To celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day (28th May) here’s an independent and extremely comprehensive comparison of menstrual management products!
(Apologies for the terrible pun, I know that absolutely nobody calls menstrual products ‘mops’, but I loved the idea…)
For those of you far too busy to scroll down and read the whole article, please just know this: Menstrual cups performed best across all of our categories- health, performance, cost, environmental impact, marketing methods, and impact on self-esteem!
After cups, we have more new entries in the form of reusable products such as washable pads, and period underwear… and then, sliding down the charts, we have tampons and disposable pads…
Notes: We compared ‘average’ products of each type e.g. the average menstrual cup, the average washable pad, the average period underwear, the average disposable pad, and the average tampon. Although specific brands will perform slightly better or worse than the average, we wanted to be able to compare the different ‘types’ of menstrual management product overall.
So, for example, organic disposable pads- whilst they might have slightly better health, performance, and marketing scores than major pad brands, they remain unlikely to score more than organic tampons, or even the least ‘ethical’ menstrual cup, or washable pads/underwear brands…
We also tried to be as objective as possible, by examining positives and negatives for each product, and selecting a wide range of criteria with which to compare products. Of course, even disposable products are good at their job, and much better than using dirty rags, newspaper, or any other non-specific menstrual management products, as sadly too many menstruators around the world are forced to do.
We have included ‘marketing’ because, historically, this has played an important part in influencing the way in which we view menstruation in the UK (which in turn has an effect on menstruators’ self-esteem, health, and wellbeing).
By framing menstruation as something dirty, unhygienic, and shameful, (i.e. something that must be hidden from others) disposable ‘sanitary hygiene’ companies were able to sell more products. Thankfully, in recent years, this approach has been disrupted by the increase in availability of reusable products, and greater consumer awareness.
Despite their relative lack of marketing budget, reusable product brands are now at least able to produce shame-busting YouTube adverts- check out this particularly relevant ad from Mooncup;
Regular readers of the Menstrual Matters blog will know that good self-esteem is a critical component of improved health and wellbeing. What you may not know, is that different menstrual products can help, or hinder, self-esteem?
For example, a menstrual cup can really boost self-esteem as you get to know your body better, and menstruation becomes less mysterious once you can really see what’s happening. Similarly, other reusable products can boost self-esteem by allowing the user to feel positive about protecting the environment, and choosing a more stylish or natural option than those offered by disposable products. Even Tampons can enable users to swim, play active sports, and generally carry on as usual- even if they do ultimately result in landfill waste… Pads may be less intimidating than other products, but the fact that they can rub, or become smelly, can be bad for self-esteem.
Can you think of any more aspects of menstrual management that we should add to this list? Please let us know…