While the commercials would have you believe that once a month women experience sheer delight in brunching with friends while their bodies release blue liquid, we post-adolescent, pre-menopausal folks know that menstruation is actually kind of a pain.
Monthly periods can definitely involve food and chit chat with your girlfriends, but women are not always smiling while it happens. Menstruation may be a beautiful manifestation that a woman is prime for childbearing, but it is not always a comfortable cheerful experience.
One of the few perks of being pregnant (aside from the beautiful baby you get at the end) was not having to worry about buying pads or tampons each month. Is there a way to do that without, you know, the pregnancy and lifelong commitment to another human?
A few new tech-startups promise to change the way women experience menstruation and even break some cultural taboos surrounding our monthly visitor. It's about time we use our technological advances and e-commerce to make an experience that happens to half the population more comfortable and easy to manage.
This is not your grandmother's menstrual experience and that is definitely a good thing.
1. Say 'goodbye' to the old "sanitary" pads and be #PeriodProud
Image via Thinx.com
According to a recent Forbes article, "the average woman spends thousands over her lifetime on tampons with landfill-packing plastic applicators." A company called Thinx is looking to change that. They have created super absorbent underwear that may eliminate the need for sanitary pads.
Their goal isn't just to sell us a product but also "to change the culture around menstruation" and move us away from "wearing grandma panties or pads that feel like a diaper." The underwear features award-winning patented technology that is "absorbent, anti-microbial, leak-resistant and moisture-wicking." The panties also come in a variety of styles and absorbency levels. Prices range from $24 to $36, and you can purchase a starter package on the site.
Pads are expensive, bad for the environment and uncomfortable, so we are very excited about this new option. The most absorbent of these can hold a flow equivalent to that of two tampons, but they encourage you to #knowyourflo and choose your underwear accordingly. These are also a great alternative to use as a back-up to your tampon or menstrual cup. Sorry pads, I may have to say goodbye for now.
In addition, your purchases help the company provide re-usable for girls in underdeveloped countries. Yeah, I'm definitely sold.
2. Period pack delivery
Image via Helloflo.com
We've all been there. Our period hits and we realize we are out of pads or tampons—or both. It tends to happen on the worst possible days, when the kids are sick or right before you have a big presentation at work.
Helloflo is a service that delivers pads and tampons when you need them right to your doorstep. You sign up for a shipment to come to your work or home at the same time each month. You can choose from a variety of brands and adsorbency levels, and they even carry organic options. There are cute gift sets that include underwear with empowering phrases like, "Be Your Own Shero."
If a special girl in your life is going away to summer camp in the next few weeks, you could surprise her with a Summer camp kit that includes a carrying pouch and cute hair ties. If you are a new mom, they have a new mom kit that even includes a nursing tank. In addition, your purchases help the company provide re-usable for girls in underdeveloped countries. Yeah, im definitely sold on this service.
3. 12-hours worry free
Softcup promises the most "comfortable period protection." How does it work, you ask? It is a soft cup that is placed near your cervix that captures menstrual blood for up to 12 hours.
Menstruation is one of the last taboos of our society and often needs to be sugarcoated, disguised as blue liquid or spoken about only in whispers.
Think about it: no more running to the bathroom to change your tampon and pad on heavy flow days. This means fewer accidents and less time in the bathroom. It can be worn during ALL types of exercise and activity. (I mean ALL kinds of activity, hint, hint).
The Softcup is available at a variety of drug stores. As a bonus, it isn't linked to toxic shock syndrome like tampons. A good friend of mine tried it and loved it. Yes, it does require that you pull it in and out of your cervix, but if you had a baby already, I assume your squeamishness disappeared a long time ago. I am going on a few camping trips this summer, and I am thinking of using it during those times. The softcup comes in a reusable and disposable form, and both are under $10 for one cycle.
These new products promise to make the period experience more comfortable, while promoting self-love and empowerment. A few months ago, athlete Heather Watson caused a stir for mentioning that her period might have been a factor in her poor tennis performance. Menstruation is one of the last taboos of our society and often needs to be sugarcoated, disguised as blue liquid or spoken about only in whispers. Around the world myths about menstruation persist.
While we may not want to discuss our period at the dinner table, not discussing it at all is harmful to women and girls everywhere. The new-startups and the funding being put behind them is further demonstration that we are in the midst of a Menstrual Revolution.