I am trying to have a more sustainable period. Should I use a Cup or Period Pants?
Period products have come a long way in the last decade from disposable or single use pads and tampons to cloth and silicone options to suit every menstruator.
Two options that have grown in popularity are menstrual cups and period pants (hey that’s us!). Of course, it goes beyond this to cloth pads and discs but for the sake of comparing we will go with one external collection VS one internal collection method. Wearable VS insertion.
While both period pants and menstrual cups are better options for the environment over single use period products, they have very distinct features and benefits that will determine users choice.
Let’s start with functionality!
- internal collection
- need to be inserted and positioned correctly
- holds high volumes, more than tampons and pads
- empty and clean every 4-12 hours depending on flow
- empty into toilet or sink, shower
- external absorption of period
- no insertion or positioning, worn like everyday underwear
- absorbing volume varies between light-heavy, 2-4 tampons
- need to be changed to fresh pair when at capacity
Moving onto environmental benefits!
- lasts 5 years plus, depending on use and care
- few materials required to manufacture
- sterilise on stove or microwave low energy, no drying required
- silicone can be recycled, however options for menstrual cup recycling are not readily available (yet!)
- last 2-3 years depending on care and use
- requires multi materials to manufacture
- wash cold cycle, air dry, become part of normal laundry routine
- option to recycle textiles at end of life
So, what’s the most comfortable?
Of course this comes down to the individual's body and preferences but let’s dive into possibilities.
- some users may experience a learning curve when it comes to insertion and removal (after 2 years of use I still get leaks and some discomfort from inserting and removing after a few days use)
- once inserted, much like a tampon you don’t notice it’s there
- remains in place during active times such as sport and can be worn under water
- easy to start using, no insertion or learned removal
- feels like regular underwear, familiar and comfortable
What’s going to save me $$ in the long run?
- higher upfront costs
- lasts a long time to pay back investment
- upfront costs depend on brand
- investment may take longer to pay back as multiple pairs needed
Okay.. so what’s the cleaning situation?
- requires regular emptying, rinsing, and cleaning between uses
- Sterilisation is recommended before and after each cycle
- Can be stored in a small case when not in use.
- Need to be washed after use, similar to regular underwear
- Can be machine-washed with other clothes and dried, making maintenance relatively easy
- No need for special storage or sterilisation
Do they make them for every kind of body?
Sizing and fit is definitely a priority when you want to feel comfortable and confident while menstruating!
- Come in various sizes and shapes to accommodate different users and preference
- It may take some trial and error to find the right fit
- Available in a range of sizes, styles, and absorbency levels to cater to various needs
- Easier to find a comfortable fit, similar to selecting regular underwear
What about a little leak? What’s the chances?
Leakage risk is a HUGE factor in determining your period products.
Both menstrual cups and period pants are ‘leak proof’ like a pad or tampon. It all comes down to either proper insertion and removal or using correct absorbency levels.
It’s clear that both menstrual cups and period pants offer eco-friendly and convenient alternatives to disposable menstrual products.
The choice between them ultimately depends on personal preferences, comfort, and individual needs. This may be based on cultural expectations or experiences, disability, body shape, confidence in insertion or washing, access to cleaning methods and daily routine or activities.
Some individuals (me included!) find that a combination of both options suits them best, depending what they have on that day or week and flow intensity. I often change between cup or period pants or wear both as needed.
Regardless of the choice made, both products contribute positively to reducing environmental waste and promoting sustainable menstruation.
Hope this helped you make a decision on how you’ll join the reusable menstrual movement!
Renee, EMREN THE LABEL