I'm delighted to introduce Barbora from Cherriful who has kindly written Switch and Ditch's first guest blog.
We virtually met recently and hit it off straight away with our shared loved of the ocean and both wanting to make a difference. Barbora is a kite surfer who frequently braves our coastal waters. Even in winter. Brrrrrrrr.
She set up Cherriful last year which specialises in reusable menstrual products and she is giving us the low down on which products to use:
Period cup or reusable pads: Which one to use?
Switching to reusable menstrual products is a go to step for many, who are trying to reduce their overall footprint. As time passes, there are more and more options to choose from, making it sometimes challenging to decide what to go for. The choice is, in the end, a very personal one. Still, we put down a couple of points you can consider when buying a menstrual cup or reusable pads.
The Period Cup is a flexible cup made of medical grade silicone that you insert inside your vagina. Unlike tampons, however, cups collect blood instead of absorbing it.
Aside from not ending up in landfill, one of the main benefits is that it doesn't affect vaginal microflora. Tampons absorb not only blood but also other fluids, leading to a common feeling of dryness and even headaches.
Another great advantage is that the cup can stay inserted for up to 12 hours. Yup, you only need to empty it 2-3 times a day. It is also perfect for sports. The cup stays in thanks to a little suction it develops when you insert it correctly. That means nothing gets out or in! Go swimming, running, do yoga, stand on your head, sleep the whole night and you are covered.
Reusable period pads and liners
Reusable pads are a long-lasting version of disposable ones. You use the small press-studs to attach them around your underwear. After use just fold, wash and reuse.
Pads, unlike menstrual cups do not have a learning curve and you will know what to do on day one. There are also absolutely no health preconditions or reasons why you should not use reusable pads.
Whilst plastic, single-use pads contain chemicals that keep blood in the pad (powder that transforms liquid to gel), these have absorbent layers consisting of bamboo. Bamboo's natural ability to absorb liquids, combined with a soft top layer is a great way to prevent skin irritation and stay leak-free.
Sounds good, but where do I start?
The easiest way to understand which option is the best for you, is to try them both. Many people choose to combine them. For example use period cups for heavier days and liners on light ones, but really anything goes.
However be aware, not everyone can use a period cup as it is placed inside the vagina. If you have a very low cervix, vaginismus or variations in uterine positions, a cup might not be a fit for you. Menstrual cups are also not recommended for women who have just given birth and are experiencing postpartum bleeding. During this period it is much safer and easier to use reusable pads.
If you use an IUD, we also often recommend consulting the usage of a menstrual cup with your gynaecologist. It is very unlikely, but period cups might disrupt the position of some types of IUD.
So the period cups are often perceived as a more ecological and universal option, but there are some conditions which might prevent you from using it. The pads on the other hand are for everyone and do not require much learning. If you know that pain and cramps on some days do not even allow you to insert a tampon, pads might also be a nice go to option for those times.
Overall, in the beginning, you might like to experiment a bit. That is why we put together a whole starter pack for you to try.
Barbora - Cherriful