Periods. They’re unpleasant. Often, they are also uncomfortable, painful, and a bit gross. Which is why I’m pretty excited about this blog post.
The way women handle periods could be about to change.
Since adolesence you have probably approached your period in much the same way. Get some tampons and pads, wear them, try not to let it bother you. If it does bother you, take some painkillers. Or, better yet, find contraception that makes it all way more manageable…after going through 6 rounds of awful trial-and-error.
But today, female entrepreneurs are turning their attention to that time of the month. There are a whole bunch of new products, inventions and tools that tackle common period problems in a new way. This is great news because, aside from being irritating, our current methods of handling things are:
- Bad for the environment – the average woman uses 11,000 disposable sanitary products in her lifetime. That’s a lotta waste.
- Expensive. Pads, tampons, painkillers…it adds up.
- Stressful. 80% of women have accidents during their period, and have to throw away around 5 pairs of underwear per year. That’s a good recipe for anxiety.
So, without further ado, here are some of the latest gadgets that could help you make your period simpler.
Okay – menstrual cups are not new. They were actually invented in the 80s. But now, companies like Mooncup have made them easier to use.
Cups do what they sound like they do. They’re made from silicon, side just inside your body, and catch blood. However, because they are not disposable, you can use them again. And again. In fact, Mooncups are said to last years, completely replacing environmentally-damaging tampons. You can’t feel them, and they can be used for up to 8 hours.
When I first heard about these things, I immediately thought: well, if they’re so great, why I haven’t I heard of them before? It seems the answer is simply that they are unfamliar. By the time cups came along, everyone was so used to the convenience of tampons (invented in the 1930s) that they didn’t go mainstream. That, and the fact that using them is different from what you’re used to. But, seeing as they can save you a lot of money, it seems worth it.
If you get cramps, keep an eye on this on Indie Gogo. It’s a simple, drug-free way to handle pain during your period.
Livia is basically a small TENS machine that uses electrical impulses to block the pain caused by cramps. It hooks onto your jeans, with two gel pads to place on the areas that hurt. It’s wireless, works for as long as it has charge, and judging from the testimonials, it could actually replace pain medication while you’re on. It fits discretely under your clothes, and in comes in pretty colours. What’s not to like?
And now for what is, in my opinion, the most interesting entry to the list.
Thinx are, quite simply, period-proof underwear. Yep. These pants are designed to either replace or back-up sanitary products, and can absorb up to two tampons’ worth of blood. All this, despite looking like completely normal knickers. All you do is wear, wash and repeat.
They come in a range of styles depending on your needs, and if you buy a pair, Thinx will give a pack of re-usable sanitary pads to a girl in the developing world.
This may not sound like a big deal, but actually, it could be life-changing…if not world-changing. This excellent video from Thinx explains why:
Now for an app – but not just any app. Clue is not only useful (yay), free (yay) and beautifully designed, but it does basically everything you’d need a period tracking app to do. It tells you when you’re due to start or stop your period, when you’re most likely to get PMS, helps you track your mood, skin, pain, energy levels, sleeping patterns…the list goes on. It even collects your data month-on-month to help you spot patterns emerge over time. This is really helpful for figuring out if a particular issue really is hormonal, and for planning around difficult parts of your cycle. All this, and it’s also one of the few female health apps that isn’t pink. (Seriously, developers. We’re not twelve.)
The only thing I dislike about Clue is that its pill reminder feature doesn’t really work with 21-day pill packets. It reminds you every day, which is easy to start ignoring if you know you’re on a 7 day break (and therefore, forgetting).
To many these tools and gadgets might sound a bit trivial – but as anyone who has experienced the worst of periods knows, they are far from it. Managing periods differently has the potential to drastically improve the quality of life for many women, and reduce the huge financial and environmental cost of simply being female.
Are you tempted to try any of these products? Let me know in the comments! And if you liked this post, don’t forget to subscribe.