Product Review: Reusable Menstrual Pads
Why Try Reusable Menstrual Pads?
I chose to look into reusable menstrual pads for a number of different reasons. First, they are more earth-friendly than the disposable ones that I had used for most of my life. Second, they are a cheaper alternative to disposable, since they can be reused indefinitely. Third, I have an annoying allergy to adhesive, so traditional pads have always been a source of irritation to my skin. No matter how diligent I was, it seemed some of the adhesive portion would come in contact with my skin and drive me crazy.
I actually decided to take the leap and try reusable menstrual pads when I was immediately postpartum and trying to manage ongoing light bleeding as my body healed. The use of traditional disposable pads had my skin very irritated, and I knew I needed a different solution.
Who Might Use Them?
Many women prefer the use of pads over tampons or other menstrual products, because they are more comfortable. For some women, this is because they do not tolerate inserting or removing tampons, like in the case of [pelvic pain] or [vaginismus]. For others, it is because of concerns about toxic shock syndrome.
Reusable menstrual pads are an option for any woman of childbearing years who is having vaginal bleeding. I do not recommend using them as an incontinence product, because they are truly designed for menstruation. Urinary incontinence requires the use of incontinence pads and products, because the amount of fluid lost is much greater. Menstrual pads just won’t be absorbent enough.
I think these reusable pads may be appealing to anyone like me who does not tolerate traditional disposable pads well, or who has concerns about the materials from which disposable pads are made. Reusable menstrual products of any type may also be attractive to people who are wanting to reduce their carbon footprint and minimize waste.
Which Style Did I Choose?
I chose to try these Sanitary Reusable Cloth Menstrual Pads from Amazon. They came in a pack of 5, which seemed like a reasonable number to need for the sake of trying them out for one cycle. They also were a cheaper option and Amazon Prime Eligible! You will notice that they are made of an absorbent cotton material in the charcoal gray with a decorative pattern on the opposite side.
Like with most of the styles that I saw, they had a single snap button on the “wings” to snap together around the underwear to keep them in place. I also went with the extra-long cloth size, because I didn’t want to worry about leaking as I moved around and was pretty active.
These pads really helped my skin heal from the irritation of the disposable pads with adhesive. They were very soft and non-irritating.
Reusable pads would definitely be cheaper for long-term use compared to disposable pads. While disposable pads are cheap at the onset, they are an ongoing cost. The only ongoing cost with these cotton reusable pads is in washing them.
Using pads that don’t go straight into a landfill made me feel better about this purchase. I washed them on a small cycle in the washing machine after rinsing them in the sink. So the water consumption was also pretty minimal.
Amazon Prime Eligible:
I am a big fan of Amazon Prime, so being able to get these delivered to me with no cost for shipping was definitely a positive.
The extra-long length of these pads was perfect to keep from leaking as I moved around. I was also able to sleep in them, when traditional disposable pads always seemed to be too short, unless I was using full diaper-style pads (which I shamelessly did for the first two weeks postpartum).
Unlike a menstrual cup which can be washed on the go, these pads are hard to manage when I was out for an entire day. They were a good option when I was home and could immediately soak them after changing, but I can only reason that some people must keep a plastic bag or something with them to put a used pad in after rinsing it.
Staying in Place:
The huge benefit of disposable pads with adhesive is that they tend to stay where they are stuck. In contrast, these pads only have one little snap to keep them in place. So they tended to get twisted around my underwear pretty easily and shift out of place. I had to make a couple of additional trips to the bathroom in the cycle I used them just to adjust and make sure they were in place.
These pads, like any other reusable product requires that you are comfortable with rinsing and seeing menstrual fluids. Some women may have a hard time with this.
Buying any reusable product takes an initial investment of purchasing the products, which are often more expensive than buying disposable products for that month.
These products were a great short-term solution for me to allow my skin irritation to heal from the adhesive on the disposable pads. I felt good about using a reusable product and creating less waste. However, I will probably not continue to use them regularly with my cycle, because they don’t provide enough leak-protection to keep up with my busy and active day. I will likely use them again postpartum when I cannot use tampons or a menstrual cup as my perineum heals; I will also use them postpartum, because I know I will be less active and less likely to have leaks or have to worry about carrying a dirty pad with me during the day.
My big summary is that these are a great product for use around the house on less active days when you have a washing machine and sink close by, but these are not ideal for a busy lifestyle and can’t compete with the convenience of disposable products.