I was 13 when I had my period and not knowing any better, the blood only pointed to one thing. After all, when we fall and scrape our knee, we all know what gushes out. Blood! So why would this be any different? Which is why when I saw the blood, I thought maybe I had hurt myself without realizing it and thinking that I would be scolded for being careless while playing, I kept it hidden from my mother. I went on about my daily routine and had been able to (rather unsuccessfully) handle it on my own for exactly 5 hours before my mother found out. She sat me down and not knowing what or why I was bleeding, I told her what was on my mind. After she told me the actual reason, I could not believe that this would happen to me every month. The first thought that came to mind was – what would I use to absorb all the blood.

Come to think of it, as long as we’re talking about blood from any other part of our body, we’re completely at ease. The moment we add the word ‘menstrual’ before it, the topic suddenly becomes a taboo. Due to a lack of awareness, and limited access to sanitary napkins, many women in rural areas still have to make do with a rag or dirty/damp cloth during their menstruation.

This is why I have decided to educate as many women as I can through this blog. Let me start with the basics, how many of us know the two types of products that can be used during periods to absorb the blood. I’m sure not many. Well, there are two basic types of products – external and internal protection. External products include sanitary pads and panty liners whereas internal products include tampons and menstrual cups. The main difference between the two is that the external products absorb the menstrual blood after it has left the body and the internal products absorb it before it has had the chance to leave the body.

In India, a majority of the women prefer sanitary pads because they worry that using a tampon will change their hymen (which is untrue). Here is a list of products, apart from the most commonly used sanitary napkins, that women can turn to during their periods.

  1. Tampons- The most commonly used product besides sanitary napkins is a tampon. They are readily available in different sizes depending on your flow. Even though many women would pick a pad over a tampon, those that have tried them will swear by them. Using tampons is great for those who swim, run, and are involved in sports because you won’t even feel them, unlike sanitary pads.
  2. Menstrual Cups- Although most of think that these might be too tricky to use and insert, menstrual cups are a great choice once you get the hang of them. Menstrual cups are a small, silicone cup inserted into your vagina that collects the blood. The advantage of these cups is that they are eco-friendly and economical because you can rinse and reuse them.

  1. Reusable Pads- If you find it hard to switch to tampons or menstrual cups but still want to do your part in keeping the environment plastic-free, you can opt for a reusable pad. Since they are washable, you can reuse them. They are also more comfortable as compared to regular pads and if you’re worried about leakage, well these reusable pads have a waterproof liner.

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