As much as you probably hate those pads and tampons, even those haven’t always been around. For most of human history, women didn’t have the luxury of disposable pads and tampons. Instead, they used old rags or stuffed materials like sponges or cotton in their vaginal cavity. In many places in the world today, women still have to use whatever is handy.
And as thankful as we are for the inventors of pads and tampons, we’re also thankful for the women out there who are continuing to innovate for better periods.
Today, we are celebrating those innovations and how they’re helping women have a more positive body image. Here are our top 5:
First up, Thinx. These reusable period panties soak up menstrual blood and hold more than an average tampon.
Not only have they revolutionized the concept of free flow (I mean free flow is cool, but we like our clothes, too), they’ve taken the environment under their wing by giving us a reusable option. Here’s to fewer period products in landfills and down the toilet.
Thinx are also much easier to pack for vacation than your average period product. Instead of packing both underwear and your favorite pads or tampons, just throw in enough Thinx to get you through your period.
If you’re not totally ready to free flow into underwear, Thinx also offers tampons with reusable applicators. This still helps cut down on waste and their tampons are made from organic materials (read: no more questionable materials up you know where).
Another thing we love about Thinx? Just like Dot and our parent company Cycle Technologies, Thinx is doing awesome work in the developing world to help girls have the period products they need.
Put a cup in it. Literally. That’s the concept behind DivaCup and other menstrual cups on the market.
Though menstrual cups weren’t widely popular until the past decade or so, they were actually invented as early as the late 1800s. Period blood has always been taboo and so early menstrual cups didn’t catch on until much more recently.
Here’s the thing about menstrual cups: they’re great for the environment. Just like Thinx, you’re not constantly throwing your period products in the trash. You can reuse your cup for years before it will need to be replaced. This saves you tons of money down the road.
We love that instead of carrying a pouch of tampons around, the DivaCup can be cleaned and reinserted after each use. No more awkward bathroom trips when your stash of tampons falls out of your pocket. And no more forgetting to load up your purse on period day 1.
And for once, the DivaCup is a menstrual product that actually helps you get to know your body and your period patterns (and we’re all about empowering ourselves with knowledge).
Even if you examine your used tampon, you’ll have a really hard time visualizing how much blood you’re expelling. The DivaCup helps you know better how heavy or light your period is.
In terms of innovativeness, Flex is the newest of menstrual products. Tampons, menstrual cups, even period panties have precursors that go back for decades, even centuries. Flex, however is totally different.
It’s a small round disc that you insert in your vagina on period day 1. However, unlike tampons or menstrual cups, correct placement of the Flex is beyond the vaginal canal in the vaginal fornix. Because it doesn’t plug the vaginal canal, users claim it reduces cramps and is much more comfortable.
Flex isn’t reusable, but they do offer a subscription option so you never have to worry about running out. They’re also good for 12 hours and hold up to 5 tampons worth of blood, so you can put one in when you wake up and not worry about it until you get home in the evening.
Unlike tampons, Flex isn’t associated with toxic shock syndrome and is made of body safe, hypoallergenic materials.
Also super cool about Flex - it’s the only period product you can wear during period sex. Mess-free period sex? That’s a win.
Lola is a company that offers a new take on traditional pads and tampons. Both pads and tampons made by most mainstream manufacturers are a chemical soup and with little transparency in the industry, it can be hard to find out what you’re putting in or on your body.
Lola changes that. All of their pads and tampons are made from 100% organic cotton and although they are not reusable (obvs), they are sustainable and biodegradable, so they are much better for the environment than traditional products.
An added benefit? Lola donates period products to hundreds of thousands of low income women and girls across the US.
The average woman uses close to 16,000 pads or tampons in the course of her years of menstruation. That’s a lot. And the cost, both environmentally and financially, adds up.
GladRags are reusable cloth pads that hold as much or more as a regular pad. You’ll have to change them, but you don’t have to throw them away. If you launder them according to the directions, they’ll last you up to 5 years.
GladRags also gives back and is out to break menstrual taboos. They work with nonprofits to give menstrual products and education to those in need.
What’s your favorite period product?
Bushak, Lecia. "A Brief History Of The Menstrual Period: How Women Dealt With Their Cycles Throughout The Ages." Medical Daily. May 23, 2016. Accessed March 01, 2018.
Developed by Cycle Technologies, Dot™ uses advanced contraceptive technology based on Dynamic Optimal Timing™. Learn more about Dot on our website www.DotTheApp.com and connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. To subscribe to our newsletter, please click here.