By Stacey O. Avila, CCMA
Growing up in a conservative Hispanic household the period conversation did not come up often, With this being said I was very lost and confused when it came to my menstrual cycle. I was around the age of 12 when I first experienced my first period and let’s just say I cried and was mortified. Thank gosh I have an older sister! She squeezed her way into the bathroom, brought a change of clothes, and showed me the miraculous Pad. This is the passage of a woman she said.
If only I knew then what I know now and I received an in-depth conversation about the menstrual cycle I would have been more prepared. Here I will be talking to you about the different period product options for your cycle other than the disposable pad. This will not give you a full-blown overview of the period topic but it will provide you with options for your first or next period!
Menstrual underwear: This underwear is environmentally friendly and it “absorbs your period”
This option is machine washable, comfortable and leakproof. This is intended to be worn during your period day, night, or both.
Cloth Pads: Cloth menstrual pads are cloth pads worn in underwear to collect menstrual fluid. This option is environmentally friendly and customizable, what does this mean? The prints, the thickness, the length all of it to your specifications. This option is usually made out of cotton, yet can be made out of many other absorbent materials. ( Another option for the cloth pad is the disposable pad, the same concept yet made out of disposable materials and not usually environmentally friendly)
The menstrual cup: This is a hygienic menstrual cup that is inserted into the vaginal canal during menstruation. It has a little stem at the bottom of the cup for removal. This option is usually made out of flexible medical grade silicone, and or latex. The cup collects the blood, once you remove the cup out you dump the blood out and rinse it off.
The Menstrual Disc: This is a Disc that goes into the vagina and sits at the vaginal fornix, which is the base of your cervix. It provides hours of leak protection by catching your period. With this option, you have the luxury of having mess-free intimate time while on your period. Bonus !! Keep in mind that most Menstrual discs are disposable and not meant to be reused, they are not an environmentally friendly option.
Tampons: This option is a vaginal plug that is inserted into the vagina usually made out of cotton. The tampon expands inside the vaginal canal to absorb menstrual blood. This product is most commonly used while swimming or participating in heavy activities.
I encourage you to talk freely about the menstrual cycle and explore options that are environmentally friendly as well as comfortable for you. Make your period less stressful, and teach our younger generations about what to expect when they do get their period and the products available to them. The Period is a natural part of life, cleanses the vagina and your body. Join me on the journey to open doors to healthy vagina conversations.