Zero Waste Period–Well, Almost

Ever since I discovered brown spots on my underwear at the age of 11, I’ve been using pads for ‘that time of the month’. Some months were more disastrous than others. It was only last year that I discovered I had fibroids–who knows how long they’ve been there–but it certainly explained some of the symptoms I had.

Anyway, my period regime usually includes Thinx period underwear, and overnight pads (nope not cloth ones, although I have been considering the organic cotton pads from Wellness Within). Recently I bought a menstrual cup and tried it, with some success, although I leak quite a bit. So this month (it started just yesterday actually), I thought I’d try to have a completely zero waste period.

Image from Thinx

Day 1: Bring it On

Felt a bit of dripping early in the morning–no sweat, I wear Thinx pretty much all day every day, since it eliminates any need for pantyliners. I put in the cup and went about my day. There were some leaks and I eventually had to go home to wash out the Thinx and change to a new pair before going out to try to catch some legendary Pokémon.

Washed out the cup and put on the sporty Thinx and went to sleep–or at least tried to. The anxiety I feel about the cup in me makes my brain super active and I had insomnia one night because of this. I think I slept, but eventually I gave up and wore the pad (which also stained my shorts, thanks very much).

Leakage: Moderate.

Number of Pads Used: 1

Day 2: Heaviest Day Ever

From what I had Googled the day before, I realised that I was probably putting the cup in too low, so I pushed it in higher, till I literally felt the cup unfurling. Then I left it in. To my amazement, I didn’t have leaks for an entire day, which is pretty much unheard of. I did take it out and dump out the contents–I have never been able to take it out and examine the contents and see the volume of blood–and stealthily get it washed in the office building bathroom at around the eight hour mark.

I decided that potential sleep deprivation wasn’t worth the eco impact, so I put in a pad again. What I’ve realised is that at night my flow is greatly reduced–not sure if I am having a lighter flow period or if it’s the menstrual cup–apparently if you use it, your flow becomes lighter?

Leakage: Slight

Number of Pads Used: 1

Using the Cup:  Since I really just figured it out today, here’s what I learned. First of all, stick your finger (after you’ve washed it of course) up till you find your cervix, which apparently feels a bit like a pair of lips. This helps you estimate how far you need to push the cup up.

Then fold your cup. I like the seashell fold, where you fold a section of the cup down so that the top part is smaller than the base and then you put it in. It may take some doing, but it should slide in within a few minutes (it just feels like forever). Then push it in further till it unfurls inside you. This ensures that you collect more blood in the cup, and without leaks.

Day 3: Almost Gone

Put in the cup and then continued with my day. It was pretty uneventful, only changed it about nine hours later, and the volume didn’t seem to be a lot (I’ve never been able to see how much blood is in the cup, just how much ends up in the toilet). I’m pretty much a menstrual cup convert by now. I love how I don’t feel the flow at all, and it just feels like a regular day, until about ten hours later when I have to take out the cup, wash it out and put it back in. As per my earlier observation, the amount of blood produced seemed a lot less than I would have expected–this from the same person who once filled up her Thinx in half a day.

Leakage: None

Number of Pads: 1 (this was completely clean, but I switched to Thinx because leaving it on felt bulky and scratchy).

For the next couple of days–fourth, fifth and sixth–I’ll be using Thinx exclusively, and don’t forsee any problems with leakages.

Moving Forward

I’ll try to overcome the mental anxiety I have with putting the cup in at night and if I succeed then the period should really be zero waste. Also, I can use other underwear rather than relying on Thinx.


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