I Tried Five Menstrual Product Alternatives and Barely Survived

If pad technology isn't evolving, then neither am I. I'm going to go live in a red tent.

HealthIn Depth
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Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

People with periods, say it with me: Menstrual products are kinda trash. Or at least my experience with them has been for the last 20 years. Why is the very thing that was created to have our backs at the most sensitive of times continuing to let us down?

There are few things more excruciating than ripping a maxi pad out of the crack of your ass. Can’t nobody say I’m not a gangster after slowly feeling each butt hair unstick from the pad glue. Lord only knows what type of damage I’ve been doing to my butt skin and what kinds of chemicals have gotten trapped up there.

As a reformed tampon user, I’m pretty old school when it comes to pads: I’ve tried everything from Always to U Kotex Sports to the Stayfree, and, without fail, at the end of the day, the pad is either leaking, too big, not sticking to the right place and/or stuck in my crack like an ex that wanted that old thang back. I’m not asking for much—my cycle is usually about five days and only moderately heavy, so all-day coverage and a pad that stays in place shouldn’t be such hard technology to figure out for a species that managed to put a man on the moon five decades ago.

And this week, I learned I’m one of many women with fewer butt hairs than what they started with after using mainstream pads. This week, a fellow Black woman went viral on Twitter after she shared that she was rushed to the hospital with septic shock after an Always pad got stuck in her butt while she was asleep.

Although I know this experience is rare, after seeing the horrifying responses from women around the world about their pad chemical experiences, I decided now was the perfect time to ditch the old and maybe try something new. I’ve been informed that even period pads and alternative menstrual products marketed as “natural” are not much better than the mainstream brands. So where does that leave me?

I went on a bloody quest to find the perfect period product, and now I’m bringing you all on the journey with me. It’s going to be messy, but someone’s got to do it.

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