Personally I think there are a couple factors why we've chosen throw away tampons and maxi pads most of our lives. , it's convenient and it's easy to discard of the evidence. I must admit, being able to flush or toss the wrapper and/or applicator is easy.
Second, disposable products probably the only thing our mothers showed us we could use. My own mother never liked tampons and preferred to just act like they didn't exist, this left me with only one option as I saw it, since I was too embarrassed to even look down the feminine hygiene isle at the store. I was at my mother's mercy, the pads she bought for herself, these insanely huge and highly fragrant pads that made me feel like I was wearing a diaper.
The diaper effect left me feeling even more insecure and embarrassed as a teen about getting my monthly cycle. As soon as I discovered tampons via a friend I NEVER used another maxi pad again and I felt a little annoyed with my mother that she wouldn't have presented me with all the options and let me choose what I wanted to use.
Fast forward to years later. As a cloth diapering mother of three, I discovered cloth pads and reusable menstrual cups right around the same time that I discovered modern cloth diapers. I still wasn't crazy about using pads, but the menstrual cup really interested me.
Now, at age 35 (gasp!), I've discovered that my body has changed and disposable products no longer work for me, even if I wanted them to. My menstrual cup is used through about 70% of my cycle and cloth mama pads the remainder of the time and sometimes overnight.
Tampons and disposable pads feel so harsh and drying, they leave me feeling irritated and to this day I can't stand the smell of maxi-pads.
The unexpected benefitOne important and unexpected benefit of using cloth pads and menstrual cups is that you become more aware and familiar with your cycle. You begin to recognize what to expect on different days of your cycle and can adjust your needs to suit those days. You also become hyper-aware of what's not normal for you.
I'm ecstatic I've discovered reusable menstrual products. Not only do I feel as though I am saving money and producing less waste, I know that I'm using a more natural and gentle alternative to disposables and I can 100% tell the difference in how I feel and my personal comfort when I am left to have to use a disposable product.
Have you been considering switching to a reusable menstrual cup or cloth pads? What's stopping you? Please feel free to comment and share your questions here and I'll do my best to answer them.