Reusable Period Wear vs. Disposable Pads/ Tampons

Reusable Period Wear vs. Disposable Pads/ Tampons

Gone are the days when menstruators had to choose from the same set of menstrual products for their cycles. Now there’s not only various menstrual products to choose from, some products that are perfect for you and the planet, like our leakproof range.

Here's a brief comparison between age-old disposables vs new-age reusables for period and bladder leaks.

What's what?

Disposable pads are usually thin and absorbent, with adhesive on one side and wings for secure attachment to the underwear. Tampons are cylindrical and inserted directly into the vagina.

Reusable period wear refers to cloth pads, period underwear and menstrual cups/disks which can be worn, washed and reused for years. Cloth pads and period underwear have an absorbent core that absorbs and retains flow. Vitals leakproof range are a complete replacement to pads and tampons and come with a range of absorbency capcities to choose from. While menstrual cups/disks can be inserted inside the vagina to collect the flow. can be used on its own or as a supplement to other menstrual products for a leak-proof experience.

Materials

Sanitary pads and tampons are made from rayon or a blend of rayon and cotton, and a heavy percentage of synthetic fibres. They are not breathable and tend to trap airflow, leading to infections and odours if not changed frequently. Additionally, they might have artificial fragrances which are further harmful for your intimate health. 

Vitals reusable period underwear and cloth pads are made from 95% natural fabrics derived from bamboo and cotton. They are kept unscented and breathable to protect you from infection and irritation. A mere 5% spandex is blended into the fabrics for stretch. Our sustainability policy is to offset thrice the volume of any synthetics used in the products and operations by funding coastal recycling projects. 

Check out our period wear here.


Environmental Impact and Life-Cycle

Pads and tampons are often comprised of plastics/synthetics. Their disposal also creates excessive waste. Tampon applicators, strings, pad pockets, and the packaging all come with high plastic composition. This period waste takes up quite a significant portion of landfills and take 500 years or more to disintegrate. It's also known to commonly clog sewer systems and also entering our water bodies through waste water disposal units. 

Reusable period wear can drastically improve the situation since each product lasts a long time. With proper care, Vitals can be washed an reused for up to 2-3 years. Because the materials are made with high content of natural fabrics, they are biodegradable and also can be used in the garden as ties or weed barriers after cutting away the trims like elastics, leakproof lining and seams. 

Menstrual cups and discs can take a bit of time to get it right, but are often the most sustainable reusable period product as they require much lesser water and are often recyclable at the end of life. 

Want to learn more? See this detailed article by National Geography.


Cost

An average menstruators spends at least $10-20 a month on pads or tampons depending on their flow. It is often a lot more than that if they suffer from heavy menstrual conditions like endometriosis or postpartum. That accounts to $360 in the span of 2 years.

On the other hand, here's a comparision with Vitals period underwear. 

Our reusable period underwear ranges from $29.95-$36.95, often the cheapest when bought in packs. Our highest value 8 underwear pack is $237.95 (including perks and free shipping), costing $29 even for the heaviest flow underwear which take 40mls! These last for 2 years and approximately save $124 compared to disposable period wear.

Reusable period wear is not only more economic in the longer, but it also offers greater value in terms of convenience, comfort, and hygiene. Treat it as a long term investment that will pay off its value in better savings, better health for you and the environment. 


Comfort

Reusable period wear specially the period underwear are considered extremely comfortable because they can be worn like a casual underwear. With full coverage leakproof protection in the front and back, our period underwear are very well secured from all sides. They are followed by cloth pads and menstrual cups (for those who are most comfortable with insertion)

The real problem with disposable underwear is that the coverage is often not enough for people with periods and incontinence. Many people going through heavy leakages tend to layer pads or use large tampons which can lead to toxic shock syndrome, skin irritation and leak anxiety.  


Access

It is true that not everyone can get access to better products depending on the environment, lifestyle and access. If you live in places with sparse water access - you can try the reusable menstrual cups. They need minimal water to maintain and can last 5 years and more. Biodegradable pads/tampons are another option they can actually be composted. For people who are going through health conditions or are unable to care for themselves, disposables can be a good option too. These can be teamed with reusable period underwear to catch any leaks just in case. 

One of the common questions we get for those who want to use leakproof wear is how to change and carry them around. Our Fresh n Dry bag is designed to carry both fresh and used undies in separate leak and odour resistant pouches within the bag. This make changes during office or recess much easier. 

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Disposable pads and tampons might seem easier to handle in the short term, as they involve no maintenance and are readily available at lower costs. But the associated risks, the excessive waste produced over the years, and the accumulated expenditure over a lifetime tip the scales in the favour of reusable period wear. However, if you live in places with sparse water access - you can try the menstrual cups or are unable to care for yourself - you can consider disposable