For the sake of this article, I will be using she/her pronouns, but it is important to note that periods and menstruation occur in people of all different genders and pronouns.
As a plus-size babe who menstruates, I have been experimenting with different period products of late. Generally, from period to period, I am a pad girl. I do however have an interest in the more-eco friendly side of period products. Through this experimentation process, I tried period panties, reusable pads, menstrual cups and an organic period subscription box. Now, let's examine them one by one:
1. Period Panties
The most popular period panty brands are probably Thinx, Knix and Lunapads. The idea is that there is a pad built into the underwear so you don't have to wear a pad, tampon, etc. While period panties seem like a great idea and very convenient, for plus-size babes over a 3XL, it's not really an option. They can also be very expensive for the babes on a budget. Period panties from all of the above places are made to fit snug for extra protection, meaning they fit small and tight. Even if you fit a 3XL or below, make sure to look at the size guide because the sizes vary depending on the brand. A benefit to Knix, Thinx and Lunapads is that they offer returns if they don't fit. The price range for period panties depending on fit, style and brand seem to vary between $25 (Knix) to $53 (Thinx).
2. Reusable Pads (My Fave)
Reusable pads are definitely a better option if you prefer pads and can't use or don't like the period underwear. They are definitely more affordable, especially when sold by independent sellers or people who make them themselves. They are very accessible, being sold multiple places from Amazon to Etsy to Period specific online stores like Lunapads. If you prefer to buy local, a great place to look is Etsy. My favourite sellers of reusable pads are sold by an Etsy store called Don't Ovaryact and Lunapads. Don't Ovaryact is a local store to me that sells light to heavy flow pads from lengths 8-11 inches. They have a button clasp to secure the pad around the underwear in place which I love and find super helpful. Lunapads range in size from 6-14 inches, absorbencies from light to heavy and styles including a thong and overnight. Lunapads also sell pad inserts and sets depending on your needs. They are easy to wash, using warm water and mild soap. They can be hand and machine washed. I suggest after they are used (they can be used for the same amount of time as a normal pad), they are rinsed with warm water and mild soap, then machine washed along with normal laundry. I prefer to air dry them to prevent wrinkling and any potential damage.
3. Menstrual Cups AKA The Diva Cup
I am very new to menstrual cups and generally to insertable period products. Although I prefer pads, I was definitely interested in the eco-friendly nature of products such as the Diva Cup. The size is dependent on your cervix size and whether you have or haven't had children. All diva cups range between $30-$40 and include a little care bag. Again, cleaning is easy. You can wash it using water and mild soap in between uses (they can stay in for about 12 hours) and boil it for sanitization for 5-10 minutes. They are suitable for all flows and are advertised to be as comfortable as tampons. The main problem I had was with getting it in. There are two methods of folding for ease of insertion. Reaching around the tummy is very difficult and requires some mean gymnastic skills. I found it most effective to put my foot up on my bathroom counter, bend down and lean my shoulders as far forward as possible. Once it's in, it's in, which is great. Another thing to consider is that there is a stem on the base of the cup so you can pull it out easily. I cut mine off because it was very noticeable and sharp when seated.
4. Organic Period Box Subscription
Lastly, I tried an organic period subscription box called Blume. The options for the box include either ten pads or tampons and delivery of said product bi-monthly, monthly and quarterly. My favourite part of the box was the add ons. Add ons include liners, essential oils or chocolate. Each box is $7-8 plus the add on; obviously, I chose the chocolate for an extra $3. Unfortunately, there aren't many "size" options as only regular length pads are available.
Overall, I like the reusable pads. They come in fun colours and patterns, they are easy to wash, comfortable to wear and affordable for my lifestyle. If you are considering an eco-friendly period product, I would recommend the reusable pads or the menstrual cup. Happy Bleeding! :)