Tampon Alternatives: The Top Choices to Consider
More and more people are making the switch from tampons to alternative feminine hygiene products. Here are some of the things they’re switching to:
- Menstrual cups
- Period panties
- Reusable cloth pads
- Reusable tampons (sponges)
- The Ziggy cup
Keep on reading for some of the reasons you might consider a tampon alternative, and then we’ll give you the low-down on these options we’ve just mentioned. Our goal is to help you find one that’s right for you.
Why do we Need Tampon Alternatives?
In our opinion, tampon alternatives are a necessity in the world today and they belong in every single menstruating women’s bathroom. Although most women use tampons, or disposable sanitary pads, they aren’t the best option for a whole lot of reasons. Some of these reasons include environmental concerns, financial reasons, as well as potential health problems.
It’s our mission to spread the word to all women in the world that there are indeed alternatives to tampons! Tampon alternatives? What? Is there really? Yes! There are tons of tampon alternatives to help you deal with that time of the month cheaply, effectively and safely with products that you can feel good about using. And then use them again, and again, and again.
Love it? We sure do here at Reusable Menstrual Cups. We go eco-friendly whenever possible!
Get ready for some sanitary product awesome in your life! Now, let’s talk in more detail about why you should be using tampon alternatives.
The Environmental Impact of Tampons
Stop Dumping Trash into the Landfill!
The first reason you need some alternatives to tampons and disposable sanitary pads is the environment. Think about it. In a single month, how many pads and tampons do you dump into the trash? 10, 20, 50? Then multiply this by every single menstruating women on Earth.
It’s kind of a scary thought, isn’t it? The world has limited resources and we should be doing our part to minimize our ecological footprint (Calculate your own ecological footprint here).
According to this article, the average person uses 11,000 tampons or pads in her lifetime. That’s a lot and that’s hard on planet Earth. By using reusable sanitary options such as a Diva Cup, or reusable cloth pad.
Stop Wasting Money: Use Tampon Alternatives
Think about those 11,000 tampons or pads for a minute. They cost money. Of course you know this already since you go to store each and every single month and shell out money for them. They’re expensive- a box of 36 tampons costs around $7 at the drugstore. That’s more than $2000 USD for sanitary products over the course of a lifetime.
And those 11,000 tampons or pads is just for the average women. Perhaps you’re one of the unlucky person who has a very heavy period. You’ll probably be up closer to 20,000 over the course of your lifetime. That’s almost $4000 USD.
Feminine Hygiene Products are Too Expensive!
Don’t Worry, there are Tampons Alternatives!
However, the good news is that there are tampon alternatives which are much cheaper. Reusable sanitary products like menstrual cups and cloth pads can be used for years.
Although the up-front cost is a bit more, they will save you a ton of money even over the short term of 2-3 months. We’ll get into the finer details about which reusable sanitary product is right for you later in this article. Keep on reading!
What are you Putting Into your Body?
The final thing we’re going to talk about when considering tampons alternatives is what you’re putting into your body. Think about it. Disposable pads and tampons contains chemicals. These chemicals come from two sources:
- The cotton itself. Pesticides are used when growing cotton and of course some of the residue remains on it after harvesting. It’s similar to the food we eat. When pesticides are used to grow food, we end up ingesting a little bit of it when we eat the end product.
- The manufacturing process. Chemicals are used in the manufacturing of disposable pads and tampons, particularly in the bleaching process. Chlorine is a really strong chemical and there are few studies about the long-term effects of it.
Our vaginal walls are really absorbent and will soak up just about anything you put into them. Personally, I don’t want to be soaking up pesticides and chemicals into my body. These enter the bloodstream and as for the effects of them-well, that’s largely unknown. However, it’s not a risk I’m really willing to take.
Toxic Chemicals in Disposable Pads and Tampons
I was Surprised Too!
You may be surprised to know that the manufacturing of disposable pads and tampons is largely unregulated. Since they’re considered a “medical device,” the ingredients don’t have to be listed on them like they would be for food.
Some Good News: There are Tampon Alternatives
The good news is that there are safer alternatives to tampons. In particular, we LOVE menstrual cups. They have basically no downsides and we think that every single menstruating women in the world should have one!
Yes, there are Some Bad Menstrual Cups
However, be warned. Not all menstrual cups are made equal. There are a ton of cheap menstrual cups from China which we most certainly don’t recommend.
They are made from silicone like the top-quality cups, but it most certainly is not medical grade. For the top-quality cups you actually should buy, check out our: Top 5 Menstrual Cups.
Or, have a look at some our favourite menstrual cup brands in this comparison chart below:
Come On-Are Tampons Really Dangerous?
You may hear the hype in the news about how tampons are dangerous. Or, you see stories like this model who lost her leg to toxic shock syndrome, and you may wonder if the hype really is true.
Toxic Shock Syndrome
We’re sure you’ve heard of toxic shock syndrome (TSS). A warning about this comes on the side of every single box of tampons you buy in the store. Although it’s not likely that it’ll happen to you, or even to someone you know, it is a real thing. And it’s also really dangerous. If there is an alternative to tampons where I face a 0% risk of TSS? I’ll take it every single day.
Check out TSS Warning Signs here.
Allergies and Sensitivities
Another thing to consider is that tampons or pads can just be plain annoying, especially for women with sensitivities or allergies. The chemicals and pesticides in tampons or pads can cause itchiness or allergic reactions in some women. When you have your period and aren’t feeling that great due to cramps or hormonal fluctuations, this seems like the last thing that you need.
Tampon Alternative #1: Menstrual Cups
What are Menstrual Cups?
Menstrual Cups are the best thing to hit the feminine hygiene world since sliced bread! Actually, they aren’t so new and have been around since the 1930’s but they have only become super popular in the last few years. Diva Cup is one of the most established menstrual cups brands in the entire world and they even have a cult-like following.
Basically, menstrual cups are bell-shaped cylinders which you insert into your vaginal canal when you have your period. They collect the fluid and serve much the same function as tampons. Menstrual cups are usually made from medical grade silicone and can last for at least a couple of years with proper care and cleaning.
Less Hassle with Menstrual Cups
Sanitary cups can hold around 30ml (some high capacity cups hold even more) of fluid, which is around 2-3x the amount of a jumbo tampon. Most women can remove it, empty it into the sink or toilet, rinse it out, and then replace it only 2-4 times per day depending on how heavy their flow is.
|Best Overall||Best New Cup||Best for Low Cervix||Best Soft Cup||Best for Period Sex|
|Lena Cup||Saalt Cup||FemmyCycle||Sckooncup||Ziggy Cup|
|Check price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Even More Reasons to Switch to a Period Cup
Why Have I Never Heard of Menstrual Cups Before?
The owner or this website never heard of menstrual cups until she was 34 years old. All those wasted years! You might be in the same position, wondering how you’ve missed this whole menstrual cup craze that seems to be everywhere, once you’ve noticed it for the first time. We know. It’s crazy. But, we’ve made it our mission to spread the word about menstrual cups and we hope you’ll join us on our mission too!
But, back to the original question. Why have you never heard of them before? We think it’s because of the massive advertising budgets of the disposable pad and tampon companies, compared to the minuscule budgets of the menstrual cup companies. You actually have to go out of your way to find a menstrual cup, unlike the disposable which seem to be in every single corner store.
Are Period Cups, Diva Cups, and Sanitary Cups the Same Thing?
Yes, period cups, Diva Cups, menstrual cups and sanitary cups are basically the same thing. Diva Cup is a brand, while the other three terms are generic.
How Do I Choose a Menstrual Cup?
Choosing a menstrual cup isn’t actually as overwhelming as it might seem. When you look on Amazon, there are a ton of options to choose from. Different colors, different sizes, a huge range of prices, etc. We’ve cut through the hype and narrowed down the options to the best three.
Check out: Reusable Menstrual Cups for some details about how to choose your first cup and then a quick review of the best 3 menstrual cups brands. And remember, avoid those cheap cups from China whatever you do!
Will Period Cups Work if I Have a Heavy Flow?
If you have a heavy menstrual flow, we can’t recommend menstrual cups enough! They hold 2-3 times more fluid than jumbo tampons which means that you’ll be able to last longer 2-3 times longer before having to deal with your period! Love it!
Check out: Heavy Flow? You’ll Need a Menstrual Cup. We list some of the biggest capacity menstrual cups (over 30 ml) to consider if you have a heavy period.
XO Flo: A High Capacity Menstrual Cup
Full review here: XO Flo Menstrual Cup Review
Aren’t Menstrual Cups Kind of Expensive?
Period cups cost around $30. You can get a cheap menstrual cup from China for $5-10 but we most certainly don’t recommend them because they are made from sub-par materials. When you consider the cost of disposable tampons and pads, $30 really seems like almost nothing. The average women spends that much in a couple months on disposables. And the good news is that you can use menstrual cups for years.
Where can I Buy a Menstrual Cup?
We personally recommend buying a menstrual cup from Amazon. The selection is great, prices are competitive and shipping is discreet. Plus, you can get a menstrual cup delivered to just about any country in the world.
A couple of other excellent options include Iherb (an American health-food company that has cheap shipping to many countries including Korea and China), as well as MoonCup, which has free shipping from the UK to anywhere in the world. Check out:
What about Menstrual Cups for Teenagers?
If you’re a teen, or pre-teen who’s just started their period, you may wonder if menstrual cups are right for you. It’s true, they can be a little bit intimidating because they’re quite big, especially when compared to a tampon.
That’s why we recommend using tampons for a few months first until you get comfortable with inserting things into your vagina. If you’ve had (or are having penetrative sex), then it should be no problem using a menstrual cup.
We recommend sticking with a very small menstrual cup to begin with. Intimina makes the Lily Cup One, a menstrual cup that’s specifically for teens. It’s small in diameter, and shorter than most other menstrual cups. It’s also quite soft so can be easier to insert into a small vaginal opening than some of the bigger ones.
You can check out the Lily Cup One for teens here: Review of the Lily Cup One.
Tampon Alternative #2: Period Panties
What are Period Panties?
Next up on our list of tampon alternatives are period panties. Period panties are very similar to normal panties, except that they have an absorbent liner in the crotch area. They are designed to give you an extra layer of protection during your period, or they can be used on their own if you have a very light flow.
Aren’t Period Panties Really Ugly?
No! While some of them are indeed ugly and we’d never personally wear them, many of them are quite stylish. Our personal favourite is these Anigan Boyshort Period Panties.
We are 100% confident that you’ll be able to find some period panties to suit your style and budget. Trust us. Just have a look over on Amazon and you’ll find some period panties that work for you.
Do Period Panties Actually Work?
Yes! Check out the reviews on Amazon and you’ll see a ton of loyal devotees to period panties. While they’re not designed to be used solely without any other feminine hygiene product when you have a heavy flow, they can be a great backup. No more embarrassing leaks or stains! They also work well at night if you want a big of extra protection for an overflowing menstrual cup.
Where can I Buy Period Panties?
The best place to start if you want to buy some period panties is this post of ours: Top 5 Period Panties. You can check them out and see which one you think will work for you. You could also check out this handy comparison chart below:
The Best Period Panties
|Best Overall Menstrual Underwear||Most Affordable||Organic Period Panties||Most Comfortable|
|Modibodi||Yoyi Fashion||Hesta Organic||Anigan Period Panties|
|Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Are Period Panties just for Menstruating?
A common question that people have is whether period panties are just for menstruation. People use them for a number of things beyond just that time of the month. Some of them include the following:
Just be clear about what kind of menstrual underwear you’re getting. Some of them are thin and just have a leakproof layer in them. They might work well for spotting, or vaginal discharge.
However, if you have more fluid than that (post-partum for example), you’ll probably want the ones with some absorbent padding in them.
Either style can work, but make sure you match it up with the purpose you’re using them for.
Tampon Alternative #3: Reusable Cloth Menstrual Pads
What are Reusable Cloth Menstrual Pads?
One of our favourite tampon alternatives are cloth menstrual pads. Reusable cloth menstrual pads are quite similar in terms of function, shape and size to disposable menstrual pads.
The difference is that they are made from cloth and are reusable. You simply have to wash them in the washing machine after use with your regular laundry. They are stain-resistant, which means that they’ll stand up to years of use and not look terrible.
GladRags Organic Reusable Cloth Pads
More information: GladRags Organic Cloth Pads Review
Where can I Get More Information About Cloth Sanitary Pads?
It’s likely that you’ve never heard of reusable cloth sanitary pads before and have a ton of questions about them. If this is the case, you’ll want to check out our: Cloth Pad FAQ’s. It should answer all your questions about this eco-friendly tampon alternative, but if it doesn’t, be sure to leave a comment.
Best Cloth Menstrual Pads
|Best Overall Reusable Pads||Most Affordable Pads||Best Organic Cloth Pads||Best New Cloth Pads|
|Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Where can I Buy Reusable Cloth Menstrual Pads?
If you’re looking to buy some reusable cloth menstrual pads, the best place to start is this article: Top 5 Cloth Menstrual Pads. Have a look, see what will work for you and then there are links to all the products on Amazon.
How Much Should I Pay for Cloth Menstrual Pads?
Cloth menstrual pads average around $5-10 per pad. Most women need around 6-8 pads to get them through a cycle, assuming they do laundry every couple of days. This means that enough pads will cost $30-40.
These pads, with proper care can last for 5+ years which means them an excellent value when compared to disposable sanitary pads and tampons.
Can I Make my Own Cloth Menstrual Pads?
Yes! You an indeed make your own cloth menstrual pads. Check out this article: How to Make your Own Cloth Menstrual Pads.
How to Clean Cloth Pads
Cloth menstrual pads are reusable which means that you don’t just throw them in the trash when you’re done with them! But, is cleaning them a big hassle, or is it not so bad? Let’s find out!
If you don’t care about staining, it’s very easy. Just throw them in with your regular laundry.
However, if you do care about that, then consider getting dark-coloured pads. This is the easiest option! The less easy option is to soak your pads in cold water after use, or use commercial stain remover on them before laundering.
What about Cloth Pads When Not at Home?
A common question that people have is what to do with cloth pads when they’ve away from home for a while. It’s easy at home because you just have to throw them in your laundry hamper.
Most people something like this Wet Bag from Dutchess. It’s a small bag that can hold wet, damp things until you get home, and it’s obviously not see-through.
You could also use something like a Ziplock bag to hold your soiled pad, but this is less than ideal because it’s see-through.
Tampon Alternative #4: Menstrual Sponges
Is there such a thing as reusable tampons? It seems kind of wacky, but there in indeed a product that you might want to consider: reusable sea sponges.
What are Menstrual Sponges?
Rounding out our list of tampon alternatives are sea sponge tampons. They are basically reusable tampons and they make a better option than disposable tampons for a whole lot of reasons:
- They’re eco-friendly. They can last for years
- They’re natural and contain no chemicals
- You can have penetrative sex while wearing them
Can I Wash Menstrual Sponges Easily?
It’s easy to care for menstrual sponges. You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for specific details, but basically, you just rinse them in the sink and then reinsert them.
Are Menstrual Sponges Sanitary?
Maybe. There is some debate in the feminine hygiene world and we’ll leave it up to you to make your own decision. Check out this article for more information: Are Sea Sponges Safe? We personally don’t use these products and instead go with menstrual cups, which are easier to clean and keep sanitary because they’re not porous and you can boil them in between periods.
Where can I Buy a Period Sponge?
Check out this section of our website for reviews of menstrual sea sponges and links on where you can buy them:
Spread the Word to the World about Tampon Alternatives
This concludes our article on tampon alternatives! We hope that you enjoyed it and got informed about the whole world of awesome that exists beyond disposable tampons and sanitary pads.
Spread the word about tampon alternatives to your friends and family members. Get them a menstrual cup for Christmas? Post about menstrual cup or reusable cloth pads on Facebook? Tell the other women at school in the morning when you drop your kids off? Whoever your people are, spread the word!
Here’s to a healthier, cheaper, more environmentally friendly period experience with tampon alternatives!
Tampon Alternative #5: The Ziggy Cup
Rounding out our list of the best tampon alternatives is the Intimina Ziggy Cup. Have you heard of the Soft Cup or the Flex Disc? The Ziggy Cup is basically a reusable version of these, and it’s made from medical grade silicone (same as most menstrual cups).
In case you haven’t, all of these things are flat, flexible discs that sit right below your cervix and collect menstrual fluid. Some people use them as their sole source of period protection.
Use the Ziggy Cup for Period Sex
Where the Ziggy Cup really excels is for non-messy sex during your period. Both parties usually report not being able to feel the Ziggy Cup during penetrative sex.
People have been waiting years for a reusable of this product to come out, and thankfully, Intimina has done it! Perhaps you’ve been using the Soft Cup or Flex Menstrual Disc to have sex during your period? Try out the Ziggy Cup and see what you think.
Is the Ziggy Cup Easy to Use?
Menstrual cups can seem a bit intimidating, but the Ziggy Cup is even more so! That’s because instead of sitting low in your vaginal canal, it fits right below your cervix. This requires some dexterity in your fingers and wrists, and perhaps even a short-medium vaginal canal.
However, most people do eventually figure it out. And once you do, you do and then it’s quite easy to insert and remove.
More Information and Where to Buy the Ziggy Cup
If this sounds like the tampon alternative for you, then check out our full review here: Intimina Ziggy Cup Review.
Or, you can head on over to Amazon to check it out there:
Have your Say about Tampon Alternatives!
What are your top picks for alternatives to tampons? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.