Cloth menstrual pads vs. disposable pads and tampons

 Note from Michael: the following article was contributed by Kelley Harrison, owner of Many Moons Alternatives.

While the idea of using cloth pads for menstruation is not a new one, it has seen a huge increase in popularity over the last decade or so. More and more women seek to make healthier choices for themselves and the environment, and using cloth menstrual pads allows women to do both.

Your grandmothers and great-grandmothers probably used some form of cloth menstrual device, as it wasn’t until the 1920’s that commercially available disposables were marketed in the U.S.  

A resurgence in interest for cloth menstrual pads began in the 1960’s with the hippie culture, but really gained mainstream popularity in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s– about the same time environmentalism started hitting the ground running.

Many women today are using cloth diapers for their children and are asking themselves “If this is far healthier for my baby and better for the environment, what about my own monthly choices?”

Reusable cloth menstrual pads today are certainly as far from your granny’s pads as they can be!

Here are some great features of cloth pads that make them easy to use:

1) Comfort – there is nothing like soft breathable cotton pads!

2) Environmental – using cloth pads enables you to reduce garbage – about 20 billions pads/tampons are discarded on an annual basis in North America and plastic tampon applicators are one of the most common forms of garbage found on beaches. Chlorine-bleached and rayon-containing products also contain small amounts of amounts of dioxin

3) Economical – cloth pads last a long time (between 4 – 5 years or more) so women are not spending money every month on a disposable product. The initial investment in pads is paid off in full in just a matter of months (compared to what would have been spent on disposables).

4) Health – using cloth pads can help a woman reduce her exposure to chemicals and artificial fragrances (which are just more chemicals). Many women also find that chronic yeast infections clear up when they start using cloth menstrual pads.

5) Using alternatives help women gain an appreciation for their cycle and make it less of a taboo – washing our pads instead of disposing of them – it helps us become more comfortable with our bodies.  I think this is a good thing!

By Kelley Harrison, owner of Many Moons Alternatives.

Many Moons Alternatives have been manufacturing cloth menstrual pads since 1989. Many Moons Alternatives pads are available in fun prints or certified organically grown cotton flannel. They offer 4 different sizes to suit all body types and functions, and they are suitable for use with mild to moderate incontinence issues for both men and women.

Many Moons Alternatives offer a comprehensive buyers guide to cloth pads as well as a free pattern to make your own pads at home.

The company also carries  Diva Cup –  a popular reusable menstrual cup designed to catch menstrual flow rather than absorbing it.