Out and About with Reusable Sanitary Products
How do you use reusable menstrual products while out and about?
This is one of the questions we get asked the most. Believe me when I say that it is no different whether you use reusable or disposable products. Due to the stigma surrounding menstruation, menstrual hygiene and menstrual bleeding we have nearly all, at some point, felt embarrased around needing to change our menstrual products while in public. This is one of the ways that disposable menstrual products became so popular.
However, as well as trying to normalise periods, combat period poverty and be more environmentally friendly, I would argue that reusable menstrual products are less embarassing than disposable menstrual products. I found nothing more embarrasing than the obvious russle of the single use pads packaging.
Whatever your preferred products, whether you are using cups, reusable sanitary pads, period pants or reusable tampons there is a simple solution to using reusable period products out and about.
Out and about with Cloth Sanitary Pads and tampons.
If you're using reusable pads or reusable tampons then the best way to go out and about is with a mini wetbag. Some of these, like the The Fern Mini wet bag or the Nora Storage bag, have two compartments. One for storing your clean pads and tampons and one for storing your dirty ones. They're small and discreet and could be mistaken for a make up bag. Most reusable pads can be folded in on themselves and poppered up, this can help with any mess (not that there is much) and also makes them smaller for storage. You then rinse them out with cold water and pop them into your storage options once you're home.
How do you change reusable pads at school?
One of the most common questions asked on google is "How do you change menstrual pads at school?" This touches on what I mentioned in the first paragraph and the embarrasment of changing pads at school and the rustle of the packaging. Thankfully this is not such an issue with reusable options. Simply take your wetbag with you, change your reusable pad as normal and pop your used pad in the wetbag. No need to worry about no bins!
How often do you change reusable menstrual Pads and Tampons?
You need to change cloth pads and tampons as often as you would the disposable pads and tampons. Most can hold more fluid, but for comfort and hygine reasons change as often as you usually would.
Out and about with Period Pants
If you use period underwear these usually hold around 2-6 tampons worth of blood and more than some cloth pads you might not need to change these while out and about. However if you do need to change while out, you just have a wet bag for keeping them in just the same as you would for cloth pads. Depending on the size and style of your period pants you may need a slightly bigger bag for bigger pants. For example the Saalt period pants range are very slim, whereas Wuka High Waisted period pants give higher coverage so are bigger overall. The Little Lovebum Wipes pouch is a great size for holding one pair of period underwear, if you need anything more then the Bear Bott Small Wetbag is a great option for you. You could fit 2-3 pairs of period pants in here. If you are woried about needing to change your period pants while out and about (which does sounds like a faff) then you could look at the Wuka Flex, the detachable side means these are great for changing while out and about. You can always use a combination of Cloth pads and period underwear. This way, you just remove the pad and pop it in the wetbag and carry on using your period pants like normal.
How often do you change Period Pants?
Period Underwear can be worn for up to 8 hours at a time, this is providing that you have the right absorbency for your flow. Personally, on my heavier day I prefer to change my period pants every 5-6 hours or so.
Out and About with Menstrual cups.
These are propbaby the easiest reusable menstrual product to take out and about. They can be worn for up to 8hours at a time. This means its easy to avoid emptying your cup while out. If you're on a heavier flow day, sometimes this can't be avoided, but it's easy to do anyway. When emptying your cup in a public restroom simply remove your period cup and empty the menstrual blood into the toilet. If there is a sink near by you can rinse it out here. Some people prefer to take a bottle of water with them and you can buy Meluna Bidet system to attached to the top to help with cleaning especially if the holes around the rim get blocked. You can also buy period cup friendly wet wipes which is great for giving your cup a quick wipe then reinserting again.
It is widely thought that single use tampons could be flushed down the toilet (making them very convenient) but water and waste disposal companies are repeateadly telling us that only toilet roll should be flushed down the toilet. The environmental impact to marine environments is huge.
Can you wear you menstrual cups before your period starts?
If you have a regular cycle and know when you are due on then you can put your menstrual cup in before your period actually starts. This is different to using tampons (single use tampons or reusable options), which cannot be inserted before your period begins. We do have a dedicated article, where you can find out more, on inserting your menstrual cup before your period is due. If you have a very irregular cycle and you're not sure when you might be due on then you might want to opt to keep your menstrual cup on you at all times. Most period cups come with a little storage bag, if you want something that is a bit more substantial than this then we do also stock the Meluna Travel Cup which is great for storing your ready steralised cup.
How often do you change a menstrual cup?
Menstrual cups can be worn for up to 8 hours at a time. It is not advised to leave it any longer than this as any internal menstrual products carry a small risk of toxic shock syndrome.
Why choose to reuse?
When you use reusable menstrual products over disposable products there are many many benefits. Reusable period products are more cost effective and they are an environmentally friendly option, they're better for your body, kinder on your skin and better for your reproductive health.
No matter what reusable option you choose- cloth pads, tampons, period underwear or menstrual cups, it is JUST as easy to be on your period while out and about as it would be if you were using disposable pads and tampons (I'd argue that its even easier).