Tampons are a truly wonderful invention – they’re clean and keep the liquid inside safely, until you take it out by simply pulling it by its string. There are no odours and no leaks, which also makes personal hygiene a lot easier. However, some women cannot use tampons, either because they’re uncomfortable to their anatomy or because they have an allergic reaction. In this article we will explore the alternatives and offer adequate hygiene tips.

Menstrual sponges

Sea sponges are natural and absorb liquid through their small pores; they’re also very comfortable to wear. Plus, your skin won’t absorb any chemicals. Always handle these with super clean hands. After each use, wash the sponge with clean water. You may even do this in the shower. The taking out part can be a bit messy so prepare for that. You need to use your clean fingers to reach for the sponge and be careful not to squeeze too hard, otherwise the liquid comes out. To prevent bacteria growth, sanitize it with hydrogen peroxide or alternative agents. There is no need to dry such sponges, as they must be inserted wet, as to not cause dryness or difficulties. Read the label carefully, you may be able to use your sponge for about 6 months, but other types are only good for 3.

 

Menstrual cup hygiene

You can use menstral cups as a cheap, ecological and convenient alternative. Because these are made of silicone, all you have to do is wash them with water and soap and let them dry. The water can be cold. You also need to make sure the cup is filled but without the liquid getting old.

 

Managing external pads

There are two types of external pads to absorb menstrual liquid:

  • Disposable pads

These are made for one use only. You are supposed to leave them on for several hours, until they have absorbed a sufficient quantity. Never leave them on if the smell has altered. Old blood can breed bacteria and cause infections. Once you are done with one such pad, wrap its back in its foil and throw it in the trash bin. Change one such sanitary pad every 6 hours; never leave it for too long because moisture makes bacteria grow.

 

  • Reusable pads

Our mothers and grandmothers used the type and now it’s making a huge comeback. Reusable pads are made of fabric that can be washed and used again. You’ll find many sustainable brands or environment-friendly handmade artisans create and sell reusable pads. It’s important to wash these in hot water after every use or even boil them, to make sure you’ve killed all bacteria. Remember that, even if your flow is very weak, you should never be in contact with blood for too many hours.

 

Universal hygiene rules during menstruation

Regardless of which method you choose, you must wash your hands properly before you touch the pad/cup/sponge or your genital area. Also, because blood tends to get around, you should regularly wash your vagina entrance, vulva and surrounding region. There is no need to wash inside the vagina – it has its own cleansing process which you must not interfere with. If you do so, you will ruin its balance and will be at risk of yeast or infections.