my favorites. I use similar washing protocols to what people do for cloth diapers. I love my cloth pads! (Wegreeco is also highly rated but they're very narrow and better if you are a smaller person.) All the brands I mentioned feel great! If you're only doing pantyliners, I'd get the small size Dahlia pads, they're the softest. They are all thicker than disposable pads because fabric rather than chemicals is being used, but the Dahlia brand is much slimmer than my others. None of them feel plasticy. -Lori

Period Knickers Brooch by FancyLadyIndustries

Other resources

I wrote an article about this (hope it's ok to share) that covers a few options: A Bloody Waste | Eco-Friendly Periods. -Annie

There's a Facebook group called Put A Cup In It that has lots of advice on all kinds of ecologically sound menstrual products and a quiz to help you decide what cup to go for (if you want to try a cup). -Xandri

My favorite sex blog, Oh Joy Sex Toy, just posted this: Period Panties by Niki Smith! Do a search on their site for other period related things, they're a great resource. -Cassy

Anyone else have advice for eco-friendly period management?

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  1. For many years I used a silicone menstrual cup and to say it changed my life is an understatement.

    I have both endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which meant that most of my adult life was plagued with heavy and highly irregular periods. Average blood loss is approx 30ml over a whole period but by the end I was frequently dealing with losses triple that in a single day and I found that a menstrual cup was quite simply the highest capacity blood catching method I could use. Mine also had markings on the side so I could report exactly how much I was losing to my doctors.

    I had always felt so totally totally broken at period time and on top of that enslaved by the money making period industry, but buying something re-useable and taking charge myself made feel so independent, I just loved it. It really helped turn what was always a total trauma into something more manageable and bought me many years before things escalated and I had a hysterectomy.

    I left my first one (and my period kit which it lived inside) on a bus, I’ve always wondered who found it and what they thought it was…..

    8 agree
    • Hi Stripey,

      I'm glad that you found something to help with your gynecological conditions. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Before I stopped menstruating 3 years ago (YAY Mirena IUD!), I swore by my Divacup and Lunapads panty liners as backup. I had a very heavy flow and it was the only thing I could leave in for a few hours, and the panty liners honestly feel like your vulva is wearing flannel pajamas all day. It feels comfortable and luxurious, and no more getting your pubes caught in the adhesive. Cannot recommend enough.

    5 agree
    • I love Lunapads and they are a great woman-owned small business with AMAZING customer service. I use their lined underpants more than the pads (plus or minus fleece insert) and I totally agree that they feel like your vulva is wearing flannel pajamas all day. I actually wear them most days because they are so comfy and great for any discharge or sweating. For heavy flow I also use a disposable cup (used to be called Instead now I guess just called Softcup) that I rinse and re-use for the whole cycle.

      3 agree
  3. For days when you might want a tampon, my friend just told me about MyLola tampons, which are made with 100% organic cotton (no chemicals), and they're a subscription so they just come to your door every month and you don't have to think about it. You can also buy boxes with multiple sizes (e.g. light, regular, super), which makes complete sense to me. I haven't tried them yet, but my friend really likes them. https://www.mylola.com/

    2 agree
    • There are now several organic, sustainable, biodegradable versions of conventional tampons and pads, which is great as it shows a lot of people are concerned for the environment. They're no more expensive than most conventional brands which is an added bonus. Natracare is a very popular, common brand (at least in the UK), and a company called Time of the Month (TOTM) has some different eco-brands and will post them to you either as a one-off purchase or as a monthly subscription. There are others too. It's nice to have so many options.

    • Follow up that I also just learned about Cora, another subscription option for organic tampons. For each month's worth of tampons you buy, they give a month's worth to a woman in need in India or Kenya. https://cora.life/

  4. I am obsessed with my Diva Cup! The cup, in combo with cloth pads and period panties have revolutionized the way I feel about my body when menstruating. No longer do I have to purchase products that are marketed to make me feel dirty or smelly when I'm on my period. Plus, my plants can get in on the monthly action now…menstrual blood fertilizer for all!

    3 agree
  5. My vote goes to Divacup. I was pretty happy the day I could ditch tampons because a) I found them uncomfortable, b) the sheer amount of waste I was producing was staggering. 2 years going and I'm as happy as can be.

    1 agrees
  6. Party in my Pants pads have taken over my periods. I have zombie pinup ladies in mine, and they are so much lighter and more comfortable than the pads I used to wear. I'm a small lady. My uterus is so small my paragard was always scraping around. Everywhere.
    I did try a divacup. Twice. It got stuck both times (I've read up on what I may have done wrong, but it was NOT worth the terror/pain of trying again.) In each case, I was pretty sure I'd end up waddling down to the hospital to have them pluck the thing out of me. Also my bathroom got covered in blood as I kept trying to flail around to get the thing out.

    I'll keep my reusable pads foreverrr.

    5 agree
  7. I love and use Charlie Banana brand reusable period pads. I bought them on Amazon and have been using them for a few years now.
    I just rinse them with cold water immediately after taking them off and then wash them with my regular laundry. I let them dry in the sun to help with any residual smells and with bleaching them back to white. Much like I did with my daughter's cloth diapers. 😛

    2 agree
  8. Diva Cup! I haven't bought tampons in fifteen years. The only thing is that since I had a kid my periods have gotten heavier and I leak on the heaviest days. I'm thinking about getting Thinx as a backup for those days.

    1 agrees
  9. Modibodi period undies! Love them. I hate the cups. Expensive and I've got three different ones and they've all been so incredibly uncomfortable so on heavy days I use organic cotton tampons and modibodi knickers then lighter days just the knickers.

    Some people think the period undies are going to be gross or find them hard to wash but I just drop em in the bottom of the shower when I shower. By the time I'm finished they are rinsed clean. I hang them in the shower and then I do a load in the washing machine of just them with some gentle soap and line dry. Works like a charm and not gross at all.

    3 agree
  10. I LOVED using my Diva cup…until I started getting thrush after each cycle. I washed it thoroughly, experimented for how often I used it, and even got a brand new one, but to no avail. There's something about my body that didn't agree with me using the Diva cup, which makes me sad. I asked two doctors for advice, but they both shrugged and said that there isn't enough medical research to support menstrual cup usage.

    I'm keen to give the reusable pads a try!

    4 agree
  11. If you're going to use a cup, think about your anatomy! I didn't realize it for a long time, but I have a low cervix and that makes cup shopping tricky.

    I used to use a Diva Cup and loved it for many years, but after I had a kid I have 1) a different shape of vagina and 2) a Paragard IUD, which made my flow MUCH heavier. The Diva Cup kept leaking and being super uncomfortable, so I did some research and wound up with the FemmyCycle low-cervix model. I've only used it for one cycle so I'm still getting used to it, but when I get it right it is SO MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE than the Diva Cup ever was and doesn't leak at all. Highly recommended for any other low-cervix folks.

    2 agree
  12. Party in my Pants is my cloth pad of choice. They have a plethora of fun designs. There's a waterproof backing, which I think is a major bonus over other brands. They are so comfortable and as thin as or thinner than disposable pads, but hold way more. I also like how they fold up for storage and/or for containment after use.

    3 agree
    • Thank you for this! This is the first time I've ever seen a company with Queen Sized pads. I thought I was going to have to make my own (probably cheaper, but bleh- effort!)

      3 agree
  13. The Diva Cup is OK, but in my personal experience I have had some leaks with it partly due to its slight softness. Plus, it's not ideal for those who have lower cervixes. (The height of your cervix as well as your average amount of flow and the firmness level of the cup are important factors to consider when choosing a menstrual cup. Please ignore any advice that recommends taking your age and whether or not you've given birth into consideration as there are people who have given birth or are older who have to wear smaller sizes and younger people who have never had sex much less had children who have to wear bigger sizes.) If you're up for trying a different brand, I suggest looking into the Meluna cup. They are a German brand, but they have a online US shop and are also available on some UK-based online shops. Their cups come in multiple sizes (small, medium, large, extra large) and multiple firmness levels (soft, classic, sport). They even make a "shorty" version in multiple sizes and firmness levels for low-cervixed people.

    As for cloth pads, I've had the best luck with Etsy as the cloth pads on there are generally cheaper than Gladrags or Lunapads. Plus, you have more fabrics and sizes to choose from! My personal favorite cloth pad Etsy sellers are PamperedShopPads, CraftyNook3559, and TrojacekFarms.

    If you need more information and advice on RUMPs (reusable menstrual products), I highly recommend taking a look at the YouTube channel Precious Stars Pads. Bryony (a.k.a. Bree) is so smart and mature for her age and even has her own cloth pad business. I actually own a few of her pads and they are very nice quality products as well as the Etsy sellers I listed above. The website Menstrual Cup Reviews is excellent not just for reading reviews on different brands of RUMPs, but they have a neat tool for comparing different cup brands as well.

    2 agree
  14. I use a Lunette cup and a Lily cup compact for lighter days. I love them both.
    I also have both some good pads on Etsy, but both shops are closed now.

  15. I had to stop using my cup after about 7 years after the suction accidentally yanked out my IUD. Painful. I know this is extremely rare but it can happen.
    For a while after that, I tried to really carefully break the seal 'inside' myelf before pulling out the cup but it was a hassle each time and I started dreading the whole process.
    I switched back to good ol' (eco-friendly) tampons about a year ago, and honestly haven't looked back. I felt guilty because I raved about the cup to sooo many people. I try to limit waste in all areas of my life. But I decided to give myself a break on my period and it's such a relief. No more bloody fingers, no digging around, no painful suction, no smell, no having to bring a water bottle into public restrooms. I didn't realize how annoying the cup had become for me until I stopped using it.

    • I use Eco Femme https://ecofemme.org/ because I love their ethos. They offer free pads to girls and women in rural India along with menstrual health education to empower these women. Plus their pads are comfortable and pretty and the keep me feeling lovely and fresh. I bought my first ones when I was pregnant and they were absorbant enough to cope with post-partum bleeding. I've been using them for 3 years now and still love them.

      1 agrees
  16. I love my divacup, but a big anti-recommend for Eva Wear period undies. They run so small that sizing up by one wasn't nearly enough. Their standard bikini has super low tight leg openings, just majorly uncomfortable undies. And Dear Kate seems to be out of stock every time I remember to go by and try to order. What a PITA to find decent period undies!

  17. I use a Diva Cup (recommended to me by 2 friends) and… I don't use special period under wear, I just wear black cotton underwear, with a black cotton crotch liner built in and just don't stress random drips because I'm not worried about staining them. (I don't think I've ever told people that, because I'm somehow worried about it being "gross.") Then I just drop the undies in my regular laundry drop off (I live in NYC, hence no washer dryer, hence doing drop off).

    I work in tv production (as an actor/sometimes producer) and I LOVE that I can go all day without changing the Diva Cup, you never know what the bathrooms are going to be like on location.

    1 agrees

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