Some women menstruate. Some men menstruate. Some intersex people menstruate. Some non-binary and agender folks menstruate. So what products are out there for all these folks to make their periods as painless as possible?
If you’re an able-bodied cis woman, many of these considerations may never have occurred to you before. If you are a trans person, someone with mobility issues, or sensory processing difficulties – these considerations might be very significant for you.
- Reusable and long lasting products: if you’re a trans man trying to use public mens rooms and wanting to avoid crinkling product wrappers or trips to the trashcan with a blood-soaked pad, reusable and/or long lasting options might be very important to you. If you are disabled with limited mobility, changing products in public restrooms might be quite difficult and long lasting products might be important to you.
- Gender inclusivity: for transgender and non-binary people, being visually assaulted with the ultra-gendered packaging of most menstrual products can be incredibly dysphoria inducing. Finding products with neutral packaging and advertising can be tough!
- Environmentally friendly and body safe: the impact of the products you use for several days out of every month for many years of your life on your body and the planet may be a priority for you. Many menstrual products are made with harmful chemicals and excessive plastic packaging. Organic products can be expensive and don’t always work well.
Pads: the classic pad is what most people with periods start out using as a pre-teen – it’s less intimidating than a tampon and there’s nothing internal involved.
- Aunt Flow – this brand of traditional disposable menstrual pads comes in neutral packaging (red and white) and uses inclusive language throughout their website and products. With no dyes, perfumes, or other chemical additives, these 100% cotton pads are a good disposable option.
- Just – while not every aspect of this company’s advertising is gender neutral, the products themselves are simply packaged in red and black with no bells or whistles – or chlorine bleach, dyes, or fragrances.
- GladRags– these are reusable, cloth, washable pads. Available in all sorts of fabrics and prints, these are a planet-friendly alternative to disposable pads and are pretty easy to use.
- LilyPads – another company selling reusable cloth pads, LilyPads makes fun “Shark Week” pads as well as many other varieties of cloth pads. A small Etsy business, this company is based in Canada.
Tampons: tampons are popular because they are typically less messy, you can swim with them, and ideally you don’t feel them at all once they are in making for a comfortable and less sensory-stressing period experience.
- Aunt Flow– marketed as the world’s first gender neutral tampon, these 100% cotton tampons are FDA regulated, hypoallergenic, and never bleached in chlorine. This company also donates a box of their product for every box purchased.
- Just – again, this company isn’t 100% neutral but the products are plain and simple cotton with no frills packaging.
Period Underwear: Period underwear are probably the #1 choice for people with sensory issues, because they generally feel just like normal underwear without anything internal, no sticky pad adhesive or crinkling products, no slipping or adjusting. I personally use these and HIGHLY recommend trying them if other period products aren’t meeting your needs.
- Thinx – these are underwear designed to be worn alone: they absorb the blood and then get tossed in the washing machine to be reused again and again. Surprisingly absorbent and comfortable, Thinx is a great option for long-lasting coverage. Carrying around a wet-bag allows for easy change in public restrooms without any rustling or disposing of wrappers. Thinx makes a “boyshort” version of their underwear that fits like a boxer brief, and was the first menstrual company to feature a transgender male model (Sawyer DeVuyst) in their advertising.
- Luna Pads Boxer Brief – another period underwear, except this one comes with a washable pad insert rather than having the absorption built into the underwear. These inserts hold up to 2 tampons worth at a time! This company also uses trans male models, and the products are ethically made in Canada.
- Pyramid 7– These are boxer briefs designed to hold pads or liners comfortably without sacrificing comfort or style. Their entire company is designed around the needs of gender-diverse menstruating folks, and is one of the most inclusive of the companies we’ve linked thus far.
Menstrual Cups: cups have been around for awhile, but until recently the few companies that offered them were heavily gendered in their names and marketing. There are so many more options now, and these reusable products are great for the planet and might be great for your body. If you’re used to tampons, maybe try out a menstrual cup and see if it’s a good fit for you.
- UltuCup– This menstrual cup brand uses gender-neutral language and simple, accessible packaging. Reusable for a year, this product holds about 12 hours worth of flow for the average bleeding person – so you don’t have to worry about changing this as often as a tampon.
- Lunette – This is another menstrual cup with gender-neutral language and colors (they come in blue, orange, pink, violet, and white). Their tagline is “A Cup for Every Body”.
Other Options: Tried all of the traditional options and looking for something else? These less commonly known menstrual options might be a good fit for you!
Holy Sponge – This company sells natural sea sponges for menstruation, with neutral language and design. Kits come with instructions for cleaning, a muslin storage bag, and a cramp balm.
Flex – This is a new product that allows you to have mess-free sex while menstruating, if that’s something that interests you! This disposable disk is inserted to sit just below the cervix like a diaphragm, catching about three tampons worth of blood at once and safe to leave in for 12 hours.