Having spoken to many women before, I have to admit that it is a rarity to hear them say that they actually enjoy having their period. Certainly, women do have their fair share of inconveniences and pains, so I’m not surprized that some, if any, would be excited over their monthly visitor. There are of course those very lucky women who have little discomfort or inconvenience when they get their periods. For instance, one of my god-sis is quite fortunate to be one of them, with a very light menstrual flow and a short period, usually only 2-3 days per cycle. Her pad and tampon consumption is very low and her period has never once debilitated her enough from carrying on her normal lifestyle. There is beauty in menstruation, because not only does it signify the beauty of the female body maturing, but also giving ladies the responsibility of taking care of your personal hygiene by bringing the proper amount of product(s) with you! Maybe that’s why, women are much better at taking care of their bodies (and even in general) than men are capable of 😛
There are however, women who I spoken to who suffer from PCOS, period-related anemia and even sometimes just bad cramps/heavy flow that it severely disrupts their lifestyle, preventing them from attending class, going to work or even something as simple as going out for a walk. One experience I had personally was that one of my ex’s had such a bad period that she didn’t even want to go to the mall with me, in fears that she would need to change her feminine hygiene product urgently that she didn’t even want to endure the car ride or the possibility of not being close enough to a washroom and prevent a leak. Just like anything in life, there will always be women on either ends of extremes. I’m glad my bebe has a fairly normal menstrual experience, although it’s a bit longer than I would usually expect, as usually her cycle is into the 40-ish day ranges.
To put it into words, women have just learned to cope with their periods, but not necessarily embrace it. I cannot say I even know half of the feeling of what women go through during their periods and nor am I a psychologist, so I cannot say how easy/hard it would be to truly ‘love’ ones period. As a period-lover, I also can’t imagine not loving periods, despite the pains involved, so I may not be the person who can accurate describe how to help others change their mentality towards their own (or other females) period. Suffice to say, with women commonly in the workforce, many of them are forced to cope with their period at work, even if they may be highly affected by discomfort, pain or hygienic inconveniences. I wish from the bottom of my heart that every woman can have a pleasant and comfortable period, but unfortunately that dream for me is unlikely to come true. I know girls who have passed out from the pain of their period or have to use both an overnight pad and ultra tampon just to avoid leakage.
A few of my girls do enjoy their period, but not so much the menstruating factor, but more of the fact it gives them an opportunity to test new products, including ones which I suggest or recommend. I’ve had a few female readers send me complimenting emails on how they look forward to their period because they have been inspired to try new products every period as a result of reading my blog. One of my regular reader also tells me she looks forward to her period every month as she enjoys trying a variety of pads and tampons. Both of us amusingly, stock up excessively on the number of products, haha. We both wish there was a way to quickly go through all the products, that way, we can move on and try something new!
This blog exists not only to encourage men to learn and embrace menstruation, but also in hopes that the ladies will enjoy having their period and see it as an opportunity each time it comes along. I understand it’s hard for those who suffer from menstruation or menstrual-related disorders to view their period in the same way, but we can only make the best of each period! I know I’ve accomplished quite a bit with this blog and continue to hope I can touch the lives of my readers, because I’ve receive much positive feedback on how the blog has allowed them to view menstruation from a whole other angle. Persuasion is indeed a hard thing, particularly because it’s hard for me to put myself in place of a female who has experienced what periods feel like, including the “negativity” that surrounds periods. I had a lengthy discussion with a friend the other day about her period and it was tough for me to try to convince her that her period is a great part of her life. Unfortunately she suffers from some pretty wacky stuff with her period, so it’s hard for me to persuade her to enjoy her period in any way. On the bright side, I’ve got her to try a new product that she never tried before, so I’m trying to open up the doors for her to feel more comfortable with her period and get something positive out of it.
Do you or do you know women in your life who enjoy their period or perhaps even learned to love it?
When I saw this video posted up by Bubzbeauty on my Facebook, I almost fell off my chair. Never did I think that such a public and world-wide figure would ever post something like this: a topic of much taboo and ‘shame’ – particularly in Asian culture. The most I could do was write a heartfelt comment on the Youtube video about how great it is to see someone who, under the eyes of so many, would “dare” speak about periods and menstruation so openly. I’ve always loved Bubbi because of how genuine she is, but seeing something like this makes me feel that she’s a hero to many, including myself!
Having been almost a year and a half since I started this blog, I’ve received lots of comments both on-site and as well as through IM and email. People often ask, how is it that I can be so open about a topic that is not native to my biological gender? Easy, it is an interest! With that said, the topic itself should not be embarrassing or shameful to tackle, as menstruation and is wonderful and mystical element of the female body. Women may not bond over the fact they share breasts, a vagina or long hair – but, many sisterhoods are formed over a common ground, their periods and naturally bleeding body. Suffice to say, one of my god-sis’ best friend was actually formed inside the women’s bathroom in high school. How could that happen? Simple, she lent one of her tampons to someone she didn’t know who was begging for one. After 7 years, they still remain close friends, despite facing the trials of life, finishing post-secondary, getting a job and working on starting their “adult” life – all through the small act of lending out a tampon. While this may be a rare circumstance to have such a friendship formed, it is but a simple example of the bond formed through an act of kindness over the pains and unfortunate appearance of menstrual flow.
Regularly speaking to my female friends and some male community members over the fascination of menstruation, I have come to realize that particularly for guys, opening up to fellow friends or a female partner is a daunting situation. Particularly in the case of a female partner, whether a girlfriend or wife, I think it’s necessary that two people are able to speak keenly about their own interests, both personality-wise and sexually. After all, if two people are in it for the long-run, why should they not know everything about their other half? Being able to share things openly with each other is an essential part of a functional relationship. Every girl I’ve been with in a romantic relationship knows about my menstrual interests, because I think it should be fair I can share it with them and fair that they need to be aware of it. There needs to be acceptance both ways, the fact that I fee lcomfortable enough to share such intimate details with them and also that they can accept my interest. Accepting in my mind, does not necessarily mean participating in my interest, but simply allowing me to “do my own thing” so to speak. Also, because this interest, generally speaking, is not something of destructive nature I believe wholeheartedly that it should not be something to cause alarm. For instance, if I were to start using illegal drugs, it would definitely be in any girlfriend or wife’s place to say STOP IT, but she should have no right to TELL me to stop. Suffice to say, if bebe asked me today to give up my interest in menstruation, I probably could because of my love and devotion to her that I would be willing to make such a sacrifice. With that said, it doesn’t mean any male or female should have the right to demand that the other person suppress their right to have a menstrual interest, despite whether they want to “take part” in it.
How did I approach the girl’s I’ve been with about my menstrual interests? Well, I would not be able to answer that in any concrete way, because just like any individual, each girl had a differently personality type, predisposed openness to menstruation and comfort level with their own body. I definitely found the girls who had the most comfort with their own body and open-minded personality that they adapted easily to my interest, including ones who even LOVED my passion with menstruation. Each girl is different so I can say for sure that the way I introduced my interests to Girl #1 is definitely differently compared to Girl #2. As I’ve mentioned before, I never had any girls in my life (who I shared a romantic relationship with that is) who did not at bare minimum accept my love for menstruation. Even bebe with her semi-frigidness seems willing to accept my interest in it and try to share herself with me when it came to such discussions. While she is far from being as enthusiastic as my ex over it, her efforts to do so make it extra heartwarming. Sharing such an interest comes with great danger, because it may very well make or break a relationship – or even – friendship. Remember that even in such an “advanced” and “modern” society, many people still ‘have a problem’ when it comes to the subject of menstruation.
Yes, I agree that menstruation, especially one’s OWN menstrual cycle is a personal detail, many people take it beyond the fact that it’s just “personal” – but the fact they themselves resent it or feel disgusted by it. I have no problem with a girl feeling exposed or that she rather keep her menstrual details to herself, but those who feel that their menstrual cycle is shameful is where the ‘problem’ occurs. Just like our sex-lives, some like to share, some do not, but one should not shelter information about periods for the wrong reasons. With each of the girls I’ve had a relationship with, I took many different approaches and anecdotes, with some I could literally blurt out, “Oh by the way, I love periods” and other ones, where I had to play little games of injecting hints over a period (heh) of time.
One thing is for sure, before any one considers telling their partner or someone about their own interests in menstruation, you really have to “feel out” the other person. What kind of person are they, do they seem receptive of such information? What do you have to gain from them knowing, but also, what costs are involved should it fail? The best way is usually to try to engage them in “period talk” of sorts by somehow directing a conversation towards that subject. If the person veers the conversation away, it may mean they’re very sensitive towards that topic, in that case, I would be very cautious about expressing open interest. Likewise, if they engage in that subject and also seem passionate about it, you may have a green light. These are NOT set-in-stone rules, because while a girl might be open about menstruation or even her own menstrual information, she may not always be accepting of you being interested in menstruation. I remember one conversation with a girl I had who would participate strongly in any conversation about menstruation, including divulging many of her own experiences and intimate details of her, but when I ‘tested the waters’ on how she would react to know that a male was interested in periods, she furrowed her eyebrows. Therefore, one must be cautious about indications of openness to menstruation, in alignment with the whether it shows true openness (to all genders) or whether the openness is present under the consideration that it is a “female-only topic”.
While I would love to share my interest of menstruation, there are some girls who are simply object to men knowing anything about periods, let alone be interested in them. It’s up to you to decide whether it is worthwhile to consider pursuing the chance to open the topic or whether it is best to never touch upon it again. Furthermore, you have to ask yourself, if this is a woman who you are interested in, would you be able to go the rest of your life without expressing your interests or perhaps, even suppressing them? Of course I am not saying just because the girl doesn’t share the same love or acceptance to menstruation doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be with her, but you just have to consider the long-term impact and your own willpower. After all, there are several members even of Kayo’s community who has admitted that for years they have sheltered their own fetish and interest in menstruation in fears of that it would affect their romantic partners. Opening up to your partner about your love for menstruation is hard, particularly if every aspect of the relationship is “right” that you don’t want to risk the loss of such relationship over your own passion.
While I do not restrict the knowledge of my love of menstruation to girls I date, I definitely keep it close-knowledge because girls that I’ve known for a long-time and built a solid relationship with, or girls like my god-sis’. Also, with each girl, you can get an idea of their comfort level to the degree of which they are willing to share about menstruation, whether in general or about their own bodies. I suppose I’ve achieved comfort in a lot of these girls because they share the most intimate details about their periods with me and sometimes when we’re out, they won’t even say something like, “I need to use the washroom” – they’ll be like, “Hey, I gotta go change my pad!” and that’s just totally cool with me 😛 I have to say though, when it comes to girls I’ve dated or am dating, I also “restrict” the amount of information I share with them based on what I perceive to be their comfort level. Even with bebe, as much as I love her and want to be with her for the rest of my life, there are still some reservations that I make when it comes to my interest in periods with her. Timing and comfort-over-time is a very large factor when it comes to how little/how much you reveal and with proper timing.
Writing this entry, I’m hardly saying I’ve “perfected the art of revealing my menstrual interests” – but with a handful of relationships and 2 serious ones under the belt, I can say I’ve had at least ‘experience’ with displaying my interests of menstrual within the scope of a relationship. Having girls who appreciate my passion in menstruation is a really wonderful feeling and for the guys who share similarities like this with me, I can definitely tell you it is a liberating feeling being able to tell trusted friends and the special person in your life about your own passion. While such interests differs from hobbies like playing basketball, interest in menstruation can still be a respectful interest and with much to learn about. Remember that loving menstruation isn’t just about benefiting yourself, but also about the benefit of others. With knowledge about menstruation, one can better themselves by knowing that when a girl is angry, it isn’t a matter of her (not always at least) PMS’ing or that she’s “on the rag” and knowing the realities and separating the myths of what menstruation is about. It’s about using your love and education in menstruation, that you may be able to help girl-friends, girlfriend and/or wife to cope with her changing needs over the years. With your love of menstruation, you should help your fellow females feel comfortable with menstruation in generality and personally. It is your love of menstruation that in the most painful times of need, that you are there to support your friends and lover and to help them overcome obstacles in their periods and throughout the rest of their lives.
Remember that knowledge of menstruation comes with great responsibilities in knowing that what other women may confide in you when it comes to their period, they may not want to share with the whole world. I am lucky to say, many of the girls who I associate with and who share many details about their own experiences and regular monthly habits, that they openly share with me and feel ok that I share it with the world at-large. Of course since I rarely define names in my posts, I still hold the information which they provide me with in highest regards and if a girl is open enough to share these details with you, that you return the favour of their secrecy. I always welcome passer-byers and regular visitors alike to share their own stories, comments or feedback with me, on the blog or by other methods of contact. I hope you enjoy reading this blog, as much as I love writing it!
I have a habit of checking my emails every morning, just to see if I need to “expect” anything during the day. Since I have all 5 of my email accounts hooked up to my iPhone, they all get pulled onto my phone once I switch it on. As I’m sitting there to “do my business” for the day, I saw 2 emails pop up in my MiM mailbox. One of them was particularly touching and really, emails like these are really what make running MiM worthwhile. Besides being an output for my menstrual interest and public discussions, I really enjoy hearing feedback from readers about their experiences with MiM. Certainly, not every experience or readers think that MiM is a great thing. Despite my efforts to bring menstruation out in the light of beauty, many, men and women alike, still find menstruation an abhorrent subject to be talking about, let alone from a heterosexual male. The email I got simply wasn’t a “I like your site” – but it was an expression of personal rapport, which is a very rare thing to receive over the internet. I felt deeply touched reading through the email and though I still have to reply to it, I decided to write this entry because I haven’t done one in so long. Rest assured, MiM is not going to become a past-legacy, I am still devoted into maintaining this blog and keeping it up-to-date as time permits. After all, the blog is secondary to my life and certainly friends and family alike are more important.
Recently, I was also featured on a pro-menstruation site, it was very exciting. I’m actually trying to sign up for Tumblr right now just so I can follow them, but apparently the workplace firewall is not a big fan of Tumblr and keeps blocking it. I suppose I will just have to wait until I go home. And yes, while working in the I.T. department I can probably break through it, but let’s just be on the safe side 😛 For those who are menstrual enthusiasts, I recommend you check out the following site: http://itsjustaperiod.tumblr.com/ — furthermore, the site is all about being inclusive of all lifestyles, which I felt grateful for. After all, there’s nothing more frowned upon it would seem, than a man writing about menstruation. Nevertheless, rather than being ridiculed over my interests, I was happy to see on their site that they gave the thumbs up to several of my posts, yay! I’ve of course added them to my links navigation because it’s a site really worth checking out!
I missed my bebe’s most recent period, that made me sad… but I did however, give her a few of the pads that I purchased in my most recent posting of Stayfree products that I purchased, hopefully she has found them comfortable and provides her with a sense of security! I’m rather pleased to hear that quite a few of my girls have really gotten great results using Stayfree pads, which makes me smile because feeling secure and safe with a product-of-choice makes those period days feel easier to get by, no one wants protection which scares them whether it will stand up to the flow!
One last site I wanted to make big mentions of is Kayo’s Flow Forum @ http://www.dotcomjunkies.com/members/kayo/forum/ — Even though they’ve been listed in my links navigation for ages, I thought they deserve some EXTRA credit because of how long they have been around for, what the site stands for and the history behind it. I’ll have to admit, before I even became of legal age, I had already been visiting Bianca’s (a pro-menstruation community) and when the site became overloaded with spammers, Kayo’s Flow Forum came to rise. I have been a member of Kayo’s for ages, again, even before I turned 18 (shhhhh….). Because the menstrual community is quite small in comparison to the vast world of the internet, it’s often hard for those with similar interests to find a place they can freely share information and their own personal thoughts. As such, there may be many out there interested in menstruation who don’t even know that this site exists. I should however mention that Kayo’s Flow Forum does have adult content and may or may not agree with your own interest in menstruation. The board itself welcomes (to everyone of legal age) everyone from the curious, the learner, menstruators, the interested or even the true hardcore fetishists. I’m not quite sure where I fall on that line, lol, but that’s irrelevant as the board is a fantastic place for you to meet people who are genuinely “into” menstruation. There, you will rarely find those who are object menstruation (that is unless we get a troll in or something) and while individuals interests vary, the board is oppression-free. There casual discussions over menstruation as well as those that are visually intensive. If you are the type of person who is easily offended, then I’d recommend you stick to the posts and not follow any of the links within the content. Also, we do have several female members who make huge contributions just with their presence alone as it helps align the male views of menstruation. If you feel comfortable with menstruation, as a male or female, we extend our open arms to you to join the community. You may or may not find what you want at Kayo’s, but it’s a great experience and will help expand your horizon over the interest of menstruation that you would never thought once existed!
A month ago, I made a post about Toxic Shock Syndrome and a site called “You ARE Loved” who promote education about TSS. They had a nice little site before, but recently, they have redesigned their entire site with a slick and intuitive layout. They also acquired a domain name so I would like to take the opportunity to provide a link to their new site:
The site is dedicated to the blog owner’s daughter, Amy Rae Elifritz, who last year passed away from TSS.
The authors and contributors of the site also put a lot of work into a TSS brochure they have made and over a twitter discussion, I was happy that they would allow me to share this great piece of work, in hopes that if even all our efforts would help save just one potential TSS death that it will be worth it. Whether it is your friend, sister, daughter or even mother, your knowledge about TSS may very well be that separation between life and death for them.
Please take time to read and pass on the brochure here:
I’ve just added You ARE Loved to my blog’s link and if you’re a blog-owner yourself, you should too!
Has this been posted here already? I hope not! 😛
If you didn’t already know, “dirty downstairs” is a pet name coined by a sibling to refer to the vajayjay! lol
Here is an article I came across while Net-surfing, and since it’s related to menstruation – I re-posted it here! 🙂
- June 22 2011
Who doesn’t love a good song about vaginas? Created by ad agency St. Luke’s for Mooncup (an insertable, reusable, silicon menstrual cup), this little ditty is intended to celebrate the various monikers of the mossy cottage, the little slit that somehow never seems to have as many glorious nicknames as its male counterpart. For posterity, Mooncup collected over 14,000 nicknames for the fluffy pink tutu, but only 25 made it into the song. It’s a fun way to encourage talk and pride surrounding what is, frankly, a slightly scary product. To put it bluntly, there’s a barrier to entry in this category of menstrual helpers. So, if you have a squish mitten that could do with a serenade, download the sheet music and show your pickle pouch some love.
So after receiving quite a few emails, IM’s and tweets inquiring about the lack of reviews lately, I finally decided to pony-up and do one. Suffice to say, I only blame my own laziness since I tested this product like 3 weeks ago but just never gotten around to writing something for it. It’s one of those few Always products that I’m really impressed with and the last one to truly make me go “wow” was the Always Infinity. The Always Maxi Leakguard Plus with Odor Lock has really changed the face of Always for me, particularly when it comes to their worst “feature” – the comfort level of their ‘like cotton’ top-layer, which really, feels more like plastic. Another reason why I had delayed the posting of this was to give it to two of my girls to try and lucky for me, when I acquired the pads, 2 of them were days away from getting their periods so I thought, “Hey, I might as well wait until their period comes around to test them with me!” and thus, the procrastination began. Bebe bought these pads for me, so it was extra sweet-sweet 😛
So people have often asked me what is it that I have ‘against’ Always… is it just because they’re such a big brand name and they’re so “popular” that I force myself to dislike their products? Absolutely not. I’m one of those people who like to give credit where due, so if they do make a good product, despite how much (example only) I dislike them, I would still give them the thumbs up. As I previously mentioned, my biggest “problem” with Always pads is ever since they switched to the so called “feels like cotton” top layer, which I have found to actually be more “feels like plastic” giving a very wet, uncomfortable feel. The worst is when there’s sweat involved, then it just compounds the feeling of the plastic-feeling. You don’t have to take my word for it since most people will point out, “But you’re a non-menstruating guy, how would you know?” – well, at least you can take my girls’ word for it. My ex was a huge “Always girl” even when she was with me and we were exploring with different stuff, but after a long-day out in a hot summer’s day or if we were involved in strenuous activities, whenever she changed her pad in the washroom she’d always complain about how terrible the sweat on the pad felt because it caused a “rough sliding” feeling due to the plastic-feeling of the top layer of the traditional series of the Always pads. Whenever she tossed me her wrapped pad to throw in the garbage, the days where her sweat started to collect in the pad was noticeable and rather gross, so I can only imagine how the feeling of a sweaty-period-soaked pad felt on her. In the Leakguard w/ Odor Lock series of the Always pads, they really stepped up their game by changing the top-cover to truly be comfortable, with a dry weave that REALLY feels like cotton, is smooth and flexible to conform to the contours of the body.
It would appear that none of the Leakguard w/ Odor Lock pads come with wings and why not, I have no idea. However, despite not having wings, they still fit well and hold well to undergarment. I’m sure for the women who are devoted to using winged-pads only, this might be a worrying test for them. When it comes to getting the pad out of the package, it is just like any typical Always pad. The pad unfolds into 3 sections and you simply remove the pad from the adhesive. The wrapper has a white resealing tape that allows you to wrap/roll up the old pad, secure it and dispose of it. Because the pad itself does have a light scent it even passes it to the wrapper and helps mask the used and disposed product. This is very useful for the women who often will “pool up” numerous used pads before taking out the garbage, because it helps control the amount of dried menstrual fluid that it begins to affect air quality. This was a very noticeable thing because when I went over to one of my girl’s house who was testing this product for me, her trash full of these (and different) pads didn’t give off the usual menstrual smell. Since she’s living with 2 other female friends who appears to also be having their period, the scenting from the disposed wrappers really helped to kill odour which emits from wrapped, saturated pads.
Another weird thing is that this line of product doesn’t have a lot of variety, they only come in two sizes/absorbency: Regular and Super, limiting the flexibility of the product since it cannot tailor to the various changes while menstruating or that is, unless you simply over-use or under-use the product. Supposedly, the pad is supposed to be able to deal with slight urine-loss, not that most pads can’t do that if it’s only a minor amount, but there’s one thing that’s particularly important when it comes to incontinence problems. Because urine is actually a lot smellier than menstrual flow, it’s an absolutely necessity for any form of odour control to be present in incontinence or partial-incontinence products. Since these pads had both period and incontinence handling in mind, the odour locking methods were rightfully used to design the product. Mind you, a pad like this does not replace pads like Poise or Tena, since those were truly designed for a higher degree of non-menstrual fluid absorbency and the Always Maxi would only be suitable for those who have leakage as a result of a sneeze, cough or a small tinkle, but will not be capable of absorbing a bladder-full of urine – leave that up to the REAL incontinence products.
As you can see, these pad wrapper design has followed suit with the changes to their regular Always-line. The colour coding for the pad wrapper is the same as their regular series as well, yellow for REGULAR and green for SUPER. It has been a while since I’ve last held a REGULAR Always Maxi (original one), but I actually think the Leakguard Odor Lock series is actually lighter, probably due to the composition of the pad. Dimensionally, it FEELS smaller/shorter, but I think probably not, so maybe it’s just my own bias. The regular-sized package of these pads come in 22 units. I paid (or well, Bebe paid) $3.88 for a pack of these, working out to 17.6 cents per pad. I was talking to one of my regular readers, Andie, and it seems like Walmart only likes to stock the REGULAR absorbency and not the SUPER, because the only place I’ve been able to find the SUPER absorbency ones are at the Rexall’s and SDM’s… so what’s up with Walmart not buying the larger ones? LOL. Speaking of which, I can tell that this line of product does not really appeal to the masses, because the inventory on them were nearly untouched compared to other brands or absorbency. I realize it’s a new product and not everyone likes to dive head-first, so hopefully this review will be able to help people out. Really, the pad is far from being an incontinence product, so there should not be a fear or shame that buying these pads will automatically mean you have bladder issues.
As you can see, just by the looks of it, it appears to be a lot more comfier than the traditional Always pad. They’ve finally decided that the rough, plasticky dry weave isn’t good enough for a “new product” and decided to use some REAL material that helps make the wearer feel much more comfortable and secure. Like the typical Always pad, they have the famous blue lock-in core. What’s very noticeable the first time you get a hold of the package or open the first pad is the scent. The scent is not strong like the Stayfree pads, but is still quite pungent. It takes a bit of getting used to and while it is “light” in terms of the strength of the scent, it is one of those unmistakable smells. The smell luckily does not stick around as long as the Stayfree pads, but it is noticeable when the pad is worn, especially if the girl is wearing something that allows air to travel between her legs, like shorts or a skirt. I don’t want to get people all riled up over it not being discrete or obvious, since a smell like this would only ever be detectable by someone who even knows what the scent is, such as a fellow female or menstrual enthusiast. The scent is really useful however as I stated before, both during period-use and as well as for post-usage when it is disposed. The pad is 8 inches (~20 cm) long and is a uniform 3 inches wide (~7.6 cm), except at the front & rear of the pad.
The scent is very interesting, because it does more than give off a light smell or to cover-up odour, but also acts as a very cool and smooth feeling against the body. The feeling of this pad when used is similar to that of the Stayfree Thermocontrol pads, where it leaves a cool and comfortable feel on the skin. The pad cover, when saturated, begins to lock in odour, absorb quickly and emits a cool-like feeling. The smell of the scent is hard to describe, I would actually say that the smell is similar to herbs and gives a very soothing type of aroma. The absorbency of the pad is not as quick as the Always Infinity line, but is faster than the standard Always line. The pad itself is lightweight, again, lighter than the standard Always, but not as weightless as the Infinity.
The disposal of the used pad is also nice because of the soft cover, unlike the standard Always line it isn’t as hard and tough to roll or fold up. When doing a test and twisting the pad, the flow managed to stay well-locked in the pad and did not flow back to the surface. With the suggestion of Andie, I disassembled the pad and could not find any obvious traces of absorbing gel and appeared to be made completely of cotton and cellulose-type material. The top cover continued to stay intact even during disassembling and it was very obviously that the “contents” of the pad were locked underneath and not sitting on the top layer, therefore, creating a very comfortable feel when the pad is saturated. The only problem with this design is that because it absorbs so well, it’s hard to tell when the pad has absorbed enough to be changed since it stays light and distributes flow underneath well where it isn’t apparent that it’s already “on the fringe” of leaking. One of my girls who tested this for me did mention that she came to a near-leak incident because the pad didn’t appear or feel like it was ready to overflow because the center of the pad did not look saturated, nor did the pad feel weighty that would make you think it has collected quite a bit. I suppose this pad may take some getting-used-to to avoid the possibility of not being able to gauge when it is necessary to change.
I would definitely recommend this pad to others and has given me renewed confidence in Always. It’s nice to know that they’re trying to get ahead-of-the-game and also moving away from their so-called “like cotton” dry weave and moving to one which feels comfortable, regardless of the weather. After all, pads are terrible when it’s gross outside and you’re sweating, mixed with menstrual flow smell and if incontinent, even urine – so to have a pad that can stand up to that really is impressive. Although the price is steeper than the usual line of pads or other brands, for $3.88 everyday low price at Walmart, I can’t complain. While at first glance this pad might not seem like a good idea to switch because of the price point, remember that comfort, security and absorbency brings a very important feeling to a menstruating individual. If Always continues to modify their pads with comfort in-mind, I’d be a lot happier to start supporting more of their products and perhaps they can win their business back from me and my girls!
So my entry title is what I’ve heard from many of my girl’s who have taken my advice to switching or trying non-applicator tampons. Namely in Canada, I believe O.B. is the only “mainstream” brand that has tampons without applicators, although there are “side brands” – particularly organic manufacturers – who make non-applicator tampons. I’m sure people wonder where they get such an unusual name for a tampon manufacturer, but the letters O.B. is an acronym, “Ohne Binde“ German for, “without a pad” (or rough equivalent), so now that it makes sense, it’s a very fitting name. Of course being the menstrual enthusiast that I am, I am actually quite ashamed to say I took little note of this tampon brand until it was introduced to me by one of my ex’s – name withholding obviously.
A tampon is a tampon, however, just the minor difference (well, minor in my mind) between inserting a tampon WITH an applicator and WITHOUT an applicator has struck fear into even some of my elite-tampon using girls. I remember when even introducing O.B. to my god-sis, she blinked at me blankly when I told her that you just “use your fingers to push it up” – rather than pushing the bottom of the tube to feed the tampon up the vagina. She did try using them, but unfortunately, they were confiscated (yes seriously, by her mom) and she still said she preferred using an applicator because it removes the “ickiness” of possible contact of her fingers with her vagina or menstrual fluid. Honestly though, I would assume that following general hygiene that one would wash their hands before and after handling any feminine hygiene products (or obviously even after just going to pee/poop), so the idea that one may come in contact with their own vagina or menstrual flow makes my mind spin a little. In fact, good insertion techniques with a non-applicator tampon is probably more “clean” than having to withdraw a blood-smeared applicator and risk any strands of menstrual flow or clots from falling out during the applicator withdrawal.
It’s probably quite obvious that the environmental footprint for an applicator and non-applicator tampon is very different. Non-applicator tampons are generally sold in smaller boxes (physical size) and individually wrapped only using a film-type wrapper. Applicator tampons are usually individually wrapped with a plastic wrapper and also the cardboard or plastic applicator itself generates additional waste. While cardboard is indeed recyclable, you have to wonder, how many people really separate their tampon applicators from regular waste? I can say that out of all my girls or women I have ever talked to, they just ditch their cardboard applicators along with the regular garbage. Since the sizing for applicator tampons is larger (even the compact ones sold by other brands), the boxes they come in are also larger as well.
In my opinion, O.B. tampons are SUPER CUTE. Well, not that it matters from a usage perspective, but making a cool-looking tampon can have its appeals. Or wait… maybe it only appeals to us menstrual lovers, LOL! Also, don’t forget that an applicator can sometimes cause injuries. Because many tampons have flanged ends for the applicator tip, it can catch on skin causing some major owies. Also particular to women who are just learning to use tampons, stabbing themselves with the applicator DOES happen. With an O.B. tampon, because you are more attuned by a fine-motor skill (your fingers), you have full control of the direction and movement while inserting the tampon. Don’t forget that assuming you are practicing general hygiene, using your fingers to insert the tampon is a clean alternative to introducing a foreign object such as cardboard or plastic into the most intimate area of your body. Although I’ve had debates with women on whether it’s “faster” to insert using an applicator or without one, I for one must say that it’s a lot easier to insert a non-applicator tampon since it requires less “unpakaging”, “preparation” and “fiddle-time”.
For those who may be interested in switching or exploring the use of a non-applicator tampon (or if you’d just like to educate yourself), here’s one of those O.B. pamphlets that are included in every box of their tampons:
You can click the image for a better resolution pictures and to see the text better!
I have been struggling to come up with topics to write about, or rather, maybe just unmotivated, hah… however, I decided to go today and write on a topic that I’ve been meaning to write and post for a while. Toxic Shock Syndrome is known for many tampon users, yet, how knowledgeable are we about TSS to help us make an informed decision for the good of our health? I’m not here to necessarily debate whether I think tampons are a “good” form of feminine hygiene product, but today, we will concentrate on TSS alone and while there may be references to tampons, I’m neither “against” them or “for” them.
So what is toxic shock syndrome and like many infections, the name “doesn’t sound good already.” TSS is potentially fatal and caused by a bacterial infection which is usually associated with tampon use. There are multiple viruses which may trigger TSS, however, the most common one for tampon-related TSS infections is called Staphylococcus aureus. Despite what has been said and the belief that TSS only occurs in women who use tampons, this is not true. In fact, men and women are both capable of being infected with this bacterium and tampons are not the only cause of TSS. TSS has surfaced since 1980 and even after 31 years, women are still dying from tampon-related TSS. We may not think much of TSS, because there is very little publicity on it and with enough taboo around menstruation, people are not open to aptly speak about menstrual/feminine hygiene related deaths. It takes a very brave woman (Lisa Elifritz), the owner of You ARE Loved to raise public awareness about TSS and tell a very personal story about the challenges she faced with TSS in the death of her daughter, Amy Rae Elifritz.
TSS infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus can occur in a healthy individual and usually show through flu-like symptoms, particularly with high-fever exceeding 38.9 °C (102.02 °F), along with low blood-pressure, confusion, vomitting, diarrhea, weakness, coma and in more severe/terminal stages, multiple organ failure. Tampon related TSS symptoms also include a typical skin rash which is characterized as being severely painful at the site of the infection. TSS can be managed if discovered soon and with proper treatment, recovery occurs usually in 2 to 3 weeks. However, because of the destructive nature of the bacteria and TSS, death can occur within hours of the onset of the symptoms. Treatment within the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) is necessary for full supportive care, along with antibiotic treatment and toxin-reduction drugs.
Reported TSS cases dropped off rapidly after 1981 when 40 women died of tampon-related TSS and stayed “under the radar” for many years, until the fear of tampons begin to taper off. Tampon-related TSS struck fear in many women at the time, however, as girls begin to get their periods at younger ages in this generation, more of them are opting to use tampons and thus, exposing them to the causative bacteria at a younger age and also increasing the likelihood that they may be candidates for bacterial growth leading to tampon-related TSS. The triggering point for attention towards TSS was in a controversial testing of a tampon usable for an entire menstrual period called Rely by Procter and Gamble (P&G) in 1978. The tampon would, by design, be able to last an entire period without leakage or replacement and is said to be capable of absorbing almost 20 times its own weight. After several reported cases of TSS in menstruating women, the spotlight turned to tampons as the cause and eventually the product was pulled off the shelf.
People under the ages of 30 are less likely to have the antibodies to fight off Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, making individuals more susceptible to contracting TSS. Even the most diligent individuals such as Amy Rae Elifritz can be infected by this bacterium, despite regular changing of the tampon, alternating of menstrual products and using the lowest absorbency necessary for the menstrual flow at the time. While detection of TSS symptoms might be more obvious while menstruating, TSS can also occur any time within the menstrual cycle and menstruation does not need to be present, as bacteria may take time to build up or if chemicals/materials are left behind in the body, such as leftover rayon fibers from a removed tampon. Because symptoms of TSS are too much like the common-flu and become deadly in a very short period of time, it’s so hard to determine whether or not it’s necessary to seek medical attention and of course, most people would not want to be too aggressive in thinking they have TSS every time they get some flu-like symptoms. Nevertheless, some would argue that because of the severity of the infection, it’d be better to be on the “safe side.”
So how can one mitigate or avoid the risk of TSS? With over half the reported TSS cases being attributed to tampons, it is a reality, not just a myth. For those who have never bothered to heed the warning of tampon pamphlets, here’s a rundown with some of my input and additional tips offered by the You ARE Loved team:
- Use the lowest possibly absorbency to handle your menstrual flow
- The higher the absorbency of the tampon, the greater the risk of TSS
- Change tampons frequently and look for signs of any tampon remnants which might be left behind (such as shredding as you withdraw)
- Avoid using tampons overnight
- Tampon-related TSS bacteria require 8 hours to dissipate, therefore, use other products whenever possible throughout the day
- Tampons are NOT meant to absorb discharge, vaginal fluid or ‘just-in-case’ situations; Tampons should only be used when menstruation has begun
- Tampon choice should allow for comfortable insertion and removal, such as being saturated enough to remove easily and comfortable enough to put in. Forcing a tampon in or out may cause minute scratches in the vaginal wall, giving the bacteria an entry for further infection
- Be hygienic and wash your hands before touching your vaginal area, including clean-handling method for your tampon
- Remember to remove the last tampon of your period
- Do remember that as “very rare” that tampon manufacturers may want you to feel about the use of tampons associated with TSS, it is a very serious and real risk
- Consider alternate menstrual products, such as sanitary napkins (pads), sea sponges, menstrual cups or natural tampons (usually made from cotton, non-bleached and not composed with rayon)
- Don’t let TSS-risk slip you over time; Just because TSS hasn’t affected you yet, it doesn’t mean it never will
So what do you do if you believe you or someone else you know has been compromised or showing symptoms of TSS?
- If using a tampon, remove it immediately as this eliminates the source of the bacteria infection
- Seek medical attention and alert the emergency operator and/or emergency crew that the illness may be toxic shock syndrome related
- Avoid using tampons in the future as reinfection is a high possibility
Certainly in the future if I have a little girl, I would certainly give her the choice of using any menstrual product she prefers. Nevertheless, should tampons be her choice of products, I would make sure to educate her on proper tampon handling and hygiene, along with ensuring that cotton tampons are purchased over conventional rayon-based ones. If each and every one of these women fallen can make the world aware of TSS, then at least their deaths will not be for naught.
I would recommend anyone who is interested in learning more about TSS and the story of the Elifritz, please visit: http://www.you-are-loved.org/ and also considering making a DONATION to their cause (due to the site design, I cannot directly link to the donate section).