Last month, I lost my diva cup. It was a devastating experience― but still hoping to find it1, I took the opportunity to get myself some reusable pads from GladRags to try out.
As you may know, I’m a huge supporter of reusable menstrual products. I’ve interviewed the CEO of GladRags, Tracy Puhl, on the dangers of disposables and I’ve repeatedly shown my love of the diva cup both on and off the blog. As someone who is chemically sensitive, this is an important thing for me, but the fact of the matter is that disposables have been proven to be dangerous for everyone―disposable tampons and pads can cause severe drying which is damaging to the vaginal environment and vulval health, and they often include dangerous chemicals like dioxin and bleach as well as scents that can cause irritation in the best of cases.
Whatever your choice is, whether a reusable pad, menstrual cup, or a sea sponge tampon, you’re doing good not only for the environment, but also for yourself. Seriously, just think about how many pads and tampons you use per menstruation. Now consider where they all go, and that they’re generally made up of plastics which won’t degrade anytime soon.
GladRags suggests having six of their reusable pads to use per cycle- I bought a box of three, and with some thriftiness, I’ve been able to make it work. If you don’t want to hand wash your pads after each use or have a heavy flow, you’d probably be better off going with their suggestion. I’d also suggest getting more if you spend a lot of time at work, out and about, or traveling- though it isn’t too much of a hassle to wash them when you’re out, it can take time and you need to let them dry if you want to have enough. If you have a light-medium flow like I do, and don’t mind washing after each use? You should be good with the three pack.
I also have personally found, in terms of cleaning, that I’m fine just rinsing them out thoroughly in the sink and hanging them somewhere to dry before using again- though they do end up a little “crispier” drying like this, it doesn’t bother even my sensitive skin. I have too few pads to wash them in laundry between uses- though I will, if there’s a load going in. GladRags also sells a variety of cleaning helpers- a bucket, where you can soak your pads while waiting to wash2 as well as wet/dry bags to help you carry your clean and used pads when traveling or just out or at work. I’m definitely interested in these myself, and it’ll be an investment in the longevity of my pads and make it that much easier to use them.
Personally, I’ve been able to use a pad with two inserts for 6+ hours on my normal flow days, which are medium-heavy. During the beginning of my period, which is the heaviest part for me, I’ll usually go through one every 4-5 hours- though today is the first day I’m bleeding and I went 9 hours before changing to a new pad. I’d say that these are on par with disposables, but often last longer because they’re more comfortable, stay dry longer, and seemingly hold more.
Would I recommend them? Definitely. I still prefer a menstrual cup― I’ve come to hate the feeling of moisture on the outside of my body after getting used to my diva cup, and I’m not accustomed to the bulk of a pad throughout the day. That said, I find these less bulky and more comfortable than even my old standby, Naturacare organic cotton pads. Although I’ll definitely invest in a new menstrual cup when I can, I’m happy to have these for the beginning of my period, when my pelvic floor aches to terribly and my cervix is so sensitive that pulling out a cup- even with breaking the seal- makes me want to cry. I’ll also be more than happy to invest in an awesome wet/dry bag, the soaking bucket, and one of the awesome washes GladRags carries for their pads.
Don’t be surprised if, at some point in the near future, you find me with a washboard happily scrubbing the blood out of my pads.
What are you waiting for? Grab some of your own reusables, cleaning, and storage supplies here, and get an additional 5% off just by clicking my link!