Bloody Mess

So a couple weeks ago, I talked about how I was going to try Hannah pad reusable feminine hygiene pads. I also decided to give my Diva Cup another try.

This is the first month since I started getting my period that I used ZERO disposable products. No tampons, no pads, nothing!  Initially? What a bloody mess! Yes, pun intended! Trying to get the diva cup was frustratingly challenging. I leaked while I slept. I leaked while I was awake. No matter how many times I pulled it out and tried to get it situated properly, I couldn’t get it in properly.

Until the end of the second day. Once I was able to get the Diva Cup (referred as “DC” the rest of the post) in properly, things were perfect – and then the reusable pads were there “just in case”.

So, let’s break it down:

Used: 6

Most were in the beginning portion while my period was heavier and I was still trying to figure out the DC. I probably would have used more had my period been during the week and I was also doing yoga – which would have required a change due to sweating. Additionally, my period was shorter than when I used disposable pads and tampons – they call tampons “plugs” for a reason. They stop regular flow. The DC allows the flow to be collected and removed – not partially absorbed and left sitting there.

Cleaning: Tolerable

As I mentioned, I have a huge “ick” factor that prevented me from using them in the past. Most of the mess is contained in the DC, but the first couple days were pretty messy. But even then, it was tolerable. When I changed the pads, I rinsed them until the water ran clear, then put them in a container of water until they were ready to be put through the wash. When my period was over, I put them in the washing machine and washed them as per normal – cold water, environmentally friendly detergent – and lay flat to dry. I used an old cooling rack so air could get both top and bottom. Some of the pads were stained, but that’s to be expected. It’s no different from leaking onto bedsheets or underwear.

Comfort: Good

Ladies, let’s face it – wearing pads of any type are uncomfortable. These are no more uncomfortable than regular pads – especially the thicker over-night pads that are almost closer to diapers than menstrual pads! My husband commented on their size, but, really, they’re more comfortable because of the material. When you wear cotton underwear, the Hannah Pads feel like an extension of regular underwear. Yes, there’s some extra “bulk” but that would be there either way. They have rubberized/silicone stuff on the back side that sits against your regular underwear to help keep them in place. I find as long as I have them sitting properly, they don’t shift. Snug (not super tight) undies also help.

Now, even though I’m reviewing the pads, I’m also going to comment on the DC. When you have it in correctly, you do not feel it. I found, when using tampons, I could only wear them for so long each day before I needed to give my va-jay-jay a break. This is because tampons soak up everything – not just menstrual blood. Dryness in the canal can be uncomfortable and, for me, anyway, can be achy. With the DC, I pull it out, dump the contents into the toilet, rinse and clean with a gentle soap, then put back in. You DO need privacy for this – for me, home is definitely ideal as I can reach the sink from the toilet. Luckily, the DC can be worn longer than tampons and I can typically make it through a day of work.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Using reusable pads was easier than I expected. I wasn’t grossed out as I expected I would be, it really wasn’t a hassle, and it’s better for the environment and your body!

To look at this a different way, let’s break it down:

I’ve been having my period for 25 years (probably longer, but I can’t remember the exact age). 25 years = 300 months. Each month I’m using (at LEAST!) 16 pads and 8 tampons which mean so far, I’ve put at LEAST 4800 pads and 2400 tampons in the landfill. This is definitely low-balling it as there was a time in my early 20’s that I had an incompetent doctor who couldn’t get the dosage of my birth control correct, so my period was reverse to what it should be – I was bleeding for 3 weeks of the month, not bleeding for 1 week. It sucked, don’t even get me going! Either way, even a deflated number as this, it’s still incredibly high! And I’ll probably continue having my period for another decade. I can’t help my past, but I can change my carbon footprint for the future!

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