Menstrual Cups Alternatives (Safer Tampons & Pads)

Being the menstrual cup advocates we are, we never imagined the day would come where we’d write a whole post about alternatives to menstrual cups. It’s also rather funny since most people consider a cup to be an alternative to traditional products… but here we are.

Just as most of us found a level of success with tampons or pads, at one time, most people who try a cup will find that it works for them. It may not be perfect the first try, but it will work.

If you have tried a cup but are having trouble, we recommending taking our quiz to see how the result cup compares to the one you’ve tried, and joining our Facebook community to see if they can help you troubleshoot and get it working for you. 

But for some people, the choice isn’t “which one do I like?” but “which product can I even use?” Some people cannot use internal protection at all and others are unable to wear external protection due to skin sensitivities or other circumstances. Options may also be limited by access to products and/or access to clean water to care for reusable products.

The point is that while a cup may work for most people, there are a few who it won’t work for. We truly believe a cup is the best internal protection, but there are options that don’t contain the toxins found in traditional products and it’s worth switching to a safer option for comfort and health.

Tampons

The products below are 100% organic cotton core tampons, which does not carry the same TSS risk as typical tampons which are made from rayon or a rayon/cotton blend. All internal protection has the potential risk, but these are safer and will not leave behind as many fibers as rayon. You can find several of these brands in Target, Walmart, CVS, etc. and of course, online. There are also a lot of options available without an applicator, which is better for the environment.

Without Applicator

With Applicator

In addition to having a lower potential for TSS, cotton tampons contain less toxins. Cotton accounts for 16% of global insecticide use, which is more than any other crop. Byproducts of these chemicals, which are carcinogenic, which does not carry the same TSS risk as typical tampons. So while 100% cotton is better, 100% organic cotton is best.

Menstrual Pads

Cloth pads are a great option in a menstrual cup isn’t in the cards. They are comfortable, easy to wash, and affordable once you have a supply of them — though there is clearly a startup investment. If cost is an issue, you can even easily make your own! Below are a few of our favorite brands.

Cloth Pads

As for disposable products, the following brands use cotton or organic cotton top layers to reduce toxin exposure and help with skin sensitivities to synthetics.

Disposable Pads

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