How to choose period products

How to choose period products

Cost, safety, convenience, and environmental impact can help guide personal choices.

on any given day, More than 300 million people around the world go through their menstrual cycle. However, the high costs of period products are still a problem for many. These costs are not only financial (although property rights are a serious problem that has largely not been addressed in the United States); There are also environmental, health and safety costs to consider.

While disposable period products such as pads and tampons make up the majority A multi-billion dollar global marketReusable products such as cups (which are inserted into the vagina to collect blood) and menstrual pants (absorbent underwear) are starting to gain more traction. Recently, my team took a closer look at product data regarding cost, health, safety, convenience, satisfaction, and environmental impacts in the United States.

How much do period products cost?

Scotland is the first country To offer free period products to all who need them. In the US, pads are the cheapest at initial cost, followed by tampons – despite the prices of these products Increased by about 10% in the last year. Reusable period cups and period pants are more expensive to start. Cups start to save costs by about a year.

Some factors to consider with reusable materials:

  • You may need to try more than one menstrual cup to find what works for you, or you may want to have more than one cup on hand. The savings increase the longer your menstrual cup lasts, which may range from 2 to 10 years with good care.
  • Menstrual panties have varying absorption capacities, so you may choose to mix and match products according to your menstrual flow. For example, you can use menstrual panties on light days, or with tampons or cups on heavy days. Also, they may be useful for other reasons, such as excretions or mild enuresis.

Your miles may vary, they say, but look at the chart below for a rough comparison of the cost of period products.

Producer

Cost per year

Cost per item

cost more than four years

Disposable pillows

$40 (assuming people use 20 pads per cycle)

$160

disposable tampons

$60 (assuming people use 20 tampons per cycle)

$240

Reusable period cup

$20 to $40 per cup, add up to $60 to $120 (assuming people buy three cups to rotate)

$60 to $120 (more if the cup doesn’t last a full four years)

Panty period can be reused

$10 to $35 each panties

Not clear, because the number of underwear needed and how long it will last depends on how you choose to use it.

Health and safety period products

Long-term exposure to high levels of toxic pollutants called dioxins It can cause cancer and other health problems. Dioxins can form when bleach is used on pulp and paper products that go into pads and tampons. Most people are not exposed to levels high enough to cause health damage.

Over the years, manufacturers have modified the bleaching process to reduce the dioxins in these products. Dioxin levels in tampons are Well below FDA limits, and even less exposure through food. Menstrual cups do not contain dioxins, as they are usually made of medical grade silicone; No panties (but check that they are free of these) Chemicals known as PFAS).

Another danger of some PMS products is toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a life-threatening illness linked to toxins made by certain bacteria. TSS occurs in about 1 in 100,000 people who have a menstrual period in the United States. TSS reports with period cup use are much rarer. Mostly associated with the use of highly absorbent tampons.

Because of changes in how tampons are made, cases of TSS have decreased. Reduce your risk of getting TSS By not leaving it in tampons for longer than eight hours or menstrual cups for longer than 12 hours. Depending on your flow, you may need to change sooner to avoid leakage.

Comfort and satisfaction with period products

Most people can use tampons or cups, regardless of virginity. Some people do not want to insert anything into the vagina, in which case it is better to use sanitary pads or period panties. There are plenty of options now for panties that vary in color, cut, absorbency, and range in style from thongs to gym shorts. It can be purchased online or in many stores.

Period cups may take a while to get used to. A small randomized study found that Overall satisfaction was lower after the first month of using the cup Compared to using tampons, but then relatively higher after two and three months.

Environmental impacts of period products

The environmental impact of a product can be estimated through a life cycle assessment. This takes into account its footprint from the use of natural resources to greenhouse gas emissions – a major contributor to global warming and climate change. The environmental impact of disposable pads and tampons Much higher than reusable menstrual cups Due to raw materials, manufacturing processes and landfill waste.

In the end, the period products you choose may depend on several factors, and on what makes the most sense for you. The Young Women’s Health Center provides more information on what’s available tampons and padsAnd the Eco-friendly options.

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